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Friday, October 7, 2011

The sound of silence

Late in August, there was quite a ruckus (first reported here) over the proposed fines of several top Portland public school honchos for violating state election laws in connection with last May's school tax bond election. The school district was calling in the Miller Nash law firm to work on a possible appeal, but then somebody noticed that the fines were against the individual officials, and questioned whether the school district could legally pay that firm's fees.

As best we can tell, the deadline for filing appeals has passed. Did the school honchos actually appeal, or did they pay up their measly $75 fines? Maybe we missed something, but as best we can tell no one in the local mainstream media has followed up on the story. That would be a shame, because the school board's cavalier attitude toward the election laws is an extremely important issue.

Comments (7)

No one in the local media followed up?

Shocking. I'm gobsmacked.

Local officials cavalier attitude toward laws in general is an extremely important issue. Apparently, if you're a local official around here you simply start gently pushing to see if anyone wants to stop you. If no one does, you keep just pushing, and over time you get away with more and more.

What about the idea of filing a complaint with Multnomah County Elections office to recompense the cost of the campaign literature that was mailed out? Someone mentioned this and I thought the fine had to play out first.

Mr. Grumpy,
So true. Then it sets the tone for others in the community, that is if you are on the "correct" side.

Real good leadership example for the youth of our community here?

Getting the lawyers involved was them protesting their virginity.

I bet you they paid and let it blow over. You can hide $75 in a lunch easy - Just ask Mike Burton how.

I like the idea that if an elected official or others entrusted with public stewardship, knowingly goes against the public pocketbook and public interests, and shown to be underhanded and/or against the law, the public gets something back, if money could not be given back, then other measures such as losing their position or benefits.
The officials might be more careful with stewardship then, especially if their position and benefits/pension were taken from them.

Mr. Grumpy writes: Apparently, if you're a local official around here you simply start gently pushing to see if anyone wants to stop you.

That's just the point. Nobody stops you. The "watchdog" media won't as evidenced by the silence here. There are too few reporters interested in covering news any more and far too many trying to position themselves for a subsequent career move.

You know, I might want to get one of those cushy PR flak jobs over at the school district some day and something like this could put me in a bad odor over there that somebody important might remember later on. So, you know, I'll just pretend it didn't happen.

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