Statement from Mark Callahan

From Mark Callahan, who was named as the defendant in the suit filed by Strong Schools Eugene

Good Morning,

This is Mark Callahan.  I am writing to respond to the libelous, character defaming, and slanderous allegations that were filed in a lawsuit against me, specifically, listed as the sole defendant, by Strong Schools Eugene, as the plaintiff. The facts are these:

1. As of the writing of this Press Release, I have not been properly served the lawsuit paperwork by the Lane County Circuit Court, and only learned of the specifics of the lawsuit, and viewing the actual lawsuit document filed, after speaking with Arrianee LeBeau of KVAL News on the evening of Monday, 4/25/11.

2. The lawsuit references a Voter’s Pamphlet Rebuttal Statement that was not public information at the time the lawsuit was filed, being that the voter’s pamphlets for the May 17th 2011 election have not been sent to the voters yet, at the time the lawsuit was filed. 

3. I, Mark Callahan, am the sole defendant listed in the lawsuit, filed by Strong Schools Eugene, and their representative, Hilary Johnson.

4. I am against the Proposed City Income Tax, described in Ballot Measure 20-182, and decided to submit my volunteer interest form to the City of Eugene to be on the Voter’s Pamphlet Opposition Statement Committee, after the committee position was advertised in the Register Guard.

5. I became a member of a 3 person volunteer committee, appointed by the City of Eugene, to write the Opposition Statement for the Voter’s Pamphlet to the Proposed City Income Tax Measure 20-182.  The other 2 volunteers that were appointed to the committee were Nick Urhausen, and Doug Vaughan.

6. After Doug, Nick, and I wrote, signed off on, and submitted the opposition statement to the City of Eugene Recorder’s Office, we received the Proponent Statement, and were instructed in writing a Rebuttal Statement to the Proponent Statement, which all three of us did, signed off on, and submitted to the City Recorder’s Office by the deadline of April 1st, 2011.

7. Within the Rebuttal Statement to the Proponent Statement, Doug, Nick, and I properly cited a quote from Edward Russo, of the Register Guard, as instructed on how to do so, in the written instructions we received from the City of Eugene Recorder’s Office.  It was Mr. Russo who originally quoted in an original article he wrote and was published on 2/8/11, stating specifically, as Mr. Russo authored and wrote it originally: “But Kitzhaber said school advocates should tell the public that a local tax is not a solution to the state’s education funding woes, Piercy said.”   The key words here, and the ones at the heart of the lawsuit are the last 2 words, “Piercy said”, as this is what Mr. Russo wrote in his article, that he authored, and he quoted. A link to the article is as follows:

8. Doug, Nick, and I, as members of the Voter’s Pamphlet Opposition Statement Committee, cannot retract a statement that was originally stated and authored by someone else, i.e. Mr. Edward Russo of the Register Guard, in his original article published 2/8/11.

9. Doug, Nick, and I, followed instructions from the City of Eugene Recorder’s Office, in terms of properly referencing and citing Mr. Russo’s quote from the original article he authored on 2/8/11. We were instructed by the City of Eugene Recorder’s Office, via the packet of written instructions we were given, to bracket [ ] the source of the quote we used as being from the Register Guard, on 2/8/11, to cite it. This is what Doug, Nick, and I did when all three of us wrote, signed off on, and submitted the Rebuttal Statement to the City of Eugene Recorder’s Office.  The Rebuttal Statement was accepted as following all the guidelines for writing the Rebuttal Statement, per City of Eugene Code, by Beth Forrest, City of Eugene Recorder.

10. The lawsuit is an attempt to discredit, libel, and slander me, and my campaign run for the 4J School Board, Position 4, in the minds of the voters receiving their ballots by the end of this week, and filling them out for submission by May 17th 2011. The lawsuit was filed against me alone, not Doug, nor Nick, by Strong Schools Eugene.  Doug Vaughan and Nick Urhausen are not running for any elected office on the 4J School Board in the May 2011 election.

11. The lawsuit states that I am obligated as a defendant to pay the plaintiff’s attorney fees.  This information was not included in the original press release issued by the Plaintiff, Strong Schools Eugene, nor in the verbally slanderous statements they issued at 3:15pm at the press conference at Free Speech Plaza at the Lane County Circuit Court on 4/25/11.

12. I maintain my innocence, as I have done nothing to provoke, antagonize, or otherwise deserve any retribution or retaliation from Strong Schools Eugene, as I was just a city appointed volunteer to a committee, and happen to be running for the 4J School Board, Position 4.

13. This personal attack against me by Strong Schools Eugene is a direct attack against my 4J School Board run, for which I am doing it for my 2 young daughters, as my sole motivation for doing so. This is dishonorable, disrespectful, and childish “political game playing” by Strong Schools Eugene, with the victim being the public and the voters of Eugene. 

14. The public needs honor and integrity restored back into our elections, not more personal attacks, by organizations such as Strong Schools Eugene, against those like myself that have the courage to run for public office in the first place.

15. I have not made the decision as to whether I will counter-sue at this time, but feel that I would have grounds to do so on the basis of libel and slander to me, defamation of my character, and attempting to discredit my campaign and me as a viable candidate for the 4J School Board, Position 4.

Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions or require any additional information.  Thanks and have an excellent day.


Mark Callahan