Only a completely dysfunctional political movement would elevate someone like Jo Ann Hardesty to anything. Here’s a brief reminder of Portland’s greatest civic figure really is.
Hardesty is famous for three things: her calls for defunding the police, her calls to be made police commissioner, and her call to the police when she got into an argument with her Lyft driver because he wanted to keep the window open.
And then there was this.
“I believe Portland Police [Bureau] is lying about the damage—or starting the fires themselves—so that they have justification for attacking community members,” Hardesty said.
In a letter sent to City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty late Thursday afternoon, Mayor Ted Wheeler chided her for incendiary claims she made yesterday that Portland police embedded themselves among protesters and set fire to public property, effectively framing protesters for arson.
Last week, Hardesty took to Twitter demanding action regarding the police bureau and included a message for Mayor Ted Wheeler, who also serves as police commissioner.
“Mayor Wheeler, if you can’t control the police, give me the Portland Police Bureau,” she said.
When asked whether she thinks Mayor Ted Wheeler is qualified to lead Portland through this historic moment, the commissioner said, “You know, he is who he is. He is a privileged white man who grew up among wealth and privilege, and so I don’t know if he has what we need at this time. I can tell you I have what we need to fundamentally change how policing happens in Portland and would be fearless about changing it.”
While Hardesty advocates defunding the police, she hasn’t been funding her own credit card debt.
Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty is facing two lawsuits from Bank of America for not paying credit card debt totaling more than $16,000.
The lawsuits, which were filed in late November 2021, are for $4,707.18 and $11,344.36 in alleged nonpayment.
“When I ran for city council in 2018, like many working people I was reliant on a credit card and built-up debt,” Hardesty said in a statement on Tuesday. “I live alone, without help, and put all of myself into my work at the city. Sometimes that means I neglect to take care of personal matters. I tried to work out a payment plan before with this debt that didn’t work out and intend to pay this off.”
As commissioner, Hardesty approves the city’s budget, along with the rest of the council.
If only she had some highly paid government position that would enable her to cover her credit card bills.