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by: KON LOCAL 6 - No surprise which local story has generated the most national attention.Guess which local story is getting the most national attention: the Oregon Department of Justice’s report on former Multnomah Commissioner Jeff Cogen or the Corbett Middle School football team’s party at Hooters?

It’s no contest, of course. Although both stories have been well-covered locally, repeated Internet searches have turned up no stories on the Cogen report posted on any website outside the Portland area. In sharp contrast, the Hooters party made websites operated by national news organizations and standalone websites devoted to news and entertainment. Many featured photos of the waitresses and young players at Saturday’s party.

Even the accusations in the report that Cogen is a secret Deadhead who uses marijuana, cocaine and Ecstasy did not stir up national interest. Maybe all the out-of-town reporters and writers thought it was just a plot development in a new episode of “Portlandia.”

Hales: Water ‘terrorists’ in our midst

The rhetoric is heating up around the proposed water and sewer ballot measure. Mayor Charlie Hales has called the plan to move control of the water and sewer agencies from the City Council to an elected board “political terrorism.” Co-chief petitioners Kent Craford and Floy Jones held a news conference last week to say the big water users who are funding most of the petition drive actually are customers who pay the city a lot of money every year.

Craford and Jones also said the petition drive was going well, despite the opposition from City Hall and a number of local environmentalists. They said half of the required 30,000 voter signatures already have been collected, and predicted they eventually will turn in more than 50,000 signatures by the Jan. 21 deadline to place the measure on next year’s primary election ballot.

Transit measure creates two tracks

In a potentially encouraging sign for supporters of the Southwest Corridor Plan, Tigard voters overwhelmingly approved a City Charter amendment to sell urban renewal bonds at the Nov. 5 special election. The amendment was opposed by some of the activists who have placed a measure to stop the high-capacity transit line on the March 11 special election ballot.

Corridor plan supporters still have their work cut out for them, however. The urban renewal amendment, which basically was a housekeeping measure, did not receive a lot of attention before the election. In contrast, the possible transit line through Tigard already has stirred up a lot of public interest. Opponents collected more than 4,122 valid voter signatures to place it on the ballot.

The measure requires the city to oppose any new light rail or bus rapid-transit line through town, and it would require a public vote on any comprehensive plan or land-use regulation change to accommodate it. The corridor plan envisions a new high-capacity transit line from downtown Portland to Tualatin. Planning is being overseen by Metro, the elected regional government.

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