Republicans are strangely fond of calling people they disagree with liars. I say "strangely," because Republican politicians certainly are as prone to lying as their more progressive counterparts.
Yet rather than debate the merits of a policy issue, their tendency is to resort to ad hominem name-calling -- which fans the flames of our already incendiary public discourse.
Today, in a front page story, the Statesman Journal reported that Marion County (Oregon) commissioner Sam Brentano considers the people who are backing citizen initiative 24-292 to be "liars."
Brentano and the two other commissioners, Janet Carlson and Patti Milne, have spoken against the home rule charter. Brentano, of Sublimity, is one of the home rule charter's most vocal critics. At public debates and in interviews, he readily calls proponents of the home rule charter "liars."
Those are fighting words, Sam. Especially since you can't back them up. A public apology is in order.
I know some of the people who went to a heck of lot of work to gather 5,828 valid signatures from registered Marion County voters to get this initiative on the May ballot.
I'm one of those proponents myself, as is my wife. And I resent Brentano calling me a liar. I don't know anyone in favor of Measure 24-292 who is a liar.
There are different ways of interpreting what the Measure will do. Some are more defensible than others. In my opinion, it is the opponents of the Measure who are stretching the truth to the breaking point.
But I haven't called them liars.
In the posts below I've written about this proposal to add two people to the Board of Commissioners (making a total of five, in line with every other large county in Oregon), along with electing the board on a non-partisan basis by district.
Marion County to vote on enlarging county commission
Why Marion County government needs improving
Facts and fictions about Marion County charter change
"No on Measure 24-292" letter is full of untruths
Marion County charter change: desperation breeds deception
Taxes and Marion County charter change: no worries
I'm as passionately in favor of the Measure as Sam Brentano is against it. But I've done my best to talk about issues, not people. When I've criticized opponents of the Measure, my reason had to do with what they were saying about it, not their character.
Brentano has given Marion County voters an excellent reason to vote "yes" on Measure 24-292.
We need to make county government less political, less divisive, less partisan. And more democratic, more accountable, more responsive to the people rather than special interests.
Proponents of this Measure aren't liars. They are citizens who see BIG problems in how county government currently functions.
Sam Brentano's dismissal of these concerns as "lies," rather than as issues to be openly examined and discussed, shows why Measure 24-292 should be approved by Marion County voters.