Black City Council In Portland – Far Right Or Leftist

Protests over police killings has changed the political landscape in the United States. It is also evident in Portland, Oregon. Mingus Mapps, a black city councilman, has been elected in the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement. He has emerged as a key voice in nudging Portland to a more centrist and controversial position on police funding, sources report. But some believe he is a conservative cloaked as a centrist.

Mapps, a former political science professor and single dad who defeated a progressive diehard for his council seat, recently voted with the City Council for a $5 million back into the Police Bureau to bolster recruitment of officers, purchase body cameras and rehire recent retirees. “If you’re breaking windows downtown in order to somehow improve the lives of Black people, I can tell you as a Black person that doesn’t improve my life one bit,” Mapps said in a recent interview with The Associated Press. “You know, right now, my 12-year-old does not like to go downtown because he perceives it as unsafe,” he said. “As a parent and a political leader, as long as our kids feel unsafe, my work is undone.” However, the conservatives in Portland has always talked of downtown being unsafe. Before the protests and for years they used the police to target Blacks that ventured downtown.

Once voted in, Mapps voted against expanding a pilot program called “Portland Street Response” that dispatches unarmed mental health specialists, community health workers and paramedics to non-violent calls related to drug use and mental illness. This program received high praise around the country as a great move in the area of prevention. However, conservative want patrolling and militaristic policing. This has lead to the killings that has caused the protests. Dr. King would have been in the side of the protesters.

Mapps voted to use some of the city’s $62 million in unanticipated tax revenue for the prevention program while stepping up police recruitment. He has joined with Mayor Ted Wheeler, who plans to hire 300 new officers over three years. 

Councilwoman Jo Ann Hardesty, the first Black woman elected to the City Council and a champion of Portland Street Response, said the police budget is “bloated” and the city is far from resolving its Justice Department oversight. Hardesty is a well respected and true activist politician on the council.

Mapps, however, said, “reducing the debate to either being pro-police or pro-defunding is a “set of false choices.” I know that the people of color that I talked to… want the same thing their white neighbors want, which is just a public safety system that works and respects them and treats them fairly, regardless of the color of their skin.”

“That is the hope and expectation that I haven’t given up on, and if there’s any town in America that can get this right, I think we can.” Portland is respected for it approach to city planning a far left politics on a variety of issues.