Tag Archives: Clackamas County Commission

Tootie’s outright Trumpish lies and deceit are beyond shameful

By Peter Toll

Consider your national political party leader got elected and sustains his power through all-out lying, intimidating and being an ignorant bully. If you’re running for office as a loyal supporter of Donald Trump, why not follow his example? Hey, it’s a squalid but proven model.  

That requires lying, cheating, making stuff up, attacking peoples’ basic sense of decency and blaming others for your own failings, all the while playing to a gullible electorate who thinks you’re draining the swamp, when in fact, you’re doing exactly the opposite.

Enter Tootie Smith. Yes, the same person who lost her election four years ago to a newcomer to county politics. She tried to get re-elected Clackamas County Commissioner in 2016, and this brand-new player, who had never been on an Oregon ballot, thumped her and sent her packing.  

What has Tootie been doing since then? She spent more than $3,000 from her political action committee for personal use. That’s flat out illegal.  Creating a slush fund to enhance your personal situation is bad enough, but she was already out of office when she did it!

Fully documented charges have been included in a complaint filed with the Secretary of State by a Happy Valley election integrity expert. The complaint factually accuses Tootie of breaking the law at least five times as she tried to remake herself into a motivational speaker.  

That’s when she wasn’t cooking up the phony “Timber Unity” group staging clumsy log truck demonstrations in Salem. It’s difficult to determine which behavior was worse: abusing log truck drivers or condemning future generations to poverty by doubling or tripling the cost of climate change mitigation by preventing action today. Tootie’s stock in trade has always been based on misleading charges and emotions. It’s about her, not them.

Now she’s running against Jim Bernard, the County Chair. She wants his job and has launched a savage, lie-ridden mail and television campaign. If Bernard weren’t a public figure, he could haul her to court for all the slanderous and untrue allegations.

Here’s a typical example. In a recent mailer she charged that Bernard’s wife, Danielle Cowan, got her job as a department head with the county because Bernard pulled strings. Impossible, says Cowan, citing truthful facts: Cowan was hired in January, 2008, when Bernard was Mayor of Milwaukie. Pulling county strings as a mayor? No way. In fact, he didn’t get elected to the commission until November, fully 10 months after Tootie says he swung a job her way. 

Tootie’s bald-faced lies don’t stop there. She accuses Bernard of making the county pay the bulk of his legal bills to defend himself in an action where no charges were levied. Totally false. In fact, Bernard paid the entire $25,000 legal fee with his own money. No fines, no charges, although he did receive a “letter of education” regarding paperwork requirements.

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Around the County

 By Peter Toll

 Stay-At-Home Voters Avoid Long Voting Lines

Clackamas County residents and other Oregonians are scratching their heads watching televised voters in Wisconsin standing in blocks-long lines to vote.  Milwaukee County could muster only five polling places to serve 600,000 registered voters.  

Oregonians look to our 20-year history of total vote-by-mail and have to wonder:  Why do people put up with such absurd situations around something as important as voting?  

How could this occur in Milwaukee?  The convoluted answer involves a Republican legislature, a Democratic governor and the chance to elect a GOP member to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Bottom-line impact makes typical civics students just shake their heads in wonder.

Meanwhile, being a stay-at-home in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic is giving the term a whole new positive meaning. But that’s another story.

Let’s look at some reports from around our county:

County Commissioner Ken Humberston is doing yeoman’s duty keeping everyone abreast of Clackamas County’s COVID-19 information. To date, the county has more than 100 people that have tested positive, and, we unfortunately already have seen three fatalities here. Ken has been vigilant in emailing official posts once or twice a day, with most posted on his Facebook page. 

County Chair Jim Bernard is coordinating frequent in-county virtual briefings and “Learning Sessions” via YouTube.  People actually do want to know what’s happening in the face of the pandemic, and we can thank Jim for adapting to the situation and keeping us informed.  Check the special section on the Clackamas County website for links to videos and coronavirus updates.

We can be grateful to our legislators, notably Sen. Jeff Merkley, for also providing timely contact information.  State Representatives Rachel Prusak, of West Linn, and Courtney Neron, of Wilsonville, are particularly adept and helpful with virus-related contacts and news.

Our Clackamas Democratic Chair, Peter Nordbye, of Brightwood, is conducting monthly Executive Committee meetings on Zoom as face-to-face, close-up and personal gatherings don’t apply right now.  

Speaking of Zoom, we’re all still getting used to it.  And crazy stuff can occur, as a young Lake Grove couple learned the hard way. The woman was involved in a Zoom business meeting when it was suddenly interrupted by her husband shrieking in the background:

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Clackamas Wins 2nd Fed Grant to Fight Homelessness

Congratulations to Clackamas County commissioners and their Housing Authority staff for securing a $482,000 federal grant to help young people aging out of foster care.  This is the second grant (combined over $2.5 million) in five months.

The latest grant is designed to help young people avoid homelessness as they transition from foster homes to living on their own, according to Commissioner Ken Humberston.

Clackamas was one of just four recipients and the only one in Oregon, according to federal officials.  Last September the county was competitively awarded $1,776,632 in a HUD Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program grant to develop and support programs that address youth homelessness, including rapid rehousing, permanent supportive housing, transitional housing, and host homes. 
The latest grant will complement efforts by offering housing vouchers to the Clackamas Authority to prevent or end homelessness among young adults under the age of 25 who are, or have recently left, the foster care system without a home to go to. 

The program requires communities to provide supportive services for the length of assistance to help youths achieve self-sufficiency. These activities center around basic life skills, landlord outreach and job preparation. Additionally, they will receive educational and career counseling, as well as counseling on program and lease compliance. These supportive services are critical given that the assistance is time limited, Humberston added.

Key Role for Voters in May Primary

This year’s May 15 primary is shaping up to be very interesting in Clackamas County. Looking at some key races where voters will decide the standard bearer:

House District 18 has eight precincts in southern Clackamas County and a spanking new Republican appointee in the seat. Rick Lewis, former Silverton police chief and later mayor, is challenged by Democrats Doug Culver and Barry Shapiro, both of Silverton. Lewis is seen as lackluster. Possible upset.

HD26 has four precincts in Wilsonville, and that’s where Democrat Ryan Spiker lives. Incumbent Republican Richard Vial, a first-termer, has a GOP primary challenger, too, in the district that stretches north to King City and west to Hillsboro. Registration changes have made 26 a Democratic district now, but Spiker has work to do. Continue reading