Midday Scan Tuesday: A city with police troubles? Portland

Oh, were you thinking Seattle? Snohomish County might build another dam, of the mini variety. Dave Reichert faces some surprising poll numbers.
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Rep. Dave Reichert (R-8th)

Oh, were you thinking Seattle? Snohomish County might build another dam, of the mini variety. Dave Reichert faces some surprising poll numbers.

High turnover of senior officers. Heel-dragging investigations of police misconduct. Unpredictable discipline of wrongdoers. Yes, the Portland Police Department is saddled with issues (minus the cloud of a U.S. Department of Justice review a la Seattle.) As the Oregonian's Maxine Bernstein writes, a city audit reveals that the department, like the Rose City's halcyon lifestyle, favors all-things-unhurried. 

"City auditors have pointed out for years the bureau's inability to intervene early with officers having problems in the field, or who are the source of many citizen complaints. In a 1993 audit, the city auditor's office urged the bureau to install a computerized-Employee Intervention System to help flag officers needing attention. Design of the computer system began in 2005, but it didn't start operating until December 2011," Bernstein writes. 

Dave Reichert, the sensible-center Republican (at least when it comes to conservation) with matinee-idol good looks, may have a competitive race in his re-drawn 8th Congressional district. Is a horse race even conceivable in a significantly more conservative district? Can squishy Reichert numbers be reduced to the volume of independents or Reichert's low-name recognition? Democratic challenger Karen Porterfield hopes the answer is variegated (and, ideally, points to a Democratic friendly district in a libertarian kind of way.) 

As the Seattle Weekly's Matt Driscoll writes, "The poll, which was conducted Jan. 29-31 earlier this year and surveyed 400 people in the 8th Congressional District, revealed some startling results. Most importantly, says Porterfield political consultant Tom Hujar, the 8th is a district full of independents not sold on Reichert as a Congressman. In a standard question with polls of this type, voters were asked whether Reichert should be reelected or replaced — with 43.8 percent responding Reichert should be replaced and only 33.5 percent responding that the sitting Congressman deserved to be reelected."  

The New Deal era of Bonneville mega dams is ancient history. What then of mini-dams (very mini-me versions of Grand Coulee)? If the Snohomish County PUD hopes to succeed with its mini-dam proposal, it may want to commission Dave Matthews to write a "Roll on Skykomish, Roll on" anthem (as well as hire a slew of p.r. mavens.) For now, the trial balloon of a dam near Sunset Falls needs to be gussied up.  

As The Herald's Bill Sheets writes, "Unlike the PUD's recent small hydropower project on Youngs Creek near Sultan, the possibility of a dam at Sunset Falls has drawn opposition from several environmental organizations, along with some of the people who live near the falls. Officials with the PUD stress they're only studying the possibility and have not decided to build. The utility in March received a federal permit, good for three years, to examine the project."   

There are only so many ways to apply lipstick to a goat (Midday Scan has tried it a few times, so he speaks from experience.) The state lottery is a goat of sorts, a sinkhole of diminishing returns, both moral and financial. The News Tribune's Peter Callaghan writes, "Back in 1982 when it was created, the lottery was a small part of that year’s response to the recession. It continues to raise a little cash for the government – about $124 million a year for a state that spends about $15 billion. As at the start, most people play because they want to win money. Most don’t win, of course, but unless they become addicted it is a mostly harmless diversion. So why isn’t that good enough? Why must politicians continue to try to turn a vice into a virtue?"  

Lastly, is it a mortal or a venial sin not to like the Girl Scouts? It's likely one or the other, something clearly lost on the Catholic bishops. As the Seattle Times' Nicole Brodeur writes, "The nation's cutest cookie pushers are the subject of an 'official inquiry' by the bishops' Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, according to National Public Radio.The bishops are suspicious of some of the scouts' program materials, and relationships with groups that conflict with church teaching. (The Girl Scouts are a secular group, but many troops are church-based.)" Yep, mortal.  

Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2012/05/15/2145079/turning-a-vice-into-a-…
Link Summary


Oregonian"Portland city audit shows police bureau still years behind"

Seattle Weekly, "Poll shows 8th district not as safe for Reichert as thought"

The Herald, "Dam fight grows; Skykomish on list of at-risk rivers" 

The News Tribune, "Turning a vice into a virtue hasn't helped the lottery"

Seattle Times, "Catholic bishops' newest target: Girl Scouts of America"



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About the Authors & Contributors

Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson is the former editorial-page editor of the Everett Herald. Follow him on Twitter @phardinjackson