A Medford City Council candidate with a long history of profane and demeaning online posts has ramped up those attacks against other community members, referring to one Senate candidate as a “whore” and the leader of a children’s nonprofit group as a “dumbass slovenly pig.”
Curt Ankerberg, who is running in Ward 1 in northeastern Medford, finished second in the Senate District 3 Republican primary in May to Jessica Gomez.
Political observers say they fear he could win this council race as he has name familiarity from 10 unsuccessful runs and the vote will be split among four candidates. Two candidates have Medford political experience: business owner Alex Poythress is on the city Planning Commission, and Steve Dickson, an employee with the Veterans Administration, is on the Budget Committee. The fourth candidate is David Dobrin, formerly with sales at Lithia Dodge.
Ankerberg, a certified public accountant, also has drawn scrutiny for issues related to his work. In January, U.S. Tax Court Senior Judge Mary Ann Cohen found Ankerberg had committed tax fraud in 2012-2014, failing to report $111,366 in income and improperly claiming $67,000 in deductions.
Despite his tax issues, Ankerberg lost by only 500 votes to Gomez, who has been a frequent target of his invective.
In a Sept. 11 post on political commentator Peter Sage’s blog, Ankerberg wrote about Gomez, “Let’s call a spade a spade. Gomez is a whore of PACs.” Ankerberg also called her a ‘lying piece of crap.”
On Aug. 18, Ankerberg responded to Sage, “You folks are f---ing sick in the mind. You too, Peter! You’re a sick mother----er You’re sick in the mind, just like the transsexual lifestyles your party promotes.”
He added, in response to another poster, “It’s nice that Peter Sage allows anonymous sex deviants like you to post on his blog.”
On Facebook, Ankerberg attacked Sunny Spicer, executive director of Kid Time in Medford, writing, “Spicer why don’t you run for the school board, you dumbass slovenly pig.”
Spicer responded, “Ah yes – the threatening, expletive laced message I just received from Mr. Ankerberg just confirmed my concerns. Thank you for validating.”
Ankerberg’s response to Spicer was: “Bitch I don’t know your lame ass but you started making comments about me. Stop playing the victim. You started this, a--hole.”
In another post, Ankerberg wrote, “You’re a worthless hog.”
Spicer said she was so concerned about the tenor of Ankerberg’s verbal attacks that she sent his comments to Medford police. She said she was concerned not just for herself, but also for her organization.
“It caused me concern because it was like he was saying, if he gets on City Council, you’ll need a new place for your organization,” Spicer said.
Ankerberg actually said that very specifically, writing: “Now ... if I were to get on the city council, then you’d be looking for a new office space for your business.”
Kid Time has been negotiating a contract with the city of Medford to house its organization inside the former Carnegie library on West Main Street. Kid Time is currently located on Central Avenue downtown.
“That to me seems to be quite the abuse of power,” Spicer said. “In a fit of rage he could change everything, because he’s angry, not knowing who we are and what we’re doing.”
The verbal attack against Spicer started when she referred to Ankerberg as “Anger Burger” in a July 12 post on Medford Councilor Kevin Stine’s Facebook page.
Stine said Ankerberg’s reaction was over the top.
“He’s a different breed,” Stine said. “I don’t know anybody locally who gets criticized and blows up like Curt does.”
He said he thought it was a relatively soft comment for Spicer to call Ankerberg “Anger Burger.”
“And then he just exploded and called her a pig and a bitch,” Stine said.
Stine said he supports candidates who want to shake things up at City Hall but doesn’t think Ankerberg’s angry and profane approach would serve that purpose.
Ankerberg may have had second thoughts about the remarks himself. Stine said Ankerberg removed the comments sometime after posting them. But numerous screen captures by online readers preserved a record of the posts. (All of Ankerberg’s comments referenced in this story are documented through online posts, emails or in hard copies from screen captures.)
Despite Ankerberg’s inflammatory nature, Stine said Ankerberg stands a good chance of winning the council seat because he came close not only in the May Senate primary, but also in a previous council race against Dick Gordon.
“This is probably his best chance, looking at it from a political science standpoint,” Stine said.
Sage, a former Jackson County commissioner, wrote in this blog that Ankerberg was “intemperate, angry, vile and destructive,” but also added, “He just might be elected to the Medford City Council.”
This is far from the first time Ankerberg has engaged in name calling and expletive-laden comments, with many of those comments dating back years.
An election complaint filed against Ankerberg on May 9 by Reagan Knopp, son of Sen. Tim Knopp, R-Bend, elicited this reaction from Ankerberg: “Hey, you little pr--k .. You lose c--ks---er, and I’ll show Bill Meyer your complaint and have him roast your little ass. You can suck my d**, motherf****r. You lose.”
Ankerberg also has dumped on national political figures. In response to a Facebook post by Meyer, a talk show host on Medford radio station KMED, about Sarah Palin not being invited to the funeral of Arizona Sen. John McCain, Ankerberg wrote, “McCain was just pissed that Palin wouldn’t show him her hooters.”
And Ankerberg has fired off numerous insults toward journalists.
He called a Mail Tribune reporter “a dirtbag liar and a freak show” and a freelance reporter “a yellow journalist and a racist.”
Ankerberg referred to the editor of the alternative Rogue Valley Messenger newspaper as a “real assclown.”
An editor at the Mail Tribune was called by Ankerberg a “biased bigoted a--hole.” Ankerberg added, “you don’t smell so swell yourself.”
Ankerberg has refused to speak with the Mail Tribune and has informed the newspaper he will file a harassment complaint with police if he is contacted by newsroom staff.
Reach Mail Tribune reporter Damian Mann at firstname.lastname@example.org.