Sunday afternoon, I received a call from an out-of-the-area firm saying they were doing a survey and asking if I would answer some questions. After a few preliminaries, the questions turned to the Jeff Hazen recall. But rather than ask me what I thought and why, this is how I was pitched:
If I were told that liquefied natural gas would lower energy costs, would I be more or less likely to vote against the recall?
If I were told that LNG was a transitional source to be used until we can use sustainable energy sources, would it be more or less likely to vote against the recall?
If I knew that Hazen had brought transportation funds, supported education, volunteered in the community, etc., would I be more or less likely to vote against the recall?
If I knew that "extreme environmentalists" had led the recall effort (they even reached so far as to mention the controversial group Earth First), would I be more or less likely to vote against the recall?
I responded that I knew many of these statements to be untrue and tried to give honest feedback. But of course, the nice young man being paid to make this call didn't know or care about the Columbia Estuary, fossil fuel economics, the salmon or the communities of people living in our area. He was being paid to read questions designed to influence the vote of anyone who hadn't paid attention for the past three years. He didn't know that those people we was describing as "extreme environmentalists" were simply local teachers, librarians, artists, small business owners, accountants, restaurant workers and retired volunteers.
Jeff Hazen continues to justify some very bad decisions. He is a cheerleader for the Texas developers who want to make money from our region and who care not at all for the salmon, the historical fishery community, or the health of the Columbia Estuary. Nothing said at the Clatsop County Commission by local opponents ever persuades or penetrates his consciousness.
In months of attending hearings, I have never heard him explain or justify his position on LNG. We are a representative democracy; he is answerable to the electorate. Recall is the way that we can say,"No, you are not listening, you are not responsive, and you are not being the commissioner who we need at this critical time in our history."