The country may have a new, unlikely superhero: Last week, Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers bitch-slapped Enron's directors and officers. After staring down John Ashcroft this fall (and refusing to overturn Oregon's Death With Dignity Act), Myers turned his attention last week to the failing energy company. Enron's directors had asked the bankruptcy court to advance them $30 million for legal costs. Normally, state officials would not have a voice in such proceedings, but Myers filed a unique motion to block Enron's request--and won! Although not as sexy as stopping a school bus from falling off a cliff, Myers potentially rescued millions of dollars for pension holders in 30 states. PHIL BUSSE
Fuzzy Math Problems
For the second time in a row, the Police Accountability Campaign has failed to get their initiative onto the ballot. The initiative, which nearly qualified for the May 2000 ballot, would increase the privileges of the city's Police Review board, as well as change its inherent structure. The review board would also receive complaints about police straight from the public, rather than filtered through Internal Affairs. But this year, instead of coming up 3,000 signatures short (as in 2000), PAC is a mere 258 signatures from the necessary 26,095. The number is so small that PAC advocates are demanding a recount. If they aren't granted one, they say, they'll sue.
"If this was an election, there would be an automatic recount," says Dave Mazza, chief petitioner for PAC 2002. Mazza's concern is that the signature counting system is skewed. Dictated by rules from the Secretary of State's office, the process counts signatures by random sampling, rather than the actual number.
"We believe this is simply the fault of bureaucracy, rather than any other intentions," said Mazza. "In fact, we were relieved that it was the county doing the counting, rather than the city, as that would have been a conflict of interest." Nevertheless, PAC 2002 is not anticipating an easy struggle. "I'm anticipating that the city and the county will not be amenable to sitting down and trying to get this dealt with," Mazza said. "But we're going to do everything we can." KATIA DUNN