It has taken a while for the guns to be drawn, the knives to come out, or what ever other nasty metaphor one can muster about John Ludlow and his not-so-jolly band of Clackamas County Commissioners. First, Commissioner Martha Schrader endorsed two colleagues seeking re-election, Jim Bernard and Paul Savas. This upset Ludlow as he thought there was an agreement that no one would endorse until after the official Voters Pamphlet deadline passed. Martha jumped the gun. She apologized, saying the board is working well, let’s stick with this team. Not so! thundered Ludlow in response last week. He proceeded to accuse Bernard and Savas of failing to follow the new Ludlow-driven plan for the county. Ludlow is convinced they’re wholly out of touch with the voters.
But recent political history is somewhat more revealing. Ludlow hand-picked a challenger for Martha in her 2012 election, tea party colleague Jim Knapp. Martha beat him. Then Knapp lost his Oak Lodge water board seat of 18 years to a newcomer. (At this point Knapp is not looking for a third loss.) Ludlow two years later hand picked Lake Oswego city councilor Karen Bowerman to challenge Savas, and Steve Bates, of the Boring community planning organization, to run against Bernard. Now all the cards are on the table, and they’re face up.
Ludlow is acting as if a huge indignity has been imposed upon His Royal Highness. So he’s on his favorite route, the low road. Our citizenry will suffer; it will be a miracle if anything can be accomplished by this testy board between now and the primary. Or longer, depending on the May 20 outcome.
Is it war or a three-ring circus? Is it typical palace intrigue or simply foolish badmouthing? Is it cheap politics at its worst? In our view, Leader Ludlow’s lashing is little more than self-serving demagoguery. Read these reports and you can decide for yourself: