I am writing this letter to express my outrage over the defamation of Jack Hoffman by the Lake Oswego Review and their apparent accomplice, the Surrett campaign.
Last Thursday, the Review published a front page, 22-column inch article challenging Jack Hoffman's ethics. The headline and the first five inches stated the accusations. The Review then spent the final 11 column inches, on page A2, concluding that not only were the charges inaccurate, but that Hoffman had been unusually diligent in policing possible conflicts of interest.
Two of the last three paragraphs declared:
'Bersin (Oregon Government Ethics Commission) said few public servants institute safeguards such as Hoffman's.'
'It sounds like this councilor has tried to put some kind of process in place to guard himself from any of these potential conflicts of interest by having somebody review the agenda,' said Bersin. 'In many cases local government officials don't watch it that closely.'
At the very least, Jack Hoffman has proven himself to be an honorable servant of the region. He has spent his adult life as an attorney, rising to a partner of his firm, and more specifically, the last 20 years, as an unpaid volunteer for the city of Lake Oswego. As the article itself concludes, he has been unusually diligent in ethical concerns. Accusations of ethical misbehavior should not be made casually. You owe him an apology.
Also, I am very concerned about how this Lake Oswego Review reporting was coordinated with the four letters (to the editor) from the Surrett functionaries discussing the same subjects, with the exact inaccurate accusations. My impression is that, normally, letters responding to a story are in the next issue. Perhaps paragraph five of the article gives us a hint:
'Accusations about Hoffman's vote mostly come from supporters of his opponent in the mayoral race, John Surrett. The Review received tips and letters last week.'
First, just because you recieved a politically motivated 'tip' does not mean you must write a story. How you could justify printing the first-page accusations with the second- page facts is mystifying. An honorable man's reputation was besmirched. This is not OK.
Second, if these issues were considered real by the Surrett campaign, they should have been brought up weeks ago, where they could have been responded to in the public forum. Obviously this was not their intent. Their intent was to ambush Hoffman so he would have no real ability to respond. Regionally and nationally, this sort of behavior has become the norm. One would have thought that in a local election, where candidates and supporters see each other in the grocery store, legitimate differences and points of view could be debated, often heatedly, without being reduced to this type of innuendo and deliberate deception. I am horrified that a local city election could be reduced to this type of behavior.
The Lake Oswego Review has contributed significantly to the livability of our city. This however, was not your finest moment.
I am only left to conclude the following:
n Jack Hoffman, whether personally, professionally or politically should be respected for his contributions to our city and our region. This type of story soils the soul of our community.
n The Lake Oswego Review should be embarrassed.
n Citizens of Lake Oswego should be appalled.
Steve Dodds is a resident of Lake Oswego.