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.Continue reading