Family & Friends,
I’m assembling my portfolio for the Rwandan government to receive a long-term visa. I found myself in the position of former president Richard Milhous “Watergate” Nixon claiming, “I am not a crook.” I need official evidence that I don’t have a police record. At the nearest police precinct, the sign said, “Our front desk is closed because of budget cuts.” I felt a tinge of guilt for voting down the last tax increase, but moved on to the next police station. Here I learned that I had to appear in person at the downtown Portland justice center. My GPS got me through the maze of one-way streets into a parking garage. I stood in the police line until I spoke through a microphone to a police officer behind a thick barrier. He checked the records, printed out a my police dossier and told me to wait until a notary public signed it.
I sat next to a door that was for police only. An officer came through the door looked at me like I was a suspect, but made no arrests. A second person came through the door with my official signed and notarized document that said, “You are not a crook.” She said, “Sorry for the wait, so we will waive the $5 fee.” I darted to the door before they changed their mind. My 30 minute foray ended at the parking garage where they said, “$5 for the 30 min.” I remembered the words of my beloved stepmother Alice, “highway robbery.” I was going to report them to the police, but instead took my $5 returned by the police to pay my way out of the parking prison. “I am not a crook.” If you don’t believe me, you can ask John Brooks, Captain, Records Division, Portland Bureau of Police.