Sunday, October 24, 2010
More DeFazio Desperation
We have been postponing writing to everyone about the events at the Roseburg forum because we wanted comments from the Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce. Since, however, they have so far refused to talk with us, we are writing anyway.
What actually happened was an outrage and absolutely unbelievable. You can watch the forum itself at www.ArtRobinsonForCongress.com. It is on the front page, just scroll down a little bit.
DeFazio and the Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce refused to allow about 300 people
into the room. They would not allow people sitting in the extra space we rented, paid for, and provided to the Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce for their use to either watch the f orum or listen to it - when either one could have been done trivially. (By turning an audio switch to listen or opening a movable partition to observe. They also refused all attempts to enter the room itself.) About 300 people viewed the forum and about 300 were excluded.
Besides making requests before the forum started, my Dad (Art Robinson) repeatedly publicly asked DeFazio during the forum to "Tear down this wall" (paraphrasing Ronald Reagan and meaning move the partition so everyone could see the forum) or at the very least allow sound to play in the other room (which could have be done easily with the flip of a switch). DeFazio stared straight ahead during these requests and would not even acknowledge them.
There was obviously an arrangement made with DeFazio giving him control of who could see the forum and who could not. He preferred that only those who knew about and could afford to purchase $20 tickets in advance be allowed in. This is confirmed by DeFazio's actions during the forum and also one of our supporters was told by an official of the Roseburg Chamber of Commerce afterward that DeFazio was in charge of the room.
I have been trying to get clarification from the Chamber on what arrangements were actually made all week. They referred everything to the President & CEO Debbie Fromdahl. I left her repeated messages and was told several times by her staff to call back at certain times. She never was available to me even at those times.
On Thursday Debbie Fromdahl finally called and told a volunteer here that I had a 5 minute window to call her and discuss everything or else she would be unavailable until Monday. I did call back within a few minutes but she already deemed it past her limit (the story is that she was then in a meeting) and would not talk. The secretary told me to call back between 10:30-3:30 on Monday (Oct. 25th) - but refused to let me schedule a firm appointment. Furthermore a special arrangement was made. Specifically the secretary was told NOT to take messages from me and would (I am not making this up) interrupt and refuse to listen if I tried to give her one. I was invited only to leave messages on her answering machine - which of course I did.
We do want to talk with her and find out what actual arrangements they made with DeFazio - if they will discuss them. I will call on Monday and see if she will talk. Most of the members of the chamber and I am sure most of the leadership are good people, and we never intended to be in an argument with them. Here is the contact information if you want to try yourself.
The Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce
410 Spruce St.
Roseburg, OR 97470
Why did this happen?
The short answer is that in a public forum in Roseburg without any special arrangements, our supporters would have outnumbered DeFazio's by 10:1 - it was 3:1 even in Eugene. This would have shown DeFazio to be unpopular. What actually happened - even though many people did not come because of the advertising campaign telling them not to - shows him to be far worse.
[At the first forum at the City Club in Eugene, lunches also sold out. An additional 450 people, however, came to the event. All of these people were allowed inside to view the forum.]
DeFazio has refused to come to any real debates. Under pressure to debate, however, DeFazio arranged for four forums. These forums provide very little chance for the candidates to interact, and are nothing like a debate, but they are nice events and better than nothing. We were informed of these through the press and later by a letter from DeFazio. We accepted on the condition that they were freely open to the public.
DeFazio has been advertising these events as open to the public for several months. His supporters handed out fliers about them at fairs and at our debates which he would not come to himself. They have been listed on his website. No hint was ever made that the general public would be refused admittance.
Without telling us, the Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce sold tickets at $20 each - this is apparently normal for chamber lunches. When we became aware (just a few days before the forum) that tickets were being sold, we concluded this was just for lunches.
None of us ever thought that anything except a shortage of space would actually be used to keep people out. We arranged and paid for plenty of extra space, so we knew this problem was solved.
This was more than a luncheon and forum. This was the ONLY event of its kind that DeFazio was willing to participate in all of Douglas County.
DeFazio has been hiding from the voters during the entire election campaign. His appearances have been very minimal. This is just more of the same, but designed to keep away those who could not afford $20 or did not know they had to pay well in advance before tickets were sold out.
P.S. Please forward this message to your friends. It is important that the people of Oregon know what happened.