Police and mental health issues dominated last night’s Buckman Neighborhood Association forum for candidates for Dan Saltzman’s council seat, at the Central Catholic High School on SE Stark. Not only Jesse Cornett and Dan Saltzman were on the panel, but the other six hundred million candidates for the seat, too. I only had a 50mm lens so apologies to the other five hundred million nine hundred and ninety nine thousand nine hundred and ninety five other candidates I couldn't fit into this image, but not to Spencer Burton, who showed up 40 minutes late, and deserves to be cropped as a result:

CANDIDATES AT THE FORUM: Ed Garren, Mary Volm, Jesse Cornett, Dan Saltzman and Martha Perez...
  • CANDIDATES AT THE FORUM: Ed Garren, Mary Volm, Jesse Cornett, Dan Saltzman and Martha Perez...

Matt Davis's campaign tip number one: Stand or sit near the incumbent. And dress more formally than him. He's got to dress down to appear in touch. You've got to dress up to appear competent. There are THREE MORE campaign tips in this blog post, guys.

You can read more about the big issues between the two front-runners in this week's news section. The moderator asked: What can be done about the recent criticism of Portland police?

Ed Garren said the policing model in Portland is “macho and very militaristic,” and “a culture that only respects strength.” He said he was disappointed at Saltzman caving to the police union over the suspension of Officer Christopher Humphreys in the beanbagging of a 12-year-old girl, last fall. “If I’d had police officers marching on city hall I’d have said the decision sticks. He’s not going back to work,” said Garren. “We need to have a contract that says, you know what, you can get fired if you kill somebody.”

Mary Volm said she was “very concerned with the divisiveness that this whole situation has been handled. It is a big blame game, and that doesn’t get us to real solutions.” She said “the blood is on everybody’s hands here in this community” as far as mental health issues are concerned. “That person found himself on the street without anything,” she said. “And it’s our fault.”

Matt Davis's campaign tip number two: Don't just steal Matt Davis's lines.

“I’m glad that I’m not the only one on this panel who’s a disciple of a certain local reporter who’s been talking about this issue a lot lately,” said Cornett. He also said he spent three years as a reserve police officer. “I also had the unfortunate incident of having my very closest friend shot by a police officer while he was complying with their demands,” he said, also mentioning his 6-point plan for police reform, that can be found on his website.

Cornett said it was odd to send Officer Ron Frashour to the Gateway Business Association meeting yesterday, when Frashour “recently executed Aaron Campbell.” He said Sergeant Kyle Nice, who was involved in an off-duty road rage incident recently, is “still on duty,” and a “danger to our community.” He wants Nice pulled from the street.

Saltzman said the last year has been a “challenge” and also a “blessing.” “I agree that there are some bad apples,” he said. “It’s my job as police commissioner to work hard to regain the trust that has been lost as a result of the tragic deaths going back four years now, starting with James Chasse.”

Saltzman said the issue of arbitration is “an unfair playing field” that means city council is “often confined in its disciplinary decisions.”

Is there any way to get Nice off the street, asked a neighbor?

“Under review,” said Saltzman.

Matt Davis's campaign tip number three: Don't say something's "under review" when what you mean is, simply, "not a chance in Shakespeare."

Because there were, by the end, eight candidates on the stage, there was only time for the cop question and one about the impact of neighborhood associations. Also, only 20 people showed up. “If there’s a runoff election in October, we’ll be back here with a much bigger crowd,” said the moderator.

Matt Davis's campaign tip number four: If you're the incumbent, insist that all forums will invite all candidates, to eat into your frontrunner's time to take shots at you. If you're the frontrunner against the incumbent, insist on a cut-off line, like at City Club, where they're only inviting the top three candidates. Meanwhile Ed Garren is raging at City Club to "Google me!" to let him in.

Saltzman closed the session, saying he’s “strong independent leader who understands the needs of Porltanders, and keeps an eye on the bottom line.” He has been known to be “very cranky” about spending money on pet projects, he said.

“Since 1998 sewer rates in Portland have nearly doubled, and they’re going to continue to go up year after year,” said Cornett. “Since we’ve had a new police commissioner, 2 of the 59 new recruits to the police bureau have been minorities. Since he’s been challenged, the police commissioner has come up with a lot of new solutions but it’s too little and it’s too late. You can’t keep electing the same leaders and expect anything to be any different. We need something different in city hall.”

Mary Volm closed by saying “we have never raided the sewer or water fund before for any other reason than sewer or water maintenance.”

“It would be nice to have a public service job that actually pays well for a change,” said Garren. “Y hablo español también. Gracias.”

Matt Davis's campaign tip number five: Oh, never mind.

Above all, there was pizza, and cookies. And THAT is a neighborhood association meeting, friends.