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Joe K. Meyer: Is chair of Clackamas County genuinely ignorant, or simply pandering to extremists for perceived political benefit?

Joe K. MeyerI am appalled by the irresponsibility that County Chair Tootie Smith demonstrated during the county's Aug. 12 board meeting. Having so many unmasked and (presumably) unvaccinated individuals packed into a public meeting room, to the point of clearly violating important fire codes and endangering public health, is not something to be brushed off, nor to take pride in, especially during a global pandemic.

In a time when a sizeable proportion of people in Clackamas County espouse a desire for "law and order" and individual responsibility, I find it disturbing that Chair Smith is all too comfortable with encouraging these same folks to actively break laws and take zero accountability for any danger their actions might pose to others, whether real or perceived. Inaction toward promoting the public good can be just as harmful as action taken to harm the public, and all of us should expect our elected officials to understand this basic fact when we cast our votes for them.

I don't know if such demonstrations from Chair Smith are coming from a place of genuine ignorance, or if she is simply pandering to extremists for her own perceived political benefit. But I know that I am not alone in my belief that she is unfit for the office she holds; and whether she is replaced in 2024 or recalled before then, I pray that we never see her in any position of authority ever again.

Joe K. Meyer is a resident of Happy Valley.

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