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Saturday, March 13, 2004
Well, today I got a couple of letters. First, from the Secretary of State with forms to file for my fundraising arm and treasurer. Turns out that if I only spend $300 or less over the entire campaign, I can opt out of the process. But I have three days after getting a check or making an expenditure before I have to file if I'm a gonna spend over the three hundred smackers. Or, I have three days to file after I GO over the three hundred smackers.

Whoop de do.

On a happier note, I got a letter from a group called "OFF." Their envelope has a picture of a GREEN Oregon filled with the white letters OFF, and, muzzle to the East, and extending the rifle butt about 50 miles out from the coastline and the other end fifty miles into Idaho, an M-16 standard US Army issues automatic rifle.

I am going to take a day before opening THAT one. Secretly, I imagine a questionairre filled with questions about the rights of Citizens to carry concealed guns into Nursery Schools ("Statistics prove that fewer murders take place in states WITH concealed handgun laws") and about our unalienable rights to carry hand-grenades.

Friend brought over a button machine, and we're now officially manufacturing "Hart Williams for State Representative" buttons. Ah, campaigning. Bumper stickers next.

Whew. I'm a popular guy, all of a sudden.
Friday, March 12, 2004
Here's a little fun stuff about the OEA NON-Endorsement, from their website:

OEA-PIE to Hold Recommendation Convention for 2004 Elections

On March 12-13, members of OEA's political action committee, People for the Improvement of Education (PIE), will participate in the selection of statewide and federal candidates for recommendation to OEA's membership for the 2004 Primary and General Elections.

OEA-PIE contributors will hear from candidates for US Representative, US Senate, Oregon Attorney General, Secretary of State, and State Treasurer—as well as representatives of the U.S. presidential campaigns—at the Convention, which will take place at the Jantzen Beach DoubleTree Hotel, Portland. After visiting with candidates, and debating their qualifications, OEA-PIE Convention delegates will vote to determine which candidates are the best advocates for children and education.

Watch this page for information about recommended candidates after March 14.


I know. I said I'd talk about Paul Holvey, but the nature of this unfocused rambling is to react to the reality of the day, and today Holvey isn't real at all. The Mail is, though ...

MAIL CALL!

We get mail:

A literate and talented friend e-writes me: You're about to learn ALL KINDS of things about yourself and the political process. :)

The first one is that I'm running on a basic platform of fairness and honesty, which seems to make my campaign utterly unique. This quaint notion is utterly repudiated by the modern Political Campaign as a laughable anachronism.

Silly me.

Oh. And I received an actual paper letter today from the President of the Oregon Education Association! It reads:

OEA-PIE
March 10, 2004

Dear Mr. Williams:

Thank you for your interest in serving in the Oregon legislature. Normally, after a candidate files with the Secretary of State's office for an election, OEA sends a questionnaire and other information concerning the OEA candidate recommendation process. At this time, we are unable to send you the questionnaire or ask for your participation in seeking an OEA recommendation.

The OEA local association responsible for making recommendations in your legislative district has already comeplete its process and has already made a recommendation in your race. In order to maximize our effectiveness, many local associations began their review of candidates for OEA recommendation beginning in mid-February.

We look forward to working with you in the future, whether in a legislative race of other work on behalf of children and public education.

Sincerely,

Kris Kain, President
Oregon Education Association

Ah. Screwed by the unfairness of teachers again -- one of the reasons that I dropped out of university at the end of my junior year, since I was firmly convinced that the English Department at TCU had zero that they could teach me about being a professional writer, and since nearly all writers whose biographies I'd studied were auto-didacts: self taught. (Our "ace" at TCU had sold a piece to "CAT FANCY" magazine and filler to REDBOOK. Not exactly what you'd call Pushcart Prizes. I stooooopidly thought I might actually make it as a writer on my own, by applying myself. Silly me.)

As an "underachiever" (a National Merit Scholar who didn't get straight 'A's, I was invariably a target for teachers, who took my utter lack of interest in their curricula (because I was reading voraciously on my own) as a personal challenge. Do you suppose if they knew I was a political underachiever they'd interview me?

Naw.

Is it unfair? Yup. Is it reprehensible for a Union Guy to be treated this way by a fellow Union? Yup. Do they give a damn? Nope.

[Oh yeah: NATIONAL WRITER'S UNION: UAW 1981, AFL-CIO. I think my dues are up to date. Let me check on that and get back to ya.]

But do you know who I REALLY feel sorry for? Incumbent Senator Ron Wyden filed for office on March 5th and my Congressman, Peter DeFazio filed on March 8th. Senator John Kerry filed on March 8th, as did (p)Resident George W. Bush. So I guess ALL of us are entirely out of the running for an OEA endorsement. Seems sad. I know that Kerry, Wyden and DeFazio are going to be really harmed by not getting an OEA Endorsement. It's such a shame, really.

Reminds me of why I never played football at Santa Fe High (School in Santa Fe, New Mexico, my alma mater, Class of '73), even though I'd played on a Kansas State Championship football team my freshman year in high school, and would have, except we moved briefly and moved again. When I went in to register for SFHS in late August, I was told that the football team had already been practicing for a few weeks, and that I REALLY ought to consider carefully (the implication being that I wasn't er ... Chicano enough to make the team, Santa Fe being 90% Hispanic at the time) whether I was "good enough" to play.

So I went out for the debate team instead. Aside from a nasty tongue injury, I emerged from that experience relatively intact. My little brother, however, had ACL surgery because of football.

Reverse discrimination was a reality in Santa Fe in the early 70s. You don't have to believe me. But take the time to find out. Because I am speaking the truth. I have no reason to lie to you, and I respect myself too much to have any desire to. This campaign is going to be about integrity and fair play. Let's see if the voters care about those two platitudinous virtues. I have no idea whether they will.

Anyway, oddly enough, I was generally the same build and athletic ability as my little brother (two years younger) whose ass I have always been able to kick, and he went on to play for the University of Wyoming and thence Colorado School of Mines as a fullback on full football scholarships. He was invited to the New Orleans Saints' training camp, but the whole experience of big time football had sickened him. He recalled that Wyoming Coach Freddy Akers (who later coached at the University of Texas) had a "brilliant" plan for the game against Colorado State and their All-American linebacker. One guy would hit him above the knee and one would hit him below the knee, and they would cripple him.

That was the moment, my brother related, that he decided to play for a free degree and for fun, and transferred to Colorado Mines, who wanted him at fullback and not linebacker, which he hated.

Looking at the obscene morass of unfairness, "in crowd" games and utter unsportsmanship in Oregon's political races, I understand EXACTLY how he felt. Maybe I could transfer to a Dog Catcher race in Nevada.

Thanks teachers! You were never fair to me when I was in school, and you ain't being fair to me now. Luckily, if I am elected, I won't hold it against you. Because I guess I'm a better person than you, collectively are, I guess.

Oh. I asked my brother if they managed to cripple the CSU guy. "Naw," he said. "The guy was too good an athlete for them to ever catch him." A good thought to keep in mind.

One final note. The Key Club (Kiwanis) and the Junior Civitans played a flag football game by the locomotive on St. Francis Drive my senior year. The Civitans had all of the starting members of the football team, and the Key Club had all the nerds -- four out of our five National Merit Scholars played for Key Club that day. I played middle linebacker for Key Club and scored 35 points on interceptions. One touchdown was called back because, it was claimed, my flags were tucked too deeply into my pockets. Since we were ahead 35 to zip, I said nothing. Final score: 49 to 7. The number is burned into my mind. Suppose I could have played football for the nearly-winless SFHS Demons?

Naw. Never.

Let's set the scene. Wouldn't be a horse race without horses, right?

The Race:


THE USUAL SUSPECTS, SUSPECT #1


MITZI COLBATH


Mitzi Colbath got here to Oregon the same year I did. 1993. She's from Florida. I'm not. She's a CPA. I'm not. She ran for city council a couple years ago, but lost. A lot of people wanted her to run again, since the incumbent is now running for mayor. Instead, she sensed an opening and took it.

According to the EUGENE WEEKLY, Mitzi failed to qualify for the nominating convention (to fill the vacant HD8 seat -- about more later) because of a "technicality." Yes. The technicality was that she hadn't been a Democrat for 180 days.

Some technicality. The rumor is that she was registered non-partisan so she could run in "non-partisan" races. (In Eugene, "non-partisan offices" -- city council, county commission, etc. -- are a way so that Republicans can get elected. This is a fiercely Democratic town. Lucky thing I'm a Democrat, eh?) Anyway, in that tofu-proselytizing, holier-than-thou New Agey Eugene way that we love and cherish so much, not being a Democrat is considered a "technicality." Onward.

Mitzi is a tad hyper-aggressive. Let me elaborate:

She is so ferally aggressive in pursuing "public office" that her PAC is entitled: Colbath for Elected (sic) Office. Her lawn signs were printed up, evidently in advance, because they bear NO indication of WHAT she's running for. "I know I'm gonna run for something. I just don't know WHAT yet.:" This is called naked ambition. Ah, the "ME" Generation. Have a Pepsi.

Onward, as Mort Sahl used to say.

The city of Eugene has a little law: Lawn signs don't go up more than 60 days before an election, and come down within 5 days AFTER an election. This is so that we can actually SEE the Oregon whose beauty we constantly wax rhapsodic about, instead of seeing one HUGE political billboard. Reasonable, right?

Uh-uh. Not Mitzi. HER lawn signs (which say: Count on MITZI COLBATH, with no other indication that she's running for anything) went up a month ago! (This year, March 19th is the first day that our political daffodils can sprout in the fine volcanic soil of the Willamette Valley of Oregon that Thoreau waxed rhapsodic about, long ago, when he wasn't in jail or living out of town by a lake called "Walden Pond.")

Mitzi and her unpleasant husband Charles (more about that later) found a "loophole." It says "within 60 days of an election." They found out that there was an election ... in Clackamas County (a mere 150 miles north of here) on March the 9th.

"It says 'AN election' they smugly smirked to the city of Eugene, when confronted about the voluminous complaints about their utterly inappropriate lawn signs which suddenly sprang up everywhere like fierce dandelions after the first spring rain. "There's AN election in Clackamas County."

Well, shoot. WHY stop there? Why not claim that there's an election in NEVADA? Or there's a good one in RHODE ISLAND. Heck, there's an election going on in RUSSIA! Or even, there's a WEEKLY election on ... SURVIVOR!

Heck. A loophole is a loophole is a loophole, (to paraphrase Gertrude Stein) right?

But ... do YOU really feel secure knowing that someone who flouts the law with such impunity ... is trying to MAKE laws?

Don't know about you, but it scares HELL out of me.


THE USUAL SUSPECTS ... SUSPECT #2


Next UP: Paul "I'm a UNION INSIDER" Holvey.

Blog on.
Welcome. I am running for House District 8 State Representative because, after having been an "insider" for 8 years in Oregon Democratic and Union politics, I can't stomach the corruption, the deceit, the backroom deals and the lack of sunshine anymore. One of my opponents is blatantly and flagrantly flouting campaign law. The other is deeply and inextricably in bed with ... well, let's just say this: the second that one party's name was brought up, the County Commissioners immediately held an inquiry as to the fairness of the process that appointed him.

Oh, and I just received his first "campaign" mailing, franked from the legislature at taxpayers' expense. Time for some Watergaiety, folks. Oh, and I've been a journalist, author, writer and critic for 30 years now, having written for venues from the LOS ANGELES TIMES to the WASHINGTON POST, with stops in between with the KANSAS CITY STAR, the SANTA FE SUN and a few others ....

Here we go ...
Welcome to my blog. We'll be looking at the campaign for HD8 from the inside ... of course, having been a journalist for nearly 30 years, and having done a fair bit of muckracking, it ain't gonna be pretty. Like making sausage, it shouldn't be watched if you want to keep your appetite, but it was the double dealing and back room deals that forced me -- against my will, dammit! -- to run in the first place.

May God have mercy on their souls (solds?) 'cause I sure won't.
hart williams
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