After years of constant demands for more police accountability, it appears as if city leaders are finally--if not lethargically--responding.

Every year, city council must decide on whether to reauthorize the Joint Terrorism Task Force--an agreement between federal agents and local police officers to work together. In years past, it's been a controversial issue, with activists fretting about the Task Force's Gestapo-like presence. Even so, council has always unanimously supported the organization.

That vote is coming up this Wednesday (City Hall, 1221 SW 4th, 9:30 am). But unlike other years, this time the vote may not be an automatic slam-dunk.

Last year, council members Randy Leonard and Erik Sten began asking serious questions about the organization's necessity and its operations. Both were concerned that no one had any oversight or insight into the group's operation. Ultimately, Sten and Leonard voted in favor of the Task Force on the condition that both the police chief and mayor would receive security clearance. Eventually, both did.

In the meantime, Brandon Mayfield was arrested. Mayfield is an attorney who works with the Muslim community in town. After Mayfield's fingerprints were wrongly linked to a bombing in Spain, he was held for three weeks with no access to legal help. The Task Force was integral to that colossal fuck-up. Leonard told the Mercury that Mayfield's arrest has him on heightened alert for civil rights violations and has him leaning to vote against the Task Force.



Portlanders are going to be seeing a lot less pussy soon. Police have apprehended Paul Thomas Langston, the graffiti artist behind the ubiquitous "vagina" tag. With its first appearance last February, the "vagina" graffiti has turned up more than 100 times around the city.

What surprised crime fighters is that the culprit--caught red handed--was not a woman, but a 20-year-old living in Beaverton with his mother.

In July, Brent Canode--former deputy director of the Office of Neighborhood Involvement--told the Portland Tribune the tagger was most likely a woman, describing the tag as "very feminine." If the former deputy director's remarks seem a bit addled, it may be because there were other things on his mind. Canode, whose responsibilities included community anti-drug programs, was recently busted for allegedly buying crack in Old Town. ALISON HALLETT