Editorial: Hummel’s ads aim low

“Deschutes County Trusts John Hummel” is the title of one of candidate Hummel’s video ads in his campaign for district attorney. But can Deschutes County trust his ads?

Not completely.

The narrator in that ad says: “He started Central Oregon’s first drug court.”

But that’s not right.

He has said himself that he didn’t do it all by himself. He worked on the drug court in Crook County with a number of other people.

The ad could have easily been rephrased to say: “He helped start Central Oregon’s first drug court.”

We called Hummel to ask about that and he agreed. He said he has probably spoken about it 40 times and “I have always said I was part of a team.”

But in the campaign ad, Hummel allowed accuracy to slide and to give false impression of his accomplishment.

Hummel also has a second ad. This one is called: “We can’t afford Patrick Flaherty.” There is a problem in that one, too.

The ad question’s Flaherty’s leadership. The narrator ticks off reasons, including “Some of the highest crime rates in the state.” It’s repeated in large type on the screen.

The statement and the accompanying text flash past in three seconds — at the most. To know what the statement is about you have to spot the asterisk and read the fine print on the screen. We had to pause the ad to catch it. The fine print reads: “Redmond now has the second highest theft rate in the state for cities of its size.”

We called Redmond Police Chief Dave Tarbet and went over the city’s crime statistics.

He said the statement about Redmond “is accurate to a point. He (Hummel) didn’t get the rest of the information.”

It’s a sad fact that Redmond does have a relatively high larceny/theft rate for towns its size in Oregon. Tarbet said he doesn’t know exactly why that is. He believes the reasons include enforcement, prosecution, socio-demographics, drug use and more. But it certainly is significant Tarbet said that Redmond’s crime in larceny/theft has been declining. And Tarbet said Redmond now has the lowest overall crime rate that it has had in seven years.

Thirty-second campaign spots are certainly renowned for inaccuracy, incompleteness and lack of thoughtfulness. Hummel’s ads live right up to those low standards. Deschutes County needs a district attorney whom it trusts and who does not aim low.