Portland's anti-war "Raging Grannies" had the case against them dismissed in court on Monday, June 9, after prosecutors were too unorganized to get cops to show up on the right day. Sara Graham and Bonnie Tinker were arrested at last year's Rose Parade for sitting down in front of a tank. At first they were charged with interfering with a parade, a charge that doesn't exist, and then, with disorderly conduct and interfering with a police officer.
The district attorney's office blamed a computer error for the scheduling conflict. Senior Deputy DA Jeff Howes told the Mercury,"It's not the fault of the district attorney's office," even though it is, technically, the DA's responsibility to have its witnesses ready for trial. Asked whether the incompetence was politically convenient, so that the DA wouldn't have to prosecute two elderly ladies for protesting an illegal war, Howes responded: "It's not convenient. It's inconvenient. I think these issues are best aired in the trial proceeding." MD
Former city council candidates who received public campaign financing dished the dirt this week about the fledgling program. As part of exit public finance process interviews with the Citizen Campaign Commission—the city's volunteer group which oversees public financing—the candidates were mostly positive about the rule-heavy system. The biggest point of contention was whether the city's $150,000 in funds is enough to actually run a citywide campaign.
Jeff Bissonnette and Jim Middaugh felt they lacked the money to advertise effectively, hurting their name recognition. "I don't think you're going to see any incumbent defeated by a publicly financed candidate," says Middaugh.
Citizen Campaign Commissioners replied that the public financing is meant to provide access to the political process, but not necessarily equal footing between candidates. Candidate John Branam noted that while the system could use small changes, the important thing was that it worked: "These public dollars bought Portlanders a very competitive race." All three candidates said public financing was a major factor enabling them to run. SM