Sunday, October 24, 2010

More DeFazio Desperation

Congressman Peter DeFazio is showing his dark side as of late. Contrary to his campaign ads that show him cruising along with his two dogs in his old Dodge with a huge smile on his face it appears the claws are coming out. He not only has endorsed inaccurate attack ads but now seems to be less than honorable in his campaign tactics. In a public forum in Roseburg recently he appears to have used his clout to exclude a large number of interested public, many of which were ostensibly his challenger's supporters, from viewing or even listening to the debate. I was recently sent the following email from the Art Robinson campaign explaining their view of the whole debacle.

Dear Friends,

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 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
Ph. 1-541-672-2648

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.

Best Regards,
Noah Robinson

P.S. Please forward this message to your friends. It is important that the people of Oregon know what happened.


Robin said...

I like the comment that DeFazio said about going to Eugene and having sawdust thrown at him.

yes, he was getting a little irritated at the end of the meeting.

While DeFazio has done a good job for Oregon, his reasoning for voting in favor of the Obamacare misses the whole point of how people who don't have health care are going to come up with the money for health care and/or pay the penalties for not having it.

Secondly, if he had read the whole bill, he would have known about the addition of the 1099s requirement for all business purchases over $500 which will require for example truck drivers every time they fill up will have to send the filling station a 1099 because they bought over $500 in fuel.

I am still an agreement that it's time to just vote all the incumbents out and start over.

This to be the best message that we as a populace can send saying that we are tired of the games... YOU are our employees and it's time to start representing our interests and not yours.

In short... it's time to vote the bums out.

Bobkatt said...

While I have always had respect for DeFazio even though I differed with him on a lot of issues, I thought he was a stand up guy. This campaign has shown a different side of him. I no longer believe he is as principled as I thought and will vote against him even though I'm not totally impressed with Robinson.

MAX Redline said...

From what I've heard, the Robinson supporters didn't want to play by the rules set forth by the Chamber of Commerce - which paid for the venue.

It looks to me as though it wasn't a DeFazio move, but a Chamber move.

That said, while I've not had any great antipathy toward DeFazio, there are many things not to like about him - not the least of which is that he's simply been in D.C. too long.

Our Founders envisioned a citizen legislature, not career politicians.

Robin said...

I agree with Max red line... it was the Chamber of Commerce's event, and they set the rules.

I find it very hard to believe that Peter DeFazio said the rules on who could and could not be in the forum.