Appointed Ronald Wastewater candidate Matthews responds to challenger Webster’s charges over use of term “re-elect” in campaign advertising

Friday, October 25, 2013

By Evan Smith

I reported yesterday that Ronald Wastewater District candidate George Webster had filed a complaint with the State Public Disclosure Commission over appointed incumbent Richard Matthews’ use of the term “re-elect” in a joint mailing with a candidate for another position.

Matthews noted Friday that he has consistently referred to himself as an appointed member of the District Board and that the only use of the term “re-elect” was in a joint mailing with Ginny Scantlebury, who is running against Gretchen Atkinson for the other Ronald Wastewater position on the November ballot. It is that mail piece that Webster sent to the PDC as evidence.

A PDC spokeswoman confirmed Thursday that the commission had received the complaint and would issue a warning.

Scantlebury and Atkinson are running for the position that Art Wadekamper now holds. Wadekamper was eliminated in the August primary, when he placed third behind Scantlebury and top vote-getter Atkinson.

Matthews and Webster are running for the position that Matthews holds by appointment after Webster led Matthews in a three-way primary.

Matthews sent the following response to what he called Webster's personal attack:
“My opponent in the race for Ronald Wastewater District, Position 4, says he has filed a complaint with the PDC stating that my advertising materials used the term "re-elect." I was not informed of his concerns by him or his campaign, nor have I received any verification from the PDC that it has received such a complaint. I find it strange that my opponent would go to the news media without obtaining accurate information. If he has filed a complaint, I can report to the PDC and the voters that all of my materials accurately point out that I was appointed Ronald Wastewater Commissioner in 2012. None of my personal materials (mailer, handouts, or website) use the term "re-elect." However, I acknowledge that a joint mailer with another candidate erroneously used the term "re-elect." This piece has been distributed and cannot be recalled. The error was an oversight, as I would hope was the case in the more serious PDC violation of my opponent in failing to indicate on his materials who had paid for his newspaper advertising. 
“I believe a more serious issue is my opponent's inattention to facts related to the District and the actions of its Commissioners, as well as his ongoing and deliberate misrepresentation of my position on the issues involved. One example is his persistence in claiming that I am opposed to a city takeover of Ronald Wastewater. The truth is that I have consistently stated my commitment to supporting our ratepayers' right to vote on whether the city should assume control of the RWW District, a position that reflects state law, and that I will support our voters' choice at the ballot box. In the interim, as your advocate, I will continue to oppose the City's demand for increased control of its utilities before careful consideration of potential costs and future burdens upon Shoreline residents. 
“I ask for your vote so I may continue to serve you.”


Anonymous,  October 26, 2013 at 2:30 PM  

What on earth do the Primary results in a different race have to do with THIS story about THIS race? "top vote-getter Atkinson" --sheesh, Evan. Your bias is showing! The SAN is a rag; nothing more than a PR front for the City. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Anonymous,  October 26, 2013 at 8:44 PM  

Evan probably received more than this statement and carefully selected what he wanted to publish, part of the yellow journalism (if you can call what Evan and the Shoreline Area News "journalism") practiced in the past by the Enterprise.

As a matter of fact, poor Bob Ransom had to pay at least $1,200 to publish his treatise as a flyer in the Seattle Times whereas the Shoreline Area News will do it for FREE. I thought there was a 300-word limit for opinion and letters, but if it fits the purposes of the Shoreline Area News, there is no limit.

And watch this comment later to see if it is deleted.

Anonymous,  October 27, 2013 at 9:25 PM  

Evidently George Webster received a letter from the PDC in July for failing to file his Form C1 before he started raising and spending money in the primary or even filing for office. I believe that Mr. Webster already had a website and maybe some signs already posted. It is on the PDC website -- Evan Smith is supposed to be a journalist, all he had to do was cruise on over to the PDC and take a look, it's not rocket science.

Also, Mr. Webster claims to be a sanitary engineer, but he licensed as a CHEMICAL engineer -- big difference. Your professional engineering license is based on your work experience and the exam you pass. There are separate categories for electrical, civil, CHEMICAL, mechanical, environmental, SANITARY, and other engineering fields. Mr. Webster has intentionally made false and misleading statements in his campaign literature to the public in claiming he is an environmental and/or sanitary engineer.

Evan Smith (not anonymous),  October 28, 2013 at 12:49 AM  

In response to the second anonymous comment, the statement in quotes is exactly the full statement that Matthews and his campaign sent in response to my request for a comment.
in response to the first anonymous comment, I included the facts about the other commisxion race because the PDC complaint was about a joint mailer supporting candidates for both positions.
The third anonymous comment raises an issue that I can check on with the PDC.

Evan Smith (not anonymous),  October 29, 2013 at 1:18 AM  

Public disclosure records show that Webster regstered with the PDC July 8, nearly two months after filing week. The commissio sends reminders and warning to candidates who are late with registration.
candidates who choose the mini-reporting option can avoid reporting fundraising or spending until after the election as long as they raise and spend less than $5,000.

Anonymous,  October 30, 2013 at 9:35 AM  

OK Evan! Now that you've acknowledged that George Webster has made a rookie mistake on his campaign, lets see if you or SAN will do a proper exposé column on George Webster? Oh wait! I keep forgetting that you and SAN are heels sly in the tank for the City of Shoreline, which can do no wrong!

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