Judge Says Eudaly Can Block Activist on Facebook: A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly for blocking a local activist from her private Facebook page, declining to turn over the pages in response to a public records request, and allegedly bullying the activist. The judge ruled June 29 that Eudaly can say what she wants on her private Facebook page, and that her comments were not threatening enough to prevent activist Mimi German from speaking. Judge Michael W. Mosman also ruled the First Amendment does not give people the right to make city commissioners listen to them. "Ms. German's right to petition the City Council does not include the right that Commissioner Eudaly listen [to], or even be present for, Ms. German's testimony," the judge wrote. A Eudaly staffer tells WW the lawsuit was frivolous, but German plans on filing again. "I see it as positive," she says.
Signature Gatherer Alleges Elections Fraud: On the eve of the July 6 deadline for turning in signatures to qualify measures for the November ballot, a woman named Connea Derber filed complaints June 29 alleging elections fraud by the signature-gathering firm Ballot Access LLC. Derber says she witnessed numerous violations as she gathered signatures for the firm on behalf of anti-tax Initiative Petition 31. Ballot Access owner Lee Vasche says the complaints, first reported by WW, were "manufactured" by opponents of the petition and lack any substance. But House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson (D-Portland) called the alleged violations "absolutely unacceptable," and the state elections division pledged to investigate.
Oregon Newspaper Ad War Results in Federal Ruling: A spat between two Oregon newspaper companies ended up in Washington, D.C., earlier this year. On April 28, the Federal Trade Commission found that Oregon Lithoprint Inc., publisher of the News Register in McMinnville, had violated federal antitrust guidelines by offering to divvy up foreclosure ads with a competitor, the Pamplin Media-owned Newberg Graphic, which rejected OLI's proposal. The FTC found the move was "inviting collusion," which could have the effect of eliminating competition, forcing the advertiser to pay more than if both companies vied for the business. In a settlement agreement, OLI agreed to refrain from such practice in the future and appoint a compliance officer to report to the FTC for the next five years. OLI co-owner Jeb Bladine did not respond to a request for comment.
Legendary Land-Use Planner Dies: One of the giants of Oregon land-use planning died of cancer June 16. John Fregonese, 66, began as a city planner in Woodburn, moved on to Ashland, then made a national name for himself at Metro. As the agency's planning director from 1992 to 1997, he wrote the Metro Vision 2040 plan, an exercise later copied by many cities across the country, including Salt Lake City and Austin, which hired Fregonese's firm. Metro Councilor Bob Stacy, who worked with Fregonese as executive director of 1000 Friends of Oregon, says he revolutionized the role of planners in bringing disparate interest groups together to find a common vision. "John popularized the approach of presenting a variety of options for the future rather than just one," Stacy says. "He was inquisitive, creative and very smart."