Strong words from Dave Lister

Over at the Mercury's blogtown, Scott Moore is blogging that Dave Lister, former City council candidate and frequent Voter-Owned Elections critic, also filed an less-than-accurate C&E information on four reports.  Lister charged earlier this week on this blog that Auditor Blackmer's zeal to see the VOE system succeed may have clouded his judgement, and that even "a ten-year old should have been able to spot the fraud."

Read the amusing Mercury piece here.

For context, here's more of what Lister wrote following right-wing fraudster Golovan's conviction:

All the players in this saga seem slimy, but I would still like to hear an explanation from Gary Blackmer as to how those clearly fraudulent signatures passed muster in his office. What exactly was the dynamic in his office, or the back and forth between he and Susan Francois, the elections officer at the time, that allowed Boyles to be given the money. From what I’ve heard, they randomly sampled a few signatures and checked a Portland phone book to make sure they were in residence. Based on what I saw on KATU’s website, a ten year old would have spotted the fraud.

You have to wonder if Blackmer’s zeal to see the system he co-authored succeed clouded his judgement in making the grant.

One thousand signatures is not very many. I hope the public campaign finance commission has insisted that each and every one of them be verified, rather than some kind of random sampling.

And Moore's take:

Strong words, Lister! Even a 10-year-old could have caught it!

That got “some people” wondering…if a 10-year-old could have caught Golovan’s signature fraud, how well could a 52-year-old city council candidate do in checking his own paperwork? As it turns out, Lister probably could have used that 10-year-old to double check his own filings.

On four separate contributions and expenditures reports (pdf) during his 2006 effort to unseat Erik Sten, Lister listed one of his donors, Rob Kremer ($450), as being the president of the Oregon Education Association, the state’s teachers union and the largest public employee union in the state.

Kremer is not only not the president of the OEA, but he’s also probably one of the organization’s biggest detractors. He’s an active advocate of charter schools, and ran for superintendent of education in 2002 on a platform of saving money by firing state employees. He and the OEA don’t exactly have a lot in common, leading one observer to wonder if giving Kremer that title was some kind of “lame libertarian humor.”

Kremer is, however, the president (sole member?) of the Oregon Education Coalition, whose mission is “helping teachers and parents take their schools back from the bureaucrats.”

As they say, mistakes happen. Which is why everyone needs a 10-year-old on retainer.


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    Hrm. This seems a little ticky-tack to me. Somebody, maybe Dave, maybe a volunteer, accidentally put "Coalition" where they meant "Association"? Um, yeah, all of our C&E reports should be so clean.

    I'm not willing to go along with Dave's slam on the auditor's shop (though I've had my share of disagreements with them - on VOE), but I'll agree with his prescription: They oughta check every single signature and donation. Every single one.

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    Looks like Scott reached on that one, unfortunately.

  • Urban Planning Overlord (unverified)

    It's "separate."

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    Yeah, it's one word, but one word from an organization that's designed to sound like something it's not. Phony organizations -- i.e. "Republicans for Clean Air" types -- are irritating.

    Scott wasn't making this out to be anything bigger than it was, but did have some fun with it given what Lister was saying Monday.

    More to Dave Lister's original comment: In what parallel universe would Blackmer's original approval of the Boyles signatures -- given the scandal that ensued -- help Voter-Owned Elections "succeed"? That charge just doesn't even make any sense to me.

  • Miles (unverified)

    Scott Moore is a punk-ass "journalist" who needs to find a new gig. Seriously, I try to maintain composure on these blogs, but anyone who is going to compare the City's approval of patently fraudulent signatures -- resulting in the misappopropriation of $150,000 -- to the mistaken use of "association" instead of "coalition", is an idiot.

    Anyone who reposts this garbage isn't much better.

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    Hey, thanks for the shout-out, Miles. Good to see you maintaining composure.

    Anywho, yes, this was a bit of fun at Dave's expense, not some attempt at unearthing a Major Political Scandal. In fact, it's hard to not agree with most of Dave's sentiment--1,000 signatures isn't so many that the auditor's office shouldn't be able to check each one, especially if the sigs are submitted in batches. And that level of scrutiny will only add to the credibility of the VOE program.

  • PeteJacobsen (unverified)

    I thought the problem was not that the signatures were invalid, but rather that the $5 donation was not collected. Not so?

  • ellie (unverified)

    Gee, I'm glad I wasted two minutes of my time reading (and responding to) this crap.

  • Becky (unverified)

    The mistake merely points at the ignorance of the treasurer (or whoever entered data into the computer) about Oregon's recent political history and its public employee unions. The mistake was probably made by a young, fresh activist who simply didn't know and was not something the candidate would ever have seen. Of course it's funny, but it really doesn't mean anything at all.

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    I don't think Dave had any young fresh activists, but in any case he admitted it was his personal error at the Merc, didn't he?

  • O Willamette Mercury (unverified)

    Aren't we all so very clever? Meanwhile there's a broken VOE system that needs fixing.

  • Dave Lister (unverified)

    Thanks for the comments folks. It was absolutely my own stupid mistake. I didn't have anyone but me doing the C&E's and the campaign database work. I incorrectly pulled the name of Rob's organization out of my head and carried the error forward. It's absolutely fair for Scott to pull a "pot calling the kettle black" on me for this one. I also don't mind people having laughs at my expense... Lord knows I have plenty of my own.

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    "It's absolutely fair for Scott to pull a "pot calling the kettle black" on me for this one."

    Due respect to Scott-but I disagree that it's fair. Your mistake was one of identification, nearly irrelevant to an evaluation of your candidacy. I'm not seeking to impugn the Auditor's Office on their practices, but failing to recognize illegitimate signatures (or at least failing to have a strong policy to prevent them) would be a substantive error that is nothing BUT relevant to the efficacy of VOE. If their pot is black, your kettle is merely a little gray from the soot.

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    your kettle is merely a little gray


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    Dave, good reply.

    Scott, good eye.

    Everyone else, good god! Go enjoy the sunshine.

  • Jesse B. (unverified)

    This doesn't feel like it should be "in the news."

    What's the news, a blog battle of words?

  • Da Scrump (unverified)

    ...and a certain amount of hubris is to be expected when you have a sapient cat...

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    Wait a minute, folks: Blackmer's office could not do things that are not specified in the law nor possible as the law was written.

    Under the original law, in order to be certified, all Blackmer's office was empowered to do was to certify the appropriate number of contributions (see 2.10.180 here were from city residents.

    Imagine for a moment if Blackmer's office had interpreted this as Lister suggests--running a signature check (which is not specified anywhere in the legislation). Wouldn't a candidate have legal grounds to challenge this because Blackmer is going outside of the language of the statute?

    Furthermore, let's suppose Blackmer did want to interpret 2.10.180.B broadly, the way Dave Lister suggests. The problem is that it is not a valid way to certify because the law did not require contributors to be registered voters.

    Under the original (non amended) VOE system, there was no assurance that there would be a digital signature on record at the county elections office.

    The only way to validate the signatures, then, would be to check if the listed addresses are within city boundaries.

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    <h2>Change that last line to "validate the contributors"</h2>
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