It’s now a three-way race as County Commissioner Jim Bernard has announced he will run against fellow Commissioner Paul Savas for the County Chair’s seat held by controversial Republican John Ludlow. Ludlow has not indicated he will seek re-election next year.
Both Bernard, a Democrat and former mayor of Milwaukie, and Savas, a Republican, will retain their seats on the county board if they lose in the May or November elections.
The first battle will be in seeing which two can survive the three-way primary next May.
In either case (except for Ludlow), the loser will retain their board seat as they are in the middle of a four-year term. If one wins at least 50 percent plus one, an unlikely prospect, the winner will survive and not face a general election. Continue reading →
Primary election results show a wonderful sweep for Clackamas County Democrats. Incumbent County Commissioners Democrat Jim Bernard and moderate Republican Paul Savas held off well-funded attacks from Steve Bates and Karen Bowerman, respectively. Voters are now accustomed to the offensive and inaccurate mailers and billboards put out by right wing PACs and their timber baron and sex therapist funders.
What remains to be seen is if County Chair John Ludlow, who had a direct hand in recruiting and publicly endorsing the losers, will find a way to work with a variety of perspectives, or will he continue to try to bully all the commissioners into his way of seeing things?
The Portland area has many political groups. Some have more impact than others. In this case, the Portland-based “Onward Oregon,” an excellent progressive group with a long history, has joined us in supporting the return of Jim Bernard and Paul Savas to the Clackamas County Commission. Their viewpoint looks at our county from above the political trenches, in this case, instead of from in them. The piece below is well-written and to the point in why Bernard and Savas ought to stay as our county commissioners. Continue reading →
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. Continue reading →
It’s getting close to crunch time as ballots go in the mail May 1. We have three important Clackamas County races in the May 20 primary. Two county commissioners are being challenged by fringe right-wing types, and the incompetent county clerk has four challengers. Incumbent moderates Jim Bernard and Paul Savas are facing the John Ludlow-recruited Steve Bates and Karen Bowerman.
Bernard and Savas know that their opponents will get a big bag of money tossed over the transom any day now. Already, the Oregon Transformation Project, the same less than ethical operatives who put Ludlow and Tootie Smith in office in 2012, have supplied $9,000 for the ugly “Get Rid of the BS” billboards on busy Highway 205 in Gladstone. You can guess what the B and S stand for.
What happens when these four candidates get together in one room? The Clackamas Review’s Raymond Rendleman, a rising journalistic star whom the paper probably can’t keep very long, has an excellent report on the confrontation. Check it out.
John Ludlow is in a pickle. He became an authority figure by fighting authority over so-called misuse of taxpayer dollars; now the shoe’s on the other foot. He is the authority figure fighting another authority. In this case, the chair of the Clackamas County Commission disagrees with an arbitrator hired to look into the questionable dealings of a county waterworks big shot. We carried that tidbit a couple of weeks ago, wondering why Ludlow hadn’t been vocal in calling for an independent investigation. There is an internal county-run investigation in hand, presumably to limit damage control.
Ludlow’s recent offhand response to the issue was a less than delicate way of defending Michael Kuenzi, who is still on the county payroll; he is on administrative leave and not working. Hence another Ludlow dilemma. Is he going to put his weight behind an independent investigation? Apparently not.
Fellow Commissioner Paul Savas, however, has asked that the county hire an auditor to start a probe, clean this mess up. Ludlow’s response? We’re still waiting. Is Ludlow standing up for an employee or protecting our tax dollars? But wait. Has anyone used the word “integrity” in this affair?
It is also worth mentioning that bullies never like to be told what to do. Especially if they’re authority figures.