I didn't miss much during my two-week vacation from city hall. Mayor-elect Sam Adams happened to be in China, and—coincidentally or not—city hall slowed way down.
Commissioner Randy Leonard passed the time tinkering with his Public Safety Assessment, after he'd released a draft on August 28. The report was originally due to Adams on September 9, but Leonard "reluctantly" leaked it in August, in an attempt to provoke comments on the draft from Police Chief Rosie Sizer and Mayor Tom Potter. Adams gave Leonard an extension to incorporate their input.
Since then, Leonard has been posting incremental report updates on his city website, but as of last Wednesday, September 17, Leonard's office couldn't tell me when the report was officially due on Adams' desk. And they indicated they were still waiting for Potter's input.
But Team Potter has a different take. As far as they're concerned, the letter the mayor sent to Adams on August 28, hours after Leonard released the draft, sufficiently stated Potter's input. "Overall, I am concerned with the tone and depth of any report that makes such sweeping statements about a number of important issues..." Potter wrote. And as far as many observers are concerned, the final report is a moot point: The real issue is whether or not Adams will crown Leonard as the next head of the police bureau—and when he'll do it.
Asked about the simmering drama between Leonard and Potter's offices, Adams didn't have much to say on Monday night, September 22. "We're working on it," he said evasively. The report is due at "the end of October," Adams says, but couldn't name a date. He'll also name the next police commissioner by "the end of October."
Well, with that kind of timing—not to mention specificity!—it's no wonder most eyes have veered from the report to Leonard's future with the police bureau.
All eyes except those at Portland Copwatch, that is. They sent in their own harsh comments on Leonard's draft report last Wednesday, September 17. "There is nothing in this report regarding police use of force, the increasing militarization and apparent over-use of Tasers, police relations with peaceful protests, or even the revamped use-of-force policy," Copwatch's Dan Handelman and Regina Hannon wrote via email. "The absence of this final item came as quite a surprise as many of the other talking points of the Portland Police Association (low morale, low staffing, discontent with management) are covered in the report."
Handelman and Hannon wrote that they agree "with many of the points raised in Mayor Potter's response," and suggested that Leonard's final report include "more research and data."