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Tuesday, August 11, 2009


For a long time, I have admired the work of Lee Perlman, who covers local land use shenanigans for the Hollywood Star News and other local publications. But this is bizarre. Isn't what he reportedly did there a crime? It should be.

Comments (39)

The dark side of the followers of Saul Alinksky's tactics usually emerges sooner or later..... These folks never did have much respect for anyone other than themselves.... their behavior towards others in their own movement led to the create of a lot of the liberations movements that came out of the 60s. They always were selfish and self centered children.

I don't see why this should be a crime. This looks like mere civil disobedience. In fact, this is far less disruptive than other forms of civil disobedience like blocking access to public buildings or disrupting city council meetings.

In addition, we don't know exactly what happened. However, my personal experience is that those signature gatherers universally misrepresent what the petition to increase their own bottom line. Refusing to sign does not provide much disincentive to deter the lying. Perlman's method does.

What this guy did should be a crime, trying to destroy a signed petition is disgusting. I would think it would atleast be disorderly conduct or maybe some sort of vandalism charge. And to Dave C, let me guess you are a Scam Adams supporter...also all signature gatherers in the recall are not paid, all volunteers.

This is no surprise.
He probably worships Sam like a GOD since he has swallowed city policies hook, line and sinker.

I always found him highly opinionated with a closed mind to any facts against his beliefs in smart growth, high density and mass transit for all (except him of course). You can even see the cheer leading in his articles.

You learn a lot about someone when you offer and opposing viewpoint.

As to any question about his guilt, WW finally contacted him and he admitted to having really sloppy handwriting.(However, there is a always a long shot of some sort of mis-communication.)

Yeah, there is always a dark side to protesting government.

I'm sure the Boston Tea Party discolored the bay quite dark.

How profound. What Perlman did, however, was disrupt a protest of government.

I think there's still a few more minutes of the Lars show that you're missing.

those signature gatherers universally misrepresent what the petition to increase their own bottom line.

In this case, the signature gatherers are not being paid, and that fact is common knowledge. And so your comment is actually quite misleading.

Refusing to sign does not provide much disincentive to deter the lying. Perlman's method does.

If I saw Perlman scribble over my signature, he surely would not like my method of dealing with him.

Probably just another reporter angling for a $55K/year gig with the Adams administration, a la Amy Ruiz.

Childish dissent seems to be in vogue these days. Devolution is afoot. Tantrums are the new debate.

I shared reporting duties with Perlman for years at the Multnomah and then SW Portland Post. My experience is that it goes without saying that most journalists lean left, if not far left. Still, this is surprising from a guy I always read as a balanced reporter. Sign of the times, everybody's angry.

I fear that somebody's going to get shot soon.

One can't cover all of those neighborhood association meetings, the tedious shifts in utility services, the comings and goings of retail businesses and permit requests etc. without being a bit of an eccentric, perhaps even a bit autistic. High functioning, but on a different interpersonal frequency.

What he did was wrong, and I think the Portland police ought to investigate the scribble with all the rigor and discipline they brought to their investigation of Adams wiping out two cars with his zipper down and reeking of beer.

I've also appreciated Perlman's notes on development issues in the Star. Frankly the Star is the best source for this sort of info regarding NE Portland, and the idea that Perlman is in the pocket of developers is absurd for anyone who has actually read his reportage. Defacing a petition seems just weird. Is there in fact any recourse? No rational judge would accept Perlman's BS about having sloppy handwriting.

I agree, fred.

I suspect that it was either the individual passing the petition, or the approach used by the petitioner, was offensive to Lee. His comment about his handwriting could have been readily dismissed by comparing it to the writing on his ever-present notepad.

Yes, Lee is a slob. But not that much of a slob.

....maybe he thought the petitioner was going to kill his grandmother?

Where are these signature gatherers? I live in downtown and have wanted to sign the petition. Never once seen a petition or this dude who would scribble over it. Is this a fake recall drive??

I think many "cool" portland reporters truly believe that questioning "Smart Growth" too much will lead to unspeakable chaos. A friend of mine who ran for Metro Council in the 1990s had a reporter she was talking with from the Oregonian shoot her emails over to the smart crowd at Metro. Dissent from Nirvana is perceived as unacceptable heresy and dissenters demonized. Horribly. I believe I lost a job because of something similar a reporter did. Too many believe they are Guardians of all things Cool and righteous. But Perlman must have known he was doing wrong, or he wouldn't have made the excuse about his sloppy writing.

Childish dissent seems to be in vogue these days. Devolution is afoot. Tantrums are the new debate.

Is it any wonder. Our society embraces the lowest common denominator of people. When the underwear habits of Paris Hilton stop being "breaking news" maybe the future will look bright once again.

I haven't always agreed with Perlman's writings/opinions, but respected him - what a disappointment that he would do something like this and then call it sloppy handwriting. He has lost my respect. So sad.

In this case, the signature gatherers are not being paid, and that fact is common knowledge. And so your comment is actually quite misleading.

The key phrase here is in this case. I was addressing whether this type of conduct should be a crime, not Perlman's particular behavior or the recall. I assume that a criminal statute would not distinguish between paid or volunteer signature gatherers, nor would it be limited to recall petitions. Thus, it seems misleading to me to bring up facts of this particular situation rather than addressing the real issue of whether we as a society want to regulate minor civil disobedience or whether expressive conduct we don't like should be protected by the First Amendment.

Dave: You did say "universally."

...those signature gatherers universally misrepresent what the petition to increase their own bottom line."

Dave C. - you clearly have never participated in a petition drive. You may not even have ever circulated a single petition sheet.
Have you even ever signed a petition?
I have. It is very difficult. I don't know about paid petitioners, I've always been an unpaid volunteer. That means I cared passionately about the issue we were attempting to put on the ballot. Just a few years ago, petition sheets could hold 20 signatures.

Now, it is ten signature lines, but the effort to ask a stranger whether he is an active, registered voter; whether he would like to sign your petition; to explain the issue if he is unfamiliar with it (often people know all about your issue), takes many hours of your precious life that you can never recover.

I will admit the effort can be very rewarding, especially when you get the issue on the ballot, campaign for passage... and WIN!
Most of the people who sign the petitions are friendly and supportive of what they recognize as democracy in action.

BTW, please go to www.recallSamAdams.com to find out everything you need to know about the effort: where to find a petition, how to get and circulate a petition, and other interesting stuff.

I have frequently run across Lee at various events in SW Portland. His reportage thereon has very little relation to the actual events. He is a tireless cheerleader for Adams and hasoutinely distorted his coverage of Afdams' activities as PBOT / PDOT commissioner.

The SW Portland Post's "reporting" on the "reprogramming" (or, in common parlance "theft") of $ 10 million from SoWhat street improvement SDCs, over the voiciferous objections of Adam's "transportation cabinet", in January 2009, for use on the Milwaukie light rail line is the most recent and most obvious example of Lee's sycophant approach to reporting. Lee apparently never noticed the 20 folks in the room screaming at Adams.

I've know Lee since his Office of Neighborhood Involvement days long ago. He's been a dogged, intrepid and no doubt underpaid reporter who's sat through more meetings than anyone should ever have to.

Superficially it seems like a dumb thing to have done, but who knows what happened. I've found some petitioners over the years who could make someone momentarily snap. Let he who is without dumb things done, throw the first stone, and all that...

"[Strike Superficially] [Insert Blatantly] it seems like a dumb thing to have done"

Twisted reality play, Frank?

If the signature gatherer immediately punched Lee Perlman in the face would Lee Perlman have any recourse? Would such a punch promote civil order?

If the Portland Mercury had set out to promote this sort of civil disorder (a competitor for notoriety and ads) I trust that they would have announced their plan ahead of time. And when confronted about it express an unabashed childish pride. It is a matter of integrity.

How about a Clintonesque denial: No, I did not have scribble with that paper.

I'd think those whose signatures were already on the sheet would have a pretty good legal claim against Mr. Lee if that sheet is disqualified because of his actions. Wouldn't be that hard to track them down since the address is right there...

This is on a par with peeing in a public pool. Crass and immature - defacing something that didn't belong to him because he felt like doing it.

I don't care what his excuse is, what he did was wrong and his behavior when questioned by Willamette Week sounded smug and unrepentent.

Lee will have to fill up the gas tank to scribble at all these locations:

Upcoming events to cover: Community to Recall Sam Adams

08/13/Thursday Couch Park--Concert in the Park 6:30 pm NW 20th and Glisan
08/15/Saturday Pie-Off--Peninsula Park with County Commissioner Jeff Cogan 1pm
08/15/Saturday Multnomah Days--ALL DAY Breakfast 8:30 parade at 10 am activities until 10 pm
08/16/Sunday Hawthorne Street Fair--Sunday Parkway event closed streets between 30th & 50th 11am-5pm
08/16/Sunday King Farmer's Market 10am-2pm NE Wygant and 14th
08/18/Tues Job Fair at the Hilton 921 SW 6th 10am-3pm
08/19/Wed Ventura Park--Concert in the park--SE Stark between 113th and 117th 6pm
08/21 & 22 Wild Arts Festival--2701 NW Vaughn/Montgomery Park
Sat/Sun Sat--10am-6pm Sun 11-5
08/22/Sun Lauralhurst Park--Concert in the Park-- 5:30 pm 40's Big Band music

End of August: Festa Italiana 27/28/29 Pioneer Court House Square
NHRA Drags at PIR 28/29/30???
Joel Osten at the Rose Garden 7pm

The Hawthorne Street Fair and the Job Fair can use a LOT of Petitioners

Farmer's Markets
Saturday--8am-2pm--Parkrose--Parkrose HS Parking lot
Saturday--8am-1pm--Hollywood--Hancock between 44th &45th
Sunday--10am-2pm---Hillsdale--between Reike and Wilson Schools
Sunday--9am-2pm-----Lents --SE 92nd and Foster
Sunday--10am-2pm--King Farmer's Market NE Wygant and 14th
Tuesday--10am-2pm--Lloyd--Oregon Square NE Holladay between 7th & 9th Avenues
Tuesday--11:30-3:30pm--OHSU--SW Sam Jackson Rdat US Veterans Hospital Rd.
Wednesday--3-7pm--Interstate north Fremont at N. Interstate
Wednesday--3:30-7:30pm-- Moreland--SE Bybee at 14th Avenue
Thursday--3:30-7:30--Eastbank--Hinson Baptist Church Parking lot 1137 SE 20th Ave

There are a number of Beaver Baseball games this month. Home stand from August 14-21st--two different home stands
Then again on the 26-30. Has anyone tried these?

FARMERS MARKETS/POST OFFICES/LLOYD CENTER/---Whatever you can think of including canvassing your neighborhood.

Please Respond back and let me know which areas you are hitting.

Teresa McGuire
Community to Recall Sam Adams

Whatever Lee's motives, he wasn't very smart - his actions are likely to cause many more signatures to be gathered than what he possibly might have rendered invalid by this action.

Alinsky was smarter than that. He would have known this.

This was a violation of ORS 260.567, which prohibits a person other than the person from altering or obscuring any information about a person who signed a petition sheet.

Under the current penalty matrix, Mr Perlman would appear to be liable for a fine of up to $1000 per instance of such obfuscation, though the SOS' current administrative rules count all violations on one sheet as a single violation.

Oregon Statutes - Chapter 260 - Campaign Finance Regulation; Election Offenses - Section 260.567 - Alteration of information on petition signature sheet; exceptions.

(1) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, a person other than the person who signed the signature sheet of an initiative, referendum, recall or candidate nominating petition or a certificate of nomination may not write, alter, correct, clarify or obscure on the signature sheet any information about the person who signed the signature sheet.

(2) A person other than the person who signed the signature sheet may:

(a) Alter, correct, clarify or obscure on the signature sheet any information about the person who signed the signature sheet if the line on which the signature appears is subsequently initialed by the person who signed the signature sheet; or

(b) Write, alter, correct, clarify or obscure on the signature sheet any information about the person who signed the signature sheet if the person who signed the signature sheet is a person with a disability and requests assistance in writing, altering, correcting, clarifying or obscuring on the signature sheet any information about the person.

(3) As used in this section:

(a) "Information about the person who signed the signature sheet" means any information regarding the person who signed the signature sheet of an initiative, referendum, recall or candidate nominating petition or a certificate of nomination, in addition to the signature of the person, that is required or requested to be supplied on a signature sheet of an initiative, referendum, recall or candidate nominating petition or a certificate of nomination.

(b) "The person who signed the signature sheet" means the person whose signature will be submitted for verification under ORS chapter 249 or ORS 250.105, 250.215, 250.315 or 255.175 for the purpose of determining whether the petition or certificate contains the required number of signatures of electors. [2007 c.848 ยง7b]

Our legal team is already in contact with the DA's office to hold Mr. Perlman accountable. They have informed me that it may take a few weeks for charges to be brought against him.

Our volunteers are unpaid, non-aggressive and polite. This incident happened out side of Albina Community Bank when one of the Committee members and a volunteer were making a deposit of donations. They had a petition and saw a few people and asked if they wanted to sign. Mr. Perlman then decided to silence the voice of 8 other citizens who had signed the petition.

With Sam Adams' silence and lack of leadership to control those who apparently subscribe to his "Win at Any Cost" mantra; the Recall campaign needs your help now.

Please do visit the website and sign up to get a petition to circulate and donate 4 hours of your time this month to collect signatures.

Together we will make our government better,

Jasun Wurster


Perlman ever have a gig in a main stream news outlet?

I have known Lee for years, respected much of his work, and I am sad to see that he apparently lost his temper. I would hope that is is just a one time aberation and that the consequences of his actions in this case do not cause further harm to anyone.

After reading Jason Wurster's report of what happened, I've concluded that what Perlman did is simply political terrorism.

Parallel to the right wing nut jobs who blow up abortion clinics or shoot abortion providers.

I plan to start asking some really pointed questions of Snedecor who runs the SW Post and runs a lot of Perlman's stuff.

I don't see how anyone could justify Perlman's actions on this, no matter what the provocation. I can't think of anything that would have caused me to do the same thing to any of the odious Bill Sizemore's signature-gathering operations.

On a side note, the "Blame Alinsky First" crowd seems to be taking their cues from the same well as the "Soros Is teh Root of All Evil" and "Obama Is a Socialist" groups. I remember back when Hillary Clinton was the Democratic frontrunner for 2008 and there was a big foo-fraw over the fact that Alinsky was her "mentor." On the one hand, I suppose it's good to see the right has the concept of recycling down pat, but on the other hand it sure would be nice to see some original thinking out of them once in a while. The Red Scare/McCarthy stuff is so mid-20th century. Heck, Barack Obama wasn't even born until four years after McCarthy died (assuming, of course that you believe he was born in Hawaii in 1961 and not a 12-foot lizard hatched from an egg in Kenya).

Lawrence, my ancestors (mother's side) in fact dumped tea in the Boston harbor. This situation is far different thant that. The colonials had no legal recourse to deal with what the British monarchy was imposing on them. The Brits had all the power. In this case, those who are protesting bad actions (lying) by a government official are using legal means to seek recourse. Perlman is a just a pawn of those in power. And he is essentially trying to thrawt grass roots political action. The Boston patriots were extreme in the grass roots activity but it's all they had. Perlman could use his bully pulpit (newspaper gig) to make his case, instead of beign a bully.

darrelplant, I was an activist in the '70s on the left side. I used to be an left anarchist but crap like Perlman's actions makes me believe that humans are not evolved enough for no government just yet. So lumping me in with the "blame Alinsky first" crowd is a bit unfounded. Alinsky's tactics often involved bullying and thinking your POV was the only valid one. And let's not leave out that his crowd were just as sexist as their counterparts on the right. The women's movement came out of the left because of how poorly they were treated by leftist men. Truly enlightened change comes out of dialogue and working to find common ground and common solutions. Alinsky and his crowd would never have cared about that point of view. And that's not to say that as a human that I don't sometimes fight fire with fire but for true change to occur, the ends will never justify the means.

Jasun, you want justice from the Multnomah County DA's office. Good luck with that. They have a history of letting elected officials off. Heck if that Parkrose school board member walked away from an assault beef back a bit ago, what makes you think you stand a chance with a lackey of Sam's?

Thanks for the analysis LucsAdvo. I travelled a similar path and have come to similar conclusions.

The highest profile Alinsky devotee in Portland for several decades running has been Jim Francesconi. "By their works thee shall know them." Stinkeroo!

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