[Update: 8.21.08, 4:25PM--I've been indundated with email requests to alert folks to Jessica Adamson, Wingard's Democratic opponent in House District 26. Everything I've heard about Adamson is excellent. Toss some scratch her way if you can.]
Yesterday, I attended and live-blogged the joint-meeting of the Clackamas and Washington County Commissioners. The meeting was held for the purposes of appointing a short-term replacement for retiring GOP Rep. Jerry Krummel out of House District 26. I've had some time to digest the process and proceedings in the almost 24 hours since it went down.
Honestly, this is one of those incidents that can really jade a person to politics, if they aren't already. Under the law, the Precinct Committee is supposed to nominate at least three but not more than five individuals who intend to serve as a State Representative. It was absolutely clear from the outset of the meeting that this was not a process to choose someone. The choice had been made well in advance to appoint Matt Wingard. We were all there just to make sure nobody could later contest the process because they hadn't actually gone through the motion of looking like the rules were being followed.
I don't know how much taxpayer money it cost to bring all of these Commissioners together in a public building--but every cent of it was a complete and total waste, in my opinion. This thing was a total sham.
Besides Wingard, two of his very ardent supporters showed up to pretend they were interested in the job--gotta cover asses, don'tcha know. The first on the pretend chopping block was Scott Haynes, a staffer from Wingard's campaign who had an email sent on his behalf last Thursday, effectively trying to drop out of the process:
Apparently someone told Scott that if he didn't at least show up and pretend to give a shit, they'd have to bail on the meeting and start all over, jeopardizing Wingard's ability to claim incumbency during the campaign.
The other pretender to the throne was Ivonne Pflaum, whose statement of interest in the position was essentially a letter of recommendation for Wingard.
During the voting, I was pleased to see that two of the Commissioners (Strader and Schouten) from Washington County (where I live) decided that the whole thing was BS and abstained. Strader was especially strong on this yesterday--articulating that she was appalled at the ridiculous party antics that had happened with the process. So at least I didn't walk away completely disgusted with EVERYBODY...just most of them.
Washington County Commissioner Andy Duyck was a cypher throughout the question and answer period. He didn't ask a single question of anyone. Duyck did manage in the end to almost call the whole thing a sham...but just couldn't quite get past his devotion to the Republican Party (Duyck is running against incumbent Democrat Rep. David Edwards for the seat in House District 30) to actually abstain, it seems. That's an interesting bellweather for Duyck's potential legislative positionings--not much on active participation and not so much on the buck the caucus thing.
This is the first (and maybe the last) time I've attended one of these appointment meetings. It seems like it would be more efficient to cut out the middle man and burn our tax money on Wingard's front porch.