May 4th, 2012 | by ALEX TOMCHAK SCOTT News | Posted In: City Hall, Politics, PDX Votes, Media, Multnomah County

Candidate for City Council, Feeling Ignored, Sues OPB

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One of the long-shot candidates for Portland City Council has sued Oregon Public Broadcasting in small claims court for holding an on-air discussion between the leading candidates in the race—but failing to invite him.

David Gwyther alleges in his suit that OPB owes him $2,012 for leaving him out of an April 16 "Think Out Loud" segment featuring Amanda Fritz and Mary Nolan, the frontrunners in the race for City Commission Position 1.

Gwyther, 64, is a cab driver and registered lobbyist who filed to run on Feb. 10. His campaign has raised only $100 and he has spent a little less than $1,500 out of pocket to pay for campaign expenses. He is polling at 1 percent in the council race (according to a poll sponsored by OPB).

The April 26 suit says OPB "excluded three of the five candidates for Portland City Commissioner #1 using unfair and non public reasoning."

Gwyther also says:

As a KOPB member and candidate, I value the air time at $2,012. We have no recourse. We cannot buy ads. It is grossly unfair to both the listeners and the candidates to only pick two. A member supported station should have fair programming for elections.

OPB spokesman John Bell wrote in an email that the broadcaster uses criteria to select candidates based on "whether we believe the campaign is serious and not simply someone who has their name on the ballot." He said he was unfamiliar with the specifics of Gwyther's suit.
 
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