Hey WW, where's the beef?

By Kevin Kamberg of Forest Grove, Oregon. Kevin describes himself as a "blogger, craftsman, and single parent, blue collar stiff." Previously, he contributed "Snow Day Rituals?"

Monday evening Willamette Week's website (aka WWire) published a piece written by Beth Slovic claiming that Jeff Merkley Submitted a Charter School Application in 2004. Wednesday she rehashed it as an editorial piece citing her own WWire piece for the street edition of Willamette Week. Let's examine the original WWire piece since the editorial doesn't offer anything new. Her first paragraph quickly reveals her angle,

As the Oregon Education Association prepares to make its crucial endorsement next week in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, WWire has learned candidate Jeff Merkley privately submitted an application in 2004 for his own child to enroll in a charter school.

As Slovic notes, the upcoming OEA endorsement is a crucial one for both Jeff Merkley and Steve Novick. And, being the award winning journalist that she is, she will obviously have solidly sourced such a stunning claim before making it, right?

News that Merkley, then the House Minority Leader, wanted to get his elementary-school-age son Jonathan into a charter school comes from Rob Kremer, a leading charter school supporter who saw Merkley’s application to the Arthur Academy, a Portland-based charter school that was to have opened in fall 2004 but was delayed until 2005. (Because of that delay, none of the original applications, including Merkley's, were processed, according to Kremer.)

Rob Kremer is an interesting guy! He is serial charter school founder, including the Arthur Academy (one of four such), on and off opponent of the OEA and all-around "Who's Who" in Oregon right-wing circles. A quick check with OpenSecrets.org reveals that he has only ever given money to Republicans. Among Kremer's creds are his conservative blog, where he confirms that he is Slovic's apparently sole source, being the founder of the Conservative Majority Project and Host of the right-wing talk radio show called Kremer & Abrams. All in all it seems pretty clear that Rob Kremer probably has a whole sack full of axes to grind when it comes to Jeff Merkley and just about every other progressive Democrat in Oregon. But that reality alone doesn't negate hard evidence or multi-sourced information.

I don't see anything in either of Beth Slovic's pieces about a second source supporting Rob Kremer's assertion. The closest thing to it is an assertion in the piece that Merkley's spokesman Matt Cantor "did not deny" the allegation. But of course the failure to deny doesn't constitute a "confirmation" by any stretch of the imagination. But down in the comments of the WWire piece she states, "Kremer told me something. I asked the Merkley campaign. His spokesman confirmed it. Funny how that works."

Yes, funny how that works. Except that nowhere in the piece does it say that Merkley's spokesman "confirmed" Kremer's allegation. Which leaves a series of unanswered questions. Such as: Why didn't Beth Slovic include a copy of the application in either of her stories? Why didn't she reference or even quote what it said on the alleged application? Does the alleged application even exist? If so, where is it? Has Slovic personally seen it? And where is her second source? Surely she didn't just take Rob Kremer's word for it!

What does Rob Kremer get out of this? Is he connected to the Gordon Smith campaign? I don't see anything overtly connecting Kremer directly to Smith.

But it is noteworthy that Oregon Republicans haven't ever attacked Senate candidate Steve Novick, but have repeatedly attacked Senate candidate Jeff Merkley.

It's particularly noteworthy in light of what Kremer said on his blog when Novick announced for the Senate race.

Comments

  • (Show?)

    I thought Blue Oregon's policy was that it had to be an original primary work to be a guest column. If I knew I could be a contributor and simply crosspost stuff from my own blog, I'd have signed up a while ago.

    Are you really questioning whether the Merkleys filed any paperwork with the school? Is that a denial? Or just obfuscation? If you want to debate whether the application to a charter school is meaningful, that's worth discussing. But Canter's already admitted they showed interest, did he not?

    This article, going up pretty late and in the wake of a positive Novick story, seems to lack its own beef IMO.

  • (Show?)

    Argh. Yes, that is our policy. Kevin didn't tell me he was going to cross-post over at PK.

    This post was submitted and published much earlier this evening, but I future-posted it for a few hours later explicitly so it wouldn't immediately stomp on the Novick post.

    I'll leave the discussion as to the content to others.

  • Blog Host (unverified)
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    I did a lot of research on this before I bought my WW. I found that invoice is around 30% with no dealer holdbacks or rebates like car manufacturers give. I doubt many are getting 30+% off WW's unless it was a old unit that has sat for a period of a long time. I found that 20% 25% is more of the good deal. The more higher priced WW's will get bigger discounts in relation to the lesser priced ww's. http://morewrite.com/

  • (Show?)

    It was an original primary work when submitted. I'd missed that requirement when I submitted it, though, and posted it to my blog several hours later. My bad! Nevertheless, the other version has been deleted, leaving this as the sole one in existance.

    Are you really questioning whether the Merkleys filed any paperwork with the school?

    The question is whether there is more than Rob Kremer's word for it that there was an alleged application filed. Beth Slovic claims that's what happened, but apparently single-sourced it with just Rob Kremer.

    But Canter's already admitted they showed interest, did he not?

    Expressing interest/curiosity is not the same thing as filing an application. If it were then I'd be the proud, but very broke, owner of a whole fleet of new cars that I've seen on car lots in just the last month.

  • TorridJoe, Have You No Shame? (unverified)
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    If Hillary Clinon's campaign rallied around a story like this about Sen. Obama, the blogosphere skies would open up and the righteous sword of whup ass would smite everyone from Ickes to Penn to Chelsea. Torrid Joe would be drawing blood like the Conan Barbarian (with whom he shares several traits). And yes, Torrid Joe is a "member" of the Novick campaign in every meaningful way. I pray the rest of the Novick crew doesn't follow suit.

    Here's some facts that I challenge either TJ or WW to dispute in this forum (or any other Novick supporter foolish enough to follow Torrid Joe's lead).

    Fact #1 -- The Merkley's son never attended a charter school.

    Fact #2 -- Many charter schools require you to fill out a brief form in order to get a tour, allow your child to spend a day there, etc.

    Fact #3 - To launch this story using one very tainted source about the possibility that the Merkleys briefly considered a charter school as an option for their flesh and blood is beyond the pale for even alternative newspapers. Most of the story is filled with teachers Slovic rounded up to give the requisite charter school quotes on the eve of the OEA endorsement convention.

    Fact #4 - WW has now twice engaged in unbelievably questionable and amateurish journalism to support their candidate, Steve Novick. I happen to love WW in-part because they are usually yellow in favor of my candidate (and I am voting for Novick in this race, but it's not an easy choice), but I am guessing Mr. Meeker and Mr. Zusman would not appreciate an objective analysis by a scholarly journalism review panel on either this story OR the Merkley landlord story which was bungled by everyone at WW from Zusman to Stern to the dupe of an intern they assigned the story.

    Fact #5 - Reporters following the Novick-Merkley race know that the initial and best sources for the hits against Merkley have come primarily from the Republicans. The initial calls about Merkley's vote on the House "support the troops" resolution were made by Smith-connected operatives. The landlord story was researched by Smith, not Novick. The charter school story came from Kremer. There is no Republican tracker assigned to Novick, but a full-time Smith tracker (not officially hired by him) assigned to shadow Merkley. No story has been written to date on why Smith is expending so much energy to ensure that Steve wins the primary. If Steve is truly the best candidate against Smith, why are they trying to help him?

    Fact #6 - Rob Kremer has held himself out as someone trustworthy enough to hold public office in the field of education. I can't think of an area where respecting confidentiality is more important than the field of education. To date, no one has written a story about this egregious violation of privacy by a very public person. (In addition, every parent and student at this charter school should ask if their privacy will be thrown under a bus if the school finds it useful at a later time.)

    Torrid Joe, you lose credibility when you embrace crap like this. It diminishes everything else you produce, and that is truly sad.

  • Dan E. (unverified)
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    Sooo...it's perfectly fine for WW to be shamelessly biased against republicans, but heaven forbid they make a choice in a democratic primary? Suddenly they have abandoned all journalistic integrity?

    I've read the WW ever since college...and that's been many moons ago. I wish they weren't so biased against my party, but hey, it's their paper, not mine. And I don't have to read it if it becomes too much of a burden for me. But I have ALWAYS respected their reporting. It's very well done, and they do their homework. So they made a choice - big deal. Maybe if your candidate was better, it would have been more difficult for them, or they would have waited. But don't blame the media for Merkley's clear-cut hipocricy.

  • Rose Wilde (unverified)
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    What's the big deal about being interested in a Charter School? Even though I agree that charter schools can be a threat to public education, most communities do have a population of students who will not succeed in the options provided by the mainstream schools and even the alternative schools available. Having a few, specialized charter schools in a medium sized town like Eugene, is a god send.

    I'll reveal my bias, however -- my mother is the director of Network Charter School in Eugene. I know she's a life long advocate for public education, and completely aware of the equity issues, but I'd say the entire community understands that the kids at NCS need this school to make it to graduation.

    So, maybe Merkley's got a kid with learning or social needs that weren't being met in his community school?

    It would be different if he sponsored legislation that allowed too much investment in charter schools, siphoning resources from the neighborhood and mainstream schools.

    No one in Eugene is upset about charter schools. Right now they're up in arms about the school choice policy for public alternative schools.

  • Admiral Naismith (unverified)
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    This article, going up pretty late and in the wake of a positive Novick story, seems to lack its own beef IMO.

    It's not as if this is a "negative Novick" story, or as if Novick or his campaign is responsible for Kremer's Republican dirty tricks.

    The fact is that Jeff and Steve are still two great candidates, either of whom would be a great replacement for the Lord of the Smith. I for one can't wait for the primary to end so that I know which of them to send my contributions to.

  • MCR (unverified)
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    Calm down...I think it's evident that Merkley did apply to the charter school. It's somewhat evident that WW has a bias toward Novick. It's rather clear that teachers unions hate charter schools, as do most advocates of a strong public school system. So, there you have it.

  • Admiral Naismith (unverified)
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    Sooo...it's perfectly fine for WW to be shamelessly biased against republicans, but heaven forbid they make a choice in a democratic primary? Suddenly they have abandoned all journalistic integrity?

    Making a choice is one thing. Nothing wrong with prefering Merkley for his legislative experience, or Novick for his outsider/reformer stance, for example. Writing unverified swiftboat pieces is another matter. It would be just as bad if they wrote stories falsely claiming that Smith was a Mormon with several wives or something.

  • (Show?)

    Until there is a second source revealed to clearly show that Kremer's statement is absolutely accurate this is a non-news column. Those familiar with Kremer's tactics (the OEA) will take the column and the source with a huge grain of salt.

  • (Show?)

    Paulie, given the timing (impending OEA endorsement meeting) and the fact that Beth Slovic apparently shopped this around with at least a few local teachers (members of OEA) as her editorial makes plain, I disagree that it's a non-news column. Slovic's pieces appear to be aimed at influencing the primary election by influencing a major endorsement, all while seemingly masquerading as an impartial journalist. We wouldn't tolerate that from FOX News. Why should we tolerate it from Willy Week?

  • Jack Sullivan (unverified)
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    This is a non-issue. He didn't send his kid to a charter school. He and his wife filled out a form. Big deal.

    Hillary Clinton sent her kid to a private school, and it didn't stop the NEA and AFT from endorsing her campaign.

    I'm sure that OEA will focus on what Novick and Merkley have done for Oregon's schools and Oregon's children - not a form that Jeff Merkley may have filled out.

  • (Show?)
    It's particularly noteworthy in light of what Kremer said on his blog when Novick announced for the Senate race.

    Is it? Kremer said that Novick didn't have a chance against Smith in the piece you reference, and he calls him a socialist.

    Are you trying to imply that the GOP is attacking Merkley through the GOP house organ Willamette Week in order to get Novick elected in the primary so Smith can crush him, ha, ha, ha, ha?

    Do you think Kremer has some sort of special prognostication skills that can determine the outcome of the elections?

    For all you know the GOP really is more scared of Novick and just hasn't told you and is hoping for a reaction along the lines of "WW and Novick are colluding with the GOP!!!!!"

    Of course, that would require a bit more subtlety than the GOP (or the Democrats) have really shown in recent years.

  • (Show?)

    Is this the same Beth Slovic who wrote the trenchant piece of investigative journalism that used Photoshop to experiement what Jeff Merkley would look like with a Jon Tester flattop?

    Honestly, the WW being what it is, it's not clear to me Novick gains anything by their biases for him. My guess is 90% of its readers grab it for the concert schedules and to laugh at its personals and escort service ads. Nothing to worry about.

  • (Show?)

    Interesting discussion. I just wrote a post on my blog responding to some points.

    For the record, I have no axe to grind with either Merkley or Novick, other than to oppose either of them in the general election.

    And as I say on my blog - Merkley is not necessarily being hypocritical by applying to enroll his kids in a charter school. If he now supports charters, there is no hypocrisy.

    Only if he still opposes them is it hypocritical. As far as I know, he hasn't answered that question, and until he does, I would have to assume his actions do his talking for him, and he supports charter schools as currently established in Oregon law.

    Now, is it newsworthy that the Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives, running for the U.S. Senate, a one-time opponent of charter schools, now supports them?

    I think Willamette Week think so.

  • JHL (unverified)
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    I gotta say... I don't really see a story here.

    Who says Merkley can't support a super-strong public education system while at the same time exploring the best opportunities for his own family?

    Isn't that kinda like saying, "Merkley supports OHP expansion... but has private health insurance!"

    If I support the USPS monopoly on first-class letter mail, am I a hypocrite if I FedEx a package? Can I support funding public transportation... and then own my own car?

    The Willamette Week has no sense of what does and what does not constitute "interesting." The fact that Rob Kremer convinced them to write this is laughable.

  • (Show?)

    Hey Rob, how about producing a copy of the alleged application? I notice in your post that you avoid that issue entirely. Surely that wouldn't be because it doesn't exist... right?

  • (Show?)

    JHL, I don't disagree. But here's the thing... massive pixels have been used up by progressives all across this nation complaining about Faux News' "journalistic ethics." Don't we become part of the problem rather than part of the solution if we turn a blind eye to apparently similar examples elsewhere? Maybe you've never complained about Faux News. But I have and many thousands of others have too. As progressives, I'd like to believe that our own ethical standards are higher than our counterparts on the Right. N'est pas? Or is Nader more or less right in his criticisms of both parties?

  • RuMo (unverified)
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    Isn't that kinda like saying, "Merkley supports OHP expansion... but has private health insurance!"

    No. This is a better analogy. "Merkley opposes OHP...but has filed an OHP application for his family."

  • Jack Murray (unverified)
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    Kevin, just to make sure we're on the same page here, JHL and paulie are agreeing with you when they say "I don't see a story here". They're referring to the WW story, not your post about the WW story.

    That being said, I think the story here is the continuing pusillanimity of the WW news team in throwing our liberal leaders under the bus. Why are they doing this? Because we've run out of conservatives to pick on, apparently.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    Yes, yes, whom to believe: The decades old Pulitzer Prize winning alternative weekly newspaper, or the guy who sits in his garage all day making those oh-so-soothing rain sticks.

    Like the rest of you, I'll be struggling with this choice for awhile.

  • Becky (unverified)
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    I know Rob Kremer personally (at least did until my falling out with Sizemore), and he always struck me as one of the good, honest guys on the right (I'm not aware of any unsavory "tactics" Rob has used in his skirmishes with the OEA - but I am aware of the sort of "tactics" that the OEA uses in its efforts, so I think we all need to recognize the realities of policy battles and separate smart strategizing from dishonest/dishonorable "tactics"). I really don't see Rob making something like this up. So it's probably true.

    Of course, that doesn't change the fact that it is shoddy journalism on the part of WW to publish as fact a story that has no second source or concrete evidence, particularly when it has demonstrated a bias that could explain its decision to set aside the rules that guide legitimate journalism. For a paper that seems to want to be viewed as a legitimate news source, WW's occasional tabloid approach does it no favors.

  • (Show?)

    Either "TJ Have You No Shame" is Kevin indulging in more sockpuppetry, or they simply regurgitate Kevin's arguments--but I'm a little confused. WHERE have I commented on this story at all, much less "embrace" it? I mean, WTF?

    I commented on the meta portion (why Kevin's contribution was accepted--and remains here, in violation of BlueO policy), and I commented on the concept that the Merkleys filing paperwork is in question...given that the campaign doesn't deny it:

    A spokesman for the Merkley campaign, Matt Canter, did not deny Merkley and his wife Mary Sorteberg submitted a charter school application on behalf of their son.
    Typically if the allegation is false, the first thing a campaign does is...deny it. Why would they refuse to do so here? In any case, I never said they filled out an application; I said they filed paperwork--which as was explained, could have taken other forms such as a request for a tour, etc.

    Talk about diverting the conversation! The MSM raises a point about Merkley in one of its stories which the campaign doesn't deny, a Merkley supporter abuses the privilege of using BlueO for a guest column (which BlueO ed staff approved despite there not being much of any relevancy within)--and suddenly it becomes torridjoe pushing a story against Merkley? Don't you think it's a little odd that of ALL the bad news coming out for him the last couple weeks, this story would be the ONE ITEM I didn't write about at LO?

    I've also never heard the argument before, that the GOP's ability to find lots of things to criticize Merkley on is a POSITIVE thing for Jeff. As for ignoring Novick, his primary opponent has tried the same strategy for much of the last six months...but seems to have given that up this week as well. Welcome to the primary, Jeff!

  • Urban Planning Overlord (unverified)
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    If neither Merkley nor Novick support charter schools, a reasonable response by those opposed to public school monopoly and mediocrity short of a voucher program, they've just chalked up another reason for me to vote for Gordon Smith in November.

    It's sad if we have to replace a Senator beholden to right-wing special interests with a Senator beholden to left-wing special interests.

  • (Show?)

    Yes, yes, whom to believe: The decades old Pulitzer Prize winning alternative weekly newspaper, or the guy who sits in his garage all day making those oh-so-soothing rain sticks.

    Nigel Jaquiss won a Pulitzer Prize. Beth Slovic has been a lousy journalist since well before this story was published.

    This whole story is just dumb. God forbid that Merkley should be a responsible father and look into all the options for the future success of his child.

  • (Show?)

    It's rather clear that teachers unions hate charter schools, as do most advocates of a strong public school system. So, there you have it.

    Teachers unions do not hate charter schools, that's just more right-wing nonsense. As long-time President of the national AFT, the late Al Shanker initiated the idea for charter schools in 1988 and set off a movement that has spread to 25 states. What AFT disagrees with is siphoning off scarce public school dollars for private charter schools set up basically to keep these schools non-union. It's a union-busting tactic pure and simple.

    Albert Shanker introduced the notion of charter schools to the nation in a speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Shanker saw the creation of charter schools as a boon to improved education for all students. These schools would be created by groups of teachers, or parents with teachers, who wanted to develop a new curriculum or teaching strategies to improve both instruction and student learning. The groups would petition the district for the opportunity to bring this about. The school board would grant authority to groups of teachers to carry out particular innovations for a limited period—three to five years—and the goals, objectives, and responsibilities of both the district and the teachers would be articulated in the charter. Program monitoring and evaluation would be core elements of the charter school program, and renewal of the charter would be dependent on the information developed through such evaluations. Over time, the successes of these charters would set in motion a "cycle of curriculum improvement and renewal" and would influence the manner in which educational services were delivered to all students in the district.

    If implemented properly, charter schools not only could increase parental choice, free teachers and administrators from bureaucratic red tape and encourage innovation, but they also could add value by increasing student achievement by at least as much as was expected in the traditional school setting. Since that 1988 speech, charter schools, albeit of a very different kind, have become a part of the education landscape, supported by state and federal legislation. Today, more than 2,100 schools, serving over 500,000 students, are operating in 37 states and the District of Columbia. In many instances, the original notion of teachers as innovators and education entrepreneurs to advance learning has been transformed into a rhetoric of reform by choice and competition—with improved student achievement taking a back seat to parental and student satisfaction.

    The only comprehensive report available to the public that uses the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) to compare student achievement in charter schools with achievement in other public schools. In that report, NAEP results are reported exactly as they would be in an official NAEP report, including all data qualifications used by NAEP regarding statistical significance and data reporting standards. In addition to the 2005 NAEP student achievement results, the report also includes 2003 NAEP findings. In one area, the 2003 results appear to differ from a recently released, federally funded study by Sarah and Chris Lubienski at the University of Illinois, which analyzed public, private and charter school student achievement using the 2003 NAEP math scores.1 For eighth-grade math in 2003, the study reports a five scale score point advantage for public schools, but it was not statistically significant. The Lubienski study found a 0.5 scale score point advantage for charter school eighth-graders over public school eighth-graders, which grew to a 2.4 scale score point advantage after controlling for demographics and location, although neither difference was statistically significant. Our results appear to differ because the Lubienski study weights each school equally and small charter schools scored higher; when the results are reported for students rather than schools, as we do, public schools have the same five-point advantage.

    Another analysis reported some findings identical to those in the study, but in a selective manner. The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, using the NAEP Data Explorer (the same data source used in the report), presented only a few comparisons between charter and other public schools.2 The conclusions they drew are not consistent with NAEP reporting standards. According to the Alliance: Fourth graders attending charter schools are making notable strides in math and particularly in reading. African-American, Latino, and low-income charter students registered larger reading gains than their fourth-grade peers in non-charter public schools. As the study shows, charter school students in 2005, on average, scored the same or lower in almost every comparison with public school students. Math scores for both charter and other public schools rose from 2003 to 2005 by approximately the same amount. In reading, the increase in average charter school scores between 2003 and 2005 was larger than the public school increase over the same period, but the average charter school score was lower than in other public schools. It is important to note that “gains” or “increases” do not refer to the progress of individual schools or students. One sample of schools and students in 2005 is compared to another sample of schools and students in 2003. Consequently, the statistical significance is crucial in determining real change. The change in charter school scores overall, for low-income students in math and for racial/ethnic groups in both subjects, are not statistically significant.3 The change in reading from 2003 to 2005 for low-income students is the only statistically significant change for charter schools.

  • (Show?)

    Teachers unions do not hate charter schools, that's just more right-wing nonsense. As long-time President of the national AFT, the late Al Shanker initiated the idea for charter schools in 1988 and set off a movement that has spread to 25 states. What AFT disagrees with is siphoning off scarce public school dollars for private charter schools set up basically to keep these schools non-union. It's a union-busting tactic pure and simple.

    Thank you, Mark! That is the crux here.

    Even if Merkley had sent his kid to a charter school or even a private parochial school like the ones I attended growing up, it would be utterly irrelevant to whether and to what degree he has supported both public school funding and public employee unions like the AFT.

  • joel (unverified)
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    There is nothing intrinsically either right-wing, libertarian, or Christo-fascist about the idea of charter schools. I know perfectly reasonable, rationale, Democratic-voting people who have been involved in efforts to create charter schools.

  • (Show?)

    UPO sez: "It's sad if we have to replace a Senator beholden to right-wing special interests with a Senator beholden to left-wing special interests."

    I believe there are other choices on the ballot, Overload, both in the Dems primary and a certain Non-affiliated fellow.

  • (Show?)

    Hmmmm.... It seems to me that Rob Kremer may have violated Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). When I worked at Lewis & Clark College, the FERPA rules were drilled into our heads over and over.

    Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student's education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31): * School officials with legitimate educational interest; * Other schools to which a student is transferring; * Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes; * Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student; * Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school; * Accrediting organizations; * To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena; * Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and * State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.
  • Harry (unverified)
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    "TJ, have you no shame?" (who is not TorridJoe) writes: "Fact #6 - Rob Kremer has held himself out as someone trustworthy enough to hold public office in the field of education. I can't think of an area where respecting confidentiality is more important than the field of education. To date, no one has written a story about this egregious violation of privacy by a very public person. (In addition, every parent and student at this charter school should ask if their privacy will be thrown under a bus if the school finds it useful at a later time.)"

    <hr/>

    Rob's response from his blog: "I was the source of the story for Willamette Week, and over on their site, I’m getting hammered by some commenters who think I somehow did something unethical by “revealing” that he applied to Arthur Academy.

    <h2>I don’t think so. I never thought it was that big of a deal. And this is not secret information. He applied back in 2004, and I was actually very pleased that we obviously had a convert to the movement. We didn’t get the school opened that year because our facility fell through, so the Merkley application was never processed. If we had opened the school, his application would have been in the lottery with all the others."</h2>

    Bottom line:

    Merkley's application is public info.

    Just like Merkley's salary as a public employee.
    And TorridJoe's (though maybe slightly harder to locate). And lotsa other information that is public. But not Kari's salary he pays himself, since his is a private enterprise.

    But to address the real issue (not the food fight between Novick-poeple and Merkley-people), Jeff and his wife considered any and all venues to further their child's education, just like Bill&Hill did with Chelsea, and everybody else does with their children.

    Choice is good. Make the choice that's best for you.

  • (Show?)

    Merkley's application is public info.

    No, student applications are NOT public information. Seriously, call up the U of O and ask to see a kid's college application -- they'll laugh at you.

  • Timmy (unverified)
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    I don't think Kremer did anything other than tell WW that Merkley had applied to the school. How he came to know this I don't know, but the sequence was:

    -Kremer tells Nigel -some months later WW asks Merkley campaign, they confirm.

    How could this be a FERPA violation? It's not as if Kremer released a student file or anything like that. Bottom line it was a rumor, confirmed.

  • (Show?)

    Without knowing the particulars of what exactly was released, it's hard to know whether there's a FERPA violation or not.

    If I was Rob Kremer, I'd just be thanking my lucky stars that it's generally considered a poor campaign strategy to go around suing people.

    FERPA is very, very strict. Football coaches, for example, can't even describe a player's injury without consent from that player. Some "directory information" can be released without consent (but with notice), and this may fall under that - but usually applications are well inside FERPA.

    When I worked at the college, we'd often say, "Really? We can't even say X under the FERPA rules? That's ridiculous!" Very, very strict.

    Given how non-intuitive the FERPA rules are, I wouldn't be surprised that a political hack like Kremer might accidentally stumble into a FERPA violation when trying to screw with a candidate.

  • (Show?)

    I just realized that I haven't disclosed on this post yet. My company built Jeff Merkley's website, but I speak here only for myself.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    This whole story is just dumb. God forbid that Merkley should be a responsible father and look into all the options for the future success of his child.

    I totally agree Nick. Which is why I find it so strange that Merkley partisans are desperately trying to deny that he did, in fact, express interest in sending his son to a charter school. The whole "Beth Slovic only had one source so it's probably not true" schtick is just weird.

    What's also weird is the Merkley campaign's splitting of hairs, that Jeff and his wife inquired about the school, "check(ed) it out", but "never seriously considered sending their son there." This is a Bill Clinton "didn't inhale" defense. Whatever. I just wish Merkley had said "Yes, we looked into the charter school as one possible option for our son, and decided not to send him there."

    Sometimes the best way to make a non-story into a story is to protest too loudly.

  • (Show?)
    Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student's education record.

    How does this apply to the Merkley child? He was not a student of the school, and as far as I can tell no information from his "education record" was released (only that the record existed). The form itself is not an education record, although transcript or other academic info on it certainly might be.

    If all that's holding back the lawsuit is the potential for the Merkley campaign to engage in poor strategy, I'd still be worried if I were Kremer. :)

    Not releasing health information such the athletic injury example would be under HPPA just as much as FERPA, I'd think.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: Timmy | Feb 29, 2008 1:06:14 PM I don't think Kremer did anything other than tell WW that Merkley had applied to the school. How he came to know this I don't know, but the sequence was: -Kremer tells Nigel -some months later WW asks Merkley campaign, they confirm.

    What leads you to believe that they confirmed anything?

    Think about this for a minute. Beth Slovic said (twice!) that Matt Cantor "did not deny" the allegation. Without a direct quote it's hard to say what she bases that assertion on. But let's assume that Cantor declined to give an answer at all and Slovic interpreted that to be "did not deny," which would technically be true.

    Since when does a refusal to answer equal confirmation? It doesn't and never has... anywhere outside of dictatorships. There are very good reasons why our legal system makes the opposite assumption with a refusal to answer. It's because it's the only FAIR conclussion a refusal to answer will logically support.

    I'm not saying Cantor refused to answer. I really don't know what he said because Slovic didn't quote any of it. But her assertion that his "did not deny" equals a confirmation is not morally, ethically, legally or logically tenable.

  • (Show?)

    "Sometimes the best way to make a non-story into a story is to protest too loudly."

    ...for instance, by writing a column about it on the state's largest political blog. :)

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    Kevin --

    "Right wing talk show 'Kremer & Abrams?'" Have you ever listened? Last time I noticed, it was a left v. right talk show on a right wing station. But hey, what do I know? I'm only "& Abrams."

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    I can attest that BlueOregon contributor (and former DPO chair) Marc Abrams is definitely not right-wing.

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    Miles: The whole "Beth Slovic only had one source so it's probably not true" schtick is just weird.

    You may not have any use or respect for journalistic ethical standards, in which case you're probably fine with what Faux News spews on a regular basis.

    Some of us have an ethical compass and we're no more prepared to surrender it to you than we are to Dick Cheney.

  • (Show?)
    What leads you to believe that they confirmed anything? Think about this for a minute. Beth Slovic said (twice!) that Matt Cantor "did not deny" the allegation.

    She also said the Merkley campaign CONFIRMED it. Where did she say that? In direct response to YOU, in the first link you cite above:

    Kevin, if your mother told you she loved you, I would question that. Kremer told me something. I asked the Merkley campaign. His spokesman confirmed it. Funny how that works.

    ??

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    "Some of us have an ethical compass"

    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha .

    Y'otta take that act on the road Kevin.

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    Oh...and it's CantEr, with an E.

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    It's the same thing we saw when I diaried over at LoadedO about Merkley's non-support of same sex civil marriage, or certain tax reforms. He PERSONALLY explained his positions to me, and his supporters spent days screeching that I was wrong, or lying, or whatever. Or even (my favorite -- thanks Jeff Alworth!) that I hadn't told him I was going to write a blog diary about it and therefore I was somehow in the wrong.

    The whole time neither he personally, nor anyone representing his campaign, came forward and said I made a single mistake.

    Seriously. Dudes, own his record and run on it. It is what it is. So he tried to get his kid into a charter school? It's a fact! Deal with it. You have rationalized far worse things already in this campaign.

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    Posted by: torridjoe | Feb 29, 2008 1:39:48 PM

    She also said the Merkley campaign CONFIRMED it.

    Great! Then she shouldn't have any problem backing it up. Neither of her pieces even approach backing it up.

    Talk is cheap. Some talk the talk and some walk the walk. So far Beth Slovic's walk is limited to one conservative source who may have violated the law in divulging what he did. Of course if no application exists then he'd not be guilty of breaking any laws because no confidentiality was breeched.

    Either way, Beth Slovic clearing this up by substantiating her allegations would be appropriate and welcome.

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    Hello?!!

    She also said the Merkley campaign CONFIRMED it. Great! Then she shouldn't have any problem backing it up. Neither of her pieces even approach backing it up.

    His campaign CONFIRMED IT. It's a DONE DEAL. NEXT?!

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    How many different names do you post under on these local political blogs, Kev?

    I know of at least four.

    Maybe you could check that fancy ethical compass of yours and get back to us with an answer.

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    There's no denying I'm biased, so I'll just preface my comment with that. I just don't like how WW depended on one source for the story, and that source happened to be a right winger. WW used a right wing source to try and put a bad light on a progressive candidate right before a major endorsement. It comes off pretty bad IMO.

    I don't think the actual story of whether Merkley considered sending one of his kids to a charter school is really the issue. Like other posters have already mentioned, if Merkley was working in the legislature to divert funds from public schools to charter schools that would be another thing. Merkley is not doing that, in fact he worked to pass the rainy day fund for public schools.

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    So far Beth Slovic's walk is limited to one conservative source who may have violated the law in divulging what he did.

    I shouldn't bother, but...she has in fact TWO sources for this information: Rob Kremer...and Jeff Merkley. I'd say that last one is a pretty ironclad source.

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    Here's the "beef" Kevin.

    Slovick has redacted copies of the applications for both (?) of Jeff Merkley's children for the Arthur Academy charter school.

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    "Charter-gate?" Seems a little melodramatic for a two-post exchange, but anywho...

    You can obtain charter school applications through public information requests? Really? Does that mean I could make information requests regarding every application in the school?

    What's next... are we going to check whether Jeff and Mary used eco-friendly diapers back in the day? Or how about whether they once drove their kids to school in an SUV once or twice? Or, heck, why not ask them about about every other mickey mouse topic you can think of in an attempt to uncover mountains (or mole-hills).

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    The "one source" defense is bogus. By far, the finest journalism the world has known comes from personal accounts of reporters who actually see things happening. The next tier of that is a close-to-the-action source, which is generally a whistleblower who approaches a journalist alone. Now this is obviously no Watergate and a total nonissue, but don't try to call Ms. Slovic's journalistic integrity into question because she didn't go calling other parties involved.....oh wait, she did. She called the Merkley campaign and they confirmed it.

    State Senator Rick Metsger offered a little pearl last night at the UO College Democrats meeting (a great visit) that seems relevant: in running for office, stand up for your beliefs and people will respect you. Even if they disagree, they'll respect that you are steady in your convictions. He pointed to the fact that he's in a red district, yet continues to be sent to Salem because his constituents know he fights for what he believes in.

    I like Speaker Merkley a great deal, but I wish his campaign would be more forthright when these issues arise. If he thinks charter schools have merit, I'd like to hear why. I don't really care for one of his supporters complaining about how unfair it is to call him out on that, and using (gasp!) just one source! He's running for federal office. He is a public figure. The rules on privacy and respect for his personal space are out the window. Just ask Derrick Kitts.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: torridjoe | Feb 29, 2008 1:31:13 PM

    Um apps are covered by FERPA so you cant call and ask where I applied to college or where I got in.

  • (Show?)

    app = application. Sorry thought that was self explanatory.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Let me get this straight. A single sourced story in WW (a newspaper, not Gospel) turns out to have as its source Rob Kremer, who said on his own blog something about OCPP being "socialist". But we should believe what he says because he is Rob Kremer?

    There may or may not be a document for all to see. This may or may not have violated school application privacy laws. The statement of the Merkley spokesman may or may not "confirm" what Kremer told the WW reporter.

    And this is a reason to support Novick for US Senate because..........?

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    Let me get this straight. A single sourced story in WW (a newspaper, not Gospel) turns out to have as its source Rob Kremer, who said on his own blog something about OCPP being "socialist". But we should believe what he says because he is Rob Kremer? There may or may not be a document for all to see. This may or may not have violated school application privacy laws. The statement of the Merkley spokesman may or may not "confirm" what Kremer told the WW reporter. And this is a reason to support Novick for US Senate because..........?

    Nope, you haven't gotten it straight yet. The story was sourced and CONFIRMED by the campaign. We shouldn't believe it because it's Rob Kremer; we should believe it because the Merkleys have admitted it's true. The statement ofthe Merkley spokesman DOES in fact confirm what Kremer said; that's why they call it a confirmation.

    There IS a document--two of them, in fact--for all to see. Whether it violated application laws is up for question, although it seems odd that the school would release them if they thought it violated any. (Bdunn's unsubstantiated assertion that it covers applications notwithstanding).

    What does this have to do with Steve Novick, exactly? Where is he mentioned in the story?

  • Steve (unverified)
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    Posted by: Kari Chisholm "I can attest that BlueOregon contributor (and former DPO chair) Marc Abrams is definitely not right-wing."

    True, but he is a moderate. For progressives isn't that almost as bad?

    Funny thread. WW has the actual applications posted. Rendering all of the challenges pretty silly.

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    True, but he is a moderate. For progressives isn't that almost as bad?

    Uhhhh.... No. At least, not for this progressive.

    Rick Santorum (R-PA): Much worse than Ben Nelson (D-NE).

    Which isn't to say that Ben Nelson isn't worse than, say, Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

    But the world isn't black and white.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    This is really bad, because now it has turned into a cover-up. The Merkley spokesperson was still issuing untruthful statements (e.g., "they couldn't recall whether the form was an expression of interest or an actual application") two days AFTER the school had faxed the applications to Merkley's lawyer. That means that Merkley's spokesperson was purposefully obfuscating the issue.

    Look, I'm a Novick supporter, but I do not want Merkley to suffer from this. Seriously, I don't. As I said above, it's a non-issue in my mind, and it would have gone away had they just been honest. Now, it may take on much greater importance than it deserves.

    Merkley needs to issue a statement soon saying "Yes, we were looking at a charter school for my kids, and we decided it wasn't the best option for them."

    And Kevin, I'm looking forward to your retraction.

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    Just to clear things up for those wanting to see the forms, wondering how WW got them, etc., here's the text straight from the story:

    On Friday, Canter slightly altered his story, saying that Merkley's wife cannot recall whether the form she signed was an expression of interest, or an actual application. WWire subsequently learned that on Wednesday, two days before this last statement, the charter school in question emailed to Merkley's lawyer copies of the charter school applications not just for Merkley's son, but for the couple's daughter as well. Through a public information request to Arthur Academy charter school, WWire obtained copies of the applications, which are now posted online here and here with some information blacked out so as not to identify Merkley's children nor the family's phone number.

    Go here and you can get to the links to both applications.

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    It's always the coverup.

    At what point does a pattern of misstatements become ... an ethics problem?

  • LT (unverified)
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    Steph: Are you saying we should all vote for Steve because of something in WW about Merkley? When did WW become Gospel? Who is the source other than Kremer? Why should anyone who doesn't agree with Kremer believe this story just because something is online?

    Try this: Steve would be better for Oregonians in the US Senate than Jeff Merkley because...........

    Anything else looks like campaign supporters trying to blacken the opposition rather than stating the positive case for their own candidate.

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    Steve would be better for Oregonians in the US Senate than Jeff Merkley because.........you can trust what he says. LT, are you even following along? The applications are ONLINE. They exist. You can see them.

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    LT,

    looks like campaign supporters trying to blacken the opposition rather than stating the positive case for their own candidate.

    Funny you should say that.

    My candidate's criticisms of his opponent have been based entirely on ideological and political distinctions between the two candidates. He has not once made an attack or even a criticism of Jeff Merkley's character.

    Yet my candidate has been on the receiving end of a stream of trumped-up and bogus attacks on his own character -- attempts to "blacken" him, to use your word. Is it somehow wrong for me, as a supporter, to observe that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones?

  • petrichor (unverified)
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    it is just sad that it is even potentially a political issue where someone wants to send their kids to school.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    It's always the coverup.

    True that.

    LT, you are the only one making this about Novick, whereas the rest of us understand it has nothing to do with Novick. As for why we should believe WW, it's because the damn applications are on line.

  • Steve (unverified)
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    LT,

    Are you paying attention.

    You said, "Who is the source other than Kremer? Why should anyone who doesn't agree with Kremer believe this story just because something is online?"

    Merkley's lawyer confirmed the story and now the applications themselves are public.

    You might want to move on to what the story means or something other than challenging it. Do you have any particular problem with charter schools yourself?

    I don't care if Novick or Merkley wins the primary but I do find it curious that some thing the ethical thing is to keep secret things like this.

    I mean it is problematic for a legislator to be applying to send his child to a charter schoool while at the same time be in an alliance to oppose charter schools.

    This story has spawned some pretty strange manouvers.

    What's next? Someone will suggest the Democrats and the OEA support charter schools?

  • (Show?)

    Stephanie V wrote.... Yet my candidate has been on the receiving end of a stream of trumped-up and bogus attacks on his own character

    Really? Can you name and source one?

    Because from where I sit (admittedly a biased place), I can't recall a single attack, bogus or otherwise, on Steve Novick's own character. His staff, maybe. But not Steve himself.

    At least, not from the Merkley campaign or anybody closely associated with it.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    kari Chisholm wrote: Really? Can you name and source one? Because from where I sit (admittedly a biased place), I can't recall a single attack, bogus or otherwise, on Steve Novick's own character.

    "It is a crass attempt to turn Democrats against one another, an effort that serves only (Novick's) selfish personal agenda. ...(Merkley) doesn't engage in petty backbiting of the kind Novick is all too willing to embrace. ... What we don't need is an opportunist so narrowly focused on a short-term political gain..." --Mitch Greenlick and Mary Nolan in a front-page BlueOregon post that was pre-approved by the Merkley campaign.

    You must be sitting on a memory-sucking machine, Kari.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Pat, what you are saying is that Steve deserves the votes of all Democrats because

    "--Mitch Greenlick and Mary Nolan in a front-page BlueOregon post that was pre-approved by the Merkley campaign."

    So, Pat, you belong to a segment of the Democratic Party which believes a couple of State Reps. have no right to post an opinion piece supporting their friend and Speaker because it was nasty to Novick. Are you and the other Novick bloggers approved by the campaign? Where is your evidence that Jeff Merkley or Jon Isaacs stamped "approved" on the text of the Greenlick/Nolan post?

    When friends ask me why I have not come out (as they have) in support of Novick, I say, "Sorry, but 'vote for Steve because he doesn't have a voting record and Merkley voted wrong on that 2003 resolution ---Merkley should have voted the way Steve thought he should vote' is not a reason I am willing to use to choose a nominee for a 6 year US Senate term", they just look at me with a blank look on their face.

    Anyone who can't say "support Steve because...." without mentioning the 2003 resolution doesn't want my support for their candidate.

    I was somewhat impressed with Steve in the beginning. He and I had a series of email exchanges at the end of 2007 and beginning of 2008. He had some interesting things to say about the number of people he talked with who ever read Blue Oregon.

    One email had this: "The point of my letter was to let people know that although yes, I have mentioned the war resolution, that's not the point of my campaign. ...........".

    Now Pat, you may not understand this. But the Steve who sent me the emails is someone I could consider supporting. The Steve I have known all these years is a very bright guy.

    But just as I chose to support Hart in 1984, Lonsdale in 1992 and was torn between Lonsdale and Rust in 1996 (and no amount of peer pressure would have convinced me to "hold my nose" and support Mondale, AuCoin, or Bruggere), I don't think the Novick bloggers are doing my old friend Steve any favors. Agree with that or not, calling me a sock puppet or a Merkleyite will not make me mark Steve on my ballot.

    However, some very intelligent statements from Steve himself on veterans issues or investigating the US Attorney firings or any other issue might just impress me enough to cause me to vote for him.

    But that's the thing. Just as a Mac user can't be forced by a salesperson to buy a PC, so the Novick blogging cadre can't force anyone to vote for Steve. They can, however, inspire some people to tune out this or any other primary which appears to be as nasty and brainless as Obama is inspiring.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    Cleary, LT/PCOLfan, you have no idea what I'm saying.

    But thanks for your focus and brevity in displaying that fact.

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    Posted by: Stephanie V | Feb 29, 2008 11:42:44 PM My candidate's criticisms of his opponent have been based entirely on ideological and political distinctions between the two candidates.

    If that's true then Steve Novick must be a conservative Republican because they're the ones who floated the HR2 attack. There is zero evidence, from the day of the vote until it was first brought up last Fall, that Novick had any problem with Merkley's handling of HR2 until AFTER the RPO floated their attack.

    Yet my candidate has been on the receiving end of a stream of trumped-up and bogus attacks on his own character

    That's just more of the same revisionist history you keep regurgitating.

    Nobody made Novick cooperate with the RPO in attacking Merkley on HR2.

    Nobody made Novick keep quiet while a senior member of his own staff explicitly declined to practice that most basic of political ethics - full disclosure.

    Nobody prevented Novick from himself covering his senior staffer's ethical lapse at that meeting. He observed the entire thing, afterall.

    Small wonder that his staff would reflect his own ethics - attempting to game an endorsement... altering his opponent's Wiki page.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: Stephanie V | Feb 29, 2008 2:15:15 PM It's the same thing we saw when I diaried over at LoadedO about Merkley's non-support of same sex civil marriage, or certain tax reforms. He PERSONALLY explained his positions to me, and his supporters spent days screeching that I was wrong, or lying, or whatever.

    I've personally spoken to someone who was there during that conversation. And he says that you misrepresented what Jeff Merkley said. Since you both have stunningly obvious biases, there is no rational reason why anyone should take either claim without a few grains of salt. So we have to appeal to the objective public record. And it shows that Jeff Merkley has consistently supported FULLY EQUAL rights for the LGBT community. There is not a single example of Merkley not supporting fully equal rights. Period.

  • LT (unverified)
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    OK, Pat, explain exactly what you are saying.

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    Posted by: Steve | Feb 29, 2008 7:09:50 PM Funny thread. WW has the actual applications posted. Rendering all of the challenges pretty silly.

    Not really. The point of the challenges was to get Ms. Slovic to practice at least minimal journalistic ethics. She was late doing so and it appears that she only scrambled to do so AFTER she was challenged. But late is better than not at all.

    Of course that only applies to her factual allegations. It doesn't address her transparent attempt to influence the upcoming OEA endorsement. When coupled with previous pieces she's published at Willy Weak, it's pretty clear that at least part of her motivation is to help Steve Novick. That would be above and beyond the usual "if it bleeds, it leads" mentality that passes for journalistic ethics these days. Except that here she was personally trying to draw blood that didn't exist... just in time to try to influence an important endorsement.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    I think the record will show, LT, that Kari said he couldn't remember any personal attacks on Novick's charcter by the Merkley campaign or anyone close to it. He then asked for an example if one existed.

    I provided a pretty concrete example of just that.

    It WAS as simple as that.

    Then you chimed in to set up some false premise about what I believe and proceeded to self-indulgently ramble on about this false premise for quite some time.

    Is that clear enough?

  • torridjoe (unverified)
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    kevin, the only other person in that conversation was Jon Isaacs, and he got there towards the end, as vard tells it. It's a giant crock of crapola to say one has been misinterpreted, but refuse to offer any correction for the record despite multiple attempts to get it. And since half of her conversation has been 100% validated in MSM accounts, it's highly presumptive to claim other parts are off base. But I put it back to you and the candidate: where has Merkley EVER said he believes in marriage equality? Don't fudge and talk about dp, show me a single statement in favor of gay marriage. You can't, I'm almost sure, because I believe I have a statement in media showing he does NOT support it. I can't link from my phone, though.

  • (Show?)

    So-o-o-o-o-o,

    Once upon a time in America, a couple of middle class mothers are discussing the pros and cons of the myriad options that either might consider for their children's education.

    One lady tells the other, "Hey, why don't we check out school X, it's only a few blocks away."

    When they get to the school, they are informed that they need to fill out a few lines on a questionaire in order to get the tour.

    They do. They get the tour. Nothing further occurs.

    <hr/>

    A long time political opponent of this lady's husband decides to make hay out of it, and gets a local paper to run a story which attemtpts to vilify his nemesis.

    Other political opponents predictably jump onboard and and predictable Hijinks ensue.

    <hr/>

    This is the 80th comment on this non-story.

    Rock on!

  • (Show?)

    This is the 80th comment on this non-story.

    It was a non-story, maybe--before they started covering up like they had something to hide (which I guess they did; they had both kids applied). I don't find Canter behaving honestly here--or you have to blame the Merkleys for not cluing him in and leaving him out there, one of the two...but somebody was holding out and now they're holding the bag.

    Checking out a charter school may not have given very many teachers pause at all, I generally agreed. Checking it out and--then denying and covering your actions which turned out to be more involved--may seem like guilty behavior to some, yeah. And all because of...Kevin? The WW's response headline was "Here's the beef," clearly in response to this column (or PK's, I'm not sure which). Would this story maybe have gone away otherwise?

  • (Show?)

    I can't see many teachers being impressed with Ms. Slovic's attempt to influence their choice. Afterall, Merkley and his wife overtly chose to send both of their kids to public schools. And legislatively Jeff has been one of, if not THE, strongest allies they've had.

    On the other hand, when Steve Novick was the Legislative Coordinator for the Oregon Department of Education, he helped convince the Republican dominated legislature to curb individual district's ability to deny Charter School applications. The net effect of that was to hamstring the OEA's efforts.

    Did Beth Slovic deem that relevant info to publish just days before the OEA would meet to choose whom to endorse?

    And didn't the ODE (while Novick was a senior member) meekly roll over when BushCo foisted NCLB upon America instead of joining other states in sueing to stop it?

  • hawthorne (unverified)
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    Rainsticks, take me away.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    Hey Kev,

    Maybe you can get some inspiration from this.

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    I've personally spoken to someone who was there during that conversation. And he says that you misrepresented what Jeff Merkley said. Since you both have stunningly obvious biases, there is no rational reason why anyone should take either claim without a few grains of salt. So we have to appeal to the objective public record. And it shows that Jeff Merkley has consistently supported FULLY EQUAL rights for the LGBT community. There is not a single example of Merkley not supporting fully equal rights. Period.

    Kevin, I'm sure you'll understand that we can't exactly take your word for that. If I really got it wrong, the campaign would have so stated publicly by now, not just whispered in your ear about it.

    The only other person who was there during the conversation was Jeff Merkley. Jon Isaacs showed up at the end, as I wrote. So Jon, with all due respect, has no actual knowledge of 95% OF what was said, and Jeff Merkley has been honorable enough to not try to evade his words.

    In short, either the person who said that to you was mistaken, or lying, or you are.

  • (Show?)

    When they get to the school, they are informed that they need to fill out a few lines on a questionaire in order to get the tour.

    I've been on many private tours of schools when we were looking for a private pre-k. Sometimes I had to fill out a questionnaire, sometimes I didn't. But never did I have to fill out an enrollment form. Those are saved for after you've decided you indeed do want to apply for your child to go there.

  • (Show?)

    But never did I have to fill out an enrollment form. Those are saved for after you've decided you indeed do want to apply for your child to go there.

    How many of them used a mandated lottery system in the case of too many applicants? I was educated in the private school system and we moved frequently when I was elementary age, attending four separate schools from grade 1 through 8. Preschool was at a fifth (public) school. None of them used a lottery. But if they had used a lottery and there had been multiple school choices facing my parents then I'm sure they would have filled something out just to keep their options open until they decided on a school.

    I don't know about you but I am inundated on a weekly basis with forms to be signed for this and that school-related activity or after school activity - my youngest daughter is a highschool Freshman this year. The "application" forms Willy Week has pics of don't have a place for a signiture, which detracts from the alleged point of the form, in my view. I've always had to sign stuff to get my daughter into a new school. Which is why it's often referred to as "signing up" for school. Otherwise any old stranger could fill out applications for your kids or mine to attend schools without our knowledge. N'est pas?

  • (Show?)

    Posted by: Stephanie V | Mar 1, 2008 11:12:32 PM

    If I really got it wrong, the campaign would have so stated publicly by now, not just whispered in your ear about it.

    Really? Stephanie Vard is such an influential figure that a major candidate for the United States Senate would be compelled to officially rebutt her claims? Claims published on a blog listed as an official endorsing organization on his opponent's website? And rebutt them "publicly" no less? Really?

  • (Show?)

    Hey Kevin, Steve --

    I know this isn't the main string here, but since you guys think I'm a "right winger" or a "moderate," I'd love to know what you base that on. I consider myself well left of liberal, and take such positions weekly on this area's more conservative station. My last post, calling for fiscal responsibility, is not contrary to being left of center. In fact, unless we embrace the fact that government is responsible, we can't make the case for governent. Anyhow, if you really have any interest in my real views, feel free to write me.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    Since Kevin's so up on journalism and blogging ethics, let's look at his own.

    In another thread on BlueOregon, Kevin seemed to think the majority of the "Kafoury clan" previously backed Nader. But Kevin wasn't sure about this, so he just published it as a statement of fact (even though he admits he didn't know if it was true), forcing his innocent victims to come forward and correct his largess.

    Those are Kevin's journalism ethics. And he criticizes others?

  • LT (unverified)
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    http://www.oregonindependent.com/node/163 has an interesting commentary.

    To which I will only add this. There are Oregonians who are struggling financially or otherwise (gas prices, not working full time, medical problems, aging family members, a loved one ill, a family member serving overseas or having medical or other problems on return, to name a few problems).

    Not only that, but in 2006 over 11,000 people voted for Jeff Merkley, over 19,000 voted for Mitch Greenlick, over 20,000 voted for Mary Nolan.

    Now I understand that there are some people who are still angry because Jeff Merkley is not their US Senate candidate and they seem to have difficulty with anyone saying Steve is not the best US Senate candidate ever.

    I realize there are those who have never forgiven Greenlick and Nolan for writing a guest opinion here where they say things about Novick and Merkley that some here didn't like.

    But my point is this: there is a primary in May and the candidate with the most votes wins the primary and gets the nomination. How exactly do attacks on Merkley for any and all reasons gain votes for Steve Novick?

    AOL this morning has a story headline and link titled THIS ELECTION IS DIFFERENT. Why aren't attacks working?

    Kevin has a point in quoting Stephanie:

    Posted by: Stephanie V | Mar 1, 2008 11:12:32 PM

    If I really got it wrong, the campaign would have so stated publicly by now, not just whispered in your ear about it.

    Suppose the campaign had a press conference and answered all of Stephanie's questions to her satisfaction. That would gain votes for Novick because.......?

    In Oregon there are people in timber-dependent counties worried the local library will close. But none of that matters if there is a debate going on here on Blue Oregon?

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    Posted by: Marc Abrams | Mar 2, 2008 8:31:13 AM

    It took me a while to figure out what you are talking about, Marc. But then I scrolled up through the thread and I saw your earlier comment which I'd missed before.

    To answer your question, I don't consider you a right-winger. I don't listen to KEX, but I did see you referenced as a liberal or something along those lines when I was tracking down info for this post. However, multiple sources characterized it as being Rob's show (with you being his sidekick) in which case your ideology wouldn't be relevant to whether the show as a whole is right, left or middle. Hannity and Colmes is generally regarded as a right-wing show even though Colmes isn't a winger. Same, same. No offense was intended towards you in any way.

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    But if they had used a lottery and there had been multiple school choices facing my parents then I'm sure they would have filled something out just to keep their options open until they decided on a school.

    That's right. When I came across a school with limited openings I liked, I filled out the paperwork. And that's because I was seriously considering sending my daughter there. But I didn't fill out applications to schools that I had no plans to send my daughter to, regardless of whether or not there was a lotto system or waiting list.

    If you take the time to fill out the forms, then it's because you want your child to go there. It may end up being you find a school you like even better, but you considered it seriously enough to fill out the application.

    Their initial enrollment form does not require a signature. You can actually do it online now. Once your child is accepted (through lottery system or whatever), you have a whole host of paperwork that has to be filled out, which does indeed include parent signatures (as well as immunization records, doctor contact forms, people authorized to pick up your child, etc.).

    This is the same process I went through when putting my daughter into a pre-k program.

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    Kevin--

    None taken, though I prefer to think of Rob as MY sidekick...

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    LOL - Marc, I think I can safely say that a lot of Oregonians would probably prefer it that way.

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    If you take the time to fill out the forms, then it's because you want your child to go there. It may end up being you find a school you like even better, but you considered it seriously enough to fill out the application.

    Why would you bother even looking at any other schools if you want your child to go to the first one? That doesn't make sense...

    It makes a great deal more sense to me, as a single-parent who has been through this, that if one checked out a new school and was informed upfront that there might be a lottery to get in... that one would want to at least fill out the paperwork just to be on the safe side. My dad used to do hard sales briefly (between teaching jobs) and it turned out he had a real gift for it (think Kirby vacuum cleaners!). And he always says that the people who said "no" upfront were the most likely to end up buying. I've got a couple friends who do sales for a living and they confirm the veracity of that dynamic.

    It's like test driving a new car. Just because you test drive a car doesn't mean you necessarily want to buy it. You don't test drive cars that you positively do not like. But lots of people test drive numerous cars before settling on one. Heck, lots of people test drive new cars just for kicks without even being interested in buying one. I've got friends like that. Of course I know at least one guy who is the polar opposite. He's bought three new cars in the last three or four months, trading in the previous one each time. But then again, he's got obsessive/compulsive disorder... ;-)

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    Go Kevin go! Can you keep this story alive all the way until the OEA vote?

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    Pat... you're right! Ha! I had completely forgotten about the Greenlick/Nolan post. Thanks.

    (I'm going to blame sleep deprivation - our little guy got the same stomach virus this week that's shutting down schools throughout the metro area.)

    Of course, what Stephanie V wrote was... Yet my candidate has been on the receiving end of a stream of trumped-up and bogus attacks on his own character

    There was that one Greenlick/Nolan. Any other data points to add to the "stream"?

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    Thank you, Kari. I'll be back with a fuller response. But first, I'd like to take a moment to call out and enjoy the stunning admission that you just made:

    When Steve Novick criticized Jeff Merkley's legislative record (e.g. his vote for HR2), Jeff Merkley's campaign responded with an attack on Steve Novick's character.

    Right out of the blocks.

    It was obvious to a lot of the rest of us what was going on, but it's great to see that a campaign spokesperson has finally admitted it.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    our little guy got the same stomach virus

    Wow, Kari, I'm sorry to hear that. No one really understands projectile vomiting until they experience a baby doing it. (Right now, those with kids are nodding their heads, and those without are disgusted at the gastrointestinal references.)

    Bon courage.

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    Hey Stephanie --

    I'm a little confused by your bolded quote there. I'm pretty sure that's not anything I've ever written.

    Maybe it's not intended as a quote. If so, OK, but it shouldn't be attributed as a "stunning admission" by me.

    For the record, I do not believe that the Greenlick/Nolan post was a "trumped-up and bogus attacks on [Novick's] own character". I'm willing in acknowledge, however, that Novick fans think it might be.

    I'm still waiting to hear what y'all even consider attacks on Novick's character. Before I offer a rebuttal, I want to see what the charge is.

    In any case, just to set the record straight: I am NOT a Merkley campaign spokesperson. I am not authorized to speak for the Merkley campaign, and I do not do so. Every time I write here, I make it clear: I speak only for myself. My opinions are my own.

    (Briefly, for a couple of days around the kickoff tour, I filled in for an absent campaign employee by posting photos and few comments on the campaign blog - but otherwise, nope.)

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    (My brother, as a baby on the changing table, engaged in projectile sh##ing. I will say no more about that.)

    As for whether or not you are a "campaign spokesperson," Kari, I will take you at your word that you are not one at present. But you are a paid member of the campaign team, and the larger point still holds: the Merkley campaign responded to political criticism with an attack on character.

    As for that subject -- I want to begin by saying that in my view political disagreement is always OK, and that's not what I'm talking about. This is a campaign and it's important for the voters to be able to make an informed choice between the candidates. So any discussion (including robust criticism) of political views, ideology, issues positions, etc. is exactly what the campaign is for.

    It's also OK to talk about a candidate's record or qualifications. Kevin Kamberg and Bradley Dunn and others have observed over and over that Steve has never held elective office, and that's a fact, and fair game for discussion. TJ, I, and others have repeatedly abominated Jeff's vote for HR2, and while most of Jeff's supporters disagree with us, it's a legislative vote and in my view it is OK to criticize it.

    I think Charlie Ringo may have gone a little too far in his dismissal of Steve's qualifications during the debate negotiations, but I say that mostly because his remarks seemed to be gratuitously nasty. I consider his words to be in the nature of a personal attack more than any serious assessment of Steve's qualifications or likelihood of prevailing in the primary.

    Attacks on a candidate's character come in different forms. Some are direct (like the Greenlick-Nolan post). Some are harder to understand, like Kevin Kamberg's assault on Steve as somehow unfit for office because he does not own a house, or because he had some kind words for Hillary Clinton in his endorsement of Barack Obama (sorry I don't have a link for that first one, but Kevin's blog is really hard to navigate). Others attack proxies (like Liz Kimmerly or Henry Kraemer) in poorly disguised attacks on the character of the principal. Each of those that originate in a BlueO post or a post on another blog (I confess I don't bother to visit and inventory the content in most of the pro-Merkley echo chamber) can launch a new mini-stream of character assassination. The front page alone of Kevin's blog at this moment probably contains a half dozen attacks on Steve's character. If you really want those attacks inventoried and catalogued in a single public forum, where it becomes clear what the coordinated effort to smear Steve looks like ... I'll be very surprised.

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    (and now that I'm back from Kevin's blog, I am going to go and take a shower)

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    All excellent thoughts. But Kevin Kamberg isn't a representative of the Merkley campaign.

    I had asked if there was any of that stuff coming from the Merkley campaign itself, or people closely associated with it. (Some random blogger doesn't count.)

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    Well, Kevin Kamberg certainly seems to be closely associated with the Merkley campaign, because he was one of the chosen vessels for that weird little tidbit of "oppo research" that the Merkley campaign dropped on Steve last week (the 10 year old LTE mentioning Ralph Nader, perhaps you recall it).

  • LT (unverified)
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    Steph: Let's postulate a standard right here.

    An official spokesperson for a campaign is either a) on the payroll,

    b) has a title (like when I was a local volunteer coordinator for a presidential campaign),

    c) a personal friend or other supporter deputized by either the candidate or the campaign manager to speak for the campaign. Kari's statement "(Briefly, for a couple of days around the kickoff tour, I filled in for an absent campaign employee by posting photos and few comments on the campaign blog - but otherwise, nope.)" would seem to qualify as C)--not that he has been an official spokesman from the first day of the campaign until now, but that he did specific tasks for a specific amount of time.

    Anyone else is unofficial. This is important because someone giving out fliers might say something which would make candidate/campaign management groan or roll their eyes--this has been a problem in some past campaigns. Ordinary volunteers in past campaigns have done things which did not reflect well on the campaign and in some cases required damage control.

    A) or B) would be fairly easy to prove, C) would not.

    So, Stephanie, are you A), B), C), or just a friend of candidate Novick and not speaking officially?

    Unless Kevin is A), B), or C) and there is evidence to prove that fact, why should anyone believe "Kevin Kamberg certainly seems to be closely associated with the Merkley campaign..." just because you say so?

    And while you are at it, Stephanie, how many Oregon campaigns have you been involved with? You seem to make a lot of assertions without fact.

    And whatever you say, I have the right to say that although Kari and I have argued in the past, and although I find John Frohnmayer more inspiring so far than Merkley and Novick put together, I take Kari at his word that "I had asked if there was any of that stuff coming from the Merkley campaign itself, or people closely associated with it. (Some random blogger doesn't count.)".

    No one is obligated to believe a blogger on their own assertion without proof. Anyone has the right to say "I wouldn't believe that person if they said it was raining outside unless I went outside and got wet".

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    I guess I'll have to scale down ignoring Kevin from 95% of the time down to 85% or so, in case I miss him making another lame mistake that relates to me personally.

    First of all, Kevin, if you are going to make a big deal of calling me out by my name, get my name right. I have said this to you before and you have persisted in the error, so clearly you're ignoring me at least an equal percentage of the time. But if I was consistently calling you Kevin Kam or Kevin Karma or some other weird abbreviated version of your name, you'd have a right to be annoyed. That's what you're doing to me. So cut it out.

    But more interestingly, I see a pattern here. I make a political criticism, and you attack my character by calling me a liar. Sounds familiar!

    Jeff Mapes confirmed half of what I originally reported about Jeff's views-- the half related to tax fairness -- so perhaps I am not quite such an unreliable source as you are, or as you claim that I am. With regard to marriage equality, all you have to do is look at the candidates' websites to see what's what. Jeff doesn't even have a link on his site for civil rights. It seems he feels that domestic partnerships have closed that chapter and we can all relax now. Novick's site has an extensive section devoted to civil rights, including equal access to civil marriage. This is all 100% consistent with what Jeff said to me and what I reported.

    If I got it wrong, prove it. If you don't, it's because you can't. Full stop. The End.

    As for your comments, LT, I'm just a friend and supporter of Steve's. Kari does get paid by the Merkley campaign, but I actually give money to Steve's campaign, instead of vice versa. I do think it is reasonable to attribute comments by a paid campaign operative to the campaign. But Kari's status isn't the issue.

    Here is what I said:

    My candidate's criticisms of his opponent have been based entirely on ideological and political distinctions between the two candidates. He has not once made an attack or even a criticism of Jeff Merkley's character. Yet my candidate has been on the receiving end of a stream of trumped-up and bogus attacks on his own character -- attempts to "blacken" him, to use your word. Is it somehow wrong for me, as a supporter, to observe that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones?

    Kari tried to turn that into an assertion about attacks by those affiliated with or close to the campaign, but that wasn't my original point, although many of the attacks I talked about did originate either with the Merkley campaign or its plausible deniability blogger network. Charlie Ringo and Kari are two good examples. Also, if the Merkley campaign is using Bradley Dunn and Kevin Kamberg as outlets for its opposition research, at what point do they begin to count as "close enough?"

    Let me ask you a related question, LT: you've seen TJ, me, and others make robust criticisms of Jeff Merkley's candidacy here and elsewhere. Some of those criticisms have obviously offended you. But have any of them been attacks on his character?

    There's a double standard operating here and someone has to call it out.

    As for whatever you have the right to say, LT, by all means go for it. You have the right to say whatever you want. I have never asserted otherwise. Please tell me what "assertions without fact" I have made, and I will back them up. While you're at it, please tell me what that has to do with the number of Oregon campaigns I've been involved with, because I do not see the connection.

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    he was one of the chosen vessels for that weird little tidbit of "oppo research"

    Tipping off a blogger on some research doesn't make that blogger a campaign spokesperson - any more than tipping off a reporter on some research makes that reporter a campaign spokesperson.

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    I am NOT a Merkley campaign spokesperson. I am not authorized to speak for the Merkley campaign, and I do not do so.

    Horsecrap, Kari, you've been a campaign spokeperson on at least two separate occassions--the kickoff, and with the PDA situation. Quit misleading people.

  • Anne (unverified)
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    As a person in favor of Steve Novick for Senate, public schools, unions, BlueOregon, and all else that is good, I have a couple of things to say:

    1. The frequent posters in the Novick/Merkley debate need to step back and do some deep breathing. Maybe just read USA Today for a while, or watch some TV, or visit a red state. Several of you (on both sides) really need some perspective. I bet I speak for 90% of BlueOregon readers here. ALWAYS remember: (a) this is a primary race between two dedicated progressive Democrats, either of whom would be better than Smith, and (b) about 80% of what you all go on about is of interest to no one but yourselves. Truly. People have already posted to the same effect elsewhere, but you folks don't seem to get it.

    2. The WW story made me shudder. With purity tests like this, it's a wonder anyone ever runs for office. Most of those who do are heroes. People make all sorts of difficult compromises in the interests of their families, their livelihoods, and their own health and sanity. Some are newsworthy, some are not. Where Merkley's kids go to school might be fair game, but where he and/or his wife considered sending them is a total non-issue.

  • LT (unverified)
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    THANK YOU ANNE!

    There are all sorts of problems in this state and country that need to be solved. It is time we talked about solving them.

    And while I admire the candidate who spoke about solutions to poverty here http://chuckcurrie.blogs.com/

    I have no interest in supporting a candidate who has his own beer. It may be a clever campaign tactic, but since I don't drink beer and don't live in Portland or Eugene, why would I care about Left Hook Lager, "you've seen the ad, now drink the beer"?

    Which is why I loved Anne's comment:

    I bet I speak for 90% of BlueOregon readers here. ALWAYS remember: (a) this is a primary race between two dedicated progressive Democrats, either of whom would be better than Smith, and (b) about 80% of what you all go on about is of interest to no one but yourselves. Truly. People have already posted to the same effect elsewhere, but you folks don't seem to get it.

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