If you live in Salem's Ward 6, vote for City Council candidate Xue Lor. Unless you want to be represented by someone who isn't embarassed that he was arrested for domestic violence.
Which would be Daniel Benjamin, who has been endorsed by the usual gang of special interests: the Salem Chamber of Commerce, Realtors Association, and Statesman Journal editorial page.
They're pretty much one and the same.
The president and publisher of the Statesman Journal is about to join the Chamber board of directors, and the newspaper obediently endorsed each and every city council candidate being backed by the Chamber of Commerce.
Today the Statesman Journal finally got around to reporting Benjamin's assault arrest.
Download 5-13-14 Benjamin and Lor compete for Ward 6 seat on council
But the candidate has a blemish on his record. He was charged with assault in the fourth degree on Jan. 4, 1993, stemming from a New Year's Eve incident in Multnomah County, according to court records.
Court records show that Benjamin was charged with a misdemeanor assault, but he entered into a diversion agreement with prosecutors and wasn't convicted of a crime.
The diversion agreement included Benjamin performing 16 hours of community service. The case was dismissed.
Benjamin said he was drinking and got into "an altercation" with a former girlfriend. A Gresham Police Department crime report, dated Dec. 31, 1992, states that the victim was punched in the back and ribs and suffered a swollen lower lip.
"I have made some mistakes in the past," Benjamin said. "I am so different from what I was back then."
Jennifer Gardiner, a Marion County deputy district attorney, said diversion is sometimes offered to defendants who don't have serious charges on their record. It would be "very rare" for the Marion County DA to offer diversion to a defendant in a domestic violence case, she said.
The newspaper has had this information since April 28. So it took them two freaking weeks to let voters know highly pertinent information about Benjamin's character. Oh, aside from one hour when a corrected story was put online, then quickly taken down.
Download Benjamin and Lor compete for Ward 6 seat on council
On the Statesman Journal candidate questionnaire Benjamin answered "no" to this question:
"Any skeletons in your closet or other potentially embarrassing information that you want to disclose before it comes up in the campaign?"
Benjamin answered, "None that I can think of." Wow.
Obviously Daniel Benjamin, Ward 6 City Council candidate, doesn't think that being arrested for hitting a former girlfriend in the back, ribs, and mouth is "embarassing information."
Hey, Daniel -- you were arrested for domestic violence. Oregon is one of only ten states that allows a judge to order pre-trial diversion for a domestic violence charge. Lucky you. Otherwise you'd have a domestic violence conviction.
And yes, Daniel Benjamin, what you did was indeed domestic violence. Assaulting an ex-girlfriend qualifies for the non-honor of being what used to be termed a "wife abuser."
Domestic violence is a term used to describe violence and abuse by family members or intimate partners such as a spouse, former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend, ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend, or date.
But Daniel Benjamin isn't embarassed by his arrest for domestic violence. Nothing to see here, he told the Statesman Journal. Everything is cool. I'm so different from who I was back then.
Well, not so different that you are honest enough to inform voters about your girlfriend-hitting past.
But thank you, Daniel, for letting the Statesman Journal know about your current bankruptcy. For some reason this information didn't make it into either the story about you and Xue Lor or the newspaper's editorial endorsement.
Also Daniel, congratulations on getting the City of Salem to put you on their budget committee even though you are in bankruptcy and haven't been paying your debts to the City. But don't be too proud of this. This is called "political grooming."
You know, when special interests collude to pad the resume of potential candidates so they will look more appealing to voters. Like putting someone with a domestic violence past, and present bankruptcy, on the City of Salem Budget Committee.
It's easy to get ahead when the Chamber of Commerce, City politicians, and Statesman Journal are pushing you along with their special interest arms, Daniel Benjamin.
I just hope your ride ends with an election loss to Xue Lor.
[Note: As an extension to this post I'm copying in the comments on the Statesman Journal story about Benjamin and Lor. Soon the story will go into the newspaper archives. I want to make sure that the comments live on as a testimony to how disturbing the behavior of both Benjamin and the Statesman Journal was.]
Brian Hines · Top Commenter · Portland State University
I guess Benjamin isn't embarrassed by hitting women in the face and being arrested for this. Most men who are sorry for doing this would be. Shows the character of the guy endorsed by the Chamber of Commerce and Statesman Journal. Hopefully Ward 6 voters will ignore the special interest endorsements and choose one of their neighbors with a lot more honesty and ethics, Xue Lor.
Then I noticed that he has changed his opinion on the Civic Center upgrades too. He once told me he wanted to sell the City Hall building to a developer for condos and then build the whole thing anew someplace else. Since he got the Chamber of Commerce endorsement, he has changed his position to mimic their position.
He also supports a totally over priced, unnecessary third bridge that would boost local tax bills sky high...another Chamber position.
I am with Xue Lor!
Terri Moore · Top Commenter
The SJ should apologize for endorsing a really bad candidate in D. Benjamin. Xue Lor is the candidate with the values we want in a Salem City Councilor. But of course, the SJ simply adopted the list of development hogs of the Salem Chamber of Commerce. Shame on the Statesman Journal. The Chamber,/home builders/ real estate developers ensure that their hand-picked candidates have plenty of money, making candidates who would better represent the People underdogs.
I urge voters in Ward 6 to select Xue Lor for Salem City Council.