A parting shot from Linda Flores

By Walter Hopgood of Damascus, Oregon. Walter describes himself as "a progressive, out gay man living in the country with his partner, two Great Danes, a chicken, and a cat that rules the house."

It is great to be in newly blue Clackamas County, where Linda Flores was defeated by incoming State Representative Brent Barton. But you can't quite count Linda out yet. Her parting shot "Legislative Update" one page mailer made sure of that. The only thing is, I'm not sure if it is a true legislative update, or us taxpayers footing the bill for mudslinging against Democrats.

There have been defeated politicians that have slowly sunken into history with their head held high. Indeed, the endearing image of Richard Nixon climbing aboard Marine One for the last time, still positive after giving up the most powerful office to resignation is what always comes to mind.

But what Linda Flores did, lashing out at those who helped defeat her with random accusations, puts her in a class by herself. Perhaps what pulls together the entire celebration of horror is the picture of an angry man on the phone, with large print "Contact your legislator and tell them how you feel about issues important to you!".


(Click to zoom.)

Well done, Linda. You showed during your campaign that you could not be honorable. This is just the proverbial frosting on your going-away cake. Now go away already!

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    Yes, the angry man on the phone is a very odd choice for a "contact your legislator" picture. Wonder if this is a window into how she views the position? Major head-scratcher. (Not that I've never made the "angry call to the legislator," but as with any relationship I think it's a rare situation that calls for that approach -- the exception, not the rule.)

    As for the funding -- have you checked whether the mailer comes from her campaign fund or her legislative fund? It would definitely be worth knowing. I don't see any campaign expenditures after 11/14, though I'm not exactly an expert on searching campaign finance transactions. I do see a rather shocking number of major contributions from out of state tobacco companies -- I know this isn't news, but it's always a surprise to come face-to-face with the sheer magnitude of this kind of campaign finance.

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    I didn't find anything terribly objectionable in the mailer. She is pointing out, correctly, that the 2009 legislature is going to have some difficult decisions to make, and there is nothing wrong with starting the conversation early about the proposed fee and tax increases that we are seeing, as well as compensation.

    You didn't expect her parting shot to be an upbeat piece that is complimentary of Governor Kulongoski's role in helping to move Oregon towards a position of leadership in alternative energy, were you?

  • miguel (unverified)

    If she had made things up I could see being all salted about it. This appears to be a bunch of real quotes. Whats the problem with it?

    She doesn't offer any indication of how she would fix things, but really she didn't do anything bad here.

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    I think she was actually reasonable and focused on positive achievements in her letter. I found it amusing that she highlighted the very "progressive" and noncontroversial parts of her record, burying immigration reform last.

    The quotes appear accurate and it's a little weird and contextless the way she assembles it, but even as a taxpayer document I'd have no procedural complaint.

    She was almost as loopy as donna nelson, and more rightwing than some non-valley Republicans, but this almost makes her seem rational. Set it on fire, drink a toast with your man and hope young Barton is a fast learner.

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    I think citizens would be interested to know for ANY communication from a legislator, whether it's coming from their campaign funds or money allocated by the state. This stuff is very opaque (to the average citizen). Speaking for myself, I was not intending to single out Flores, but comment on the more general point.

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    Here's an example of something similar. Would the average citizen be able to easily discern whether this web site, about the proposed Gibbs St. Bridge, is an official page of the Portland government, or a citizens' group, or some astroturf initiative? Technically, it is disclosed.

    But where is the "about us" link in the navigation bar?

  • Brian (unverified)

    @Pete, I scrolled to the bottom of the page and withing 3 seconds, saw it copyright the project, then "City of Portland", so looks like an "official page of the Portland Govertment". Is that not the case?

  • David (unverified)

    The guest column seems more accusatory than the mailer. It appears as though the "angry man" is not the one on the phone.

  • Sherrilynn Rawson (unverified)

    Random accusations? Hardly. Take a quick look at all of the bold-faced quotes from the mailer strung together:

    • "painful disinvestments in the present"
    • "you can't cut or tax the problem away"
    • "The governor has pitched a package of gas and tobacco tax increases"
    • "a host of fee increases"
    • "This calls for going slow in raising fees and taxes"
    • "Governor's budget was unrealistic because it was balanced with substantial tax increases"
    • "requires shared sacrifice"
    • "state employees' overall employment numbers and salaries would grow"
    • "the governor seems to think health care is still not expensive enough"
    Let's see...that list essentially amounts to:

    Services bad, taxes bad, taxes bad, taxes bad, taxes bad, services bad, public employees bad, health care taxes/fees bad

    I think that if Flores ever runs again it's pretty clear what her platform would be. Something about taxes, I would think....

  • Tim Royal (unverified)

    This newsletter is an attempt to breed dissent of Gov. Kulongoski's budget proposals. It highlights the timeless fears of hardline conservatives of higher taxes and bigger government employment. Her prediction? "Watch out Oregon! We gonna have a Socialist Oregon by the end of '09!"

    Thankfully this fearmongering is made by a flushed radical who lost the support of traditional republican moderates (the ones Obama pulled in). It is trash and everyone knows it.

    It seems though, that the voters of HD 51 switched political stereotypes. Out with "Anti-gay/choice/taxes mother of 3" and in with "Young gun lawyer with some cash with cheeks Grandma loves to squeeze".

    It is a move up for the district? Yes. But is anyone expecting any outstanding legislation out of Barton? Not so much... After all its going to be his first term and it will be a very difficult session.

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    You know what "copyright City of Portland" means, and so do I. But I'm not sure the general public does. Nor do I think the average web reader would think to scroll to the footer message to answer a question like that.

    Of course, there are no iron-clad standards for how to produce a web page (or legislative mailer, apparently); but it seems to me that on the web, an "about us" page, linked from the navigation bar, is becoming very commonplace in the private sector and nonprofit world. I think it's unfortunate when well-intentioned government sites fail to catch on to this sort of trend; it makes them less accessible.

    In general, I think that effective disclosure is one of the most important duties of government, and of elected officials. When the somewhat-informed citizen seeks to learn how the information he/she is being fed gets produced, the answers should be in easy reach. I'd call it basic customer service.

  • t.a. barnhart (unverified)

    Sherrilynn got it right: Flores used taxpayers' money to send out a final political screed. Even had she done nothing more than say "Au revoir" it would have been an improper use of the funds (her first political flyer in an attempt to retake the seat in 2010, which btw, is next year</em). The second page did not lay out anything positive or useful for citizens to consider; it was Flores op-ed'ing about what the Legislature, of which she is no longer a member, should do. That's political speech, and not the legal use of the funds that pay for legislative mailers. using "real" quotes doesn't justify it anymore than using a calm tone of voice. wrong is wrong, and this was wrong.

  • Samuel John Klein (unverified)

    Dear Rep. Flores:

    Please don't go away mad.

    Just go away.

    Sincerely, The people who voted for your opponent.

    P.S.: I looked up "sore loser" in the dictionary and your picture somehow got in there. Any thoughts?

  • Sherrilynn Rawson (unverified)

    Out with "Anti-gay/choice/taxes mother of 3" and in with "Young gun lawyer with some cash with cheeks Grandma loves to squeeze".

    Actually, Brent Barton is a heckuvalot more than just a pretty face. Bachelor's and master's degrees from Stanford, study at Cambridge, graduated from Harvard Law, worked for Hooley while she was a County Commissioner while he was still in college. I've only seen him in action a couple of times, but my impression from those encounters is that this guy is smart, not to mention hardworking. Check out his introduction here back in January. Yeah, I know about this comment, but for the most part posters commented on his brains, his work ethic (he pounded a lot of pavement to win this November), and what a good fit he'll be for the district. While it might be a lot to expect that he'll be out in front on much legislation his first time out, I bet he's a quick study. (And he can't help it if he is, as KenandZukes put it, "super dreamy." He might have "cheeks Grandma loves to squeeze," but more important he's got smarts Grandma loves to have representing her at the state Lege.)


  • Carla Axtman (unverified)

    This mailer does not appear to be financed by Flores' campaign. There's none of the legal language on it that says who paid for it and it has her state representative email address on it.

    Looks like a taxpayer funded hit piece to me.

    It's not like the taxpayers would get any money out of her anyway if we demanded she repay. Flores isn't exactly current on her finances (including tax issues), which is historically how things seem to go with her.

  • EndEmphasis (unverified)

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    I think if she hadn't put the page of quotes, it might be percieved differently (even if they are accurate and I don't know if they are). Just looking at the first page, it seems pretty clear cut. The second page is where she turns a little nuts.

    My guess is Flores is setting up a rematch for 2010.

  • Darrell Fuller (unverified)

    Walter: Please list three "random accusations" (your words) in Rep. Flores' mailer. Just curious how you're defining your terms.

  • LT (unverified)

    Darrell, it is about context. Was Linda Flores one of those who never supported a balanced budget that included tax or fee increases---but also never proposed an alternative?

    That last Jack Roberts quote is beneath his usual quality. Makes people like me want to say "OK, you don't like that idea, what is your alternative proposal?".

    There are hard working legislators on the Republican side (Morse and Ferrioli come to mind) but there is also the snippy caucus which would rather make snide remarks than do the hard work of actually solving problems. Thatcher is also a member of the snippy caucus.

    <h2>I think the point of the quotes was to say "Democrats will cut programs and raise taxes in a way no one will like, so call your legislators and complain".</h2>
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