PHil busse: s.o.b.! We're beginning to suspect that Mayor Katz doesn't like the Mercury very much. On Friday in City Hall, Mercury News Editor and mayoral candidate Phil Busse was being interviewed by Oregonian reporter Hank Stern when they were interrupted by none other than acting mayor Vera Katz. Stepping into the conversation, Katz tapped her watch to remind Stern they had an appointment for a photo op depicting Katz and some first graders planting flowers outside City Hall.

When Stern introduced Katz to Busse, she quickly informed the mayoral hopeful that he was "cold-hearted" and a "mean son of a bitch." Over the past three years, Busse has written numerous articles criticizing the current mayor's policies, including a story about Katz giving herself a raise in the midst of a struggling city economy. (Conversely, Busse has promised to give out $100 from his own salary every day to a needy constituent if elected.)

After reflecting on Katz's accusations, Busse wondered aloud, "So does this mean I'm not getting the Mayor's endorsement?" WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY

cops, lies & videotape After the demonstration late this summer against President Bush, Amber Hicks was strolling peacefully across Columbia Annex park when a riot gear-suited Sergeant Kruger dragged her to the ground and handcuffed her. Without explanation, he then pulled her across the street--an action caught on three separate video cameras.

Hicks reportedly suffered a black eye when Kruger rammed her face into the side of a van. Then, adding insult to injury, she was charged with interfering with the police. But last Monday, when Hicks showed up to contest her charges in court, they were dismissed on a technicality--Sgt. Kruger had failed to appear.

Kruger is currently a defendant in two lawsuits. He was also captured on videotape on March 25 as he repeatedly pepper sprayed a young woman.

Police spokesman Brian Schmautz said he was unaware that Kruger had failed to appear in court, making clear that if summoned, officers are required to show up in court. "They can't just decide not to go."

Brandi Steinmetz, another activist who suffered two broken ribs and a concussion, allegedly from the police at a Bush fund-raiser, also had her trial on November 10. She had no lawyer and was found guilty. ERIN ERGENBRIGHT