Re: “Portland Democrats plagued by infighting weeks before election” (Oct. 23):

While I very much like and respect Sarah Alexander, interim chair of the Portland Democratic City Committee, I would like to take issue with her statement that “this is not a situation the Democratic City Committee has been in in any recent memory.”

As I stated, when asked, this was “a long time building” and grows out of issues very much in most members’ recent memory – if the period from last fall, when the secret poll commissioned by Emily Figdor was revealed, through this past August, when Figdor took a three-month leave as chair through the November election (without consulting the membership), can be taken as “recent.”

This absence is during the months leading up to the election, the most important time of the year for any party committee.

Member dissatisfaction was also obvious at the bylaws committee meeting, where the effort to bring a requirement of officer neutrality in Democrats-versus-Democrats races (a nearly universal norm) to the membership for a vote was blocked by four unexpected attendees, including Eva Humeniuk, then a Progressive Portland steering committee member.

These four had never previously attended a bylaws meeting, and all voted to support Figdor and Pat Washburn, the bylaws committee chair she had appointed (who is still on the Progressive Portland steering committee), resulting in defeat of the neutrality measure by a vote of 6-5.

The actions outlined in the petition to remove Figdor as chair – raising thousands of dollars in the name of the Democratic City Committee, without member knowledge, to field a poll members didn’t know about; blocking a democratic vote on officer neutrality; and the current abdication of her responsibilities as chair in order to pursue a preferred political goal – are all very much in the recent memory of regularly attending members.

Gwynne Williams

Portland