Over the past two weeks Newberg City Councilor Elise Hollamon has made a number of social media posts accusing myself and the readers of this newspaper of engaging in harassment against her. These accusations are without merit and I believe intended to be a distraction from the actual facts of the situation, which is that Hollamon has been engaged in a number of unsavory and possibly illegal activities as part of her involvement with a group called Progressive Yamhill. All I have done is report the truth about these activities in a series of over 140 articles that cite reliable primary sources. I have not directed nor asked anyone to contact any Progressive Yamhill members, and certainly not to threaten any of them. I am only publishing information of the public interest. If it were my goal to harass Hollamon and others then I would have published the enormous amounts of embarrassing personal information about their lifestyles which they openly discussed in their secret Facebook groups I infilitrated in the summer of 2021 and elsewhere on the internet, and I have not done this as I do not believe their embarrassing confessions are relevant to the matters of public interest and would be a distraction from the more serious situations. In fact, as can plainly be heard in the recording I made of Hollamon (the one she wanted me jailed for) when she offered to tell me of skeletons in her closet I informed her that would not be in her best interest. It is not my goal to harass or embarrass Hollamon or anyone else I report on. My goal is to report the truth about matters of public interest.
Furthermore I have received confirmation that Hollamon has sent emails to numerous public officials asking them to publicly condemn me. Multiple local news media have also been contacted to help Hollamon spread these unfounded accusations, and several publications have written articles about the matter and given credibility to Hollamon’s accusations against this newspaper despite there being no evidence for her claims.
Hollamon has claimed that voice recordings of an individual claiming to speak on my behalf is proof but this is not reliable evidence of any association to me, as the identity of the person is unknown. I can say for absolute certain that I do not recognize the person, no person that sounds like that has ever contacted me and I most certainly did not leave any such messages. Nor do I support the things the person said in the message.
In fact since this matter started with Hollamon attempting to have me unlawfully arrested for reporting her publicly made statements at a public meeting I have made no efforts to contact her in any way nor have I directed anyone else to do so. All I have done is report the factual information about the matter to the public so they can be informed about the efforts to censor this newspaper’s information and discredit it.
Anyone can say anything they want on a voice message when they believe they are anonymous. It is my opinion the individual leaving the message was being dishonest in their statements in the recording and their motivations may have actually been to purposely harm the credibility of this newspaper by suggesting they were a supporter of this newspaper. That seems far more likely to me than that they are a supporter of this newspaper.
As I have explained to reporters at other news media when I am contacted about Hollamon’s claims, no true fan of my newspaper would harass anybody as a result of the articles that my newspaper publishes, as the entire reason I started publishing in the first place was to expose social activists who used harassment as a means of pressuring politicians. All readers of the Yamhill Advocate understand I am against that kind of tactic. In fact I have chastised others for engaging in that kind of behavior in numerous past articles such as those where I exposed the Progressive Yamhill group for organizing harassment against Newberg Public Schools Board Directors Dave Brown, Brian Shannon, Trevor DeHart and Renee Powell during the time in which Councilor Hollamon was a member of the same Facebook group that Progressive Yamhill used to coordinate this targeted harassment.
The evidence for this can be found in the previously published articles of this newspaper, such as these ones,
I find it suspicious that none of these media publications who are reporting about Hollamon’s unfounded accusations against me have ever published on the evidence I showed in my articles about how the Progressive Yamhill Facebook group Hollamon was a member of engaged in organized harassment against the school board directors. I published the actual posts featuring the real names of the people who engaged in this harassment as they collected personal information about the directors, such as what churches they attend or where they work, with the explicit goal of intimidating these elected officials into changing their voting habits to benefit the agenda and goals of the Progressive Yamhill group. The Oregonian, Newberg Graphic, News-Register and so on, none of these publications have ever reported on any of this information and still have not done so. I believe this is because, as Elise Hollamon admitted during the recording for which she attempted to have me arrested, Progressive Yamhill is an extension of the Yamhill County Democrat party and these publications have an open bias to favor the Democrats.
Furthermore, since the publication of my articles that expose the activities of Progressive Yamhill their preferred candidates for local elections have lost these elections. As detailed in numerous social media posts on Facebook and Twitter many Progressive Yamhill members have blamed me for their loss of control over the City of Newberg Council, Newberg Public Schools Board and the Yamhill County Commissioners as a result of voters rejecting their organization, its ideals and its activities. Instead of accepting that the voting population rejected them, they instead blame me for their losses.
To be clear it is not the responsibility of this newspaper for what others say and do after reading the articles. I hold no responsibility for what un-associated individuals do when they learn the truth about public officials. Anyone suggesting otherwise is only seeking to discredit a newspaper that publishes information they would prefer the public not be aware of.
I also reject the unfounded accusation that this newspaper publishes “conspiracy theories” and that it is not real journalism. This newspaper publishes irrefutable evidence of real conspiracies that over 2,000 people in the Progressive Yamhill group and its subgroups have engaged in to deceive voters, harass their political rivals and in some cases, illegally enrich themselves with public money. Those engaged in these conspiracies would prefer the public remain ignorant about them so they will not have to be held accountable for their abuses of power and illegal dealings and they have tried many ways to discredit myself personally because they are upset at the truth I publish about them. For example they have attempted to claim this newspaper is a political action committee, which it is not, in a sad effort to censor it.
Progressive Yamhill has tried to defame my character by insinuating that I appeared in a viral video, which does not feature me and which has nothing to do with me at all,
Some have even publicly called for me to be assassinated because they hate the light of truth this paper casts on them,
I do not think it is all that shocking they now have tried to smear me with some anonymous voice recordings by claiming with no evidence I am responsible. I am not responsible and this effort to convince others I have any responsibility is just another way they are trying to gaslight the public. Unlike them, I actually have evidence that they lie and deceive the public, and who specifically by name has assisted Progressive Yamhill with these campaigns. This evidence comes in the form of the social media posts they made in their secret Facebook group and it also comes from copies of emails I received from public records requests, such as those I published recently showing several PY members working with state Democrat party officials and local wineries to intimidate and harass a small local business.
Once again, these other publications (The Oregonian, Newberg Graphic, News-Register, etc.) have been silent about this harassment where the perpetrators are known and instead they publish the conspiracy theories of Hollamon designed to discredit my newspaper with zero evidence. Hollamon herself has been silent about this harassment as well, as should be expected since she is sympathetic to the activities and agenda of Progressive Yamhill.
There are some people who do not believe that the Yamhill Advocate is an actual newspaper but it is. The journalism has been recognized by numerous others in the news industry including KATU2 (which cited an article I wrote), the Daily Wire, National Review, The Daily Beast, Fox News, The Lars Larson Show, Newsmakers @ Noon on 1430 KYKN-AM and several other radio programs. My articles are well read and used to inform decision-making by voters during elections. Furthermore the Yamhill Co. District Attorney’s office refers to the Yamhill Advocate as a news website and myself as a journalist in its decision to decline to press charges against me for my factual reporting about Councilor Hollamon’s statements during a public meeting.
You can also listen to a recent segment of the Lars Larson Show, a nationally syndicated radio program that is widely respected for its accuracy, where I speak about this recent topic,
Those claiming the Yamhill Advocate is not real journalism and is merely a “blog” are only doing so because they seek to discredit its factual and accurate reporting of events.
Finally, regarding the claim that I illegally recorded Hollamon, the Yamhill County District Attorney published an opinion on the case which absolving me of any wrong doing and acknowledged that my recording of a public official at a public meeting was, in the DA’s opinion, legal and within the exemptions of Oregon state laws regarding the recording of individuals. The Yamhill County Sherriff Office could have avoided this public relations mess by first consulting with the DA’s office prior to attempting to cite / arrest me for my journalistic work prior to entering my gym business (which is unrelated to this newspaper) and threatening to cite / arrest me for my legal publications.
I personally am a supporter of law enforcement and the vital role they do. I appreciate the work and sacrifices that law enforcement officers make to protect our communities. I do not believe in “defunding the police” movement and am hyper-critical about it. I believe law enforcement agencies need more money, not less, to better train law enforcement officers so these sorts of incidents do not occur. I have no malice toward the Sherriff office or anyone working there over this matter. While it is unfortunate that I had to leave the area during a critical time for my gym to gain new signups and this has negatively impacted my gym business as a result of me not being there during this matter so that it did not escalate further, I am glad this matter was resolved and I have no intentions to pursue a lawsuit against the Sherriff’s office over this matter. I only hope that in the future when investigating accusations against a journalist recording a public official in a public place that the Sherriff’s office first consults with the District Attorney office to ensure no violation of 1st amendment rights occurs.
It is my belief the work I am doing is of significant public interest, as I am reporting on the activities of public officials whose decisions and actions impact the lives of many people living in Yamhill County, Oregon. Numerous people have told me they appreciate the work that I do to inform them about what is actually occurring within the political sphere in Yamhill Co. I will not be intimidated into silence by the kinds of tactics and efforts to discredit my newspaper that Progressive Yamhill and their sympathizers at other news media publications are attempting to use.
The reporting will continue.
Editor, Yamhill Avocate
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