'This is why I don't use social media. Too many pretenders and trolls desperately competing for attention.'

Last week's letter to the editor from a self-described Brady Preheim collaborator tries to portray Preheim as the victim in his recently dismissed ethics complaint against Port Commissioner Paulette Lichatowich (See July 6 Spotlight, "Complaints against Port of St. Helens commissioner dismissed," on page A4). In this version, Mr. Preheim is actually a supporter of the commissioner, but filed the ethics complaint on behalf of a person who wishes to remain anonymous. Now that the complaint has been revealed as little more than mean-spirited hot air, it seems like nobody really wants to claim ownership. A common characteristic of bullies is that they are cowards. Preheim is no exception.

I don't use social media for reasons that will soon be apparent, but according to this friend of Brady, there has been some negative push-back in that forum, with "some" even suggesting that Preheim's ethics complaint was vindictive. Sounds about right to me. Mr. Preheim has made a hobby of trolling people who "done him wrong" or hurt his feelings. Bullying, threats of litigation, or actual lawsuits are in his toolkit. Like the current drama, these legal forms of harassment are often dismissed as the childish tantrums they are, and then Mr. Preheim will complain how one-sided the whole thing was or that the judge was friends of the defendants or it was unfair or the dog ate his homework. Sour grape-flavored denial. He sued a local businessman for "stealing" his campaign signs: case dismissed. Last year he sued the Columbia County Democrat Central Committee (CCDCC) for procedural violations: case dismissed. Brady Preiheim is in fact a Precinct Committee Person in the Columbia County Democratic Party, so when he sues the leadership of his own local party, you know he's ... a supporter? Another hallmark of bullies is that it doesn't matter whether they are attacking friends or foes; it's all about the attention.

When a lawsuit is dismissed, any expenses incurred by the defendant(s) — like hiring a lawyer — are not recoverable, unless the victim chooses to incur more expenses by filing a counter-suit. Mr. Preheim often represents himself, so his baseless attacks can be done on the cheap. No real costs other than perhaps negative comments on social media. Oh my. Tsk, tsk. Of course, these frivolous lawsuits cost the county taxpayers and clog the court system. So the sad plea about "not shooting the messenger" because Brady Preheim was only concerned about taxpayer money and in any case it wasn't really "his" ethics complaint rings pretty hollow to me.

Last month Preheim threatened to sue the CCDCC, again, when they attempted to curtail his disruptive trolling on their official Facebook page. Turns out that bullying is free speech as far as Preheim is concerned. Rather than provide a forum for Preheim's vitriolic attacks, the Democrats voted overwhelmingly to take down their Facebook page entirely. The Brady Bunch responded by creating a new "Fakebook page" where the unwitting visitor looking for "the voice of Democrats in Columbia County" can expose themselves to Preheim's unrestrained bully pulpit. Given the nature of the folks involved, it's inevitable that this counterfeit will soon devolve into shouting matches and name-calling. This is why I don't use social media. Too many pretenders and trolls desperately competing for attention.

— Jeff Campbell, Scappoose

Contract Publishing

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