Jack Pollock
POOR ERIC'S ALMANAC Claiming that "almanacs could be useful tools for planning terrorist attacks," on Christmas Eve the FBI released a bulletin advising 18,000 law enforcement agencies to be on vigilant lookout for travelers carrying the reference books. Heeding this warning, Eric Berg announced the formation of "Americans Against Terror and Knowledge (ATTK)." In the organization's first act, last Wednesday, he attempted to relinquish his extensive almanac collection to the FBI.

For 20 minutes, Berg sat in plain view of a security guard in the lobby of local FBI offices reading an almanac--but no one bothered him. Berg then tried to relinquish his almanac collection to an FBI agent, who quickly became flustered and requested backup. Special Agent Jordan arrived on the scene, listened stiffly to Berg's prepared speech, then said, "We don't want your almanacs."

Berg readily admitted that ATTK is fictional, but added, "If your government does something stupid and you can't make fun of it, then there's something wrong." ERIN ERGENBRIGHT

PAY NOW, WORRY LATER! Add the Chinese Gardens to the list of contractual boondoggles by City Hall. On Monday, the city filed a lawsuit against Robertson Architects, who designed the Chinese Gardens for the city. Despite assurances that the garden's central pond would be leakproof, the city alleges the pond is losing some 40,000 gallons per day--so much that it needs to be refilled nearly twice a week. The lawsuit is asking for $1 million to cover both the estimated repairs and water lost.

The city is also currently in the process of switching managers for PGE Park. Three years ago, eager to reinvigorate baseball in Portland, Mayor Vera Katz blindly signed a contract with Portland Family Entertainment (PFE). There was little review process in the deal, which quickly soured after PFE failed to pay license agreements. Currently, $1.7 million is owed to 210 creditors.

The city's business acumen was also questioned in October when city council awarded a $6 million contract for designing engineering blueprints to place caps on Mt. Tabor's water reservoirs. The company awarded the contract was the very same consulting firm that first--and dubiously--sounded alarm bells about potential terrorist attacks at the water tanks. PB