By editorial board • 

Throwing civility under the bus for personal and political gain

Ken Moore, Democratic candidate in Yamhill County’s House District 24, told the News-Register editorial board some weeks back how he intended to run a respectful campaign against his Republican opponent, former McMinnville Police Chief Ron Noble. Both candidates are known as cordial community members, leading us to write, “We have high hopes for the race, as Moore and Noble are both known for character and integrity.”

Moore may very well be a nice guy in the personal realm, but he has proven himself a spineless hypocrite in the political arena.

Not only has he engaged in a campaign of searing personal attack, but he has done so based on allegations lacking any semblance of substance. In fact, it seems to us to cross the line into defamation territory — a first in these parts.

The campaign is being funded by Oregon’s Democratic Party, but Moore has refused to distance himself. To the contrary, he has embraced it, telling the News-Register he harbored concerns about Noble’s “record of dismissing the concerns of young women” and welcomed the opportunity to engage voters on that issue.

The party is so focused on picking up a 36th House seat — giving the already-dominant donkeys a super-majority allowing them to raise taxes at will — that it apparently has no problem simultaneously smearing a local institution of higher learning and exploiting sexual assault implications arising legitimately in the presidential campaign.

So far, two mailers and a television commercial have falsely suggested Noble dismissed a string of Linfield College dorm break-ins as  “isolated,” thus no cause for concern.

The fliers urge recipients to “check the facts,” referring them in fine print at the bottom to a pair of campus newspaper articles. Obviously, Moore and his party handlers are counting on people not checking, as anyone who does will learn the “facts” presented in these hit pieces aren’t facts at all.

The first case involved a visibly intoxicated student stumbling in and out of four unlocked women’s dorm rooms one night, without ever approaching or engaging any of the occupants. None of the women reported the incident at the time, but it was eventually reported a couple days after the fact.

Campus Public Safety, which Noble has headed since retiring from the Mac PD helm, quickly identified the intruder. The college removed him from campus housing and offered the women an opportunity to relocate, which they declined.

The second case involved a man in his 30s or 40s grabbing a female student by the arm as she walked along the outskirts of campus one night. She responded by punching him and both fled.

Eleven months separated the two incidents, but the fliers compressed that into “just months later.” The fliers not only tried to link these obviously unrelated incidents, but also to treat the original incident as four separate break-ins.

Noble accurately termed the first incident “isolated” and McMinnville police accurately termed the second incident “isolated.” But the fliers suggest, with flagrant deceit, that Noble kept calling repeated incidents of female victimization on campus “isolated.”

The first mailer pictured Helen Lee, editor of the Linfield Review at the time of incident No. 1, who interned for Moore’s campaign. The second pictured a woman described as “Erica - Yamhill County mom,” and an unidentified companion of college age. Both expressed the view that Noble was failing to protect young women whose safety was entrusted to him.

With the accusations against Donald Trump and Bill Clinton in the headlines, sexual assault has become an unfortunate part of this election’s narrative. However, the attack on Noble seems more aimed at tarnishing his public safety record and depicting him as “dangerously careless” than seeing that women are protected from unwanted advances in our culture.

These ads represent irresponsible attempts to associate the former police chief with the filth surrounding the Trump campaign.

The public manipulation of facts is demeaning to the democratic process, to the voters, and, more egregiously, to actual victims of sexual assault. It is tantamount to spitting in the faces of survivors and advocates.

It’s been said in online comments and in our Readers Forum, and it should be said many more times: Shame on Ken Moore and the Democratic Party of Oregon. This is the ugliest local example of dirty politics in our memory, which goes back a long time.

One reason the editorial board endorsed Noble in this race, before the attack ads surfaced, was fear that Moore would prove little more than a puppet for his party. Noble seemed to board members to promise a significantly greater degree of independent thought and course of action.

We know now we had that right. We know because in a desperate attempt to win, Moore has allowed the state’s Democratic political machine to infect our hometown’s election with divisive and distasteful material.

Whether he ultimately wins or loses, Moore has lost the respect of many citizens, including those serving on our editorial board. We harbor little hope he would put principle before party in representing the people of District 24 in Salem.

It is our fervent hope that voters see through the dark veil this has cast over local politics. We hope they recognize Noble for the character and integrity that he continues to show, in contrast to his foe, as election day nears.

Unfortunately, the kind of political attacks deployed by Moore and the Democrats often prove effective. Despite endless calls for fairness, civility and restraint, “politics as usual” still pervades the nation, seeping into even relatively remote Yamhill County.


Don Dix

From the article --"We harbor little hope he (Moore) would put principle before party in representing the people of District 24 in Salem."

There are 35 other Ds in Salem, as well as all the elected officials, that have an identical agenda (always have).

Wishful thinking would allow that Oregon voters will come to their senses and replace the union puppets with individuals that can and will honor the job description. Of course, many voters have never been able to vote for the 'best candidate'. That's why there are so many Ds in Oregon's government today!

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