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Oregon House Bill 4111 - News Blackout
Blood on Their Hands
By Scott Rohter, April 2012

There is a veritable disregard for truth and accuracy in reporting the news, whenever it makes conservatives look good, or when it reflects negatively upon State Government, or if it implicates the darling Democratic “Progressive Establishment.”  There is no better example of this than Oregon. Only Democrats in Oregon can be allowed to look good in the eyes of the general public, and reap the public relations rewards for fixing something that is wrong in our State. Only the Democrats of course can be perceived as real reformers who have the public’s best interests at heart.  As we all know, the generally enforced stereotype is that Republicans are all supposed to be “evil capitalists”.  There is even a general reluctance within the Republican Party to give way to real reformers in their midst whenever they challenge the Establishment. In other words those in charge of the Republican Party don’t like the message of reform any better than the liberal mainstream media does, and they will attempt to bury any real reformer right along with their much needed message of reform!

Let’s take my message for example. Nine months ago the Oregon GOP removed their official State link to my website because of two insider “muckity-mucks” in the Republican Party who said that I was a bigot.  The claim was patently false of course. In fact it is actually the farthest thing from the truth. And I wasn’t even given an opportunity to defend myself against these blatantly false accusations. I was just summarily dismissed along with my website.

I had just written an article that advocated against giving Oregon drivers licenses to illegal aliens. In that article I referred to Mexico as a "hell hole". And I said that Mexico will continue to be a "hell hole", until Americans start encouraging Mexicans to return home and fix what is wrong with their own country.  In the same article I also wrote that Mexico is a beautiful country, rich in natural resources, and blessed with a wonderful climate and hardworking people.  And I stand by both of my statements. How does that make me a bigot? But that was what the chairwoman of Washington County Rachel Lucas, and the State Communications Director Greg Leo called me, and that was the excuse that they gave for removing the official Republican link to my website.

However I know the accusation about being a bigot was really just an excuse. It was really just a ruse to remove the link for another reason. I had already begun to write and publish articles that were critical of the two early frontrunners in the Republican Primary, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.  The underhanded and dishonest methods employed by some of the leadership of the Oregon Republican Party are certainly not reminiscent of the conduct of our founding fathers, who all preached the political doctrine of honesty, integrity, and freedom of speech. Our 40th President, Ronald Reagan called America a shining City on a Hill. But the leaders of the Oregon Republican Party are calling for the Conservative Movement to dim their lights and hide under the bedstead!

What do the present day leaders of the Oregon Republican Party actually have in common with the Founding Fathers? Not very much really! They actually have more in common with the heads of the National Media than they do with real conservatives. Do they think that a Primary is just some sort of big rubber stamp so the rest of us can just lend our seal of approval to some behind closed doors, back room deal that was already made by the Party’s elite? I don’t think that’s what Rick Santorum or Ron Paul believe, or they wouldn’t have wasted their time running around the country campaigning so hard. But back to local news…

Last month an important Bill passed the Oregon State Legislature after a fifteen year long personal crusade of mine. It was Oregon House Bill 4111. It passed both Houses unanimously and yet there was not even a peep about it in the mainstream media.  Why?  Well, maybe it just got buried in an overcrowded news cycle. Maybe it just got lost in the rush of things. Perhaps it was just an un-intentional oversight?  -Well, I can personally tell you that none of those things are true. When I noticed that no major news media in the State was picking up the story I sent out an e-mail to all of the major news organizations about the passage of the Bill including Oregon Public Broadcasting. I personally spoke with half a dozen different people including two high ranking OPB executives, Morgan Holm and Eve Epstein but no one followed up on the story except for the Eugene Register Guard, and my friend and radio talk show host Jeff Kropf.

There was a powerful and tragic human interest story leading up to the passage of Oregon HB 4111. It would certainly make for riveting radio or TV, or even a good television movie; One courageous man’s fight against City Hall, the expropriation of his house, and its forced sale for the exact amount of a local sewer assessment lien which was illegal, and ultimately his death one month later of a heart attack.  There were heavy handed and under-handed tactics used by the City of Eugene, and even illegal city ordinances that were written, which were used to intimidate thousands of people into paying an illegal $5000 sewer assessment. All of this was done in the name of urban development, under Oregon’s nationally acclaimed Senate Bill 100 and Oregon’s respected Land Conservation and Development Commission.

Please read these two stories for further background on this Subject:
Property Rights Under Attack by Oregon State Constitution.
Oregon HB 4111 Passes Oregon Legislature

The reason that Oregon HB 4111 passed the Legislature unanimously in 2012 while its predecessor Bills: Oregon HB 3453 and Oregon Senate Bill 929 either died in the Senate or failed to even get a hearing, was primarily due to the help and support of one man in particular, Dave Hunnicutt. He secured both a Republican and a Democrat sponsor for the Bill and he has a good rapport with members of both political Parties in the Legislature. In three prior attempts on my own I had been unable to accomplish the passage of this important Bill. I had been unable to even elicit the attention of either one of my Party’s leaders in the Legislature, the Republican leader of the House (Bruce Hanna) or the Republican leader of the Senate (Ted Ferrioli). But after explaining the need for this legislation to Dave Hunnicutt of Oregonians in Action and convincing him that it was necessary, the rest as they say is history. He shepherded it through the Legislature without a hitch. So I attribute the success of the Bill this year to Dave Hunnicutt of Oregonians in Action. All of my unsuccessful efforts over the past fifteen years would have probably been repeated again this year if it hadn’t been for the work of Dave Hunnicutt.

He listened intently as I told him the tragic story of Jack and Betty Neely: How they courageously stood up to the forced annexation and urban development of their River Road neighborhood, just west of Eugene. How they refused to surrender, nor give in and pay what they knew was an illegal assessment for sewers which they didn’t want or need. How they had their home expropriated by the City of Eugene and sold for the exact amount of the illegal sewer assessment,  $7411 as a warning to anybody else, and how Jack Neely died homeless and broken hearted only one month later at the age of 77, of a heart attack induced by the stress of his five year long legal battle with the City of Eugene and Lane County. His sister Betty who also lived with him in their small River Road home was 66 years old at the time of his death. I told Mr. Hunnicutt that Oregon needed to pass this important foreclosure reform, and that what had happened to the Neelys violated the 4th, 5th, and 8th Amendments to the United States Constitution. When I was done making my case, he agreed with me that something needed to be done, and he promised to help me do it.

Oregon House Bill 4111 was non-partisan. It had no financial impact on the State Budget and only minor opposition from the League of Oregon Cities. It passed both Houses of the Oregon Legislature unanimously in 2012. And it ensures that Oregon’s Constitution conforms to the US Constitution and to the Bill of Rights. So why is the media just ignoring this story? Why are they completely silent about the passage of this historic legislation?

I can only speculate at this point. But two possible explanations come to mind.  Under the old adage that it is better to let sleeping dogs lie, I’m sure that no one really wants to explain how a law like this could have been on the books in Oregon for so many years and could require a property in foreclosure to be sold merely for the exact amount of an unpaid lien, with no attention paid to the actual value of the property, nor to the equity of the homeowners whose land and improvements the City was foreclosing on. No one wants to point out of course, that the King has no clothes on, or how horribly regressive the great progressive State of Oregon, and the progressive City of Eugene really is.

No one wants to point out that Oregon Statute ORS 223.525 under which this crime against the Neely family occurred, actually violated three of the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution!

The 4th Amendment guarantees every American the right to be secure in their home from unreasonable searches and seizures.

The 5th Amendment prohibits private property from ever being taken for a public purpose (such as paying for a sidewalk or a sewer as it was in the Neely's case) without just compensation.

The 8th Amendment forbids the imposition of excessive fines and cruel or unusual punishment.

In the fifteen years since I first wrote Oregon House Bill 3453 and introduced it in the State Legislature, not a single Oregon State Representative or Senator thought enough of the underlying injustice that occurred to the Neely family to bring it back up for a vote in a later session. No one in the local media ever pointed the finger at any present or past public officials who knew about what had happened to Jack and Betty Neely and could have done something to stop it or help them or provide restitution after it occurred. I am referring to former Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy, County Commissioner Peter Sorenson and State Senator Floyd Prozanski. Prozanski knew about the Neelys but his office didn't offer any help with the Bill in 1995. More than ten years later Senator Prozanski failed to get a hearing for the Bill and the following year he personally killed the Bill because he said I was rude to his secretary. Floyd Prozanski made the people of Oregon wait 15 long years for justice.

As far as Peter Sorenson was concerned he was too busy and he just couldn’t be bothered, and Kitty Piercy reluctantly agreed to sponsor the Bill in 1995 because she was the representative from the River Road-Santa Clara area, but during the next six years while Mrs. Piercy rose in stature to become the Democrat Caucus leader, and later the House Minority leader, she never once remembered the situation regarding the Neelys, nor my Bill, and she never brought it back up again for further consideration.

"The truth, the political truth, and nothing but the political truth.
A journalist has no better friend than the truth."
- Scott Rohter

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