Letter to the Editor: Facebook political ads are not issue-based

Sunday, October 6, 2013

To the Editor:

Over the last week there have been several paid ads on Facebook denigrating several of the candidates running for Lake Forest Park City Council. These ads are non-issue based. The most disconcerting aspect of them is that they attack the candidates personally.

The current ad speaks to the fact that one of the candidates is employed by King County and raises the question as to a potential conflict of interest. We have a sitting councilman running for re-election who also works for King County. This has never been an issue with him. The opposing candidate in the race in question works for the state. He has served in this community for many years and again, this has not been an issue. It is either an issue for all or none of the candidates.

The ad prior to this one raises the question of qualification of the only female candidate due to her age and the fact that she has not had children and does not own a home. We have a current candidate who has served for eight years on the Council who does not have children and again, this has never been an issue. In terms of age, the citizens of Lake Forest Park in the past elected a young man of 18 years old to serve on the council. We need the energy and enthusiasm of our young citizens or we run the risk of losing them to communities more welcoming to their ideas and desire to serve.

None of the actual candidates has engaged in this type of attack so it is even more unfortunate when this type of campaigning is introduced by a non-candidate. This city has seen enough of negative campaigning and I am hoping that our citizens do not want to see this happen in this current election. Misinformation, falsehoods and negative attacks don’t seem like a great ethical foundation for our community.

The City Council adopted the Compassionate Charter making our city a Compassionate city.  Perhaps the person initiating these ads might want to review the charter and remember the commitment we have made.

Linda Holman
Lake Forest Park


Anonymous,  October 7, 2013 at 8:35 AM  

Hey there,

I'm responsible for those ads, and I stand by them.

As the writer of those posts, I can tell you there are no personal attacks. John Resha's King County position is not at all similar to Alan Kiest's current position, and Resha's entire candidacy, in my opinion, is rife with conflicts of interest.

Hilda Thompson, going by her posted resume, is 22 and has little life experience. Linda was selective about my question about her having put children through our school system. That was one in a list of questions, including: has she paid taxes here, has she ever had a private sector job, has she ever managed or hired people, etc. A council position represents all LFP residents, and she has little in common with most of the adult residents.

She focuses her campaign on representing young people. So, let her share with us three ideas that she, as a young person has for LFP, that we've not heard before. I'd ask for specifics. Is it sidewalks? We've not only heard that, but there's no budget for them.

But more importantly than any of that, I contacted Hilda, shared the post with her, and invited her to comment with a promise I would post it. Her response was to ask a sitting Council member to contact me to tell me to take it down. Is that how she will handle conflict in the Council. In my opinion, she's not ready to be a candidate.

This is not personal. I don't know either of them.

But let people decide for themselves. Here are the posts in question. You decide...




This last post is about the close knit group of people who've been supporting the Dwight Thompson club. People like Sandy Koppenol, Don Fiene and Mark Phillips - who Linda Holman endorses. This is the same Mark Phillips who stood up at the 2011 candidate forum and made an accusation against Tom French that originated from sealed files that Mark shouldn't even have had access to. This is the non-attacking candidate Linda supports.

So now all the cards are on the table. Let the people read, research and decide.


Anonymous,  October 7, 2013 at 8:43 AM  

I would add that I agree with this statement - "Misinformation, falsehoods and negative attacks don’t seem like a great ethical foundation for our community."

That's why I took care to make sure my posts included none of those things. (Actually, there was one shot at Dwight Thompson which was a bit snarky. You're right, we could have done without that one.)

Speaking of Dwight, isn't it odd he endorses other candidates, but not his own daughter? She makes sure to promote her other political connections. I wonder why he wouldn't want his name associated with hers, or vice versa...


Anonymous,  October 7, 2013 at 8:48 AM  

Just as an outside observe with no dog in this fight, the letter writer brings up several straw man arguments, such as the Compassionate Charter for the City of LFP. So? The LFP charter has no bearing on elections, for if it did, the candidates you obviously support (such as John Resha) would not be attacking citizen groups. Furthermore, the 46th LD Democrats, unlike the 32nd LD Democrats, do not have a civility pledge that candidates applying for endorsement must sign. Politics are not for weak willed.

Secondly, there is a difference in employment status among County employees. For example, working in a position delivering programs is different than a position making recommendations on policy and funding. I'll give you a couple of examples: Claudia Balducci is a Bellevue City Councilmember and works for King County Corrections; however, in her position she makes no decisions that would pose a conflict of interest between the interests of the City of Bellevue and King County in delivering corrections programs. Here is another example closer to LFP. Will Hall is a legislative aide to the Snohomish County Council and a member of the Shoreline City Council. He obtained a written opinion from Snohomish County on any conflict of interest issues and recuses himself from discussion of any issues where Shoreline and Snohomish County may have a conflict of interest -- such as Point Wells. I believe the problem is that John Resha is a legislative aide to the King County Council and has not obtained any written opinion from King County and has clearly stated he will not recuse himself. That is an issue for voter consideration.

And finally, this letter writer does not seem to value one of the bedrock values of the United States, codified in the Constitution -- that of Freedom of Speech. Political discourse, whether or not you agree with it, is part of our freedom of speech.

Anonymous,  October 7, 2013 at 11:09 AM  

I agree that misinformation -- which includes the omission of critical information -- will not add to an ethical foundation for our community. There is a vast difference in merely being employed by King County and being employed as the principal advisor to the King County Council on issues that impact Lake Forest Park and its residents.

John Resha has repeatedly stated throughout his campaign that he is the primary adviser to each of the King County Council Members on issues that affect cities throughout King County. The issues for which he has stated that he has "input on and oversight of" (his words) include transportation and planning, two critical areas for Lake Forest Park at any time and especially at this time when we are dealing with the ramifications of redevelopment and the escalating difficulties related to the 522 corridor.

When asked in one meeting how he would deal with conflicts of interest, he stated that there is no conflict of interest because he doesn't make decisions, he merely advises the decision-makers. Among specious campaign statements made on the issue of conflict of interest, this should rank as one of the most egregious.

A candidate who denies blatant ethical conflicts of interest would not add to an ethical foundation for our community.


Anonymous,  October 7, 2013 at 9:58 PM  

The problem is, Jon, that you're making this about the people and not the issues that face this City. Spin this any way you want, but this seems like negative campaigning to me:


"Attack ads focus exclusively on the negative aspects of the opponent. There is no positive content in an attack ad, whether it is about the candidate or the opponent. Attack ads usually identify the risks associated with the opponent, often exploiting people’s fears to manipulate and lower the impression voters have of the opponent. Because attack ads have no positive content, they have the potential to be more influential than contrast ads in shaping voters’ views of the sponsoring candidate’s opponent."

One other thing: it appears that you are paying for independent expenditures related to certain city council races. If that's the case, at what point are you going to file a C-6? I couldn't find one filed by you on the PDC site.

Anonymous,  October 8, 2013 at 6:44 AM  

Hey there, "anonymous."

Thank you for bringing up the point about the C-6. As my intent was simply speaking my mind, independently, and making it heard, as it were, I was not thinking much about campaign financing. I just researched a C-6 (I'd never heard of one before), and it appears, if I'm not mistaken, that filling one out is unnecessary.

There are four criteria for qualifying as "electioneering communication," and this is one of them...
"in one or more of the following media – radio, television, postal mailing, billboard, newspaper or

My ads were on Facebook, and my posts are on my blog, so I'm not sure either qualifies. But if someone more in tune with such things advises me otherwise, I'm more than happy to fill one out.

And a question for you... bringing up a C-6 form for ads on Facebook that have barely eclipsed the $100 expenditure mark sounds like you're someone with some campaign experience yourself (otherwise, I suspect there are only a handful of people in LFP who've heard of this). Who's campaigns have you worked for? And forgive me for my streak of paranoia here, but is there a thinly veiled threat in your post somewhere? Not accusing, just asking... Tone can be difficult to ascertain in these sorts of exchanges.

Thanks again for bringing it up, and if I learn that I do need to fill one out, I will most certainly do so. The only difference between now and after I would fill one out is, well... I will have filled one out, and you'd have my home address? There doesn't appear to be any cost. So I'm not sure what's the harm.


Anonymous,  October 8, 2013 at 6:49 AM  

Whoops, looks like I didn't even read the fourth criteria for requiring a C-6...
"either alone, or in combination with other communications by the sponsor identifying the candidate, has a fair market value of $1,000 or more."

Looks like this situation clearly does not require one, based on criteria 3 and 4. (Though I'm still going to call them and ask them.)

But thanks for mentioning it. You learn something new every day.


Anonymous,  October 8, 2013 at 7:20 AM  

No - I haven't worked on anyone's campaign, but pay attention to the PDC filings to see where money's flowing in elections.

My understanding, and I could be wrong, is that you need to file if you spend more than $100:


Independent Expenditures –
Anyone (except a committee already filing with PDC) that spends $100 or more supporting or opposing a candidate or ballot measure—and the expenditures are not made in conjunction with a candidate or ballot issue committee—must file independent expenditure reports (Form C-6). All sponsors of last minute independent expenditure political ads valued at $1,000 or more presented to the public within 21 days of an election must file Form C-6.

However, the language in other parts of this document makes this portion unclear, and I have no idea what FB/Google ads cost.

Anonymous,  October 8, 2013 at 7:57 AM  

Either way, thank you for pointing it out. I will call them today to get a ruling on it. My intent is to share my opinion, and I stand by my words. But it is not my intent to do it under the table (partly why I did it on my blog, which clearly contains my name).

Thanks, Jon (and your name...?)

Anonymous,  October 8, 2013 at 8:11 PM  

Hey there. I was able to reach the PDC, and it turns out that while I haven't hit the $100 mark, yet (combined for the Resha and Thompson post it's over $100, but no for each individually), I would have had to file a C-6 form if I had.

My thank you to the anonymous person here who pointed this out to me. The rule exists for a good reason. I agree that it's important not only to know who's paying for advertising (which I tried to make transparent by using my name everywhere), but also whether or not a candidate is involved (which none of them were).

There was nothing wrong with the ads themselves. But, once I got over $100 in spending, I would have had to file a C-6 form. I thought about that a bit and decided not to. The posts have already gathered a life of their own and are getting traffic without the ads. So I've decided to stop the Facebook ads before I reach $100.

While I stand by my words, and it was absolutely my intent to share my perspectives on the candidates, it was not my intention to break the rules.

But if you'd like to continue sharing the posts with others on Facebook or other means, please share the links with your friends:




Thank you to the person who pointed this out. My apologies for not knowing the rule on that one. Though I'm confident the person who pointed that out is affiliated with the Dwight Thompson faction. Why else would they want to prevent people from finding my posts?

Be well,


Anonymous,  October 8, 2013 at 8:32 PM  

Not affiliated with any faction; just don't like the negative ads. Thank you for looking into this and following the PDC rules.

Anonymous,  October 9, 2013 at 5:37 PM  


They weren't negative ads. This is a job interview, and they're objections to some candidates qualifications. I've asked both candidates to respond and both declined.

Are we so fragile that we can't ask tough questions of people who will serve us? If that's so, we'll definitely get what we deserve.


Post a Comment

We encourage the thoughtful sharing of information and ideas. We expect comments to be civil and respectful, with no personal attacks or offensive language. We reserve the right to delete any comment.

Facebook: Shoreline Area News
Twitter: @ShorelineArea
Daily Email edition (don't forget to respond to the Follow.it email)

  © Blogger template The Professional Template II by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP