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Fair Housing PolitiFact
I love when I open the paper in the morning and find something about our show. Whether it is good or bad, it is always great to know people are paying attention to what's going out on the radio. That happened to me this morning when I read an article on the front page of the Metro section entitled "Labor commissioner erred by factor of three." It read:
The Bureau of Labor and Industries enforces Oregonians' civil rights in housing and employment. Last week, Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian took to public radio to talk about his role in enforcing federal fair housing laws.
Not surprisingly, that public radio show was Think Out Loud. You can listen to the whole segment with Avakian here. The PolitiFact article went on to quote Avakian:
"We do about 300 investigations a year into housing discrimination and in recent years have put about $150,000 of damages into the pockets of individuals who have been treated unfairly," he said.
That seemed easy enough to check. We searched online the words "Avakian," "housing," and "complaints," and found an April 2010 news release in which his office claimed investigating more than 200 complaints since May 2008. Two hundred in two years versus 300 in a year? We asked the commissioner's office to reconcile.
To read what the Oregonian found out, click here. And a special shout out to them for listening and for helping to keep our elected officials accountable. We appreciate that they paid such close attention and agree with their conclusion:
Avakian's claim of 300 a year is clearly inaccurate. We give his office points for admitting he misspoke — that's a good thing in a politician — and under some circumstances that might cause us to ignore the flub.
But Avakian is in a special election race for Congress, making his record as a state official that much more important for voters to understand.