All Politics is Local

Jim Karlock got kicked out of a League of Women Voters forum

Jim Karlock just wants his microphone back.

Jim Karlock just wants his microphone back.

If you’ve ever made it a habit to attend public meetings in Clark County there’s a good chance you’ve been in the same room with Jim Karlock.

He’s a Portland-based conservative activist who has opposed light rail in Clark County and has frequently filmed public meetings. I remember seeing him film county council meetings during the final few months of the terms of former county Councilors David Madore and Tom Mielke.

Jim Karlock filming former County Councilor David Madore

Jim Karlock filming former County Councilor David Madore

Despite being a regular and quiet presence at staid government meetings, he managed to get kicked out of a candidate’s forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of Clark County.

Judy Hudson, the league’s treasurer, said that Karlock frequently comes to their forums but was particularly disruptive at one held for respectives candidates for Washougal and Camas city councils on Tuesday.

“It wasn’t the filming, it was his behavior,” she said.

The forum was held at the Camas Public Library in what Hudson said was a “pretty small” room with about 45 people gathered in it. She said Karlock was restlessly walking around the room in front of people who were trying to listen to candidates make their case. She said that Karlock “was belligerent” when asked to settle down.

She said that he tried to talk to staff from CVTV (basically the C-Span of Clark County) while they were trying to concentrate on filming the event.

She said what got him kicked out was when he went to retrieve a microphone he had placed on a table the candidates were seated at. She said Karlock, who is fairly tall, tried to stealthily crawl up to the table to get his microphone while candidates for Washougal City Council were speaking.

In the CVTV video you can see Karlock appearing periodically in the doorway. At one point, when Jane Jackson, the forum’s moderator, tries to ask Nettie Morris and Julie Russell, candidates for Washougal City Council, a question she suddenly seems distracted by something and says, “excuse me, sir” before laughing. Karlock can’t be seen in the shot but there’s clearly a distraction in the room.

I couldn’t get Karlock on the phone, but he sent me an email of his account:

I stepped out of forum, while out, I decided to leave early. On my way back in to pick up my stuff that I had left in the room, one of the organizers tried to stop me from going back in. I explained that I was very aware of how to not walk in front of the CVTV cameras as I have done camera work in a TV studio. Eventually she allowed my back in.

With the consent of the CVTV crew, at a time carefully selected to do it out of camera view, I collected my microphone from the table. Unfortunately I slipped up and dropped the microphone making a bit of noise – I assume that was commotion you referred to.

Then one of the organizers accused me of stealing the microphone, which of course was mine, not the CVTV microphones which look entirely different and were wired into a box sitting on the floor.

“We felt bad about it,” said Hudson.

Hudson said that Karlock showed up later that week for another forum. She said after he was given a talking-to by security Karlock was on better behavior.

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