Thursday, March 20, 2008

Commentary about Richard Lee Recall on Coast Watch, KAST-AM

I'm calling in for the first and only time on the issue of Richard Lee's recall, to make a couple points.

First is that despite repeated claims by Mr. Lee and his supporters, neither my wife, Cindy Price, who narrowly lost the race to Mr. Lee by one half a percent of the votes in 2006, nor I have been involved in the Citizens for Open Government. They haven't sought my advice. I haven't attended their meetings. As far as I can tell from reading their website, they are a diverse group of people with many reasons to recall Mr. Lee.

That said, I'm a resident of District 3 and have been for the 14 years I've been District Attorney.

I'm hopeful that Mr. Lee will be recalled. His conduct while a County Commissioner has been grossly inappropriate. I've attended many county commission meetings and in the three years he was chair there was little public discussion and it was obvious that private discussions had already decided many decisions.

There is no question now, based on statements Mr. Lee made to the Daily Astorian, that he was behind the ambush move last May to reduce my pay 15%. He helped appoint and nominated as chair of the budget committee Joe Baakensen, a man who has been trying to get my pay reduced since 1997.

As chair, Mr. Lee had to authorize the hiring of a Portland law firm to try and keep almost 3,000 voters from even being allowed to sign a petition trying to find a way to right the wrong he voted in favor of.

His extended family funded most of the opposition to Measure 4-123 and, not content with that, Mr. Lee took the step of buying large display ads in the Daily Astorian making statements about 4-123 that were simply false. I felt so strongly that I purchased ads to respond although I am not a wealthy man, as is Mr. Lee.

While Mr. Lee was chair I made repeated requests to meet with him and the commission, and never got the courtesy of an response. When I appeared before the commission and asked a simple question -- What do you want from me? -- Lee refused to respond. When one county commissioner tried to ask the county manager, Mr. Lee gaveled him into silence.

Mr. Lee authorized the expenditure of more thousands of taxpayer dollars to hire an attorney, the main purpose of which was to prevent me from speaking to county management or the Board while Measure 4-123 was on the ballot.

Recall is not meant merely for felons, but also for conduct which holds the citizens in contempt. Mr. Lee says he represents the voters of District 3 yet voters in that district (as well as those in Commissioner Roberts' district) voted in FAVOR of Measure 4-123. And, as you yourself have said, Tom, a number of people did not want to amend the charter but did not think the Commissioners had acted properly in removing my stipend.

Mr. Lee has been asked by several community leaders to start trying to heal the divisions and he has flatly refused.

Mr. Lee's conduct involving me and my office is just one of many valid reasons people have to recall Mr. Lee.

He deserves to be recalled.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak.

1 comment:

  1. Hey this would be a good time to have your wife put her name in .