Mayor 2012: The Oregonian drops the ball

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

Yesterday, Evan Manvel posted the TV ad that went up late last week from the Jefferson Smith campaign - focused on the CRC. Also late last week, the Eileen Brady campaign released a new spot in which she talks about her priorities - and a desire to "get things done". Check it out.

By my count, that's four spots for Brady, two spots for Smith, and two three spots for Charlie Hales.

Of course, Hales was forced to pull one two of the spots after the Oregonian's Janie Har blew the whistle on his claim of helping avert a school funding crisis, calling his claim "flat wrong". As Har noted, it wasn't a small error.

Here's a video compilation of the numerous times that Hales claimed to have partnered with Mayor Vera Katz to avert a four-week early school closure by committing $10 million of city funds to Portland schools.

As you can see, this wasn't a slip of the tongue or a brief misstatement. Over and over, Charlie Hales tells a rather detailed story about the choices they faced, the "controversial" and "tough" decision that he had to make, how he worked closely with Mayor Katz to get it done.

This story has been a central proof point - an anchor - of his claim to have the kind of inside-the-city management and budget experience that the next mayor will need.

The Oregonian's Janie Har uncovered a huge story in the mayor's race -- that one of the candidates had a huge falsehood right in the middle of their core storyline. And yet, what did the Oregonian do with that story? They buried it. Back on page B2. And with a headline that minimized the story - "Hales errs in TV ad; admits mistake"

The O's Steve Duin knows it's a big story. He calls Charlie's claim a "whopper" and "total baloney". Duin correctly notes that Hales still isn't coming clean:

[A]sk yourself if Hales is really owning up to this whopper when he says, "I apologize for not being accurate. It appears that what happened is I merged in my mind the whole series of times when I voted in office to help schools with another time when I was advocating for schools but out of office."

Har knows it's a big story. Duin knows it's a big story. So why is the Oregonian burying it in print? Is this yet another one of those examples where they've decided it's too close to the election to actually cover the news?

It seems to me that getting a date confused is easy. Confusing a few facts or figures is easy. I'm hardly unbiased, of course. But how does someone have an entire memory with interesting details and political intrigue of something that never actually happened?

And this isn't the first time, either. Remember last June when Hales told Willamette Week's Corey Pein that he'd always paid his taxes in Oregon?

In an interview with WW last week, Hales said he had always been an Oregon resident for tax purposes, and had lived in his Southeast Portland home since purchasing it in 2007. "I've never changed my residency for tax purposes," Hales said on Thursday.

It was only after WW uncovered the tax records that showed he'd been a Washington resident from 2004 to 2009. Five years! I have no idea how someone who claims be a hands-on manager with expertise in budgets could be confused or mistaken about where he lives and files his taxes.

The best part of all this? Steve Duin takes note of one self-important quote that Charlie Hales surely wishes he had back.

"I went to the University of Virginia, where there is a single-sanction honor system that the university is rightly proud of, where if you lie, cheat or steal and you're found guilty of those things you're off the campus in 24 hours. I still believe and respect that kind of clarity about how we operate."

Of course, there's one obvious explanation that we're probably all overlooking. Inception.

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    Full disclosure: My firm built Eileen Brady's campaign website. I speak only for myself.

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      Small technical note, Kari: the years 2004 to 2009 are actually six years, not five, since it is an inclusive range of 2004, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. (We computer wonks are familiar with: )

      All the details of his voting/tax residency issues are of course still here, including a new filing today regarding the Multnomah County ITAX:

      The latest filing is here:

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    It will be interesting to see, tomorrow, whether Willamette Week short sells the story too, for some of the same reasons.

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      Argh! Evan, I understand you oppose the CRC but why do you have to post such misleading claims?

      PORTLAND is not signing on for four billion dollars in debt! Please be honest and post OUR PORTION of the CRC costs, not the Federal, not the State, not the State of Washington.

      And this in a thread about truth and honesty. How ironic.

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        Where does he imply Portland signs on for all of the debt? And PortlandERS are certainly signed on for their share of the federal cost as well.

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      Her calling for congestion tolling does solve congestion problems. Once that goes into place, the CRC issues the DOTs care about will be all but moot and the new design will be able to reflect new realities.

      Not sure why you guys don't jump all over congestion tolling, it's a great idea.

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    Update: An eagle-eyed tipster tells me that Hales put up a new ad late last week - and pulled it almost immediately. I've updated the post above.

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      how about "anything she can"? you can either admit powerlessness, make a tepid "well, if i can, i will", or you can step up boldly. she believes that the same kind of coalition-building that help insure 94,000 kids in Oregon (thru the OR Health Fund Board) can bring together the people & ideas necessary for this. and given the growing divide between public, teachers & PPS - well, why not the Mayor to lead resolution? who else?

      (i work part-time for the Brady campaign but speak only for myself)


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