It's not enough that opponents trounced
each one of Bill Sizemore
's five ballot measures in the November election. This morning, they succeeded in putting him in jail—if only for a little while.
Sizemore was back in Multnomah County Court today on contempt charges relating to a lawsuit and $2.5 million judgment the Oregon Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers-Oregon won against him in 2002. Following earlier hearings, Judge Janice Wilson ordered the tax activist jailed because he had failed to file required tax forms for a non-profit he runs.
There was an usually large contingent of Multnomah County Sheriff's deputies stationed around Wilson's courtroom for the 9 am proceeding. After the judge read her 42-page order
(PDF), deputies; members of AFSCME, one of the public employee unions Sizemore has consistently targeted with his measures—led him away.
And now there's this artifact
that will no doubt be endlessly reproduced in one ad or 50 between now and the 2010 election (when Sizemore already has another heavy slate of ballot measures in the works).
Sizemore was unavailable for comment. But he is in the process of mounting a counter-attack against his opponents. Last week, he filed suit against more than a dozen individuals and groups in Marion County Court, alleging they made false statements about his ballot measures.
One of those Sizemore is suing — Kevin Looper, director of Defend Oregon, the union-backed group that spent more than $15 million to defeat Sizemore's measures — says the public should not be misled by Sizemore's legal offensive.
"We've got John Gotti here pretending he's Nelson Mandela," Looper says.