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December 29, 2002

Coffee grounds... credit card statement... your sense of privacy...

Posted by Mike on December 29, 2002 12:03 AM

Local free weekly Willamette Week decided to visit some scrutiny on our mayor, police chief, and the Multnomah County District Attorney by going through their garbage and reporting what it found.

They didn't do it for the sheer hell of it... they were provoked by Portland Police, who went through a cop's garbage for an investigation. The cop in question argued that her garbage should enjoy as much privacy as her home, and a local judge agreed. Naturally the police chief made a lot of noise about how ridiculous that ruling was, and how "[once] trash is put's trash, and abandoned in terms of privacy."

At first blush, I was irritated with the "gotcha" tone of the whole piece, then I read the reactions of these folks to having their garbage pilfered... Chief Kroeker became upset that reporters had gone through "[his] personal garbage at [his] home," the mayor took a litigious tone. The DA seemed to think it was funny, which earned him some points.

Now that I've had more time to think about it, all I have to say is "good." There are, of course, worse privacy abusers afoot than our local cops, but Willamette Weekly did what it could to deprive our local abusers of their taste for unreasonable scrutiny.