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GOOD MORNING, PORTLAND! Buckle up for a week of gloomy weather. Today we’ll see an unseasonably high temp of 60, but don’t expect to see the sun until the weekend, as we get soaked in this atmospheric river that could bring flooding. But hey, at least we have holiday lights!

In Local News:

  • Last week marked the end to an unprecedented, weeks-long Portland teachers strike that shut down schools. As the dust settles, teachers say the result was better wages and improvements that will benefit students. The strike also set the stage for what could come in other school labor negotiations underway. More broadly, the strike caused the kind of disruption and discomfort that forced a statewide conversation about the failures of Oregon’s education funding. Taylor Griggs has the key takeaways and reflections in this excellent piece.
  • By now, we know that next year will be Mayor Ted Wheeler’s last on the city council, after he confirmed he won’t seek reelection. We also know Commissioner Mingus Mapps, who loves nothing more than to hear himself talk, is running for mayor. Now, we know Commissioner Dan Ryan, the self-described “elder queer” won’t run for mayor, but might run for council, but isn’t sure yet? Ryan announced Monday that he isn’t launching a bid for mayor, though Willamette Week reports Commissioner Rene Gonzalez, who loathes drug users and poor people, and apparently knows very little about The Pixies, will likely announce a mayoral campaign soon.

    Women in our group way more into @PIXIES. My only thoughts are fight club.

    — Commissioner Rene Gonzalez (@CommissionerRG) September 13, 2023
  • We told you last week about the city’s lucrative contract with Axon for police body cameras. This week, the council will vote on whether to spend even more–$3.4million–on tasers for police. The Portland Police Bureau just replaced its tasers in 2015, but Axon has moved to a newer model and won’t support the older models. The bid selection process, and the company’s practice of phasing out its tech frequently at a hefty cost to law enforcement agencies (taxpayers) were brought up by a watchdog group last week during the council’s vote on the body camera contract. As we noted last week, Axon seems to have done a good job lobbying the city back in 2015 and 2016, as the city was considering its purchase of body cameras. I don’t want to hear anyone whine about the cost of charter reform again, when clearly we have millions to throw at a weapons and tech company in no-bid contracts every few years.
  • Once the holidays are over and the cheery lights and decorations start to fade, what do we have in this cruel world to look forward to? The ACTUAL most wonderful time of the year, HUMP! Fest. Your favorite kinky, quirky, DIY erotic film fest returns to Portland in early March. Early bird tickets are on sale now, and the price goes up in January, so stuff those stockings with a sexy gift!

In National/World News:

  • George Santos is now hawking Cameos. The disgraced pathological liar and recently ousted former congressman from New York will record a customized, yet uninteresting video of himself for you, for the right price. His site appears temporarily unavailable, but before he took it down, Sen. John Fetterman's team knew exactly what to do.
  • Cigarettes are gross. Some of us can still remember wading through clouds of smoke in designated sections of Kmart as kids in the '90s. Now, the World Health Organization reports pollution and plastic waste from cigarette packaging costs about $26 billion each year to clean up, and China accounts for roughly 20 percent of the mess. 
  • "They lost their families and they continue their work," a Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate leader said, recalling the unparalleled toll on journalists covering the Israel/Hamas war. The conflict has led to genocide and an ongoing humanitarian crisis for those who won't or can't leave Gaza, but it's also taken the lives of about 60 journalists who have been killed since October 7, trying to cover the situation. 
  • People are rightfully roasting the New York Times, which recently published a profile of "Who's Who" in AI, sans any women. The legacy media publication profiled 12 men, including Elon Musk, who, despite his perpetual hard-on for AI and his rush to use it in every facet of his companies, hasn't developed any groundbreaking technology or AI learning methods, unlike a host of women, including Stanford University professor Fei-Fei Li, often dubbed the "godmother" of AI, and a slew of others, none of which the New York Times bothered to include.