I am very proud of Portland for being the only jurisdiction in the country to conduct an open, public, thorough review and debate on the merits of joining or not joining the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).
Debbie Aiona wrote on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Portland today:
"Some discussion has focused on why Portland has engaged in repeated public debate of the city’s participation in the JTTF. In our view, it is due to the fact that the Portland City Council is responsible for both legislative and administrative functions and city contracts appear on the weekly council agendas. This provides a level of transparency not available in other communities. FBI General Counsel Valerie Caproni said she was hoping for sunshine when she came to Portland. We can’t always count on sunny days here, but as a community we do value the sunshine that comes from a city government and police force that is open and accountable."
I hope it doesn't snow on Thursday. If it does, watch Cable Channel 30 or streaming video on line, if you can't make it to City Hall, so you can follow the debate and decisions. Send Council your personal messages by email or phone tomorrow, Wednesday, to give us time to consider your thoughtful advice before the public hearing on Thursday, February 24 at 2 p.m March 10 (updated 2/24: rescheduled to give more time for consideration of options) Please note that it's most helpful to give your own thoughts in your own words, even if it's just a single sentence with a reason for your request, rather than forwarding a prepared message from an organization, or simply urging me to vote Yes or No.
Some might say that making public policy is like making sausages - sometimes it might be preferable not to know what goes into the final product. And certainly, there can be some drawbacks to the Commission form of government, dependent on who is elected and how each Commissioner chooses to conduct the public's business. I believe this review process in 2011, involving everyday citizens and national experts and everyone in between, in discussing the Joint Terrorism Task Force, has showcased the merits of the Commission form of government. It has brought us closer together as a community. Council members and citizens alike have listened to different viewpoints, and come to understand more about what others value and fear.
I am grateful to Mayor Adams and all participants for engaging in this debate. Regardless of the final outcome, I believe the discussion itself has made Portland safer.