February 5, 2014 | Portland Mercury-- Commissioner Steve Novick has thrown the first jabs in this year's brewing city budget fight—issuing a strongly worded memo to his colleagues, obtained by the Mercury, that calls for deep cuts to the traditionally untouchable Portland Police Bureau.
With city commissioners forced to haggle over nearly $6 million in new revenue for ongoing programs, and just $3.3 million for one-time projects, Novick's bold ask is a bid to scare up millions more for the three major bureaus he oversees: the Portland Bureau of Transportation, the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management, and the Portland Bureau of Emergency Communications.
He's proposed eating up more than half of that combined surplus, and with something of an apology.
"You will see that we are asking for what may seem like a lot of money," Novick wrote.
But with the council deciding last year to focus on emergency preparedness among other priorities, he says it's worth it.
Novick wants to furnish the city's still-unusable Westside emergency operations center, add more 911 dispatchers, and spend $1 million building pedestrian safety improvements in East Portland.
To help make up the difference, Novick suggests taking a red pen to the police bureau's $175 million budget. His wish list would include the end of the bureau's controversial mounted patrol, preserved last year at the 11th hour by Mayor Charlie Hales and community supporters.
"When the mounted patrol was restored in the last budget," Novick told the Mercury, "my joking comment was you need four horsemen for the apocalypse. But when the apocalypse comes in Portland, it will be in the form of a large READ FULL ARTICLE