Letter to the Editor: Concerns about outside funding for City Council Race

Friday, October 20, 2017

To the Editor:

I recently looked at the PDC reports for our local city council candidates. I see candidate Jin-Ah Kim has raised almost $17,000 for her race by the last report on October 18.

My eyebrows rose as I looked at where the contributions came from—nearly 95% of the money she raised came from outside of Shoreline, and a lot of it is from outside our state. I see New York, Pennsylvania, DC, Virginia, Florida, Minnesota, North Dakota, Illinois, Arizona, California, Hawaii and Alaska listed.

I can see why people in Edmonds or Lake Forest Park might be interested in this local election, but what are the other contributors looking for in return? I don’t recall ever seeing so much campaign money come from people who don’t live in Shoreline. I’m concerned. As a Shoreline homeowner for the past 25 years, I don’t want to see our local values and goals be usurped by outside influences.

What do Jin-Ah Kim and her outside contributors hope to accomplish?

Tina Christiansen


Unknown October 21, 2017 at 10:17 AM  

As a point of information: Jin-Ah is endorsed locally by the 32nd Leg. District Democrats (which encompasses Shoreline).


I warn against immediately associating individuals (maybe family?) who are physically distant as trying to exert "outside influence."

That said: I applaud your use of the PDC data to monitor for this. Better informed, better decisions come election day :)

Anonymous,  October 21, 2017 at 10:54 AM  

In this age of social media, it is easy for someone with a compelling story and widely shared values to have a fundraising link to Act Blue or a similar fundraising program for their campaign to be contributed from all over the country.

Anonymous,  October 21, 2017 at 11:13 AM  

I bet if you wanted to know you could call her and ask. This little 'burb could use someone with an interesting point of view on the council.

Unknown October 21, 2017 at 12:43 PM  

Hi Tina!

I was born and raised in Alaska and went to college in Rochester, NY. As you may know, many of our residents here in Shoreline, live and work most of the year in Alaska during fishing seasons. Heck, one of our most prestigious residents is Captain Sig Hansen from the Alaska crab fishing show 'Deadliest Catch' -- lives right here in Shoreline!

But I'm going to take this opportunity to brag about my AMAZING donors and their sources around the country!

I was honored to attend APAICS (Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies) National Leadership Academy in Washington D.C. this past March, 2017. They pay for airfare, hotel accommodations, and candidate training for a select group of fellows from EVERYWHERE in the U.S. The major takeaway is to get support and connections from around the country. They have a vested interest in supporting promising candidates of Asian descent. These included Democrats and Republicans alike. Alumni include Congressman Colleen Hanabusa of Hawaii, Congressman Ted Lieu of California, and our very own Washington State Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos. The academy included a ticket to their annual gala, dubbed "Asian prom" in D.C. held ever year with prestigious keynote speakers including President Barack Obama. This year, it was U.S. Senator Cory Booker from New Jersey. Most of my donations from random states around the country are from my fellow alumni. I've never even been to Arkansas! But I do know Joshua Price, an amazing half Chinese/Filipino, half Caucasian Democrat running for state rep in Arkansas (whew! It must to be tough being a liberal in the South!).

From New York -- my friends from college! I was blessed to have gone to Rochester Institute of Technology for photojournalism. It is a phenomenal school ranked 3rd in the country for photography (after Yale and the School of Art Institute of Chicago) located within the city where Kodak was founded. The BFA program I attended was chaired by William Snyder, a 4-time Pulitzer Prize winner. The alumni network is strong and incredible. While studying in the dorms, I was placed in a specialty housing called Photography house, one floor down from Computer Science House and Engineering House. Having recreived an education from the school that can boast the invention of Xbox Kinect and Sqaure card reader, many of my donors include such extraordinary people that simply believe in me enough to invest in a small city council race from afar. When everyone graduated from undergrad, naturally many of them moved onto better things in different states, including my best friend --
Who just married in Pittsburgh, PA and celebrated 5 years clean and sober. Her wedding was beautiful last year (and fun! I've never been to a Jewish ceremony before!). That's one of the wonderful things about college, you meet amazing people. I'm a first time candidate and I asked EVERYONE I've ever met, their mother, and their cousins to donate. Seems to have worked! I've also done service work within my 12-step fellowship that has affected people around the world, most notably with literature translation help.


Unknown October 21, 2017 at 12:44 PM  


Did you know that anywhere you go in the world, there is a 24 hour helpline for most 12 step fellowships? Anytime I went to a convention outside of the city or around the country, I simply call their 24 hour number and connect with a person in long-term recovery. I've hardly had to pay for any traveling in the past 10 years (including airfare!). Also, most of my contributions are from the Korean community. I want to say about ~70% of them are. I've done news interviews for Korean media that was picked up by a national station on radio and in print. I'm causing quite a stir. If by "outside" interests, you mean those of the Korean community and my friends from college, I think you can quell your fears.

I've raised more than twice my opponent, it seems that I must make my opponent and supporters nervous in more ways than one by forgetting to mention that the actual amount is about $18,000 on the last report and my opponent has raised $7,000. I honestly expected it to be more neck-at-neck from a 12 year incumbent.

My donors are those that love and believe in me. Most of their names will sound and look foreign because they come from underrepresented communities, regardless of their location within the country. The others are on the opposite sides of the spectrum, affluent and well represented communities that feel that others deserve a voice. Democrats, Republican, Black, White, Asians, all these different groups had one thing common -- they believe in me.

Anyways, this could have been cleared up with a phone call! My cell is on all of my literature: 206.707.9220

Anonymous,  October 21, 2017 at 2:17 PM  

Wow, that is amazing! that means she has just a few hundred dollars in local Shoreline support. Whose interests are being represented by her campaign? And why are so few in Shoreline giving money? I would sure like to know!

Anonymous,  October 21, 2017 at 3:52 PM  

In reading the voters pamplet it says Jin-Ah-Kim is pro choice. It doesn't say that about the man she is running against. If she gets donations from across the country to support women's agenda that is good enough for me. We certainly don't need to go back to the hellish time of 40 yrs ago when women struggled about that, and we don't need to go back to trying to control womens lives and how many kids they have or don't want to have, its their business. I'm all for her, she wants us to move forward!

Elaine Phelps, Shoreline,  October 21, 2017 at 3:55 PM  

As a Shoreline homeowner for 52 years, it’s no secret to me that Shoreline citizens who run for public office for the first time, like most first-time candidates everywhere, seek support from family and friends.

Since Jin-Ah Kim has a wide circle of friends and family outside of Shoreline, I don’t think it matters whether they live in Shoreline or anywhere else in the United States. They know her and want to help her in her goal of serving the public.

A contributor to McGlashan, Tina Christiansen, closed her letter with a question having the negative implication that something nefarious or suspicious was afoot : “What do Jin-Ah Kim and her outside contributors hope to accomplish?”

The answer is not a mystery. Jin-Ah Kim and all of her contributors hope that Shoreline voters will get to know her well , get to know the unshakable integrity she exhibits in everything she does. They can learn more about her at: www.jin-ahforshoreline.com

Jin-Ah Kim’s supporters also hope that as the public becomes better informed about the unique experiences, insights, knowledge and personal qualities that Jin-Ah Kim would bring to this Council position, voters will choose to give their vote, as I shall, to this refreshingly transparent, energetic and people-oriented woman named Jin-Ah Kim.

Unknown October 21, 2017 at 5:18 PM  

This and several recent posts by Shoreline Area News have made me increasingly uncomfortable. Sure, there are some non-local contributors but when you look carefully it seems clear that many are relatives or members of the same cultural community as the candidate. Whether the bias is deliberate or not, it smacks of “otherness “. I looked at the source and found that there’s nothing unusual or alarming. What are we afraid of here? I’m a homeowner in Shoreline of over 20 years, my children and I are products of the Shoreline school system, and frankly based on what I see happening in our community I think we’re overdue to shake up the status quo. Check the facts and make an informed decision. The incumbent has raised considerably less money, most of it local but the largest contributors are political action committees for realtors and the master builders association and several local business owners.

No matter who you’re behind, please vote.


Anonymous,  October 21, 2017 at 9:43 PM  

I do wonder why Ms. Kim was unable to obtain more funding from Shoreline residents. And why she felt she required so much outside funding to convince the provincial Shoreline residents of her qualifications as a Council member representing Shoreline interests.

Further, I didn’t realize we have a policy of disallowing people of Asian descent from representing Shoreline. I’m glad she is proud of her heritage, but I do not consider it relevant to this campaign. And I’m glad she was invited to many events. Again, what does this have to do with this campaign? It doesn’t work at the national level, why should it work at the local level? Also, women are well represented in Shoreline. Why is that an issue (anonymous 10/21).

We need to focus on local issues. Anonymous stated that Ms. Kim is pro choice and the incumbent's stance was unknown. This is not a local issue. It doesn’t matter what her opinions are on federal or international matters. What matters is how she will vote on Shoreline issues.

Unknown October 21, 2017 at 10:50 PM  

Oh I am VERY clear on how I will vote on Shoreline issues. In fact, everything I have talked about is EXACTLY in line with the 2017 Legislative goals. This is copy+pasted from The City of Shoreline's website:


LOCAL GOVERNMENT FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY AND FLEXIBILITY – The City is advocating a more self-sufficient model where cities have more control over their revenue streams. Cities need to be able to plan for funding from one year to the next; providing cities more local financial flexibility allows each jurisdiction to make their own choices of how to fund local services. An example is the 1% property tax cap. The cap does not keep pace with inflation and restricts cities’ ability to maintain services. Setting a limit that is tied to tangible numbers, such as inflation and population growth, which drive costs, would allow cities to better maintain existing services.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING, HOMELESSNESS, AND A STRAINED MENTAL AND BEHAVIORAL HEALTH SYSTEM – Cities throughout the state are struggling with increasing homeless populations. The lack of affordable housing and a poorly funded mental health and substance abuse system have only exacerbated the problem. Shoreline, like many cities, struggles to address these problems with very limited resources.

Washington has a high prevalence of mental illness, but a low level of access to care. As a result, it often falls on our Shoreline Police and Fire Departments and the court system to address mental health problems threatening public safety. This is very expensive and does not address the underlying mental health issue, ensuring the problem not only persists, but also potentially gets worse. The City is asking the legislature to provide the resources needed to address these issues or provide cities with more options for addressing the issues themselves.

INVEST IN PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICES – Protect our communities by investing in core public health services. The 40% per capita decrease in public health funding since 1999 is reaching crisis levels across the state. The funding shortfall has left Public Health–Seattle & King County unable to fully investigate disease outbreaks. The Washington State Department of Health is requesting $54 million for local public health jurisdictions to fill critical gaps in disease prevention and response, and to pilot shared services to improve the efficiency of the overall system.

SUPPORT HUMAN SERVICES SAFETY NET – Over the past few years, the need for more human services has grown substantially in our community. As the state and other funders have cut support for basic human services agencies operating costs, the City has had to step in to help-out. For instance, last year, the City contributed $26,000 in additional funding (on top of its regular payment of $95,708) to the Shoreline-Lake Forest Park Senior Center to make up for cuts from other agencies. Again, the City either needs the state to step up and help address these issues or provide more tools for cities to address the issues.


Unknown October 21, 2017 at 10:51 PM  


REVISE PUBLIC RECORDS ACT – The City supports open and transparent government; however, public records act laws have not kept up with changes in technology and they do not account for the growing number of broad, voluminous, commercially driven, or retaliatory requests that utilize a disproportionate amount of city resources. Last year, for the first time, Shoreline had to hire staff just to keep up with records requests. This isn’t just a Shoreline issue, but is one impacting cities across the State. Cities need additional tools to address the increasing pressure on city resources.

INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING – Over the past few years, the Legislature has diverted funding for City infrastructure programs to the state's general fund. The Public Works Trust Fund allowed cities to utilize low interest loans or grants to complete infrastructure projects at a significantly lower cost due to lower interest rates than could be obtained elsewhere. Without this support, it will be more difficult for Shoreline and other cities to maintain our infrastructure. Local taxpayers will pay significantly more in financing costs for the same work, if the City can afford it at all.

In addition to all of this, I recently published statement for SAN as the most important (in my opinion) SHORELINE ISSUES:

"Jin-Ah Kim

East Shoreline:

Save Hamlin Park took over two months for a decision. It’s was a no-brainer decision, don’t cut 4 acres from Hamlin. I vow to protect the environment and improve communication regarding changing infrastructure, for example the 5th Ave bike lanes.

West Shoreline: Point Wells

In short: I would resist any agreement from a developer that would exceed a 4,000 daily trip capacity for Richmond Beach Road. Under my opponent's administration, an agreement was made with developers that supported 11,587 trips. All indications point that he would support an agreement that would exceed this. I will fight for the people of Shoreline and for responsible development."


Anonymous,  October 22, 2017 at 2:29 AM  

Keith McGlashan accepted contributions from outside PACs and The Realtors Association who directly benefit from his pro-developer rezone votes.

RLF October 22, 2017 at 9:52 AM  

I am a forty-two year resident and home owner in Shoreline. I will vote for Ms. Kim. Her perspective could provide fresh insights regarding future planning for the community. From my review of her background and philosophy I am confident that she won't find her way into the pockets of short sighted developers and their supporters.

Stephen K. October 22, 2017 at 10:04 AM  

I am not a resident of Shoreline, in fact I live in Auburn, however I chose to donate to Jin-Ah's campaign.

I have known Jin-Ah for a few years now and I chose to contribute to her campaign because I have seen her be a positive force in the community already, especially for voices in the community who would otherwise remain silent or be silenced by others.

The fact that Jin-Ah is a transplant to the Shoreline area and that the majority of her friends and family are not located in Shoreline should only serve to emphasize how much she cares about her community and how much people that know her believe in her and the work that she hopes to accomplish.

In response to the original letter:

As an "outsider" in this race, I have no nefarious goals or schemes. I know Jin-Ah will work tirelessly for her community because she loves Shoreline. I would encourage anyone who has questions about Jin-Ah to get to know her; she does her best to be accessible and responsive.

ELAINE PHELPS, SHORELINE,  October 22, 2017 at 12:10 PM  

This is in response to the person writing as Anonymous who starts his letter with these words “I do wonder why Ms. Kim”.

Because the person I’m responding to is Anonymous, I don’t know what pronouns are appropriate, so I’ll just use he/him/his because - well, just because.

When he referred to “the provincial Shoreline residents”, he was of course being sarcastic, meaning just the opposite but implying that parochial is how Ms. Kim and her supporters view them.

Shoreline residents are not provincial, and I do agree with that; this is one dictionary’s definition of parochial:
having a limited or narrow outlook or scope.
synonyms: narrow-minded, small-minded, provincial, narrow, small-town, conservative, illiberal, intolerant

If the shoe fits, Mr. Anonymous, . . .

josh October 23, 2017 at 10:25 AM  

For those making the "why hasn't she raised more money from Shoreline residents" argument, perhaps Ms. Kim has raised less from local money because she's a relatively new face to Shoreline politics (although those of us who attend the 32nd District Dems meetings know her well) and it's very difficult for a lesser known challenger to raise money against an incumbent.

Ms. Kim has raised twice the amount her rival has, much of it from family and friends who believe in her and know that she is the kind of person who can help others and cares about the city she lives in. She easily has my vote.

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