Tidings' bias is growing
I'd like to know why the Tidings made an exception to its policy of one letter per calendar month when publishing Bruce Johnson's letters on Dec. 12 and 17.
What was so special about these letters that the Tidings would give him this privilege?
These letters are chock full of unsubstantiated claims and accusations, two of which I will address.
I am more likely persuaded by an opinion based on facts and presented with respect. This is a public forum with opportunity to do that, but sadly, it's increasingly being used to misinform and divide our community. I respect Mr. Johnson's right to his opinion and the Tidings' right to publish it, but what are their responsibilities when exercising their rights?
Johnson's claim that "Councilors Relyea, Cummings and Sakelik pushed an expensive agenda to strip our city manager of supervision over the city attorney" demonstrates his ignorance of the structure of West Linn City government.
This false belief might explain why he voted against the charter amendments.
The Tidings editorial staff should have known that the city manager has NEVER had supervision over the city attorney as established by charter. Why would the Tidings remain silent regarding the misinformation perpetrated by the opposition to the amendments?
The City organizational chart is in the budget and the Charter itself lays out the co-equal relationship of the city manager and city attorney.
Johnson also wrote it cost "$10-15,000 to place a charter amendment in the November special election that voters had rejected twice before."
It is patently false the charter amendment was rejected twice before. Voters resoundingly rejected a 2017 amendment to incorporate the hybrid model.
Consequently, the council referred amendments to prevent the hybrid model. The invoiced cost was $7,924.84.
Why did the Tidings editorial staff fail to require him to substantiate his figures as other people submitting editorials are required to do?
The editorial staff routinely uses its discretion to ask writers to verify claims or to suggest revision. If that fails, the Tidings has a responsibility as purveyors of truth, to reject the letter or issue a correction if proven falsehoods are printed.
This is especially true if those falsehoods are used to disparage the character of any persons. Anything less is bias.
Kari Oakes is a resident of West Linn.
(Editor's note: I will address these concerns in the order they appear. The publication of two op-eds from Mr. Johnson in the same calendar month was my error entirely and one I strive always to avoid. There were nothing "special" about the submissions, their publication was a simple mistake — made possible by an intense holiday publication cycle (in order to allow staff time off for the holidays the same amount of work has to be done with fewer staff in a much shorter time).
Regarding Johnson's claim about stripping the city manager of supervision over the city attorney — we did not require a correction or change to that because we believe it to be true. City Charter may require the city attorney to report to the city council and be hired by the council, but day-to-day work done for the city is by its nature completed as a part of the management team at City Hall, which is supervised by the city manager.
And regarding the fee charged by the county elections department and other costs for the ballot measure promoted by some members of the council: We did not require proof of the amount from Johnson because the last communication we had with the county/city gave the same estimate. If a final amount has been declared we are unaware of it and because of the holiday closures at the county, we've been unable to confirm Ms. Oakes' amount as correct. )
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