1) Is politics like love and war - all is fair in order to win? As we are discovering about privacy, everyone has a different tolerance for what they believe is right/allowable.
2) Is a candidate defined by their supporters? Because this seems to be a sore point with the Peters/Dale Estey campaigns.
- Is it envy on the part of Peters because Dale Estey is so well-funded and has paid campaign strategists and a paid treasurer and and manager? Dale Estey's campaign will surely go down as the highest collecting/spending School Board campaign in the history of Seattle. Fifty people (out of her touted 500+ contributors) gave more than 50% of the money her campaign has (the majority of them being lawyers, CEOs, managing partners or someone married to them with a couple of billionaires thrown in there for good measure). I could see someone being envious of that kind of firepower.
- Or is it troubling that Dale Estey has so many well-funded connections (especially to business and to ed reformers) that two of them set up their own PAC just to get her elected? That PAC appears to want to take the negative road just as Dale Estey repeatedly says she's running a positive campaign.
At the time, I asked Dale Estey about that flyer and said she legally cannot have any communications with that PAC and can't tell them what to do. That's true. But there would be nothing illegal in her publicly stating that she wants her supporters to echo her positive campaign. But she didn't. She could have but she didn't.
In fact, she told the Times on August 1st that she ""agrees with the ad's main message, although she has mixed feelings about its negative approach." Mixed feelings, huh?
Now we learn that yet another supporter - Jean Bryant, an active parent in the NE - has stepped in to do her own negative campaigning on Dale Estey's behalf.
You might remember Ms. Bryant, a former PTA president, as the person leading a group that was campaigning against BEX IV. That's okay except that their complaint was just about Eckstein and no other school according to reporting at Crosscut on Feb. 6th. That seemed a bit myopic.
Bryant also told the Times in a July 22nd story about School Board elections that "Last time I wasn't a voice as much as I should have been ...and it's so critical." Which leads us to today.
Byrant is an endorser for Dale Estey, named as an education leader at the DE website, and was introduced by Dale Estey at a meeting as a member of "my steering committee." Bryant has co-hosted a fundraising event for Dale Estey. So she is not just some random supporter (although I do believe she is acting on her own accord.)
Bryant decided to take her e-mail list and send out an e-mail about her support for Dale Estey and her disdain for Sue Peters.
She starts the e-mail by supporting Dale Estey but then gets personal (because Bryant has been at the same school with her children as Peters has been with hers for the last seven years.)
Bryant goes on to state all the things Sue hasn't done for the school (and how Byrant can know all this for certain is unclear - she was the president of the PTA but that doesn't mean she is clairvoyant.)
Bryant then states - not claims - that there are e-mails between Peters and the principal, some teachers, the PTA and the district. She calls them "highly combative."
Now. Jean may know about PTA e-mails.
But there is NO way for anyone to know about district e-mails Sue may have written to any staff UNLESS someone told her about them.
That would be a gross violation of confidence for ANY SPS staff person to have told a third-party about e-mails between a parent and another staff person.
So how did Bryant know of the existence of any e-mails? That's unclear but she must have known because of what she did.
She filed a public disclosure to the district for e-mails between Peters and the principal and Peters and her children's teachers.
Yes, you read that right. Peters's emails about her children's education that she wrote to her children's teachers and principals were the ones Bryant filed a public documents request to read.
It is absolutely legal to use public disclosure; I do all the time. But I have NEVER - in 15+ years - ever asked for an e-mail so I could see what a parent was talking to a staff member about pertaining to a child. Never.
How would you feel if you were running for a public office and someone working on a campaign for your opponent was looking for something to hit your campaign with and decided that looking at e-mails you sent, talking about your children and their education, would fit the bill?
I'll just go out on a limb here and say I would not like it - one - little - bit. In fact, I would consider it an invasion of my children's privacy.
What's interesting is that Bryant ended up sending out an apology. She apologizes for making people "uncomfortable."
You mean people felt uncomfortable because you were bragging to people about knowing about e-mails that you have requested so you could try to find something, anything to smear Sue Peters (and to heck with her children)? That kind of uncomfortable?
She then goes on to say her words are "accurate" and that her "passion" for the district can "sometimes lead me astray from the real focus, the kids." (And I'm guessing she means any kids but Sue Peters'.) She states that anyone who requested to be removed from this "email circulation" will have their wish honored. (Obviously people were appalled by these tactics. At least three of them contacted me.)
I wrote to Dale Estey when I learned about this action. (I already knew Bryant had made a public disclosure request to the district for Sue's e-mails but I had hoped nothing would come of it. So I did nothing.) When I saw Bryant's e-mails, I wrote to Dale Estey and told her about this issue. That was Monday the 7th.
Beyond what you might think of Bryant, why is it that Dale Estey's supporters are going as far as they can to win?
When the ballots drop this Wednesday, I have NO doubt what will come out from Dale Estey's supporters' PAC. More negative and unpleasant talk rather than talking about the issues. Maybe they'll use information they gleaned from Jean Bryant's e-mail request.
Meanwhile I see that Dale Estey is urging people to send her money and to tell their friends about her campaign. "Remember to keep it positive" she says.
Given what has happened (and what is likely to come) those are hollow and disingenuous words.
Dale Estey is NOT running her own campaign. She has a team of handlers deciding her campaign moves. She has supporters who, apparently, will denigrate Sue Peter's background and will even go after Sue's children.
And Dale Estey just smiles.
That's not a positive campaign and that's not integrity.
So I have one last question - who will Dale Estey be listening to if she wins?