Now that today's article in the Seattle Times has finally given widespread exposure to the concerns about Cheryl Haskins' candidacy for city council, my work here is just about done. I've had ample opportunity to express my opinions and defend my views, as have my detractors, as evidenced by the comments they've left on this blog and by the letters they've written to the Renton Reporter. I think it's safe to say that many, if not most, Renton voters are now aware of Cheryl Haskins' divisive politics, outside funding, and weak ties to the community. In fact, I've been told that some of the seniors at an event Cheryl attended at a retirement home this week called her on the carpet for her divisive views, to which she responded rudely. Go, Grandmas!
So, my original goal – to inform the public of Cheryl Haskins' anti-gay activism – has been met. Along the way, I also discovered that she has received massive campaign contributions from outside the city and has virtually no record of community service within Renton. I have achieved my goals without distorting the facts or compromising my ethics. Voters are now aware that Cheryl Haskins is more than just a "new face for Renton"'; she is a controversial public activist of her own making who can no longer avoid scrutiny of her past activities and affiliations. If the voters of this city decide to overlook her baggage and elect her to the city council, then so be it. Personally, I don't think that will happen, but $45,000 can buy a lot of positive publicity in a small city, so you never know. Even if she is elected, citizens and city officials will be watching her every move, waiting for her right-wing views to come out in the council chambers.
The one thing I do ask of those who support my position is that you write a letter to the editor of the Renton Reporter to express your views, and get it in ASAP. I really don't have the stomach or time to craft a response to the anti-Kevin, pro-Cheryl crowd's claims, and I'd appreciate any help I can get on that front. You can send your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have personal concerns about the objectivity of Dean Radford's reporting and editorializing, you can send a personal (and respectful) message to him at email@example.com. I think it's especially important for him to hear from gay people, as well as people of faith who oppose Cheryl Haskins' politicization of gay issues. I think he's willing to listen to your concerns.
Thank you all – even my detractors – for participating in this dialog. I wish I could say it's been fun, but it hasn't been. It's certainly been interesting, though.
Update: Cheryl Haskins' campaign has filed a complaint against me with the Public Disclosure Commission, alleging that I'm spending mass quantities of money to campaign against her. Basically, that I represent a political action committee (PAC). I wish! As I've said before, it's just me here, folks. Apparently, I misunderstood what a PDC campaign finance specialist told me last week by telephone about expenditure reporting. Any independent expenditures related to a campaign that exceed $100 must be reported on a C6 form (I thought it was $700). Fortunately, once I fill out the form showing how much I spent on lawn signs ($655.57, of my own money, thank you), and fax it over to the PDC tonight, everything should be fine. The PDC also initially requested that I add sponsorship information to the rentonfacts.com website, but later decided it wasn't necessary under their new Internet rules. Either way, I have nothing to hide.
There's more: the Haskins campaign has also apparently filed a police report claiming that 600 of Cheryl's signs have been stolen from around the city. They've told the Seattle Times and the Renton Reporter that they have the culprit's license plate number! So, that's why someone pulled in after me when I stopped for a newspaper at the corner store this morning, then glared at me in the parking lot as they slowly passed by without stopping. As I told both newspapers today, I would never, ever remove or deface a candidate's signs, or any other advertisements. That's just not what I'm about. I'm not trying to suppress Cheryl's message, I'm trying to publicize my own. Get it?
Speaking of signs, I've also been told that at least one of Cheryl's lawn signs downtown had a rentonfacts.com leaflet taped to it. I don't condone such activity, and I ask whoever did it to please not do it again. I have taken down the leaflet template from the rentonfacts.com site, and the PDC tells me that those of you who print and distribute leaflets must write your name and address on them. At this point, though, I think the continued media spotlight on Cheryl's campaign is doing her the most damage.
There will likely be an article in the Times tomorrow covering the Haskins campaign's PDC complaint against me. I suspect that it will only serve to illustrate how desperate Cheryl Haskins' campaign has become in these final days. I think her $8,750 PR people need to understand that going after me will only add to the negative press swirling around her campaign. But they really thought they had me today!
We'll see what tomorrow holds... this might be a very short break.
Update: Yep, there's an article in the Seattle Times about Haskins' charges against me. Click here to read it. It's pretty much what I expected, although I'm disappointed that Haskins' baseless charges of sign stealing were given exposure. Hopefully, people will read it and think, "Wow, she's really trying to silence her critic. Poor guy... he's just exercising his First Amendment rights. And that sign-stealing accusation – what a load of crap!"
Update: I heard back from the PDC today, and everything is fine. I expect to receive a letter from them tomorrow or Saturday that will fully exonerate me. Cheryl Haskins' trumped-up charges were merely an attempt to intimidate me, but they failed.