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Thursday, September 1, 2011

The O completely misses the point

Portland's daily newspaper printed a curious editorial yesterday about the Portland public school election abuse scandal. The Oregon Secretary of State's office has found that 11 school district employees broke state law by campaigning for last May's school tax bond measure on taxpayer time, using taxpayer money to produce and mail campaign literature.

The O doesn't really seem to care about that. Instead, the editorial board launches into a diatribe about how the school board has too many public relations people on staff. That's an interesting point -- one that's been made on this blog, and especially by Willamette Week in an excellent study of local propaganda -- but it's really beside the point of the election abuse.

This wasn't a close case. The school board blatantly touted the bond measure in several documents produced on school district time, with school district money. The school board tries to exonerate itself by saying it sent the state some documents to review on April 4, but the most offensive of the documents -- a campaign mailer -- arrived in our mailbox the week of March 28. (That one alone admittedly cost $36,500, but there was more taxpayer time and money involved than that, according to the state's findings.)

It's apparent that the folks at the school board didn't make a good faith effort to comply. They pushed the envelope, hard, and now they have been busted for it.

This is not about the number of p.r. people the school board has -- not at all. That's a different story -- one the O so characteristically missed -- and it's not the biggest problem the school district brass face right now. Either the newspaper doesn't grasp what's going on, or it's trying to create a diversion.

Comments (5)

Perception manipulation and management are old stories that are now more obvious with our budget issues.

I'm more concerned about the coming manipulations of the public assets know as schools and the land they sit on. With D Wynde moving into a position on the PPS staff to help "maximize" value of facilities and lands, we should all be concerned.

PPS has refused numerous public records requests to even supply proof of legal title to those properties they manage for the public.

Wouldn't it be nice to know that if a bond ever does pass, they actually have clear and legal title to those properties, and if they dispose of more than the 33 facilities they have in the recent past, they had a legal right to do so?

They wanted $14000+ for something I could produce for my own property within a minute. Constructive denials are just more perception management.

Just where did those proceeds go and how is selling these ever a good idea when the value exceeds the proceeds by an astronomical ratio?

More short term thinking and greed. Add in a banker and I anticpate more disposals and rationalizations for "redevelopment". Who does benefit from redevelopment? Another old story.

For me, many of the public properties were donated to PPS long ago with covenants and restriction to encumber title, so political shenanigan of the sort we seem to encounter on a daily basis would cause those properties to remain in the public treasury.

PPS believes they are not subject to state or local law and are an island unto themselves.

They have violated ORS statutes and local zoning laws repeatedly and intentionally, yet go unpunished.

Just another case of the adversarial relations of those who mange real property and facilities for the public and those who actually own the property.
Now you see the need for perception management that the O seems to criticize while redirecting the conversation away from illegal acts which are the issue.

The newspaper frames it as an us vs. them power struggle. The O is on the readers' side.

That diversion is need because the paper doesn't want readers to focus on it being outreported and outscooped -- the real reporting is coming from Jack and his readers. So the newspaper frames the issue in adversarial terms -- it can and probably will later attack Jack as a partisan. In the meantime, Jack's site views ticked up during what is normally the slowest month of the year.

Meet the sanctimonious O in the middle.

Land, land, land....
All about the land and when that land belongs to the public, careful stewardship is needed.
Apparently, that hasn't been the case here with public property and/or assets.
Who is watching out for the public besides some concerned citizens?
Any elected officials have this as a priority?

The Oregonian probably knew they had a story but decided not to ruffle the wrong feathers.

Wrong feathers must not be ruffled here and apparently the elected officials must not ruffle them either. So it appears we have the scene here where their position is more important to them than doing what is right for the people.

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