Russ Weston MayoralCampaign

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EOW Refuses to admit screw up on story
Thursday, Sep 29

The current edition of the Every Other Weekly does print the pressrelease by Russ Weston which lays out the facts of the story. Butthen editor Tim Johnson puts in his editorial remarks at thebeginning and end that again demean Russ Weston. No recant fromTim on his very false story in the last issue. Indeed, Tim againsuggests that signs can be removed by the Parks Department if thesign is on right of way for a street. Tim now knows this is not true- why he prints a lie is baffling.

Tim and the EOW have built up a reputation of following the truthand giving us the "skinny" on what was happening in our fair burg.With this Russ Weston fiction, Tim wants to do all that he can toprevent Russ Weston from being elected Mayor. It that involvesprinting fiction, he has shown he will do it. Shame on you againTim. You are hurting the credibility of your newspaper. What shall webelieve of your local political writing?

The EOW ad sales guy is bragging around town that the EOW hasgiven Russ Weston and his Moose mascot a lot of free publicity. Yah,Wayne, you show a real nice understanding of ethics. Just sales hype,I guess.

EOW Yard Sign Story Forgot About theFacts

Monday, September 20 - by John Servais

It's a funny story. You can read it in the current issue of theEvery Other Weekly - the Sep 9-Sep 22 issue. Page 6 on thebottom right. Russ Weston posts a yard sign in a city park . ParksDepartment takes it down three times while Weston puts it back uptwice. Parks finally chops the sign into "matchsticks with achainsaw". EOW editor Tim Johnson ends the story by writing thatWeston is "...a fool with an attitude." Pretty insulting stuff.

So I decided to look into the facts. Here they are.

1. The "city park" was not a park at all. It was at thecorner of 22nd and Fairhaven Parkway on the south side. The propertyis owned by Howard and Rosemary Harris. They gave Russ permission toput a sign on their property. Yes, I talked to them - Tim Johnson ofEOW did not. The Harris's were surprised at where Russ put the sign,but did not express any objection to him. I asked Tim if he knewwhich city park - he did not know.

2. The sign was placed between the Greenways trail andFairhaven Parkway. Now, this is city street right of way. If thisis not being used for street or sidewalk then this property is underthe control of the adjacent property owner - in this case, theHarrises. Indeed, legally, they own the property up to the center ofthe right of way and the city has only an easement to use for streetsand most anything else. The average homeowner has street right of wayway up onto their front lawn. The area between all sidewalks and thestreet is city right of way - and the property owner has the rightto put political signs there. The Harrises have the right tolandscape and care for this property between the Greenways trail -sidewalk - and the curb of Fairhaven Parkway. They have the right bycity law to allow campaign signs here.

3. When Russ Weston told the Parks Department that this was rightof way under the control of the homeowner and they just ignoredhim.

4. Tim Johnson got the story from a city Parks Departmentemployee. He then phoned and talked to Parks Director ByronEllemdorf who put him in touch with the fellows in the ParksDepartment shop who had done the destruction. Tim never checkedfurther. The Parks Department planted the story and tim swallowed thebait. Some reporting.

5. Tim Johnson of EOW never checked with Russ Weston on the facts.I did check with Tim today before writing this. I gave him thecourtesy of resolving any mistakes he made. He saw no reason tomodify anything.

6. Russ Weston sent a press release to Tim Johnson last weeklaying out the facts. I asked Tim about this. He dismissed it withthe comment that it wasn't worth paying attention to and that Russ isinto conspiracy theories. Tim laughed it off and said how he and Iwere not so concerned about possible purposeful wrongdoing by cityemployees. I did not offer any agreement to Tim, but thanked him andtold him I would print the facts tonight. Even then he did not offerto back off his story at all.

So much for the funny story. Unfortunately, it is all a plant withno truth. I have a reputation in this community of being very hard onpoliticians - and went toe to toe with Port Commissioners for severalyears. But I have never called anyone derogatory names. When we startthat then we break down the civil ties that allow us to all livetogether. Now here comes Tim Johnson having a good juvenile timecalling our possible next mayor funny insulting names. Tim - shame onyou. Shame. We could come up with a couple good ones for a newspapereditor who doesn't even begin to check for facts, but we won't. EOWis a generally great source of information. Tim - get a hold ofyourself. Start by apologizing in this Thursday's issue.

Finally, there are laws on this matters:
Bellingham City Code 13.14.010(B) allows the placing of campaignsigns on city right of way with the permission of the abuttingneighbor.
Washington State Law, RCW 29.85.275, says it is against the law todestroy a campaign sign. Don't expect any legal action by theauthorities - these laws are never used against bureaucrats. They areabove the law. They just make mistakes.

In closing, you won't see any Russ Weston signs up for the nextcouple weeks. They have taken them all down because so many werebeing destroyed. Closer to the election, they will go back up.Hopefully, the power tripping juvenile delinquents at city hall willhave been been told by their mother's to quit destroying othersproperty.

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