Sizemore: A roundup of the good stuff

Carla Axtman

Billsizemoreperpwalkportlandmercury(Photo: Matt Davis, Portland Mercury)

Unless you've been living under a rock the last couple of days, you probably know that Oregon's very own racketeer ballot initiative wingnut Bill Sizemore spent some time this week on the business end of the Multnomah County jail system.

Sizemore was released yesterday and was joined by his wife. The two of them offered some especially choice quotes for Oregonian reporter Ed Walsh:

He called his 24-hour detention "political," and his wife described him as "a political prisoner." Sizemore also chided Multnomah County Circuit Judge Janice R. Wilson, who on Monday held Sizemore in contempt of court for a fourth time and ordered him jailed until he signed and filed the tax forms as required by an earlier court injunction.

I think its more accurate to say that Bill Sizemore has been holding us as his political prisoners..and this is might very well be our clemency.

"It's a pretty hopeless life that those people are living," he said of his fellow inmates. "I'm actually thankful that I got a chance to meet some of them and see what their life is like. I walked out of here with a sense that there are some lost souls out there that really need some attention and some help that the current system is failing to give them."

(So will Sizemore now introduce a measure to raise taxes in order to rehabilitate prisoners.....? Not a great way to make a buck..and continue to ingratiate yourself with the antitax-at-all-costs folks, eh?)

And the best quote of all...

Waiting for her husband's release, Cindy Sizemore approached a group of reporters and TV photographers in the lobby of the Justice Center.

"Are you guys here to interview the political prisoner?" she asked. "That's what he is, a political prisoner. We're in the communist town of Portland."

Yeah...justice is communism. I'll bet they voted for Bush both times too. Whatev, as my teenager would say.

The judgment itself is a 46 page jewel: extremely well-written and thorough, which you can find here.

And finally, for a dish of the best analysis on Sizemore's comeuppance, Becky Miller at Preemptive Karma serves it up. If you haven't made the time to read Becky's must-read take, its well worth it. Becky was once Sizemore's right-hand woman. She testified against him in 2000 during the racketeering lawsuit. I've had several very long meetings with Becky. She is an encyclopedia on the mess Sizemore has made for himself--and nobody has more right to feel vindicated than Becky. Good for her.

Note: Photo by Matt Davis, Portland Mercury

  • George Anonymuncule Seldes (unverified)

    What's weird is the effort that the Judge and the Oregonian have put in to try and create a false equivalence between Sizemore and the unions bringing the suits (and owed the money) -- the judge included some dicta about the unions using the courts to fight their war on Sleazemore and today's O even had a headline on the jump page calling out "Judge says unions sought political gain" or something like that.

    Funny, I always that that the courts were supposed to be available to provide a forum for the law-abiding to go after the law-breaking. I didn't know that the motivations of the wronged party for going to court mattered. I also don't under understand the need throw in some needless comment on the unions, who have broken no laws and who are acting as unpaid private attorneys-general for all of us by helping corral a lawbreaking miscreant.

  • (Show?)

    I noticed the same thing, George. In his comment to Becky's post, Tim Trickey makes the same equivalence. In each case the motivation seems to be that of trying to avoid the appearance of being unfairly critical of just Sizemore. Presumably the point of that is the (misguided) belief that doing so lends the critical content being offered an air of objectivity. But, even if we grant their premise, it's still an apples to oranges equivalence precisely for the reasons you cite.

    Whatever the union's motivations may or maynot be are as utterly irrelevant to the material facts of the case against Sizemore as what flavor of bagel the Judge prefers with her morning coffee.

  • Tom Carter (unverified)

    Carla, sounds like you have some real wackos up there. We don't have nuts like that in Texas. :)

    Maybe it would be best if your local sheriff got together with that sheriff down in Arizona who makes his inmates sleep in tents in the desert and wear pink underwear. I'm sure they could figure out a way to extradite him. If he's going to be a political prisoner of the communists, why not wear the right underwear and work in a forced labor camp?

  • Becky (unverified)

    I agree that it's odd how the O is covering this story. It's been odd from the very beginning. Back when Sizemore was running for governor and they published that big expose on him, even then it seemed they soft-pedaled the information and could have made it much worse. Again, during the trial, they were vague on explaining what had been done. I chalked it up to lazy journalism at the time, but over the years it has continued to amaze me how little actual good information has been published there, compared to what was really going on. So maybe there is a bias there, and Lars is just providing convenient cover by calling it a fishwrap. Or perhaps it's all about staying sufficiently neutral to avoid upsetting a large segment of their market, who might then drop their subscriptions. If you "follow the money" then that makes the most sense of all.

    Anyway, I've seen what I believe is unethical behavior in the unions' campaigns against Sizemore, but I don't recall seeing illegal behavior, particularly in prosecuting their case against him. So I don't see any equivalency there. Certainly, with all of the well-funded anti-union groups out there prosecuting every union crime they can find, if the Oregon unions were engaging in illegal activity in their fight with Sizemore someone would have taken them to court over it. You'll notice they haven't. And I would also point out that it would be pretty bizarre for me to abandon one crook, whose philosophies I supported, to go and help out a whole other batch of crooks whose philosophies I did not support. By the time I left OTU, I had become so intolerant of lying that I guarantee you if I had seen it going on in the unions' effort to prosecute Sizemore, I would have had nothing to do with them, either. I haven't felt the campaigns run against Sizemore's measures over the years have been fair, but that's an entirely different matter.

    However, Sizemore told me on more than one occasion that because the unions were playing dirty, we had to play dirty - otherwise we couldn't beat them. The convenient little belief that the unions play dirty enabled Sizemore (and probably enables others) to bend and even break the rules because winning the fight was more important than how the fight was fought (all's fair in war - unless it's the other side breaking the rules).

    That said, I believe that his real motivation is something which he acts as if he has not even acknowledged to himself: he has found a way to live a very comfortable life befitting of someone of the importance he has craved since his fairly impoverished childhood. He doesn't know any other way of doing that. All his other ventures have failed. Only by conning wealthy people out of money (money which, in his mind, they have plenty more of, anyway) can he live the lifestyle he wants to live. More than anything, I believe that's why he won't quit until he has no choice. He sees no other way of making that kind of living, and he has no self-discipline or desire to cut back on his spending and get a real job where he has to be answerable to someone else. He tells himself and everyone else that he's in it for the cause (which he actually does believe in), but I believe that is merely a fortunate byproduct of his scheme that enables him to feel better about what he is doing.

  • (Show?)

    The convenient little belief that the unions play dirty enabled Sizemore (and probably enables others) to bend and even break the rules because winning the fight was more important than how the fight was fought (all's fair in war - unless it's the other side breaking the rules).

    I find that sort of situational ethics to be a common thread among conservative moralists, both among so-called christians and among so-called muslims.

  • Jonathan Radmacher (unverified)

    Not to be too much of a lawyer, but the word "illegal" is thrown around a lot in these posts and comments, in a way that I think is inaccurate. In my view, you may be liable for squirreling away assets, or transferring them, or hiding them from creditors, but it's not "illegal" in the sense that it warrants jail time. What does become illegal, in one of the few bridges between civil and criminal law, is when you violate a judge's order -- you can be punished as a criminal (as opposed to only having to pay money). By contrast, an order to pay money has nothing to do with a crime (we don't have debtor's prisons any longer), and you can't be jailed just for failing to pay a debt.

  • Jonathan Radmacher (unverified)

    Does anyone yet have copies of the tax forms that he filled out? Those seem like they might be quite interesting.

  • George Anonymuncule Seldes (unverified)

    Whether illegal acts carry criminal or civil penalties is a matter of history, racism, class bias, and cost-benefit analysis. When the state is the plaintiff, we refer to the case as a prosecution, and the state has access to criminal penalties.

    When an individual or private organization is the plaintiff, we don't let them impose criminal sanctions (imprisonment) on the defendants. But that's the only difference. If what you did isn't illegal, you aren't liable. Your liability comes from breaking the law -- acting illegally, in other words.

  • Chris Andersen (unverified)

    The "we do it this way because the other side does" mentality seems to operate in a lot of right-wing activist minds these days. I've more than once heard defenders of Bush's actions justify them by citing some obscure "bad behavior" on the part of some Democrat. Many of them honestly seem to believe there is a vast conspiracy of liberals/socialists/communists/homosexuals/athiests who are working together to destroy them.

    Paranoia is a major component of the right-wing mentality.

  • Jess Barton (unverified)

    If as Carla says, Sizemore is "Oregon's very own racketeer ballot initiative wingnut," what might be the possibility of a racketeering prosecution, civil or criminal, that could ensnare Sizemore's benefactors, Parks and Wendt?

  • LT (unverified)


    You hit the nail on the head!

    He sees no other way of making that kind of living, and he has no self-discipline or desire to cut back on his spending and get a real job where he has to be answerable to someone else.

    Those who try to make "the unions" out to be bad guys don't realize that it took an organization with strong financial and other resources to take on an initiativemeister who had some broadcasters and others buffoaloed, ("Bill Sizemore, who WILL have a measure on the ballot this year" said months before the deadline for turning in signatures led some to say he should list any such broadcaster as an in-kind contributor on his C & E report)and acting like he was a force of nature who mere humans were incapable of stopping.

    It may come as a surprise to some, but there are many Oregonians who have no use for Sizemore AND have never been union members. But as individuals (esp. those working in retail or customer service where they were required to be nice to customers while Sizemore slammed anyone who disagreed with him), what could they do? Except complain to friends about Sizemore and some of the other activists and radio talk show hosts supporting them, "Let's see that turkey spend a day in my job and see if they survive--I'm not sure they would survive my workday standing here on the sales floor" esp. if the sales floor was cement.

    I was a weekend product demonstrator at the height of Sizemore's power---and that is why I wasn't surprised that all the 2000 measures failed. It was overkill, voters rebelled, tough luck, Bill!

    It was my co-workers I thought of when I saw the pictures of Sizemore being taken to jail. At last, whatever happens in the future, he has seen how the other half lives.

    There are many people doing physically hard work who are not union members and have no use for Sizemore's cushy lifestyle. Calling those people "union dupes" or some such won't change that. And any future ballot measure will a) come under the tough restrictions the legislature has already passed b) allow anyone approached by a petitioner to say "Oh, a Sizemore measure---He was a jailbird, has he paid off his court judgement yet?

    The "Bill, go out in the real world and get a real job like the rest of us" calls will only grow stronger. And whatever disagreements anyone (incl. me) has ever had with any union, they deserve our gratitude for using the "slingshot" of a lawsuit to bring down the guy who considered himself the Goliath of ballot measures!

    Politicians/activists who fail to understand this sentiment will continue to fail in their goals.

  • Ernie D (unverified)

    Bill is morally bankrupt, literally. The Oregonian once wrote that he approached members of his church to buy shares in his toy company. He failed to tell them the company was going through bankruptcy.

    I ran an anti-OTU Website starting in 2000 and have lots on Sizemore. Here is an excellent opinion piece by Steve Duin.

    <h2>I too want to thank Becky for exposing Sizemore.</h2>

    Bill Sizemore: Think small if you think at all

    Sunday, October 22, 2000

    By Steve Duin of The Oregonian staff

    Bill Sizemore is far more than the hand puppet of the privileged few. He is the Pied Piper of the lazy and uninformed, the proud champion of Oregon's ignoble tradition of cheap progressivism.

    He is the latest reminder that we'll forgive a guy anything if he offers us a painless remedy and an easy way out.

    We'll forget that Sizemore once offered a widow $11,000 in hush money if, the widow said, she promised to recant her negative comments about $98,000 in unpaid loans to her dead husband.

    We'll forget the head of Oregon Taxpayers United secured loans for a toy company without telling investors he was in bankruptcy court. We'll nod thoughtfully as Sizemore insists someone else must have provided false information on a 1993 loan application about his history of foreclosures and bad debts.

    We'll even ignore that when Sizemore ran for governor in 1998, he lost to John Kitzhaber by a mere 383,000 votes.

    Although the thought of Sizemore in a position of responsibility sent voters screaming for the exits, Oregonians continue to be an amiable audience for his initiative shtick. And we will remain hospitable to Sizemore regardless of what happens to the six stink bombs he's brought to the November ballot.

    Why? Because he encourages us to think small if we incline to think at all.

    Because he is the embodiment of what Gordon B. Dodds described as Oregon's "adventuresomeness in pursuit of the ordinary."

    An author and historian at Portland State, Dodds has long argued that Oregonians are self-indulgent and lack a civic work ethic.

    "Sizemore has built upon this long-standing tradition of evading responsibility and dodging civic spirit if it's costly," Dodds said. "We do have a progressive tradition, but it's a selective one. The progressive things in Oregon -- the initiative, women's suffrage, the bottle bill and vote by mail -- don't cost anyone any money. If it doesn't require money and work, we'll do it."

    Nothing Sizemore proposes ever costs anyone anything save for "government," that marauding, malevolent, ever-expanding mass that, horror of horrors, maintains our roads, funds our schools, razorwires the prisons and tends the sick and poor. He is Reaganesque in his insistence that we can cut taxes and maintain services during the state's prolonged growth spurt.

    This is a guy, according to the Voters' Pamphlet, who can't count to four, yet deigns to overhaul our revenue system.

    On Nov. 7, Sizemore will take our measure with 92 and 98, which prolong his vendetta against public employees; the "takings" initiative, Measure 7; Measure 95, a stunningly inept attempt to tie teacher pay to student "performance"; and the latest stabs at tax limitation, 91 and 93.

    Of the six, 91 is most likely to pass. That's the one Sizemore defended last Sunday in an Op-Ed piece that concluded: "People would not die in the streets, schools would not close and the sky would not fall."

    And what more could we possibly want from living in Oregon?

    In 1909, Harvey Scott, the proud, ascerbic lash of The Oregonian's editorial page, gazed out at the city he loved and groused: "All Oregonians quit all business and abandon all effort because there is a little snow and cold, but men from Chicago go right on with erection of the Meier & Frank building at eight and ten stories height, placing and riveting the steel beams, covered with ice and snow.

    "From this incident you may see why Chicago is Chicago," Scott wrote.

    The longer Sizemore hangs around, dominating the public debate, revealing our nervous preference for the dullard over the distinguished, you may understand why Oregon remains Oregon.

    "We're going downhill very quickly," Dodds said. When he hears people lament that if something doesn't pass, we'll wind up like Idaho with a coastline, he reminds them Idaho, at least, is "moving in the right direction. We can't laugh at these other places."

    Lest we miss the derisive guffaws they're aiming at us.

  • Byard Pidgeon (unverified)

    Bill Sleazemore has a "real job", with a real estate company run by another nutcase, here in KFalls so he can be close to his sugar daddy, Dick Wendt.

    Bill Sizemore, Real Estate Broker Provides news and information about Bill Sizemore and Oregon Taxpayers United. Includes a contributor list and links to election and initiative sites. - 6k

  • Pedro (unverified)

    KOIN 6 used the same comparison as the Big O did in their 6:00 PM newscast the night Sizemore was jailed. They reported that the Judge spent almost two hours chastising Bill Sizemore, she also told the unions that the timing of their filing was "politically motivated".

    I find that this was actually good reporting. Two hours versus two minutes. The Judge did say it and it does prove that she is fair, balanced and not in the tank for my sisters and brothers in the union movement. No one from any of the plaintiffs organizations was found in contempt or incarcerated.

    Sizemore will keep those ballot measures coming as long as he can get Parks, Wendt, and others to underwrite his filth. It's not enough to just go after Bill any more. We need to follow up and put those jerks in jail as well.

  • George Anonymuncule Seldes (unverified)

    I bet not many of us buy medical gadgets or sexual hypnosis so it's hard to figure out how to boycott Parks, but it seems like it would be real easy to organize a boycott of Jeld-Wen windows or Jen-Weld or whatever they're called and to take it national through the net and union locals all over the country.

    Is this already going on? If not, why not?

  • George Anonymuncule Seldes (unverified)

    Ah, there it is: a nice list of people not to do business with, through, or from:

    I know that the absolute, adamant refusal of many of us to get anywhere near a Shilo Inn has put the helped put the hurt on Hemstreet. Why not share the same love with Wendt?

  • (Show?)

    Political prisoner? ohmyeffinggod. Someone, quick, call Amnesty International! Now! Poor Bill -- he takes precedence over folks at Gitmo....

  • rw (unverified)

    Sizemore's many mug shots and perp walk angles cause me to associate my feelings about him and relish at his fate: me finally exercising power and putting my deadbeat ex-husband in jail in Indian country.

    At the end of some seventeen years of having abandoned my son, never remembering him on birthday, xmas, etc. No support for his health care, his school needs, his heart's needs. And, making over 70,0000/year many of those years, refusing to pay child support unless I could acquire an attorney in both his state and mine or motivate the chaotic and unprofessional support enforcement agents to give a shit about a homeless claim (interstate claims are not supplied dedicated attention in the state of payor nor of recipient family, and there is not ONE single person in the state of Oregon paid to care, per Wu's office staff) in search of enforcement..... well, I was very very late in catching on to the joys of ensuring your ex goes to jail for it. That was not part of my stupidly martyring makeup. I am one of those stupid women who continued to plead with the man to just do the few little easy things that tell a kid he exists, and forget his past hurts and angers at me. Live through his hurting and love, act through his heart, towards his first and much-wanted child. Hah. Dope! Me, that is.

    Every time I see the Sizemore shots, it conjures what my ex must have looked like when, after seventeen years of doing what the hell he pleased instead of what was right for this wonderful son, well, it had to be a maximum shattering of countless and untold belief systems within him to find he, too, was subject to some kind of law. Sizemore is, I have no doubt, the same kind of man as my ex-husband. I do not know what hurts he took on as a little boy, but he is playing out something so pitiful, I suppose it would be the act of a good Buddhist to look upon him with calm compassion.

    I did not want to put the guy in jail - people lose jobs that way, so what purpose would it serve? I do not understand power. I also was not even aware there was a warrant still sitting out there for so many years... I did not understand power, my power. And so it was, at the very end of it all, I confess to relishing the act of having him pulled from whatever traffic stop, driving gig or family meal or other, to experience that there is no justice in this world, only, ultimately, balance.

    I'm a bad, bad woman. And so it is I find myself again, in a guilty state of relish: I've passionately wanted to see Sizemore go to jail and the courts to make him pay what he owes. Just pay what you owe, man.

  • Sinny Sizedmore (unverified)

    Posted by: Kristin | Dec 4, 2008 8:48:05 PM

    Political prisoner? ohmyeffinggod. Someone, quick, call Amnesty International! Now! Poor Bill -- he takes precedence over folks at Gitmo....

    They haven't accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour! We are not perfect but we are saved, saved from all suffering here and later, which includes any job that doesn't fit our station, time in jails, financial insecurity and so much more! He's only in jail because he got involved with politics, so he's a political prisoner. Every charity with full-time staff positions in Portland is a con, but they have national respect. OSPIRG break more corrupt organizations laws than we ever did!

  • Ernie D (unverified)
    <h2>Let's not forget that Sizemore pushed for a sales tax. Although it would have replaced most "local" property taxes, renters along with middle class and lower income people would have lost. It sounds like a spread the wealth scheme to me benefiting the likes of Dick Wendt (Jen-Weld), Loren Parks, Mark Hemstreetand (Shilo Inns) who all own high-value Oregon property.</h2>

    Published in The Salem Statesman Journal, September 2, 2001.

    State officials reject sales tax proposal

    The attorney general says Bill Sizemore's ballot initiative covers multiple subjects.

    The Associated Press August 21

    State election officials are blocking initiative activist Bill Sizemore from circulating petitions for a proposed sales tax on grounds the measure violates constitutional requirements.

    "The attorney general is playing God," Sizemore said.

    A spokesman for Attorney General Hardy Myers said state lawyers are just doing a job that's required by the courts in evaluating proposed ballot measures.

    "In reviewing proposed initiatives, we have to use our best discretion as to whether they pass" court standards to qualify for the ballot, said Myers' spokesman, Kevin Neely.

    Myers' office advised the secretary of state Thursday that Sizemore's proposed ballot measure contains too many changes to legally be included in a single constitutional amendment.

    "The proposed measure embraces multiple amendments that must be made separately," Myers' office said in a letter to Elections Director John Lindback.

    Sizemore disagreed with that conclusion and said the process has become arbitrary and unfair.

    Sizemore said an appeal of the decision likely would take so long to settle that he would not have enough time to gather enough signatures to qualify the proposal for the ballot.

    The initiative would create a 4 percent state sales tax to replace most local property taxes. It would allow lawmakers to allocate up to $100 million a year to pay landowners whose property values dropped because of government regulation and would also earmark a share of the revenue to schools.

    Lawyers said the multiple changes in the initiative are not "closely related," a requirement handed down in 1998 by the Oregon Supreme Court for measures to meet the single-amendment requirement.

  • stainless steel tube (unverified)

    so good! so great! stainless steel pipe manufacturer

  • Clayton W. (unverified)

    "The attorney general is playing God," Sizemore said.

    Allowing that in government only gives scum like Sizemore a defense. Hardy does play God and is quite proud of the fact. I used to belong to an unnamed social fraternity with him and when he'd had one too many it would always come around to someone that wasn't SEIU having something in writing with a State agency, which agency totally reneged and they were sure they had an airtight case and Hardy would just smile and say "no" and watch their expression. He decides what gets prosecuted and what don't on a completely arbitrary basis and gets a major erection out of watching the sudden feeling of being pinned like a bug display on the victims' face.

    I don't think I've ever met a major player in State government, non-pol in particular, forget the AG, that isn't as anti- "Oregon since the 1970s crap" as anyone you would ever meet. They've got a really good deal going that you vote funds for progressive projects, then the people that opposed them get the jobs, screw up the works, then leave and campaign that the idea didn't work. That's why it took Dallas 20 years to get light rail. They grew up. Y'all haven't, so your laws against whatever only scare a total idiot like Sizemore. They don't scare me!


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