Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Gordo Quick Hitter #2--Stiffing Rural Trade Opponents in Pendleton

I got this a few days ago, and I held it to give Smith spokesman RC Hammond ample time to respond. If he ever has, it may have been once, briefly and he hasn't returned a call since...but I don't actually ever remember speaking to him. And now, after begging Smith's Pendleton office for some kind of comment about their own location and people, being forcefully refused and referred to Hammond's Black Hole of phone messages, they're due for well-deserved derision. Congratulations, Gordon--your reputation for blowing off actual Oregonians who simply want time with their public servant, continues to receive burnishment.

A side raspberry to the East Oregonian for staying behind the subscription firewall, but here's enough to give you a taste for educational, non-profit purposes.
By PHIL WRIGHT Of the East Oregonian
Tuesday, June 5, 2007; Page A1

PENDLETON — A small contingent of dislocated workers and American labor supporters Monday tried to urge Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., to oppose fast tracking free trade agreements. But when they knocked, no one answered the doors at Smith’s downtown office at 116 S. Main St. in Pendleton.

Denice Martin, project coordinator for the Oregon Fair Trade Campaign, said she had spoken twice with the Pendleton office about the noon-time demonstration. Martin said Smith’s office confirmed someone would be there to hear the group’s concerns about how free trade has robbed Oregonians of jobs.

And she didn’t hold back her disappointment about the matter.

“It was really frustrating. It felt like that was how much they cared about the issue,” Martin said.
We can reprint from the OFTC press release as much as we want, and here's what fast track has meant to rural east Oregon, and what they had to say about Smith:
The J.R. Simplot potato processing plant in Hermiston closed in 2004, directly eliminating 719 jobs in a town of about 13,000 people. The U.S. Department of Labor certified that this job loss was NAFTA-related. Located on the eastern stretch of I-84, a short drive from the Washingon boarder, Hermiston sits in a county dominated by agriculture, food processing and a chemical weapons incinerating facility.

“Senator Smith’s position on Fast Track renewal is particularly important, because he sits on the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees trade policy questions,” said Denice Martin, project coordinator for the Oregon Fair Trade Campaign. “Hopefully, Senator Smith, Senator Wyden and others will get the message that Fast Track-approved trade deals have been hurting Oregon families across the entire state and must be opposed.”
You don't have to be a screaming liberal urbanite in order to understand just how aloof Smith is to the central concerns of Oregonians. There's no reason that the Democratic candidate can't sell his progressivism on that count in rural areas, pledgint to fight fast track and bad trade agreements that don't set wage and labor safety law standards. But first people need to acquaint themselves with what Smith really has (not) done for them, and how he continues to play deaf to their concerns--even when you think he and his staff have actually relented and deigned to meet with you.

So to recap--
Pendleton office of Senator Gordon Smith: forgetful, rude, gutless.
Spokesman for Senator Gordon Smith: avoidant, also a bit of a high talker.
Gordon Smith: AWOL, rurally deaf.
Oregonians supposedly living in Smith-friendly country: SOL and JWF.*

*from George Carlin, shit out of luck and jolly well fucked. :)