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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Talk is cheap

The latest round of gang shootings in Portland is really dismaying. This time six high school kids were wounded, after a Jefferson High football game. Fortunately, it appears that no one's going to die from the Friday night incident. But of course, these kinds of beefs tend not to go away quickly, and so surely more bullets will be fired in retaliation.

So what is the city doing? Increasing patrols in the gang territories. Oh, and of course, speechifying. Along with his usual "somebody rat out the killers" plea, the mayor offers this:

Portland Mayor Sam Adams said the shooting was part of an ongoing problem with "grudge matches" between African American gangs in the city.

"This is horrible," he said. "This is tragic. We've had too many African American teenage Portlanders murdered in this city, and we are doing everything we can to stop it."

If only that were true. Maybe -- maybe -- the city is doing everything it can under the current budget. But the budget is part of the problem. The gang scene in Portland has spiraled so far out of control that making a dent in it would be expensive. And the current city council just doesn't make public safety enough of a spending priority.

To them, it's all about streetcars and bioswales and composting and bicycle sharing and playing Sim City. The nitty gritty of saving poor kids' lives just isn't big enough on anybody's radar screen at City Hall.

Comments (24)

For a start Portland area businesses can begin using E-Verify so as to determine if job applicants are using their own or legitimate Social Security Numbers.

This will give all of our young people at least a chance of gaining employment rather than just hanging out on street corners.

Wanna bet if that if the situation were of a different color it'd be a bigger priority on the budget?

But how does the construction mafia gain by increasing the budget for public safety?

I'm sure somebody can come up with a way to make a profit out of all this.

The real, long-term answers and investments should be made in prevention, not punishment. More policemen on the street arresting more young men is only a reaction to a problem. Let's put more money into the front end.

We had an Office of Youth Gang Violence Prevention that has been pretty much wiped out by this administration. Thousands of Portland's children and youth have told us what they need from us to reach their full potential, but this advice has fallen on deaf ears.

This administration doesn't get the importance of relationships and community partnerships in addressing problems of youth violence.

We can never hire enough police officers or build enough prison cells to end anger and hopelessness.

We need bigger thinking and real support in helping our children and youth to become their best selves.

Sam cares about the voting block that put him in power - unfortunately for residents of NoPo/inner NEP, that constituency is mostly white "progressives" who want mass transit and bike malls. People in these areas need to worry about cleaning their own block (think Tony Hopson/SEI), because the administration in this city won't care unless a young creative biking back home from a soccer match gets caught in the crossfire.

Sorry but that is exactly what has led to the devaluing of public safety in exchange for social programs and the perpetual fiscal crisis & preternse of never enough money to make them "work".

There is no mystery to law enforcement.

If the City of Portland were not led by a bunch of loons and public safety were the number one priority this level of crime problem would not exist.

There are many proven law enforcement methods to address this crime problem. And it isn't at the expense of schools or the "front end" or mean waiting until the anger and hopelessness has them shooting each other.

It's your narrow view of law enforcement as being merely arrest and incarceration that has you mistakenly believing there is no remedy in more law enforcement.

There is.

I teamed up with another Jeff grad last night and sat at the west end of the Failing street overpass until about 3:20. Chatted with quiet a range of people. NEPguy, I am working to clean up my own area. I'll be glad to let you know when we will be out again so you can join us. Unless of course you live in the part of NE that doesn't have crime.

Bullseye, Jack!

Hey Nick Fish: wtf?

At least we don't have strict gun laws that woukd force these thugs to do their mayhem with rocks and knives.

My "narrow definition of law enforcement" isn't narrow at all. The Office of Youth Gang Violence Prevention worked hand-in-hand with the PPB. The Multnomah Youth Commission and their work with Our Bill of Rights: Children + Youth included support for and partnership with programs in the PPB that helped police officers advocate for healthy children and youth.

Your use of the term "law enforcement," however, is a narrow term that limits the work of police to enforcing the law, rather than working with the community to help them solve their problems.

I will say it again. More police on the street arresting young men will not lead us to safe streets or youth who achieve their goals. It will take a multi-pronged approach.

Not a lot of hope when unemployment among young Blacks is 46.5 percent (per the August jobs report).

Mr. Grumpy, I'd take that bet. It has nothing to do with the color of the participants/victims of the shootings and everything to do with the city government's fascination with vanity projects. Keeping the streets paved, the utilities operating efficiently, and the city clean and safe is BORING. It's hard work that people mostly don't notice. They take those things for granted (unfortunately). You can't brag to your peers at conferences about that sort of thing.

Big, shiny public projects like streetcars, bioswales the like, on the other hand, get lots of publicity and garner you lots of ego strokes from fans of such things (and from the folks who will make money off of them). You can brag to other mayors about your forward-looking credentials.

So, vanity + graft (whether legal or illegal) = a focus on all the wrong things.

African American neighbohood leaders have a loud and influencial voice at city hall. With respect to enforcement and prevention dollars available, they are likely getting a fair share of what the city has.

Mark makes a good point that if the priorities are misguided, then those available dollars get stretched pretty thin. In the end there is little money for prevention, if we are to afford the enforcement required.

Racism has some underlying tones here, but I think lack of available work for young black men in poor neighborhoods is the bigger issue. Prevention programs are integral, but too much money spent on social prevention programs rather than job creation is a proven failure.

Noticed that little rodent jumping out at me during a preview of my post. Where's my .22 :)

Totally agree. Adams is a fool and has no idea what he's doing.
Bicycles and "green" are trumping the lives of the citizens.
This mayor needs to stop making speeches when he hasn't a clue about what he's talking about.
Good riddance... His ultimate departure can't come soon enough.

Sam's speeches are like those given when running for student body president. Meaningless and just a slur of words.

"We need bigger thinking and real support in helping our children and youth to become their best selves."

For example? And if it's another agency, specifically what should it be doing?

Yeah, a new city bureaucracy called the Office of Equity will surely be so effective as to eliminate teenage gun play and social disorder. Not.

And surely a ban on guns will keep guns out of the hands of gang bangers. Not. (They probably can still get such weapons from the likes of the ATF.)

Too bad the city has decided to give developers almost $100 million/yr. That is money taken from social services, schools and police.

Sam: Why are you choosing streetcars and millionaire condos over people.


I think lack of available work for young black men in poor neighborhoods is the bigger issue

Shirley, you jest.

Who needs a farookin' job, when you cn be hangin' with the gang and dealin', fool? Dealin's where the money be at, but you gots ta be part of the unit to get a taste of that action, know what I'm sayin'?

Shi, fool - you gonna be flashin' gang signs from behind a counter at Mickie D's?

They just be laughin' at your sorry a$$.

Nice crips rendition Max, but you have been watching much too much TV.

Dealing drugs is only a small part anymore of gang life reality. Anger coupled with available weapons to get respect by committing violence is the 2011 alure.

There is no hope for some, but we have the cops to chase those guys down. For others looking to escape there has too be a way out. Jobs or education Max, there is no other path.

Actually, I almost never watch tv, Gibbsy.

I just know that: drugs and hoes are big business (in case you hadn't noticed, Portland's a magnet for both).

They aren't going to be working at Mickie's or Home D. Even if they could get hired, they wouldn't take the jobs. Education?

Education? They ain't interested it that.

It's boring. It's like a job.

Now, maybe ya'll know more about gang life reality than me. That's cool. Maybe I lived in inner northeast longer than you, when the bullets were flying even more often than they do now. It's comparatively calm, now - hey, you should've been over at Tillamook/Williams when the PoPo was tossing possums around.

Aww, you talk about some fun times for a white boy.

More problems in the foreseeable future, we need to cut
* $3.2 million to mental health crisis and adult services, would eliminate staffing for crisis call center and reduce emergency mental health services.
* $1.2 million in Oregon Health Plan funding for those seeking mental health services.
* $260,000 would reduce outpatient services for the severely mentally ill.
* $1 million to Sheriff's Office, would close the 59 jail beds and a program that lets some offenders serve jail time on weekends so they can keep their jobs.
* $2.8 million to the Dept. of Community Justice, would eliminate eight probation officer positions and the nation's second oldest drug court.
* $300,000 in aging and disability services for adult protective services.

But damn you voters are gonna get the east side streetcar, bike rentals, and cho-cho to Milwaukee, said Jeff Cogen.

It takes one gay man in Portland for Sam to immediately call out the full force and strength of the City of Portland to do something about it.

It takes six black kids to be murdered (not just beaten) for Sam to get off his lazy ass.

'Nuff said.

Not that I am promoting any sort of violence against gays (which I'm fully against) but there should be no distinction. Any attack on any human, REGARDLESS of the reason, age, gender, ethnicity, orientation...all of that is irrelevant. Attack a human, it's a crime. One middle-aged white guy attacking another middle-aged white guy is still a crime. Two teenagers beating themselves up is still a crime. One murder of a black kid was one murder too many. One gay being beat up is one attack too many.

Mayor Adams basically has made it clear that five black kids were expendable, but when we got to #6 then it was time to take action. That is not acceptable from our City Hall.

And to continue my usual transit awareness...maybe Sam ought to ride some of the inner city BUSES to see what real people think. You know, the guys who have to actually pay a fare each time they ride a sh***y 21 year old non-air conditioned TriMet bus, while downtown elitists get nice swanky Streetcars with shelters and art and NextBus displays.

Of course, he did try the bus once...and as quickly as he could, even Sam went back to driving himself to work. Hypocrite.


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