Betsy Johnson's weekend of town hall meetings

Over at Ridenbaugh Press, Randy Stapilus blogs about one of Betsy Johnson's six weekend town-hall meetings. The meetings were scheduled well in advance of last week's news coverage - though, unsurprisingly, the news dominated the meetings. Randy hit the one closest to the controversy - in St. Helens:

The people gathered at the Columbia Center auditorium this afternoon, including local city officials and others steeped in the community (and a camera from KATU), were well aware of the history.

And not all of them were fans. Some were, but others were taking lots of notes as Johnson spoke, and some of them had sharp and pointed questions for her. They would not be easily spun.

Johnson sat alone at a table in the middle of the room, only rarely glancing at a notepad as, for 20 minutes or so, she ran through the history of the property and her family’s involvement with it. Toward the end, she said that though the property sales price was $119,000 more than the purchase price, that didn’t include a string of expenses her family made in the process of getting the deal to go through. Her family’s actual profit, she indicated, was somewhere south of $50,000, less than half what the headlines indicate. More to the point, the action on the airport land was so involved and complex over such a long stretch - a decade or so, not three months - that measuring profit becomes a complex proposition.

Said one local man who had been sharply questioning her: “Still dicey, but I’ll accept that.” ...

Johnson started the meeting with a discussion about the Oregonian story and kept at it until all questions (and there were quite a few) were answered. That’s not the standard approach of a duck-and-hide politician. And she countered a string of allegations with a string of credible responses that seemed to satisfy an audience of people who have been living with the saga of the Port of St. Helens and the Scappoose Airport.

Read the rest. Discuss over there.


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