By Ed Piper
Many Portlanders are justifiably incensed by the direction in which Attorney General Jeff Sessions has steered the Justice Department since taking office. There is, however, at least one major issue on which the Justice Department and Portland’s city government see eye-to-eye.
As the New York Times reported last week , the Justice Department has launched a criminal inquiry into Uber’s "Greyball" technology, through which the ride-sharing giant frustrated Portland city officials who created and used fake Uber accounts in an effort to build a regulatory case against the company. Through Greyball, Uber identified the fake accounts and displayed decoy "ghost cars" whenever a phony user attempted to hail a ride. Portland supports and is cooperating with the Justice Department’s inquiry.
Mayor Ted Wheeler believes Portland is in the right, but he couldn’t be more wrong.
Wheeler has declared that Greyball "thwart[ed] the city’s job to protect the public." Protect the public? That justification — some would say "pretext" — is eerily but uncoincidentally reminiscent of the Justice Department’s stated reasons for other dubious federal initiatives against which Portlanders have rightly rebelled. After all, President Trump and Sessions have defended their administration’s Muslim travel ban and stepped-up immigration enforcement […]