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Why Mayor-elect Charlie Hales should publicly refute KATU's story

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on November 14th, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Hales told BikePortland he wants, "More bike projects,
more sidewalks, more connections for things that
aren't automobiles."
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Mayor-elect Charlie Hales needs to publicly refute a story by KATU-TV that grossly misrepresents his views on transportation policy. Hales has been aware of the misrepresentation for at least two days now, and yet he has not made any public statements to clarify and correct the record.

On Monday night, KATU broadcast (and then later published on their website) a story saying, "Hales plans to shift focus of city transportation budget." The story went on to report that Hales would not make bikes a priority and that he, "wants 60 miles of streets paved and others repaired before there are any more bike projects."

However, Hales' own comments — made to me on two separate occasions and to KATU for their story — said nothing like that at all.

After detailing my opinion on the KATU story yesterday, I have since spoken again with Mayor-elect Hales.

While Hales responded to my initial request for comment about the KATU story, his answer — while I felt it was enough to illustrate the misrepresentation — did not directly address what I feel is the key question here: Does Hales feel that KATU misrepresented his views? If not, why is he telling me the complete opposite? And if so, does he plan to publicly refute the story and clarify his stance?

I asked that question of Hales again on the phone yesterday. Again he didn't directly answer, saying he needed to re-read the KATU story.

He did, however, share additional clarifying remarks about his stance. And it turns out what he actually believes is nearly the complete, polar opposite of what KATU reported:

"I am not planning in a change in philosophy at the City of Portland. I am planning on being a relentless prioritizer, because that's what the budget requires... And we've got to prioritize maintenance first and remedial construction of infrastructure that should have been there all along. And then, as we add things, we will continue being a progressive city that's building a multimodal transportation network. That means more bike projects, more sidewalks, more connections for things that aren't automobiles. I don't regard where I'm heading with this as any kind of change in direction..."

Given the vast distance between what KATU chose to report and what Hales told me he actually believes, I feel the mayor-elect has an obligation to set the record straight. But he hasn't yet. Why not?

"There was one point in the campaign where I thought a media outlet was factually wrong and I found out the price you pay for that. So I'm a little gun-shy."
— Mayor-elect Hales

Is he trying to play both sides in this heated discussion? Is he happy to have KATU bend his views to sound more auto-centric — and less bike-friendly — than he actually is (many KATU commenters are gleefully supportive of Hales)?

Or, is Hales simply afraid of calling KATU out for their inaccurate and biased reporting?

As Hales reminded me yesterday, he went through the media ringer during his campaign. At one point, he challenged The Oregonian's reporting about a letter he claimed to have authored for the St. Johns Review. "As you may recall," he shared with me on the phone, "There was one point in the campaign where I thought a media outlet was factually wrong and I found out the price you pay for that. So I'm a little gun-shy."

After we spoke yesterday afternoon, Hales said he would re-read the KATU story and get back to me. I have yet to hear from him.

Meanwhile, it's clearer than ever that KATU took serious liberties with Hales' positions. They have still not provided me with any further source comments from Hales that would help justify their reporting and explain why they decided to single out "bike projects" and why they framed Hales' views on transportation as a "shift" from Mayor Adams' (which, given what he's said to KATU and to me, they clearly aren't).

But the blame can't be fully placed on KATU. For months now, Hales has found himself trying to explain and clarify his position on transportation. His "back to basics" and "roads first" rhetoric, especially given the narrative context in Portland around spending on bicycle-related projects, could easily be misinterpreted. The KATU story is just one consequence of Hales' (intentionally?) vague position.

During my conversation with Hales, he said, "People are going to keep framing this story in terms of a conflict of bikes versus cars no matter what I say. But I'll try and be as clear as I can possibly be."

This story, and the confusion many people in the community continue to have around it, make it clear that he needs to try harder. A public refutation of the KATU story and/or a public statement that more clearly spells out his views is what's needed to set the record straight.

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Comments
  • Tony November 14, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    I wish there was a way we could get a little hyperventilation going over at his place. Has the BTA contacted him about this?

    Recommended Thumb up 7

  • 9watts November 14, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Thanks for holding KATU's and Charlie Hales' feet to the fire, Jonathan.
    This could get interesting (or frustrating). Given how long it took for Hales to distance himself from the Slovic piece he first embraced, this could take a while, but your batting average is quite good.

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  • Joseph E November 14, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    KATU can misrepresent Hales views all they want, as long as PBOT keeps building sidewalks and safe bike facilities. I care mainly about what Charlie does, not what people say he plans to do.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 14, 2012 at 12:25 pm

      Joseph,

      Aaahh, if only it were that simple. Unfortunately, as I've learned more than I would have liked over the past few years, what gets done in transportation in this town is directly related to what gets said about transportation in the public/media sphere. It's all politics. And these stories from major media outlets do a lot to influence the public narrative, which them influences the City Hall narrative, which then influences the PBOT narrative, which then influences what we see on the ground.

      How our mayor's views are represented is extremely important. That's why, when a local TV station gets it wrong and the mayor doesn't do anything to make it right, I feel it's worth taking note.

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      • q`Tzal November 14, 2012 at 1:46 pm

        Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
        Joseph,
        Aaahh, if only it were that simple. Unfortunately, as I've learned more than I would have liked over the past few years, what gets done in transportation in this town is directly related to what gets said about transportation in the public/media sphere. It's all politics. And these stories from major media outlets do a lot to influence the public narrative, which them influences the City Hall narrative, which then influences the PBOT narrative, which then influences what we see on the ground.

        Hopefully you said this EXACTLY to Hales.
        And some along the lines of "if your goal is to be a puppet of the corporate media then just stay the course."

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      • xsnairx November 15, 2012 at 8:44 pm

        I don't think Hales has hid his transportation objectives. He is all out streetcar, which I only have a few qualms with, mainly the funding comes from cuts to outlying bus service who need transit more then the people who live a few miles from downtown.
        As far as Hales talking out of both sides of his mouth, check back at the fact that back in the day he championed city council decisions bolster new development without appropriate parking, and then told the residents of SE Division during his campaign, (who are now feeling the sting) he'd look into the problem without coming out and admitting he made a mistake. I hope there are some people at PBOT who will stand up to his shortsightedness.

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  • Jacob November 14, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Right-on, Jonathan. This is classic politician double-speak—saying one thing but tacitly condoning the complete opposite. If he doesn't refute this kind of crap now, then it looks as though Portland has elected a weak and unprincipled mayor, willing to say anything and commit to nothing. It reflects poorly on his nascent administration, and does not bode well for the future of transportation in Portland.

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    • davemess November 14, 2012 at 12:41 pm

      Isn't that exactly what we elected?

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      • Zach November 14, 2012 at 1:04 pm

        Seriously... does this actually come as a surprise to anybody?

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        • davemess November 14, 2012 at 3:23 pm

          Apparently all the people who weren't paying attention during the election.

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        • Duncan Idaho-Stop November 14, 2012 at 3:39 pm

          "Is he trying to play both sides in this heated discussion?"

          He played both sides of the Columbia River when it came to paying taxes and voting.

          Recommended Thumb up 5

          • k. November 15, 2012 at 9:11 am

            Totally. How is this any different than paying Washington taxes and voting in Oregon? This is exactly why I've been wary of Hales.

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  • Gregg November 14, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    I'm looking forward to electing a city council/ mayor who all embrace sustainable practices, including proudly working towards funding and building out the 2030 Bicycle Master Plan.
    I wish Charley Hales would be a part of this vision.

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  • LoveDoctor November 14, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    Although Hales shouldn't be given a free pass for talking like a politician, is it any surprise he isn't giving a firm response? That's the reality of politi-speak. The real target for our energies should be against KATU. I sent an email to them denouncing what they see as journalism, and the risk to the public they propogate by fanning the flames of the false war of cars v. bikes.

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    • Tony November 14, 2012 at 12:53 pm

      KATU is in no way actually accountable to the public and that is the difference.

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      • 007 November 21, 2012 at 12:42 am

        I disagree, and so does the Society of Professional Journalists. From their code of ethics on accountability: "Journalists are accountable to their readers, listeners, viewers and each other."

        "Journalists should:

        — Clarify and explain news coverage and invite dialogue with the public over journalistic conduct.
        — Encourage the public to voice grievances against the news media.
        — Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.
        — Expose unethical practices of journalists and the news media.
        — Abide by the same high standards to which they hold others."

        I know that's asking a lot from TV "journalists", but still.

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  • Craig Harlow November 14, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    It's my view that Hales has played to both sides all along, pandering more to the conservatives when he had Brady to contend with, then to the progressives when Smith was his only competition. Who knows what serves as his weathervane now? I have no idea what to expect from this mayor, other than more of the same.

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  • Hart Noecker November 14, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Charlie Hales needs to refute a lot of things, namely coal exports and the CRC. And can we get a little sit down session between him and Mark Gorton?

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  • dan de vriend November 14, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    I live out in Cully. That stretch of Going between 38th and 42nd is AWFUL, I'd love some re paving. The random gravel roads with potholes suck for bikes in my neighborhood too. I think some repaving and pothole filling could benefit bikes too. And the "cycle track" down Cully is a freaking waste of money, I never see bikes on it. They tend to take 57th, which doesn't even have side walks. Out where I live, sidewalks are rare.
    It's embarrassing.

    Recommended Thumb up 7

    • 007 November 21, 2012 at 12:44 am

      I love that cycletrack. Too bad it's not in a more useful location.

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  • RH November 14, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    I think he is just trying to avoid the media circus. I would if I were in his shoes. He's got more pressing issues that having to baby sit KATU.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 14, 2012 at 1:04 pm

      Avoid the circus? He's the one who has created it. Seems to me the way you avoid the circus is by taking over the management, setting clear leadership and expectations, and then keeping folks in line if they get off course.

      And "more pressing issues?" As I said in a comment above, Hales will quickly find that moving good transportation policy forward is impossible in this town unless you first learn to manage the "circus."

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      • A.K. November 14, 2012 at 3:11 pm

        Yes, he needs to take control of his messaging. The media shouldn't be writing or interpreting his goals: they should report on exact what he has said.

        This is the issue with being wishy-washy, it leaves the message up to interpretation.

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    • rain bike November 14, 2012 at 1:11 pm

      And, he's still only the Mayor-elect. It isn't his turn to grab the stage.

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  • wsbob November 14, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Portland Mayor Charlie Hales first order of accountability is to serve the people of Portland as mayor of the city. He's not directly accountable to KATU or any other news organization, especially those news organizations that determine to push his decision making in arbitrary directions.

    If he intends to keep the media from leading him on what for the media would be a merry goose chase, Hales had better be very careful in deciding what kinds of statements the media makes, he should respond to.

    Before broadcasting their recent, apparently rather extraordinary interpretation of Hale's past remarks about Portland's transportation infrastructure needs, KATU could have arranged for an interview with him as preparation for their broadcast story. Did KATU do so? Haven't heard they did.

    Instead, the tv station hastened to construct its own sketchily drawn conclusions, maybe for something to wind the public up, maybe in an attempt to get Hales to chase after the tv station's assumptions about his plans for the city, assumptions the station should have corroborated directly with the future mayor, before broadcasting them.

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    • Hart Noecker November 14, 2012 at 1:19 pm

      If Hales' first order of accountability is to serve the people of Portland, he's already failing at that by refusing to address the public as to what his real goals and motive are regarding active transportation in our city.

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      • wsbob November 14, 2012 at 3:22 pm

        Hart Noecker
        If Hales' first order of accountability is to serve the people of Portland, he's already failing at that by refusing to address the public as to what his real goals and motive are regarding active transportation in our city.
        Recommended 2

        Hales isn't even mayor, yet. He's still mayor-elect. Sam Adams is still active mayor. Hales shouldn't be expected at this time, to barge in with his own active transportation goals, on business Adams is still working on with the public, staff, and personnel.

        Hales participated in an interview about his views on active transportation with bikeportland's publisher-editor: Jonathan Maus. That seems to be some indication of willingness on his part to address the public about his goals regarding active transportation in Portland.

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        • Hart Noecker November 14, 2012 at 4:06 pm

          That's great that a politician did an interview with Bikeportland.org. Hopefully Hales' staff are watching the comments here closely so that they may better understand the depth of concern the public has over his seemingly inconsistent statements regarding transportation.

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          • wsbob November 14, 2012 at 4:44 pm

            I hope also, that Hales and staff are reading this stories comments for some insight into the public's concerns about Portland's transportation future, at least, for the segment of the public that bikeportland's readership represents.

            Hales has his work cut out for him. This tv station news kerfuffle may be nothing compared to some of the other challenges likely to rise up and greet him once he's in office. Part of his being able to do good things for active transportation will be bike enthusiasts preparing to help him rather than attack him for statements he's made that to them do not seem quite as clear and unequivocal as they would like.

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  • Spiffy November 14, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    he sounds like the usual politician to me... he lets KATU bend the story towards cars because more people with cars are tuning into KATU... he lets us bend it towards bikes because that's our audience... I wouldn't be surprised to see it bend towards peds in an Oregon Walks article...

    people need roads... it's good that each group is happy they're getting them... unfortunately they're happy at the assumption of somebody else's expense... everyone wants their helping of schadenfreude...

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  • Brad November 14, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Jonathan, I think that you are also inflaming the situation here.

    KATU is just another crass media outlet looking to whip up controversy in the name of ratings. We've seen such stories before and we'll see them again. Having Hales respond to their speculative nonsense on bikes just gives them more incentive to keep repeating the same sins on water rates, school funding, cops, social services, etc. There is no need to pick fights with a media outlet or let them dictate your policy agenda seven weeks before you start the job.

    As for Hales, he's not sworn in as mayor yet. I'd prefer that he lay low and be thoughtful until his swearing in and then announce his plans with the full authority of the office behind him. Why play your cards so early? Why risk potentially alienating your fellow council members, bureau heads, and constituents before you have the power to do anything? Perhaps he hasn't put together a granular plan for transportation just yet?

    Calm down a bit. All of us should spend the time positively influencing the mayor-elect rather than antagonizing him into making pronouncements before he takes office. Didn't we all hear enough empty "Day One" crap during the elections?

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 14, 2012 at 1:48 pm

      Thanks for that Brad. But I disagree with you.

      This situation is different than many of the other media criticisms I've made over the years. The reason is because, not only did they egregiously misrepresent his views, Hales appears to be not too concerned about it.

      By not addressing the story, I think Hales is tacitly endorsing his views in it and those views are not what he actually believes. To me, this is a serious trust and integrity issue for both Hales and for KATU.

      I'd prefer he lays low until he takes over too... But the KATU story happened and I don't think it should simply be ignored by him or let stand as is. If he doesn't want to refute the KATU story directly, he should, at the least, issue a statement clarifying his stance.

      And I'm all for "positively influencing the mayor-elect" but I don't think there's any harm at all in simply asking him to be more clear about a very important topic.

      If Hales makes a stand here, I think it would actually have a very positive influence on him. He'd realize that the community isn't going to let him be wishy-washy and play the media games on an issue many of us care about. He'd also figure out how to more clearly state his position.

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      • wsbob November 14, 2012 at 3:02 pm

        "...By not addressing the story, I think Hales is tacitly endorsing his views in it and those views are not what he actually believes. ..." maus/bikeportland

        KATU seems to have attempted to contrive and present what may be the station's own view of what the city's priorities should be, by liberally interpreting past statements of Hales.

        KATU does not speak for the mayor of Portland. The station is not his boss. Hales isn't even in office yet and already people are lining up, attempting to, not just ask, but coerce him into promising to meet their particular wants.

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        • Hart Noecker November 14, 2012 at 3:18 pm

          Hales was elected to lead, not hide. If he's fine with KATU writing the narrative of what he plans to do with transit, then we have to assume KATU's version is correct.

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          • Andrew K November 14, 2012 at 3:37 pm

            By that logic, we should just assume everything Fox news says about Obama is 100% correct.

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            • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 14, 2012 at 3:43 pm

              No. Because much of what Fox says is refuted by Obama and/or his communications staff and/or other surrogates and media outlets.

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          • wsbob November 14, 2012 at 3:48 pm

            Hart Noecker
            Hales was elected to lead, not hide. If he's fine with KATU writing the narrative of what he plans to do with transit, then we have to assume KATU's version is correct.
            Recommended 0

            Not 'we': 'YOU'. At least, that's apparently what you seem to feel you're obliged to assume. Actually, you're not obliged. You're welcome to personally make such assumptions for yourself, but not for anyone else.

            As others have already noted in comments to this story, Hales isn't yet even in office, but nevertheless, people are rushing forward with ultimatums: Demands such as: 'You better speak up right now, or we're going to take the word of the crummy tv station's news show!!!', aren't really going to help anyone.

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            • Hart Noecker November 14, 2012 at 5:57 pm

              I'm still waiting for Hales to comment on why he refused to return the dirty coal money his campaign took in during the election.

              Recommended Thumb up 3

    • q`Tzal November 14, 2012 at 1:58 pm

      Because of this:

      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
      Joseph,
      Aaahh, if only it were that simple. Unfortunately, as I've learned more than I would have liked over the past few years, what gets done in transportation in this town is directly related to what gets said about transportation in the public/media sphere. It's all politics. And these stories from major media outlets do a lot to influence the public narrative, which them influences the City Hall narrative, which then influences the PBOT narrative, which then influences what we see on the ground.

      As elitist as it is to say it is in fact true that most Americans let the electric picture box do their thinking for them; perhaps thinking for yourself and having factually backed well reasoned opinions hurts.

      Regardless sitting back and allowing libelous and slanderous speech to define our political process is as much a choice as choosing NOT to do nothing.
      It is our duty as citizens to engage in the political process and if that engagement involves refuting the inaccurate fantasy land that some conservative interests want to live in then count me in.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Sean G November 14, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    Your commentary recently on Bloomberg's leadership with bike and pedestrian infrastructure overcame public and local opposition. People respected what he did, even if they had been opposed to it from the start. Hales could learn something from NYC's success, get out front and stick to your guns rather than avoiding the press and repeating talking points.

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  • Bjorn November 14, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    I think Hales is happy to play both sides of any issue, I guess that is why I voted for Smith...

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  • torridjoe November 14, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    Hales is blaming his (at best careless/unwitting) plagiarism on the media? And that response should make us feel more secure in his stated motivations?

    And he may not be mayor yet, but he's already sitting in on budget meetings--which is probably a good idea, but also belies the idea that he gets a pass because he's only mayor-elect.

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  • Andrew K November 14, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    From a political stand point I think it would be a major mistake for Hales to call out KATU at this stage. KATU was wrong...you know it, I know it, and most likely Hales knows it. However, getting into that battle before he is even sworn in would be a major political blunder and would drag potential good works down to the level of mud slinging.

    Remember, what is really going to matter is what Hales actually does, not what a "news" organization like KATU says he is going to do.

    As much as I liked Sam Adams I am sorry to say he never learned to play his political cards properly and my hope for Hales is that he does a better job in this arena.

    The real way to call out KATU on their lies is for us the viewiers to lead that charge let them know we will not be visiting their site or watching them on TV until they retract the story. Bet yet, we should let their advertisers know. Hales doesn't need to fight that battle for us.

    Keep in mind too, most people will not even remember that segment aired a few days from now. When it comes to news media, sometimes ignoring it does make it go away.

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    • Jeremy Cohen November 14, 2012 at 3:16 pm

      I agree that we have power in this situation to "vote" with our viewership, but Hales has much more power right now. As the Mayor elect, he can come out publicly and refute the story and/or he can make sure KATU understands that if they continue to misrepresent his views, they will be finding out from OTHER news stations the breaking news. It is common practice for politicians to build relationships with news outlets where the reports are accurate OR their competitor gets the early tip, the "leak" or whatever. This is a great time for Hales to make it clear HE will be in charge of his narrative, not a mid-sized market news wannabe.

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      • Andrew K November 14, 2012 at 3:26 pm

        Oh dear no.

        I'm sorry, but I just cannot agree. To make enemies at this stage would be a fatal mistake and trying to strong arm a local news outlet over a poorly reported five minute segment most people have already forgotten before he is even sworn in would just win him plenty of enemies without making any friends.

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 14, 2012 at 3:35 pm

          Andrew K,

          Do you realize it's possible for Hales to refute the KATU story without making enemies of them? Here's a statement he can make:

          "Dear KATU,

          Your recent story regarding my plans for transportation seems to have taken an angle that I feel doesn't accurately reflect my views. Perhaps I failed to make my opinions on the issue clear; but the fact is, I do not plan to put bike projects on the back burner in favor of paving or maintenance when I become mayor. I do plan to rigorously prioritize all transportation investments when the time comes to hammer out budgets. When I do that, I will hold road maintenance and paving projects as my highest priority while also continuing to invest in other projects.

          Thanks for considering my concerns with your story. I would welcome an opportunity to work with you on a follow-up story so that the community has a more accurate understanding of how I plan to lead once I am in office.

          Thank you."

          ====

          See. It's not that hard. A simple statement like that would serve KATU notice and would show the public his true colors.

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          • Andrew K November 14, 2012 at 3:51 pm

            A simple statement like that would turn this five minute news segment into a month long story. Maybe even longer. If KATU is poking the hornets nest, then responding to it before one is even in office would be breaking that nest wide open. It would be playing into their hands and would drag us all down into the silly "bike vs. cars" debate.

            This is politics. It's a chess game. Just being right, or in this case, pointing out that someone else is wrong is not enough and will not help us. Not by a long shot.

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            • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm

              We can agree to disagree. You make some great points.

              One thing that is complicated is trying to make a determination as to whether or not KATU meant to do what they did. It hard to know... But it's entirely likely they simply aren't sensitive to the issue and they didn't think their stretching of Hales' comments would really be that big of a deal. They obviously don't care or follow this stuff as closely as I do.

              So, if we assume they simply made a somewhat innocent (although no more forgivable from a journalism point of view) mistake, then they aren't really "poking a hornet's nest" and they would be happy to hear Hales' concerns.

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              • Andrew K November 14, 2012 at 5:03 pm

                You of course make some great points too. I always value a back and forth with you.

                I personally don't think what KATU reported was was a simple oversight nor do I think they are innocent. I think they saw an opportunity to get an argument started on their web page and purely from a revenue perspective it is a smart move.

                I just think Hales is wise at this stage to ignore it.

                Now granted I am making a ton of assumptions here, but if I were Hales what I would be doing as the Mayor Elect is keeping my mouth shut and talking to people behind closed doors to shore up support. If he waded into this now he would be forced to take a firm policy stand before even getting into office. This would back him into a corner and leave him no room to compromise.

                I know we all want Hales to come out swinging punches but the political reality is that while such an action may be fun for us to watch, it would not be effective in accomplishing real progress. If Hales responds the headline will be, "Mayor Elect Issues Challenge to Local News Station". They probably won't even print his letter. Instead the will just say he issued a "strongly worded statement". The story will become more about the fact that he responded at all, not about his policy choices.

                But all of that is moot when you consider the fact that we the viewers can hit KATU far harder and more effectively than any mayor.

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          • wsbob November 14, 2012 at 4:06 pm

            "...See. It's not that hard. ..." maus/bikeportland

            Especially perhaps, for people that aren't the mayor-elect. If you've run your statement suggestion past Hales, before posting it in your comment here, that would be interesting to read about. Sounds like you may have, and he turned you down, which would make sense, given that he likely already has his own staff for that sort of thing.

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  • David Sweet November 14, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    Garrison Keillor once said, "You'd learn more about the world by lying on the couch and drinking gin out of a bottle than by watching the news." Nevertheless, many folks do get their news from the tube, and TV news readers need to be held accountable when they invent the news rather than reporting it. Stay on it, Jonathan. This should not stand.

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    • Andrew K November 14, 2012 at 3:19 pm

      I totally agree that the news media should be held accountable when they lie or distort the truth. However, it should be the audience who holds them accountable, not individual politicians.

      I mean lets face it, there is not a politician on earth who has not lied, distorted the truth, flip flopped, or sat on the fence. They all do it, it's part of the reality behind politics. To have a politician fight a battle with a news outlet for doing the same thing has very little weight or meaning and ultimately will just open a can of worms we'd all rather stay closed.

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    • 007 November 21, 2012 at 12:47 am

      I can vouch for that.

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  • Dan November 14, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    If we are worried about Mayor-elect Hales believing that the public wants it autocentric because the news spins stories that way, the one sure way to counteract that is to email ALL members of the Portland council and weigh-in on everything close to your heart. Nothing like old-fashioned civic engagement to make your point. And, heresy though it may be, I'm willing to listen to the reasons if they feel easing up on cars makes better sense. The fact remains that for a lot of the population, car use is what they are stuck with (for financial, temporal, employment, or inertial reasons). Show it can be done, set a good example (let's follow the traffic rules, huh?), and realize that it will take some serious engineering (civic and social) to get to where people can get out of their cars and still make their lives work.

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  • J-R November 14, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    Arguing with the media is like wrestling with a pig, eventually you learn that he likes it. There's no way to "win" on this. Hales has probably learned this from his prior stint as a commissioner. I think we are better served by keeping the pressure on doing things for bicyclists than encouraging him to fight with KATU. Pick your battles.

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  • JF November 14, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    All this speculation about the mayor elect's stance on transportation just seems like a weather forecast at this point. I will wait until I see the rain or sun tomorrow before drawing conclusions.

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  • mev November 14, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    I agree Jonathan - I felt like KATU tried to make it news worthy by pitting bikes against cars - I've heard Charlie speak about this issue countless times in the last 18 months...and he never said alternative transportation would not be given attention, he does believe we need to take care of our investment in a system that serves all modes. Without maintenance we spend six times the amount to fix it in a few short years. Thanks for this Jonathan!

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    • JRB November 14, 2012 at 5:11 pm

      Exactly. For me this isn't about KATU distorting something Hales said. This is about KATU cynical perpetuating the falsehood that bike infrastructure comes at the expense of road maintenance in order to further the bikes vs. cars fiction in the hopes of higher ratings. They stated that as fact before they even got in to describing what they think Hale's poisition is. I think we should all take KATU to task for that.

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    • Hart Noecker November 14, 2012 at 9:26 pm

      If Hales or anyone else for that matter is viewing bicycles as "alternative transportation", that's a serious problem.

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      • JF November 15, 2012 at 10:29 am

        My company considers bicycling to work an alternate commuting method, and I am counted separately as such during the yearly 'inventory' of how people get to work.

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  • Robert Burchett November 15, 2012 at 10:47 am

    I'm going to re-read all of the above when I have time, looks interesting. But meanwhile, it's the media wringer, not ringer. Aargh.

    Gotta go count my gin bottles.

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  • Mike November 15, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    For what it's worth, I just sent an email to Hales' office asking him to clarify his position, since he hasn't yet cleared things up re KATU.

    contact@charliehales.com

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  • Machu Picchu November 15, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    Right on with your intuition on this one, Maus. I'm surprised at some of the readers' reluctance to support putting a mayor-elect on the spot. He can't make a decree right now, but he sure as hell can start putting his mouth where the money's gonna be. Not laying down his position in uncertain terms is just smugness foreshadowed.

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  • Clarence Eckerson January 3, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    One thing I will say being here in NYC, Mayor Bloomberg almost never goes out of his way to refute the press on anything. Frankly, I think he considers them mostly lame brains and it a waste of his time to do so, even if negative perceptions arise.

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