LETTER: Councilmember’s wife questions integrity of Dow Constantine

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The B-Town Blog nor its staff:]

To Dow Constantine, County Executive;

On October 27, 2017, you sent out an email letter stating your disgust with the Respect Washington letter that had been sent out to some Burien voters. The four candidates (Debi Wagner, Joel Manning, Patty Jannsen, Darla Green) who were identified in that letter have publicly stated that they had absolutely NO connection to the Respect Washington letter and yet your letter failed to mention that. In your letter, you stated the Respect Washington letter was disgusting, “irresponsible and dangerous” and it put innocent people at risk. Further you stated that the answer to anxiety about rapid growth in our region shouldn’t be to scapegoat our neighbors. (See attached October 27, 2017 letter).

And while I agree with your concerns about this Respect Washington letter, I question your integrity because you haven’t spoken out publicly and equally about other inflammatory, dangerous and scapegoating propaganda that has come out in this election cycle in Burien. I am referring to the September 11, 2017 letter that the 34th Democrats put out about Darla Green, Debi Wagner, Joel Manning, Patty Janssen and some of the current Burien Council members. This letter clearly contained false information about these people and implied how Burien might round up and take people away, in much like Nazi round ups. In your October 27, 2017 letter you stated, “We must not allow this kind of fear-mongering and blatant race-baiting to have a place in our public discourse.” Yet, your office never issued a public statement admonishing the 34th Democrats or David Ginsberg for putting this out as an irresponsible, frightening and dangerous letter to thousands of Burien residents and voters. (See attachment from David Ginsberg).

The second document I am referring to is the most recent political flyer from the Burien For All PAC. This mailer claims that four candidates in Burien are members of the Trump Slate–they are not. (See attached Burien For All mailer: Front & Back). It includes false information about these four people (again, Debi Wagner, Joel Manning, Patty Janssen, Darla Green) and implies they are regularly receiving Twitters of endorsement from Donald Trump–again not true. While Burien For All claimed to the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) that the purpose of their PAC is to support the candidates Marx, Tosta, Matta and Olguin, this mailer instead appears to be about mudslinging and dirty campaigning against Joel Manning, Patty Janssen, Debi Wagner and Darla Green.

The four candidates (Wagner, Manning, Jannsen, Green) have had libelous and defaming information spread about them as well as having been exposed to hatred, contempt, ridicule, obloquy, deprivation of benefit of public confidence or social intercourse so as to injure them in the community and in their occupations by this Burien For All PAC mailer. This electioneering mailer was put out by seasoned, elected officials from within Burien, King County and the 34th Democrats. It is important to call out the leaders of this Burien For All PAC and its board members because these are the people who okayed that this mailer be sent out: Lauren Berkowitz/Campaign Manager/Burien City Council member/34th Dem; Lynne M. Randall/Treasurer; John Upthegrove/Board member; Joe Fitzgibbon/PAC board member/resident of West Seattle/State House of Representatives/34th Dem; David Meinert/PAC board member/Seattle Night life establishment owner and major $15 Now PAC supporter; and, Jeff Upthegrove/political consultant to the PAC as posted by The Stranger in their September 7, 2017 article.

Also, this Burien For All mailer and its content appear to be in violation of Washington State Law RCW42.17A.335 as well as being out of PDC compliance with the rules for reporting funding sources and expenditures. Please note on the attached Burien For All mailer who this PAC claimed were its major sponsors at the time of mailing versus what is recorded in the PDC records. (See attachment Burien For All – PDC Report as of 10-28-2017.)

RCW 42.17A.335
Political advertising or electioneering communication—Libel or defamation per se.
(1) It is a violation of this chapter for a person to sponsor with actual malice a statement constituting libel or defamation per se under the following circumstances:
(a) Political advertising or an electioneering communication that contains a false statement of material fact about a candidate for public office;
(c) Political advertising or an electioneering communication that makes either directly or indirectly, a false claim stating or implying the support or endorsement of any person or organization when in fact the candidate does not have such support or endorsement.
(2) For the purposes of this section, “libel or defamation per se” means statements that tend (a) to expose a living person to hatred, contempt, ridicule, or obloquy, or to deprive him or her of the benefit of public confidence or social intercourse, or to injure him or her in his or her business or occupation, or (b) to injure any person, corporation, or association in his, her, or its business or occupation.

In your October 27, 2017 letter you stated, “…last fall, more than 75 percent of voters in Burien rejected Trump and his politics of hate.” And yet false news and information has been extensively circulated by one Seattle media provider and by the Burien For All PAC that Burien is/will become a Trump city if Wagner, Manning, Janssen and Green are voted for or elected. This kind of yellow journalism and electioneering instigates dangerous, damaging and inflammatory behavior against innocent people. And yet your office has not issued a statement about how dangerous, inflammatory, defamatory and misleading to voters this Burien For All mailer is.

However, if you and your office were unaware of this Burien For All PAC mailer, now is the time for you to speak out against this kind of behavior by elected officials in this County. As you stated in your October 27, 2017 letter, “Let’s not make the mistake of electing a city council that shares this hateful agenda,” a hateful agenda that is being promoted by the 34th Democrats and elected officials that are members of the Burien For All PAC. This PAC is putting innocent lives and candidates’ lives and reputations at risk for votes.

Chestine Edgar


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