We find example after example of our elected officials making rules that they want us to live by, but don’t think should apply to them. Remember in 2014, when Senator Diane Feinstein, who has no problem with intelligence agencies scooping up our data, got furious when the CIA did the same to her?
Glenn Greenwald of the Intercept recently unearthed another great example, this one from Portland in 2002. There, local officials, including the mayor, district attorney, and chief of police were all strong advocates of being able to search peoples’ garbage – there was no right to privacy, they said, once people discarded materials and put them on the curb.
If the chief got overheated, the mayor went nuclear. When we confessed that we had swiped her recycling, she summoned us to her chambers.
“She wants you to bring the trash–and bring the name of your attorney,” said her press secretary, Sarah Bott.
Actually, we couldn’t snatch Katz’s garbage, because she keeps it right next to her house, well away from the sidewalk. To avoid trespassing, we had to settle for a bin of recycling left out front.
The day after our summons, Wednesday, Dec. 18, we trudged down to City Hall, stack of newsprint in hand. A gaggle of TV and radio reporters were waiting to greet us, tipped off by high-octane KXL motor-mouth Lars Larson.
We filed into the mayor’s private conference room. The atmosphere, chilly to begin with, turned arctic when the mayor marched in. She speared us each with a wounded glare, then hoisted the bin of newspaper and stalked out of the room–all without uttering a word.
A few moments later, her office issued a prepared statement. “I consider Willamette Week’s actions in this matter to be potentially illegal and absolutely unscrupulous and reprehensible,” it read. “I will consider all my legal options in response to their actions.”
It’s worth reading the whole tale, and remembering that our elected officials don’t sit above us – they serve us. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.