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Mayor needs to own his words

Public officials often use the newspaper as a dumping ground for things that catch them off guard or make them feel anxious. It happened again last week.

When Canby Mayor Brian Hodson threw the Canby Herald under the bus during Wednesday night’s City Council work session, it became clear that yet another public official was struggling with his backbone.

And wanted the newspaper to take the hit.

Interim City Administrator Amanda Zeiber has withdrawn her request to be considered for the full-time job, mostly because since asking the council to consider her, she’d heard no response. But also because in a recent Herald story, the mayor’s comments made her feel that the city was interested in an open search and external candidates.

At Wednesday’s work session, she expressed those feelings and Hodson, who in a mind-boggling moment we’ve seen so often from politicians, tried to pin part of the blame for that on the Herald.

Hodson hinted that the Herald story wasn’t accurate and spiced it up even further by intimating the Herald often isn’t accurate. And this was another example of that — so in essence it wasn’t his fault.

Nice passing of the buck, Mr. Hodson.

The story Hodson hinted at as being incorrect was, in fact, spot on in every detail. He said it. He knows it. The Herald knows it. And the community should know it.

He got put on the spot and tried to divert and deflect — something he’s apparently practicing at. He should, he’s not very good at it. And aren’t we all tired of it?

He apparently didn’t take the story very seriously and was intentionally trying to be vague and misleading — then uttered these immortal words, “I just gave them an answer that was vague on both ends, and intentionally. It’s the Herald … sometimes… it has not been the best in reporting accurately and so I convoluted the issue. I apologize for that.”

Don’t believe it? Check the audio of the meeting. His mouth opened and these words fell out.

The mayor has never once brought any inaccuracy to the table with the Herald. He’s not liked things we’ve written, and given the fury over the library fiasco of last year, that’s understandable. But inaccurate? Come on, Mr. Mayor, you can do better than that. Try taking responsibility for your words. It works.

The Canby Herald strives for perfection while realizing full well it’s impossible and improbable.

But what people don’t want to admit, and Hodson proved the point Wednesday, is the Herald is far more accurate than anyone really wants to admit.

Unfortunately, politicians have used newspapers to cushion the blows of their own folly for decades because the public falls for it consistently. It’s sad that Canby’s mayor would employ similar tactics when his comfort level is disturbed.

Zeiber put the mayor on the spot Wednesday and instead of owning his words, he tried to deflect blame to the newspaper. Any hint that the Herald was inaccurate or misrepresenting his words is not only a fabrication of the truth, it’s an indictment of his integrity. And he knows it.

If he doesn’t, perhaps the mayor’s seat is a little too big for him.

By his own admission, he’s not above convoluting an issue. How very political. How very tiring.

Hodson demonstrated a disturbing lack of strength and conviction last Wednesday and should admit it.

He should have just apologized, admitted he didn’t take the matter seriously enough and moved on. Instead, we get buck passing 101. He did what politicians love to do — try to make the paper the bad guy.

Guess what, the Canby Herald isn’t the bad guy here.

No, perceived newspaper inaccuracies are not the issue at hand. The issue is simple – the mayor tried to backpedal in the mud and slipped on his face.

Rolling up your troubles in your old kit bag and dumping it at the doorstep of the newspaper is getting old. Aren’t we all a little tired of that worn out, overused, ploy? The public should be. But they keep buying it. So politicians continue to shovel it.

Mayor Hodson should apologize for this one, but that takes guts and integrity. Right now we question whether he has what it would take to do the right thing.




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