Maybe it isn't fair to judge any side of a debate by the fieriest rhetoric of its most marginal members—but it's a shit-ton of fun.

Two weeks ago, City Commissioner Sam Adams paid a visit to a large immigrant rights march/rally downtown and said a few words to the crowd about "the positive contributions that immigrants make to our city, state, and nation." His speech hit the local broadcast media, and not long after, his office was inundated with calls, including this one from a screeching, breathless woman:

"You queer, spic-loving bastard! Why don't you go down to Mexico and help them out there? We'd be happy to be rid of you, you rotten, spic-loving queer."

Another concerned (and conveniently anonymous) citizen mailed in a poorly worded postcard that went to great lengths to connect illegal immigration to the scourge of "money telegram shops" that are destroying the city. Yet another upstanding Portlander had to be ushered out of Adams' office when he didn't get the hint that xenophobic hate speech wouldn't really fly in an office with numerous immigrant staffers.

Speaking of free speech: For weeks, Erik Sten's campaign signs have been flooding Portland neighborhoods with a sea of yellow—at least through the Northeast and central Southeast. It wasn't until last week I saw my first campaign sign for his opponent, Ginny Burdickin her campaign office.

Now, according to an article in the Oregonian, she's claiming that Sten's campaign has placed lawn signs on public property, in violation of campaign rules.

"It's against the law," she told the paper. "And you'll find no Ginny Burdick signs in the right-of-way."

Or anywhere else.

It's uncertain if he'll be planting any signs on the council chamber dais, but Sten's affordable housing goals were expected to be open for battle during this Wednesday's city council meeting. At issue is a resolution co-sponsored with Adams that would require 30 percent of all urban renewal dollars to be spent directly on affordable housing.

First, the mayor came out against the plan—specifically about the rigid 30 percent figure. Now, the Portland Business Alliance—God bless 'em—has issued a "call to action" to its members, urging them to show up at the council meeting to testify against the resolution. Expect the PBA to come out against the "arbitrary" quota, with superficial lip service paid to the needs of poor people.

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