Salem Mayor candidate Chuck Bennett is notoriously thin-skinned when it comes to criticism. He calls people who disagree with him "trolls," while his opponent, Carole Smith, says "Listen to your town nuts."
I made a 40 second video that shows how differently Bennett and Smith talked about citizen participation in their Salem Weekly endorsement interviews. (The Salem Weekly editorial board ended up endorsing Smith.)
Now Bennett is complaining about an anonymous mailer that's been received by Salem voters. I'm not sure why this deserved a story in the Statesman Journal, given that the mailer is (1) completely legal, and (2) truthful.
I'm basing my truthful claim on what I've seen of the mailer -- a photo shared by a Facebook friend yesterday.
Everything here strikes me as true. Chuck Bennett may not want citizens to know how he's been acting as the Ward 1 City Councilor, but the mailer accurately reflects some of his "accomplishments."
I'll add links and some comments, in red, that support these statements in the mailer.
Yes, a letter to the editor in the Statesman Journal thanks Councilors Tom Andersen and Warren Bednarz for voting against the fee, so Bennett voted for it.
I voted to use $1.5 million from the Water/Sewer Fund to pay for parking meters around the capitol mall instead of lowering your water bill.
Yes, Bennett made the motion and voted to do this in a Salem City Council Finance Committee meeting.
I know the funds for a bike/pedestrian trail from Salemtowne to Downtown have been sitting unspent for 8 years now.
I voted to adopt the No Parking Meters petition, signed by 9,000 citizens, so the City and I could undermine it.
Yes, this is what happened. Bennett spoke falsely when he said that the City Council HAD to adopt the petition, rather than let citizens vote on it.
I over-ruled the Historic Landmarks Commission and the Neighborhood Association and voted to demolish Howard Hall.
Yes, Bennett indeed did this.
I voted to stop Salem citizens from using the City Hall Atrium for public events, only city staff can use it now.
Yes, the City Council said the Atrium is no longer considered a "public square," so it can't be used for gatherings, demonstrations, protests, or such.
I support the removal of more healthy trees for large development projects.
Yes, there are numerous examples of this. In the link I shared a post about trees being needlessly killed for the excessively large Salem Hospital parking lot that Bennett supported.
Bennett said the flier is full of lies. For example, it says he's a member of Creekside Golf Course, but Bennett says he doesn't even know how to golf.
OK, but the part of the mailer shown in the photo above says nothing about this. It just makes seven accurate statements about what Bennett has done as Ward 1 city councilor. Yet Chuck Bennett says the flier "is full of lies."
So what are these, Councilor Bennett, aside from the apparent mention that you're a member of the Creekside Golf Club? As far as I can tell, this mailer otherwise speaks the truth about your record.