Consult Hardesty has a demonstrable ability to draft legislative language.
Benefiting from Principal Partner Jo Ann Hardesty‘s terms on Oregon’s House Judiciary Committee, Consult Hardesty has recently taken a run at introducing state legislation, based on thorough and long-term understanding of the choke points where justice is set aside in favor of governmental self-exoneration. The work is described here and here.
City Commissioner Amanda Fritz added Jo Ann Hardesty to Portland’s 2011 Charter Review Commission. Resignations and poor attendance had hampered the work and Jo Ann is known as a civic partner who sustains long-term commitment. Public participation increased dramatically. Jo Ann, knowing the value of broadcasting from her term as President of Portland Community Media, advocated – successfully – for public television to document and broadcast proceedings far removed from City Hall. (See 3:00 here.) Unfortunately, the city’s constitution was not amended. Staffing was cut when Occupy Portland, having experienced police abuse, relied on the Commission to bring police accountability to the founding document. In the end, political appointees would not provide the quorum necessary to pass ballot measures to voters.
Mayor Vera Katz appointed Jo Ann Hardesty (then Bowman) to represent the African American Police Advisory Council in the City of Portland’s Police Internal Investigations Auditing Committee (PIIAC) work group in 2000. This examination of Portland’s police oversight system recommended to the Mayor that PIIAC be substantially expanded; giving it additional powers including the authority to conduct independent investigations, compel testimony, make final findings as to the merits of a complaint, and review Internal Affairs’ investigations of police shootings and deaths in custody. The Mayor declined to adopt the Majority Report, opting to ask the City Auditor to develop a temporary accountability system. He came up with the City’s Independent Police Review Division at the end of 2000. The U.S. Department of Justice termed it a ‘self-defeating accountability system’ in 2011.
In 2009, what would become Consult Hardesty participated in an Oregon Action campaign (Jo Ann was at the time Executive Director of that organization) for the development and adoption of a Police Plan to Address Racial Profiling, adopted by Portland City Council in August of that year. The plan’s author, Chief Rosie Sizer, was fired soon after and the detailed recommendations were never implemented.
To Jo Ann’s former co-host (at her long-running radio program, Voices From the Edge), Dave Mazza, should go the honor of Chief Petitioner. However Jo Ann Hardesty, is recognized as an inspiration and driving force behind Police Accountability Campaign 2000 (PAC-2000). This ballot initiative sought to put the formation of a civilian-led police review board before Portland voters.
After a substantial investment in coalition-building, through multiple community convenings, Portland’s Auditor ruled an error rate in petition signatures too high for the public to consider the merit of this cogent response to a pattern of police self-exoneration. Rising public sentiment and continued police misconduct set the stage for the PIAAC workgroup (above) to seek remedy for these issues.