As many residents of Newberg have likely learned from other bias media publications such as the Newberg Graphic that on January 25, 2023 Judge Cynthia Easterday ruled that former Newberg school board directors Dave Brown and Brian Shannon, and current school board directors Renee Powell and Trevor DeHart, violated public meeting laws when the school board voted to hire conservative lawyer Tyler Smith. Easterday’s ruling declares that these board directors are responsible for reimbursing the school district over $40,000 in legal fees paid to Smith’s firm.
For background information for the full events leading to the lawsuit, please read my comprehensive article, The Real Timeline of the Newberg, Oregon School Board Saga Over Black Lives Matter Flags. This is a highly complex story that builds on prior events, and is difficult to understand if you are unfamiliar with my past coverage of the Newberg Schools Saga.
Before I delve into this article further, I am going to ask the reader to actually read Easterday’s ruling first, which you can download here. I want you to actually read this ruling Easterday made, so that you can understand the rest of what you’ll read in this article. As you read the ruling, I want you to try to identify the part of her ruling where Easterday explains why she believes the directors violated public meeting law. I think you will find, as I have, this part of the ruling is completely missing. Instead, what Easterday does is provide a condensed timeline of the events that led up to the lawsuit and then immediately after concluding the background, she just makes a declaration that she believes they violated public meeting law. Easterday does not actually state a claim for WHY she believes they violated it; she just insists that they did, engaging in what is referred to as a cryptic order. This is important, as nowhere in the chronology of events does Easterday ever identify any specific event where more than two members of the school board met to discuss the hiring of Smith. She only shows that on different days, no more than two school members met with Smith prior to the vote to hire him as counsel which took place during a school board meeting.
Furthermore, in her ruling Easterday claims, “Meeting as quorum can occur even if quorum meets by means of seriatim, separate, or series of communications. The quorum members need not be all present at the same time or place. The evidence would need to show, however, that each member of the quorum communicated with the other members of the quorum for the purpose of reaching decision or deliberating toward decision on board issue. The evidence would need to show that communications were exchanged with the intent of coming to an agreement on board issue. This can be satisfied even if the members of the quorum are not present at the same time, either 1n person or electronically.“
Easterday cites no area of law or prior case law even to support her claim that a quorum can be defined in this way and she just declares it to be so. ORS 192.630(2), which is the section of Oregon law that governs public meetings (and which Easterday mentioned in the prior paragraph before her statement) does not use the definition of a quorum that Easterday has invented in her ruling.
By failing to cite actual law, she has very obviously invented her own laws in the ruling, and that is why Easterday’s ruling is nothing but a kangaroo court. She is inventing her own laws to justify the ruling she wants to make. This is simply not legitimate due process of law in the United States of America.
Easterday’s ruling is a clear violation of the due process of law. A judge is required to explain their reasons for a ruling and Easterday has simply not done this. She just declares that the law was violated and she does not actually explain how it was violated. She simply does not explain how a quorum was reached. In making her ruling, Easterday has errored, as the Court’s duty to give reason is a function of due process and therefore of justice. And even if it were Easterday’s belief that a serial meeting occurred, she cannot demonstrate it using the events she describes, as no more than two members have met to discuss Smith prior to his hiring. There is no legal precedence for claiming that two members of a school board discussing an issue is a serial meeting, which is likely why Easterday does not cite any other court decisions in her ruling that public meeting laws were violated. I believe Easterday knows her ruling is illegal. But this is unsurprising given Easterday’s past behavior.
What is most baffling to me about this case is not that Judge Easterday once again made an erroneous bench ruling against these school board directors, as she previously did when she claimed school boards do not have the ability to prevent school employees from indoctrinating children into political rhetoric during their work hours. What surprises me is that Easterday was permitted to rule on this case at all, considering that way back in October 2022, in the article How the Yamhill County Democrat Party Organized the Lawsuits Against Newberg Public Schools, I pointed out that Easterday has personal ties to Progressive Yamhill, the group which organized the lawsuits against the school. The plaintiffs in the case ( Beth Woolsey, Greg Woolsey, Jeff McNeal, Kathleen McNeal, Meghan Rogers-Czarneck, Stefan Czarneckz, and Elizabeth Gemeroy) used the Progressive Yamhill Facebook groups to strategize the planning of the lawsuits with other Progressive Yamhill members such as Kristen Stoller, who sits on nonprofit board with Judge Easterday. These personal ties create a clear conflict of interest for Easterday and in my opinion a competent defense attorney should have filed to have Easterday recuse herself from the case for this very reason. Instead, a Judge with clear personal ties to the group that organized the lawsuit was permitted to once again make a bench ruling with no jury against the conservative school board directors which that group has engaged in organized harassment against for several years.
This is just further evidence of the corrupt legal system in Oregon where Democrat activists engage in kangaroo court proceedings against conservatives that resist their tyrannical control over government, where the outcome has been determined before the trial even begins. To the point that school boards cannot even choose their own legal counsel on matters of policy.
In full disclosure as editor of Yamhill Advocate, I have in the past also retained Tyler Smith as an attorney for representation on several legal matters pertaining to myself as a result of harassment I received from my reporting on the Progressive Yamhill group. This disclosure is necessary since I am writing a story involving his employment by the Newberg school board for providing advice for drafting the policy that is at issue at the lawsuit. I think it is important to mention that I had originally tried to find other representation for these matters, but I was told by many lawyers that they would not represent me because of my reporting that exposes the Yamhill County Democrats party, because even if those lawyers were sympathetic to my case, they feared becoming blackballed from the legal profession in Oregon. They feared being fired from the law firms they worked at and barred from other employment opportunities. Even those who were privately conservative who owned independent firms would not take on my case, because they said they feared retaliation from the powerful Democratic party that controls the Oregon state bar. Tyler Smith is one of the few attorneys in Oregon who is willing to take on cases that go against the collective interests of the Democratic Party of Oregon.
The corrupt nature of Oregon’s legal system is a topic that warrants its own dedicated article, but it is my belief that it is relevant to this case because it is yet another example of the nature of its tyranny over the citizens of Oregon. Democrat judges such as Easterday frequently run completely unopposed for elections, as no one in the legal community opposes them. Even conservative legal professionals who run for positions such as judge and district attorney frequently bend the knee to the Democrat establishment. Few are willing to risk their careers to oppose the stranglehold the Democrat party has on the state of Oregon, as the Oregon Republican Party is, quite frankly, so ineffectual that it frequently endorses RINO candidates who themselves are just career politicians who prioritize those political careers over actually resisting the monopolistic control by Democrats over the state of Oregon. This is in my opinion one of the primary reasons why public schools in Oregon are forced to rely on legal counsel provided by education service districts and there is only one insurance career that public schools are permitted to use; all of these groups are completely controlled by agents of the Oregon Democratic party, as I have previously pointed out in past articles discussing this monopoly. And it is a monopoly, as the insurance provider decides who the defense counsel will be in these lawsuit situations, and school boards cannot choose their own counsel. The system has been rigged to ensure school boards that go against the Democratic party receive counsel that will be ineffectual against the lawsuits. I know this to be the case as I have seen documentation for it, which unfortunately I cannot yet publish due to the retaliation that will follow for those involved, but suffice it to say I can confidently say I have seen evidence of the rigging of the system against conservative politicians to ensure they cannot win politically motivated lawsuits.
I believe this system has been setup by the Democrats to ensure they have state level control over the public schools throughout Oregon and that locally elected school boards are not permitted to actually govern over the districts and follow the interests of their local constitutions. This is of course an example of tyranny that undermines the entire concept of a constitutional republic but it is a tyrant that Oregon voters have been permitting through their inaction to hold the Democrats responsible for using the Oregon Department of Education to undermine local governance of schools.
Unfortunately, the Oregon Republican Party’s incompetence means there is no other group that can meaningfully break the Democrat’s chokehold of tyranny. They can hold kangaroo courts as Easterday does, where their rulings make no actual sense and shouldn’t survive an appeal, but Easterday likely knows, as many do, that the corruption of the system means appealing these kinds of decisions in Oregon frequently goes nowhere if all the other judges are in on it as well. There are no alternative political parties that will go to bat for conservatives or even political centrists, as the Independent Party of Oregon is just a front for the Democrats, as I exposed last year in my article about Progressive Yamhill member Sal Peralta.
I fear that until the Democrats lose their stranglehold of control over the state government and the court system, there will never be any real justice in Oregon. The only way that will ever happen is if the Oregon Republican Party gets its act together.