City income tax supporters sue opponent

City income tax supporters sue opponent »Play Video

EUGENE, Ore --- The group Strong Schools Eugene, which supports the city income tax for schools Measure 20-182, filed a lawsuit claiming that a Voters’ Pamphlet statement from opponents misquotes Mayor Kitty Piercy’s position on the tax measure.

The defendent named in the lawsuit - who is also a candidate for the Eugene 4J School Board - called the legal action an attempt to discredit him ahead of the election.

Group Chair Hillary Johnson said the suit was filed after a quote attributed to Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy was printed in the official opposition committee’s Voters’ Pamphlet.

The suit claims that the quote by itself “misleads voters by taking the statement completely out of context and purposefully excludes her actual quote, which makes it clear that the Mayor supports the school funding measure.” >>> Compare the quotes

“I believe as an individual and we as campaign in the integrity of truth and honestly, it’s not OK just in our case for somebody to lie and we overlook it. I feel like I am here defending the integrity of the democratic process,” said Johnson. 

Measure 20-182, which seeks to raise $16.8 million for Eugene 4J and Bethel schools by imposing a city income tax, is on the May 17 ballot. >>> Are you registered to vote?

Johnson said the suit filed asks a judge to order opponents to make a public retraction. But only one of the three members with the Opposition Committee is listed on the suit.

Mark Callahan, the defendant in the suit, told KVAL News that the quote used by the opposition committee was taken from the newspaper.

“We were not misquoting Piercy; we were basically taking a quote from the Register-Guard. So I don’t know why she's suing me, I don’t know why she's throwing me under the bus,” said Callahan.

Callahan said because the suit only list him and not the other members of the opposition committee, he believes the suit is an attempt to target his candidacy for the Eugene 4J School Board.

“Basically they are trying to slander and libel me in order to take me down,  to cause doubt in the voter’s minds not to vote for me for 4J school board,” said Callahan.


Below is the phrase from The Register-Guard, taken from court documents:

Below is the phrase in the rebuttal statement, taken from the Voters' Pamphlet:


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