Local Right Wing campaign operating plan

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• In Elections,

Yes, this is real. It is the organizational plan at work during this election to put four conservative candidates on the Whatcom County Council. That gift of $20,000 from Nick Kaiser was part of this plan. Indeed, my information is he did not care how his check was divided among the four. As it turned out, his check went to Kathy while other large contributions will be directed to the other three.

A PDF file for your easy printing is linked at the bottom of this article. The original chart is in color. If the BIA or Realtors or Gravel interests (the three big business sectors behind the four candidates) want to send me a better, clearer copy of this, I will post it for all to view.

Notice how the local Republican Party is near the center of this for organizational purposes. Sam Crawford is one of the prime “Fundraisers.” Some of the items on the chart are not so nice - such as “Hit Piece Letters.” And it is interesting that they group the Tea Party, Realtors, BIA, and GOP into the same team. Publicly, they like to pretend they are not joined at the hip. In practice, they are. Always have been. I could post more names, but discretion intervenes.

In truth, this is probably not too different from what the far left machine uses for their candidates. One reason for posting this is to try to convey to my Pollyanna friends that local politics is not about someone deciding to run for office, finding a friend to be campaign manager and doing their best. Those poor souls are left in the dust. This slate of candidates was picked by local conservative leaders, and they were promised support. They are also pretty much told how to run their campaigns. Yes, there are honest campaigns. The ones run by John Blethen and Mike McAuley for Port Commissioners are two examples. So is the race by Catherine Chambers for Bellingham City Council.

This chart primarily shows us that the effort this year by the right wing in Whatcom County is for the County Council. If anyone else can shed more light on all this, please do.

Update - late Wed eve: There are many items on this chart that could use research. I checked out one item this evening - the flow of all website development through one person. What is intriguing is this did not flow through the candidates and their managers, but rather was handled entirely by some “Website Development” person.

And lo, I found the four sites to have some striking similarities - not in appearance but in how and when they were set up. All four domain names were bought the first week of June; all four cost $64.20; all four were registered to be served from the same web host - dotsterhost.com - and all use exactly the same contribution button. All say at the bottom of their pages that the candidates paid for their websites - but I cannot find those expenditures in their C-4s. Someone else want to check this out?

The common processes, costs and use of the same company - not a local company - indicates that a single experienced web site developer was contracted to create all four websites. The fact that this cost appears to not be reported is worthy of PDC complaint filings. (I won’t be doing that but others may want to look into this.) All four websites show very pricey, professional development. So, it seems that this part of the chart was followed nicely - and has been in play since early June.

Finally - another nice large donation of $7,500 to Bill Knutzen from Marberry Packing in Lynden - on October 12, of course. We can expect some more contributions to turn up. And we can expect Sam Taylor to explain them away - at least those we reveal here. He has an aversion to discovering on his own.

About John Servais

Citizen Journalist and Editor • Fairhaven, Washington USA • Member since Feb 26, 2008

John started Northwest Citizen in 1995 to inform fellow citizens of serious local political issues that the Bellingham Herald was ignoring. With the help of donors from the beginning, he has [...]

Comments by Readers

Riley Sweeney

Oct 21, 2009

Thank you for assembling all this. We on the campaign trail get to hear snippets and definitely feel the effect of where that money goes, but it is nice to see the big picture. I am going to prove you wrong. This honest campaign in the 6th Ward for Catherine Chambers is going to put her in that seat. No getting left in the dust for us.

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Tom Pratum

Oct 21, 2009

I guess my question is: with that organization, how did they come up with such unbelievably poor candidates? I mean, putting someone up for office who hasn’t even voted (in recent times at least) for anyone in the position he’s running for (Knutzen)? Or, someone whos primary educational background for county council is Bellingham Beauty School (Luke)? I find it hard to believe anyway. Of course just because they look like poor candidates to me doesn’t mean some of them might not win.

Thanks for the post John.

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Sharon Crozier

Oct 22, 2009

Thanks, John. This is amazing.
I’d like to point out that this crew also got $3,750 each on that Very Important last day to deliver the goods. And the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Guild gave them each a handsome $1,000 each.

My eyes were itching to see the small print on the chart but your research helped fill out enough to convince all but those who just don’t care to know.

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John Servais

Oct 22, 2009

Ok, here is the list of names in those small boxes along the right side from top to bottom.
Big Contributors - this you can read at the top.
Foothills
BIA
Realtors
Tea Party - Taxes
Boats Off
Agriculture
Property Rights
Firemen

And then at the bottom just to the left are two more:
Eagle Forum
Cattlemen

Obviously, these are the groups they expect to come through with donations. 

And just for good measure, here is the list of Black Ops:
Opponent Research
Blogs
Hit Piece Letters
Mailers
Newspaper Ads
Council Mtg Testimony
Broadcast Email

Hit Piece Letters - those are letters to the editor that are negative on the opponent, rather than saying anything positive about their candidate.

I did the best scan my computer was capable of - but it was not good enough.

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Sharon Crozier

Oct 22, 2009

John-

The chart’s reference to “boats off” made me a bit curious. So I took another visit to the Public Disclosure Commission site and, as coordinator of Motors Boats Off, I recognized many names of people who fought our citizens’ initiative. That should explain that…

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Craig Mayberry

Oct 23, 2009

The ballots have been out for a week and I am still waiting to see the hit pieces from the evil right-wingers.  So far all I have seen is a couple of mailers touting the positive community values of the right wing nut jobs (which is no doubt a lie).  In fact, I think the only hit piece I am aware of is a video from some one remotely associated with the progressive candidates.  Oh well, there are two more weeks before ballots are due and maybe those evil doers are just waiting until the very end before they unleash their torrent of evil spells.  No doubt they have some dirt on Laurie or Dan that know one knows about and they are just waiting until the end before they spring it on everyone.

Damn those dastardly republicans, if they were not around then we would finally achieve world peace, the environment would be saved, and we would all have free health care.

PS.  I am using sarcastic humor to make a point, granted, effective use of sarcastic humor is difficult so I may have missed.

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Tip Johnson

Oct 23, 2009

Sticky fingerprints of the BIAWC all over the place.  Looks exactly the same as last time, but without the county secession petitions.

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Sharon Crozier

Oct 24, 2009

Oh, I don’t know Craig, but those 25 bogus reasons for voting for the BIAW/Saturna/Realtor candidates was a pretty creative smear piece. All they had to do was skip some facts and twist some others…

If you missed that bit of work, here are the “25 reasons why we should vote in Chet Dow"s four favorite folks”, along with responses from Caskey-Schreiber and Weimer (if you actually care):

http://whatcomforum.blogspot.com/search?q=25+reasons

Enjoy!

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Craig Mayberry

Oct 25, 2009

Sharon,

I never saw the top 25 reasons list, so I am not sure how widespread it was sent or how it was distributed.  I would agree that it in spirit it is a hit piece so it would appear that they are even now with the video hit piece done by an associate of Laurie.

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Sharon Crozier

Oct 25, 2009

Hi, Craig-

As I said, if you care to actually know what I’m talking about, my prior posting has the link.

And, showing evidence that someone has misrepresented herself is not a smear.

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Paul deArmond

Oct 29, 2009

A few comments on this interesting document:

This looks like an early idea of how things should go, rather than what they are actually able to do.  I’d guess it was actually used for pitching for funds from donors than how things worked.

It’s not a network/movement graph, it’s more like a mix of a single organization combined with activities.  This is very different from how things worked 15 years ago with Keystone/CLUE.  In other words, the key nodes in this chart are individuals (Campaign Strategist and Outreach Coordinator).  It would be interesting to know who these people are.  And even more interesting that they haven’t made an impression on enough people so that there would even be a question of their identities.

The reason that it’s an institution rather than a network is the relationships are more between individuals, tasks and resources.  A network would place more emphasis on relations between organizations and groups.  The groups on the right-hand column are treated as resources of the outreach coordinator rather than players in the game.

What I’m seeing in the chart is the campaign expenditures were centralized.  When the expenditure reports are public in December, this should be plain.  No bid deal, there this is something they learned 15 years ago and also something the Democrats have never been able to do.  It is a major strength, but is only a short term election strategy.  In the past, when they were able to pull off a big win, their supporters such as CLUE were left out in the cold.  Politics as a smash and grab operation.

The Black Ops are illuminating.  These are people who see politics as something like a ongoing criminal enterprise linked to big contributors.  What is strange is many of the ordinary operations of any campaign should be seen as isolated from the candidates and their campaigns and directed by the campaign strategist, outreach coordinator and big contributors.

These sort of documents aren’t how things really are, but are a picture of how they are imagined.  And it’s fascinating to see the GOP dreaming of themselves in this way.

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David Camp

Oct 29, 2009

And, just arrived in the mail, the fruit of Nick Kaiser, the BIA, and other retrogressives’ funding: two negative mailers. KAthy Kershner’s “Whatcom County can’t afford “leaders” like Dan McShane, and Michelle Luke’s “Carl Weimer has been asleep at the wheel” and “Carl Weimer: More Taxes, Fewer Jobs, and Worsening Environment”.

Follow the money, find the dirt. Nick Kaiser makes his money serving Arab oil interests with financial products specifically designed to subvert Muslim anti-usury laws. And we see the fruits of this corruption in his support of candidates who would continue to pave our green county, to poison our drinking water, and to glorify greed above all. Disgraceful.

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Matt Petryni

Oct 29, 2009

John, one question on this piece: while I certainly agree this is the organization structure that appears to be at work (as usual), is this something you’ve developed to help explain the election dynamics, or something the right wing political machine actually developed to plot out their course to victory?

I’m curious.

Also interesting, in terms of tying the candidates together, is their statements in the Whatcom County Voters’ Guide. Each of the Republicans’ statements, endearing and positive as it may be, is written so that it focuses most heavily on the personality and qualifications of the candidate: that Kershner has extensive leadership experience, that Teigrob grew up in Whatcom County from humble means and I guess plays on a farm with a horse, that Knutsen is just a regular, hard working guy with a family.

Only in Luke’s statement is there any sort of advanced discussion of the ideology they share: that environmental protections and taxes are overly burdensome on the growth of the County’s economy. And in Luke’s statement, that discussion suggests little about what she’ll actually DO. She says she’ll make rational decisions and take into consideration the consequences of them. Qualities which I think are definitely valuable, but say little about what those decisions might entail: will she vote for the continued expansion of urban growth boundaries? Will she move infrastructure and regulatory goals away from promoting higher-density infill and toward low-density urban sprawl on previously rural land? These questions are entirely unanswered.

The environmentalist candidates, on the other hand, say little about their personalities and qualifications. Most are incumbents, so they might merely be assuming we know that they’re qualified for the post. Or maybe they’re less insecure, perhaps even arrogant, about their extensive leadership experience and complex personal understanding of the issues. Instead, they focus heavily on their solidly “green” ideology: preserving farmland, managing growth, minimizing environmental costs “in a fair and equitable manner” over the long run. Instead of leaving the question of how they will vote on the Council a relative mystery, they talk more specifically about how they have voted in the past, which is generally in favor of environmental restrictions to limit the economic taxes created by urban growth over the longer term.

I think this is because each candidate is catering to their strengths in this election. The developers’ candidates hope that Whatcom County will overlook their marketist ideologies and send them to office because they’re simply wonderful people, even if we disagree with their politics. The environmentalist candidates, often known for more abrasive personalities, tout the fact that when it comes to what they’ll actually do on the Council, their decision-making will likely represent the political values - though perhaps not the personal style - shared by an overwhelming majority of Whatcom County’s people.

It makes me wonder who wrote the candidate statements such that they seem so similar…

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Paul deArmond

Oct 30, 2009

FWIW, this is real.

What’s different about this time around is it’s driven entirely by ideology and reaction.

They’re making the same moves, but there isn’t any substance behind it.  The candidates are complete tools - no experience, no leadership, no nothing except they can be played.

This is the off year election after a Democratic presidential win.  It’s purely reactionary, dog-in-the-manger.

In 1993, the GMA had just passed and was in the process of getting new case law laid out on it.  This time, the only thing happening is last year’s election rearranged people’s heads about what’s what.

So they are acting out the form of past backlash politics which worked for them.  But last time there was substance to it:  the county’s role in GMA litigation and the city’s development of the Barkley expansion.

This time it’s just power and control….  There’s no agenda being advanced and there’s no compelling issue.  Which is why Kremen played it as he did.  A new council with a vacuum of leadership does what for him?

Unless I’m missing something that is plain to everybody else, right out in plain sight—a central issue.

The Hooterville Herlad says it’s all UGA.  That doesn’t seem to be ringing a lot of bells with the voters.  It may be the cover story, but it’s not the nut.  If this is all about UGAs, then the voters are just being manipulated by code words and dog whistles—a pretty stunning admission by Sam that this is all Kabuki, if true.

Set me straight, what’s the issue of this campaign if it’s not pure power politics - form without substance?

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John Servais

Nov 01, 2009

Matt -

This chart was given to me.  The trail of how it got to me verifies that it is real.  The original is a color chart and was used at one of the meetings of the group.  This was handed to me as a paper chart and scanned it for posting here. 

Now, that said, there is always the chance that this is a setup and that this is not real.  But I’ve not heard any challenge since this was posted.  And I know a bit of how it got to me.  So my feeling is this has a 99% chance of being real.  And, I have information from other trusted sources that verifies parts of this.

This business is all about secrecy and deception - especially from groups like this.  For instance - missing from this chart is any mention of the ‘Shuksan Poll”, a highly secretive right wing poll in Whatcom County that is not even revealed to their own candidates.  Some have suggested that it no longer is being funded.  I would love to find out.

Given the amount of big money that flowed into the right wing coffers very late in this campaign, I think the poll does still exist and that it showed the environmental county council candidates can be beat.  And that is why cautious contributors like Nick Kaiser decided to ante up big - because the chances are excellent for upsets.

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