Tag Archives: Tootie Smith

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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Tootie’s Personal Slush Fund Draws Official Complaint

When the guy at the top sets an example of, “Hey, I got elected to make some money,” and that same person, Donald Trump, is compelled to return $1.5 million to charity after illegally steering it into his own pocket, we shouldn’t be surprised at his influence on other Republican officeholders.  

Specifically, former Clackamas County Commissioner Tootie Smith has broken Oregon law when it comes to using Political Action Committee (PAC) funds for personal use. She’s been using that money as a personal slush fund since leaving office in January, 2017, when she was beaten by Ken Humberston.

Such naughty shenanigans have been spotted by an alert Happy Valley person, Sherry Healy, who in February filed a formal complaint with the Oregon Secretary of State’s Elections Division. With documentation there are 48 pages of material.

Tootie Smith and John Ludlow celebrate their election victories in 2012.   Both lost re-election in 2016 and Smith is seeking office again, despite official complaints of running a “slush fund” with PAC money.

It went like this: Once a person is out of office it may be time to change their public persona. Tootie figured she would be a good motivational speaker. She wanted to get paid for talking to people.

In order to succeed she needed training and that costs money. So she turned to her PAC account. Oops. That’s against the law. PAC money is only for political use. The complaint cites several examples of how Tootie broke the law using PAC money:  

  • Paying a membership fee of $1,697 in January, 2017, to the National Speakers Association with campaign funds after leaving office.  
  • Paying $1,125 with PAC money for speaking, consulting and training after leaving office, with the stated goal of starting a new career, one apparently funded by campaign money. 
  • Paying $120 for website expenses with campaign funds after leaving office to advertise her professional speaking and consulting services.  
  • Using campaign funds to build a website linking to sales of her book. 
  • Using the PAC in 2019 for a $170 membership in the West Linn Chamber of Commerce to promote herself as an author, not as a candidate.

A key aspect of the law, ORS 260.407, specifically prohibits using PAC funds for any personal use other than to defray any expenses incurred in connection with the person’s duties as a holder of public office. Smith was neither in office nor a candidate when the most egregious activities occurred.

Today Smith wants to get back in office. She is challenging County Chair Jim Bernard in the May election. So last year she reinvigorated her PAC, which implies her candidacy will benefit from any proceeds.

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How to Buy Clackamas County Commissioners

tootlow-90000The going price is 90-thousand dollars.

The financial backers of Trump-Lite Clackamas County Commissioners John Ludlow and Tootie Smith have gone all-in.

Wealthy Portland real estate developers have increased the ante to $90,000. The recipients are Commission Chairman Ludlow and Commissioner Smith. The two have been the driving force behind plans to develop pristine farm and recreational land near Wilsonville. Continue reading

An Important Letter from Four Clackamas County Mayors


l-r: Mayors Axelrod (West Linn), Gamba (Milwaukie), Holladay (Oregon City), and Knapp (Wilsonville)

Voters of Clackamas County:

The last four years have been hard on Clackamas County. Working relationships with other area governments have suffered. Positive forward progress has largely stopped. Lawsuits, acrimony and conflict have flourished. County staff morale appears at an all time low. A citizen itemized $3.4 million of public money has been unnecessarily wasted by Clackamas County actions. Continue reading

County Commission Races Offer Serious Choices

By Peter Toll


Jim Bernard

ken portrait.small

Ken Humberston


Martha Schrader

Hardworking Clackamas County Democrats can share the credit for success in key local non-partisan primary election races as they gear up for the fall. Here’s a brief look at the results and some key campaign issues. Continue reading

Big Challenges in County Races

By Peter Toll



Leadership is on the line for Clackamas County as incumbent County Chair John Ludlow is under serious attack on three fronts, while two other county commissioners face their own election challenges.

Lackluster Ludlow, known more for bullying than any serious accomplishments in his more than three years in office, faces challenges by two mid-term colleagues on the commission. Jim Bernard and Paul Savas retain their seats if they lose this or the November election.

Also introducing himself into the anti-Ludlow candidates is the only non-commissioner, Oregon City Mayor Dan Holladay. He thinks all three of his opponents act like children and he’d be the adult who could step in and bring order out of the Ludlow-led chaos.

While this is officially a non-partisan race, Ludlow is a staunch Republican who was put into office in 2012 by the tea partiers under an anti-Metro, anti-Portland, anti-mass transit, and anti-tax banner. Ludlow has reflected their interest. He has alienated Metro to the point where Clackamas County is off the radar for Metro grants, usually helpful assistance on regional issues and cooperation. The county is at a low point in regional respect. Continue reading