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Senator Ginny Burdick (D-Portland), having been revealed for fabricating a story about why she canceled a town hall meeting, has engaged in harassment and intimidating behavior in the past. Now, she’s claiming she’s being harassed and intimidated by those who disagree with her policy positions.
Yesterday we reported on the speculation that Sen. Burdick may not have been truthful in citing “scheduling conflicts” as a reason for canceling her Town Hall meeting on Monday, March 4. After our post and the embedded video from a citizen journalist gained significant attention in the media, Sen. Burdick admitted to news outlets that she fabricated the story, but claimed that she would not let gun rights supporters intimidate her.
“I’ve had town halls crashed by the extremist gun lobbyists before,” she said. “They do not make life pleasant when they do that. They’re disruptive and rude, and I didn’t want to subject the students at Portland State to that kind of behavior.”
She said there will be other town hall meetings scheduled.
Burdick called the police after she saw the YouTube video.
Burdick’s claim of victimhood, however, is in contrast with her history. Timothy Dunn, a state worker with Oregon Department of Transportation, relates that in 2001, he faced harassment and intimidation at his work place at the hands of Senator Burdick:
I’m going to tell you a personal story of how Senator Burdick used her elected position in an attempt to intimidate and harass a State Employee who opposed her anti-gun views and anti-gun legislative agenda. This story also has to do with a pro-gun rally which was scheduled for Monday, April 23rd  at the Oregon State Capital as well as subsequent events which involve Senator Ginny Burdick.
Because of my desire to attend the rally I made arrangements with my managers and supervisors, well ahead of the rally date, to take Monday, April 23rd off as a day of vacation. Being as I had vacation time coming this request was approved by my managers and supervisors well prior to the rally date.
At approximately 9:30 am Senator Burdick held a press conference. At the end of her presentation she opened it to questions. This Q&A period was stopped right after the second question was asked of her. Senator Burdick refused to answer any further questions.
At about 10:30 a.m. we disbanded with a positive feeling because very few Anti-gun people had showed up. Even the press had not shown up for Senator Burdick’s press conference.
I had thought that the events of that day were over. Little did I know that my exercise of my 1st Amendment Rights on the steps of the capital would result in Senator Ginny Burdick trying to bring the pressure of her office to bear on me via my workplace managers and supervisor.
I am employed by the Oregon Taxpayers at the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). I work as a Information Systems Specialist and provide computer support for over 200 employees at ODOT. I have a personal web site which I maintain from my home that contains a link to my employer, ODOT. I am also proud of the fact that I work with a dedicated group of people and that is the reason for this link on my web site.
When I went to work on Tuesday, April 24th I was reminded by my Team leader Mark Robinson to make sure that I had filled in April 23rd as a vacation day. About 20 minutes later I asked Mark why he was reminding me to double check my timesheet because he had never done that before. Mark replied that “you are not supposed to tell anyone this but you pissed a State Senator off yesterday while you were at the rally”. I asked Mark “could that Senator be Ginny Burdick?” and Mark replied “yes”. I asked Mark how he knew this information and he replied “Senator Burdick called Dave White and wanted to know your status, whether or not you were on the clock or not”. Dave White is the Chief Information Officer for ODOT. Mark also stated “the Senator was very upset at Dave White for letting you have the day off to attend a rally”.
So for the rest of the day I kept this issue to myself until about 2 p.m. That afternoon when my manager Will Schlictman approached me and said “I hear that you like to piss Senators off”. I asked Will “I thought I wasn’t supposed to know about this”. When I explained what I was demonstrating about he did say “good to see you are doing something you believe in”. Will did not continue this conversation and I was not going to press it.
Whatever Senator Burdick’s reasons were for contacting my employer it had nothing to do with my status and everything to do with intimidation and abuse of my 1st Amendment rights to free speech!
In a nutshell: Senator Burdick used her position as a State Senator in an attempt to intimidate me through my employer. Senator Burdick can deny this event ever took place because she is a politician but my managers can not because they are employees of the state and making false statements is against policy.
Senator Burdick is not the only local figure who has no problem employing the harassing tactics she claims to abhor. I have been personally targeted by T.a. Barnhart, a progressive blogger at BlueOregon, after yesterday’s story ran here at WatchdogWire Oregon. While defending Senator Burdick’s honor and history of being responsive to her constituents in public meetings, T.a. writes of me,
Absent were the loudmouth, cowardly gunsters and political hacks now trying to accuse Sen Burdick of skipping a town hall meeting because she didn’t want to face opponents. Leading the pack is Jeff Reynolds, Chair of the Multnomah County Republican Party and one of the most irrelevant people in Oregon politics. Reynolds prefers to bully people on Twitter than be a productive activist in county politics (he’s “@ChargerJeff” if you want to catch his act). This video stunt is further proof of both his cowardice and pointlessness.
So T.a. made the story about myself and the supposed harassment of the Senator by the videographer. This is an especially rich irony, since I happen to know the campaign manager for a Republican who ran for the State House of Representatives in East Multnomah County in 2008. This campaign manager once caught T.a. Barnhart snooping around the Republican’s campaign office and making a spectacle of writing down license plate numbers of volunteers at the office. When the campaign manager confronted T.a. on this blatant attempt to intimidate and harass volunteers, he mumbled an excuse and scurried away.
The media firestorm surrounding this episode promises not to go away anytime soon. As a contributor on the blog 54°40’ Or Fight! notes,
Plays like this do little to engender sympathy for the Senator; as well, they serve to undermine her credibility. Her own history betrays her.
She got caught in a lie, so immediately plays the Sympathy card; claiming that somebody filming in a public place was attempting to intimidate or threaten her. They may even be mentally unstable. [read the full post here]
As of this writing, there is no announcement regarding the rescheduling of Ginny Burdick’s Town Hall meeting.
Tags: 2nd amendment, 4th amendment, 5th amendment, assault weapons, Blue Oregon, constitution, Floyd Prozanski, Ginny Burdick, government overreach, government transparency, gun control, KATU, Mitch Greenlick, NPR, Oregon legislature, Portland State University, T.a. Barnhart, The Oregonian
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