Monday, October 23, 2006

Advice for Billy Dalto: Lying With Dogs Only Gets You Fleas

So why would Billy Dalto need advice like this?

Dalto's got himself all snugly and cozy with the less-than-upfront Gateway Communications. Given Dalto's already well-sullied reputation, its a little surprising that he'd allow himself to be further tainted.

Or maybe it isn't that surprising. Maybe he doesn't care that he's dirty.

Dalto's forked over some eye-popping checks to Gateway, some of which are earmarked as "research".

So I'm wondering if last week's Dalto mailer took its "research" from the work of the folks at Gateway:

If so, Dalto should be asking for his money back.

The mailer first claims that Clem is aligned with Jobs With Justice, which the mailer tags as "radical". As if providing legal services for undocumented workers and working for corporate accountability is some sort of out-of-bounds notion.

It probably is for Billy. Jobs With Justice indeed wants to see a comprehensive legalization plan. Exactly how does this put a strain on state services? All legal workers pay taxes which pays for the services. The strain on state services comes from illegal workers who are paid under the table and whose families avail themselves of services. I might be mistaken, but I haven't seen Dalto come out with a plan to work for legalization so that these people can pay taxes--or at least come up with stringent penalties for employers who hire them.

The second claim in the mailer is laughable:

Clem claims he is a farmer but he doesn't pay health insurance for his migrant workers. Taxpayers have to pick up the tab if they get sick and show up in the emergency room. Last year Oregon budgted over $34 million in health care services for illegal aliens.

Let's dissect this, shall we?

Clem doesn't "claim" he is a farmer. Clem IS a farmer. He actually owns AND operates an 80 acre orchard with his wife. Essentially the opposite of Saxton, eh Bill?

Ironically, Jobs With Justice is trying to establish a healthcare reform movement on a national scale. This would certainly go a long way to lowering health care costs and making it easier for migrant workers to obtain affordable health care that wouldn't be a burden to the states. Color me skeptical, but I doubt this idea is one of the planks in Dalto's platform.

Dalto seems to be saying that Clem is hiring illegal workers because he has migrant workers on his farm (which we're having to take Dalto's word on--since he doesn't actually provide proof of that either). For the only Hispanic member of the Oregon House to take this stance is surprisingly racist sounding, in my view. I have no idea if Dalto is self-loathing when it comes to his race, but this mailer can certainly be construed that way.

That brings us to Dalto's final claim:

Clem now states that he supports universal health care for all, including illegal aliens (Source: Oregonians for Health Security Candidate Forum, 10/05/06)

I put a call last Thursday to Mary Beth Healey at Oregonians For Health Security. No one on the entire staff of Oregonians For Health Security can recall Brian Clem making such a statement. But just to be safe, Mary Beth is combing through the notes that were taken in the break out sessions with candidates along with taped interviews with Clem, just to be certain. I'll update as I hear back from Healey.

Finally, for a guy who seems so very concerned about health care costs and access, Billy Dalto sure doesn't act like it. He didn't even bother to respond to Oregonians for Health Security's survey on health care related issues.

Come to think of it..I now can't decide who is more flea-ridden, Gateway or Dalto. Dalto allowed his name to be associated with this mailer. Maybe its Gateway who is lying with the dog.

Update, 215pm--
We've now gotten the confirmation we were looking for from the OR Health Security folks--they don't have any record of Clem saying anything about undocumented aliens having access to universal health care. It's possible that this falls under the spurious conflation of supporting a path to citizenship for undocumenteds--and thus creating their eligibility for social entitlements--with wanting to give such benefits to them NOW, while they're still illegal.* It's something Mike Erickson has tried with Darlene Hooley, so I wouldn't be surprised. In any case, ORHS is seeking to have the mailer pulled, based on the fact that as far as they're concerned, Clem didn't say anything like what is quoted. Bad boy,, Billy!

*I don't even know for sure that Clem supports an eventual path to citizenship, but many Democrats do.