Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Suzanne Dale Estey - Embellishment is her Specialty but What about Credibility?

I have consistently stated that Suzanne Dale Estey appears to have a great resume.  She seems to have broad policy experience at different levels of government. 

But, based on attendance at and viewing of some videotapes of various campaign events, I realized that she has this tendency to embellish what her resume says she did.  So I decided to check some of what is on her resume AND what she has been saying at campaign stops. 

Here's what I found:

Working for Governor Locke
Here's what her campaign website says:

Federal Legislative Analyst for Washington State Governor Gary Locke

Her LinkedIn resume goes further:

Federal Legislative Analyst
Washington, DC Office of the Governor of Washington State
1998 – 1998 (less than a year)Washington, DC
Monitored Congressional legislation and federal agency activities on behalf of the Governor and the State of Washington. Worked with Congressional staff, White House and federal agency officials, national associations and other governors’ offices to promote Governor’s agenda, including helping lay the foundation for his leadership role on electronic commerce issues. Represented Washington State at meetings of the National and Democratic Governors’ Associations.

But out on the campaign at the Eastlake Forum, she talks about her background and talks of working for Governor Locke  "where I ran his D.C. office."  (Here's the link - she makes this claim at about 54 seconds.)

Wait?  She wasn't just an analyst who did that laundry list above but ALSO ran the office? 

Impressive, no? But if it's so impressive, why not add it to her resume at her campaign website?

Well, maybe because she was hired, as a temporary intern, and worked in Governor Locke's office for just 3 months from June to August 1998.  

Her status, according to state HR records, was "temporary paid intern", not "legislative analyst." It's a rather huge leap to go from a short-term intern to almost a year as a "federal legislative analyst." 

Serving on "taskforces and committees" on education

Dale Estey's website does not make this claim but again, out on the election trail she has recently been talking about serving on "many taskforces and committees" on education.

 I looked into this and found that she did work quite a bit with the Renton School District (as her website reflects) but they said she hadn't been on any committees/taskforces per se.  Via public disclosure, I asked the nearby school districts of Tukwila and Highline.

Tukwila - The District was unable to locate any records showing that Ms Dale Estey served on committees or taskforces for the District.

Highline - Suzanne Dale Estey has not served on any committee or taskforce for Highline Public Schools. 

Dale Estey may indeed have worked with staff from those districts elsewhere but not on any of their own district taskforces or committees.

Being the Inter-High Chairperson on the Seattle School Board

From her campaign website:
"...she served as chair of the Inter-High Council, which represented students in an advisory role on the Seattle School Board."

I always found this claim on her campaign resume a source of amusement because really, unless something you did in high school was in the national news, who cares?  That she went through SPS schools is a definite community link BUT does it mean she knows the district today?  Not by a mile.

But oddly, she mentioned it at nearly every single campaign stop.  In fact, at the Maple Leaf event, there was a bit of confusion in the opening seconds when she said, "I served on the Seattle School Board" and took a bit to get to "in high school."

But, as I have previously reported, I did check in the district archives.  (And let me say that whoever was taking minutes, took VERY detailed minutes that would put any present-day minutes to shame.  That they are so thoroug, it helps clarify this claim.)

First, she was co-chair.  Maybe a small thing but when I was co-president of the Roosevelt PTA, I never said I was president and forgot my co-president.  (The minutes reflect a co-chair.)

Second, her first appearance at a School Board meeting is in Jan. 1988 (but she started her senior year at RHS in the fall).  She is introduced by her co-chair to the Board at that meeting.

She missed the Feb. meeting and then appeared at 4 more meetings.  She spoke once at each meeting she appeared at except her introductory meeting in January.   You be the judge of that "experience."

Worth noting - she didn't even serve a whole school year (unlike her campaign manager, Dexter Tang, who was the Student Senate rep for the Board from last year).  


Credibility and integrity matter.  Not all candidates (and their campaigns) try to puff up and embellish their resumes to win.

What about integrity?  The Stranger reported back in 2004 that when she worked as a lobbyist for WaMu, she was directed to send an e-mail to thousands of WaMu employees telling them how to vote on the Monorail (against) while at the same time serving as a member of the Transportation Choices Coalition, a PRO-Monorail organization.  So was she for or against the Monorail? 

Dale Estey says she isn't for charter schools or Teach for America.  Yet her campaign has accepted thousands of dollars (plus the thousands spent on her by the PAC established to help her) from the very people who fronted the charter school campaign and their supporters.  She has several prominent exTFAers not just contributing money but as endorsers.  (I'll make a prediction right now - if she's elected, I believe that in two years or less, she and/or Blanford will be pushing for SPS to become a charter authorizer. )

Why all this exaggeration when she has a damn fine resume to start with?  I don't know but I do know it is troubling that she feels the need to do it.  Or her campaign handlers told her to do.

What else about her background and her abilities has she embellished?  And who will whisper in her ear if she is elected?


mirmac1 said...

Embellishment is necessary when you've just been a corporate and government apparatchik your whole career. I'm sure her campaign consultant Sinderman has been drawing on those creative juices to gussy up his candidate.

Anonymous said...

She can't be trusted. If you lie about the simple stuff - like this - there's no way you can be trusted to do the right thing for kids rather than what your corporate owners and donors want. She's their tool.

Anonymous said...

Wow. What kind of person would claim running Gary Locke’s DC office, but in reality only serve as a short-term INTERN? I wonder what Ambassador Locke would think about Ms. Estey's shenanigans. That’s just remarkable! And goes way beyond a little embellishment of one's resume. Clearly Estey is borderline pathological or has a skewed understanding of the truth.

Is character important in our elected official? I sure as hell think it is. Sure Estey is simply following standard practice among political types. Say whatever it takes, exaggerate or bold face lie if you must…but do whatever it takes to get elected.

Frankly I was on the fence. But this stuff really gets to me. I might not agree with all of Peter’s positions but I don’t question her integrity. So she’s got my vote as of tonight.

Thanks again Melissa for your reporting.

Thankful Voter

mirmac1 said...

I believe there is some narcisism inherent in any candidate for office. But to what degree? That is the question.

How does one go from unpaid intern to "running the DC office"? Okay, maybe if you were the only temp in a DC cubicle at the time.

But to use such tenuous experience as a basis to justify overseeing the education of our city's youth?!

Yeah, I'm disgusted and dismissive of the fiction-writing and campaign hit pieces sent out by $$PAC contributors.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but Melissa's post smacks of petty desperation in the waning hours of a failed campaign. This is Nancy Drew wannabee pretend journalism. And make no mistake, this is no longer a "forum" - this is a campaign web site for attack ads. I feel bad for the readers looking for a substantive source of information on the issues. This is why good people choose not to run for public office. Stay classy, Melissa.

Shower Needed

Thanks Melissa said...

Shower Needed,

Make it a cold one. Maybe it will get you out of your fog.

Melissa did a fine job of investigating and documenting Ms. Estey's knack for embellishment.

Samantha said...

It appears Estey has been misleading the public for quite a while. This article indicates Estey has served as a Financial Analyst to Gary Locke and this article was written in 2006.

One thing is for sure: Estey is a skilled lobbyist and has the ability to easily mislead the public.

I'm a teacher and I was at the forum at Lawton Elementary. Someone asked this question: Would you protect student data? We all know Estey claims to have worked with the Road Map Project- a project that tracks student discipline records for 10 years. Estey responded by saying (to paraphrase)- " Student data is protected by FERPA.


Just Saying!! said...

I need a shower, too. There is dirt all over Estey!!

mirmac1 said...

Shower needed,

Just look at the sleaze pushed out by her rich backers Hanauer, Griffin and Larson. That's desperation and poor ethics. Yeah, we need THAT on the Board.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I can only say that yes, I am for Sue; I've made no secret of that.

But I have consistently said good things about Dale Estey's qualifications. That I did the research and found out they are not all they seem, well then, call me Nancy Drew but I'm the only person in the media to do this. It took a lot of work to verify my statements.

Also, if I didn't want this to be a forum, I could have made it "no comments." But I didn't.

Matt said...


Thank you for investigating the Locke issue and reporting. I am not surprised.

When are Estey's supporters going to realize the truth and back away?

Better we find out now. Let's hope it isn't too late. This news needs to be spread far and wide.

Anonymous said...

Melissa - You're not just "for Sue." You describe yourself as "media" but have you fully disclosed to your readers how much money you've directly contributed to the Peters campaign? Traditional media would do no such thing.


Anonymous said...

This site is becoming more tabloid than true journalism site. That is due to both the writer and the reader. Due note that the strings that get the most comments are mainly due to the phenomenon of training wreck watching. The posts with the most comments are sniping about programs or people. Most discussions are not intellectual or trying to solve a problem but rather the arguments are based about supporting ones position, proving one's point, or tearing someone else down. That goes for this blogs writers and commenters. Not much discussion going on here. Yes, I watch the trains wreck.

-Move along people.

Patrick said...

Truth, you don't think "traditional media" took positions favoring one candidate or another? Ideally there was a wall between the editorial page and the news section, but that wall was often ignored. Take a look at the Seattle Times coverage of education -- slanted and fact-challenged coverage of education in the editorial section and hardly any coverage at all in the news section.

Where's the Times' reporting on whether the candidate's resumes are real?

Anonymous said...

An embarrassing post, Melissa. Your coverage of the campaign has been appalling. Was happy to hear you offer your endorsement, but this blog has really gone downhill. It's no longer a source for news. Agreed on the tabloid comment. Sorry to go - I got good info here back in the day. Some attempt at even handedness would have served Sue Peters better too. This just seems shrill and middle-schoolish. Thanks for all the good reads. Unbookmarked, as of now.

Rare Commenter

Anonymous said...

Ok. You know these comments re: journalistic standard would be itty bitty more believable IF they weren't focused on one school board race. So I guess if MW was behind Dale Estey, the comments would still be true? I mean in the interest of journalistic integrity and ooh... mainstream media of course since ST, NYT, CNN, Or Fox don't do opinions or endorsed candidates.

try harder

Anonymous said...

What's remarkable is that all the commenters who are criticizing Melissa for post do NOT address the content. Not one. Not a single detractor comes forward with ANY information to counter the details that Melissa presents. They completely skip the message and challenge the messenger.

I'm an infrequent poster. And I trust that many readers can make up their own minds and decipher the information on the blog. The detractors don't do themselves any favors by taking the easy route and throwing stones rather than come to the table with information.

A final note -- Melissa's post is for sure about people. In this case a candidate for School Board. Ms. Estey's nebulous and misleading statements about her work history are real concern. IMHO trust is important. We'll see what the voters think through their ballots.

Thankful Voter.

Anonymous said...

Truth - perhaps you've forgotten the ads the Seattle Times put in for Rob McKenna in the gubernatorial race?Journalistic integrity?
And how much money has Matt Griffin and his ilk put in for Dale Estey? Her ads pop up on all the blogs, and I've had at least 4 mailers from her. Your outrage has no teeth. Your favored candidate has been exposed. When you play politics like that, you're bound to be discovered at some point. Tell the truth from the start and you've got little to worry about.


Anonymous said...

I went to high school with her. She was a total puff ball then and apparently still is now. She is a classic "I want to be a leader" type but there's no reason I would ever follow her.


Po3 said...

Thank you for this post. I am very worried about this candidate as I have not seen an ounce of integrity from her. The Locke embellishment is really concerning.

Thanks again for the hard work to day light this misinformation!

Voting Peters today!

Pinocchio said...

Can anyone come forward with information to prove otherwise?27

Melissa Westbrook said...

To Pinnochio's point, I have verified the statements I have made.

I have two different state departments verifying Dale Estey's work status for the Governor. I did the public disclosure requests to Renton, Tukwila and Highline school districts. I did go and look in the district archives for the Board minutes for 1987-1988.

And I gain information from published items from Dale Estey's own LinkedIn page, her campaign webpage, her Facebook page and recorded video.

Mary Griffin said...

Melissa is a blogger. She is not the Seattle Times. This blog reports educational news when it comes out with a broader scope than the Times even though this blog has far less resources. I think one of the reasons that this blog is so successful is that it provides a needed counterpoint to the continuous and obvious bias that the Times has in education, particularly in the editorial department. The Times has a right to put forth its opinion on education and candidates, and it does so routinely.

In this blog post, Melissa is conveying the results of some work she has done regarding Dale-Estey's claims. She has found, and I would definitely agree, that Dale-Estey has embellished and misrepresented several of her background experiences.

To those of you who claim that somehow Melissa has gone overboard, I would point you in the direction of Dale-Estey's supporters latest flyer which accuses Sue Peters of being a conspiracy theorist. It's truly offensive and goes way over the line of decency. That's what I call last-minute desperation.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone actually spoken to the people for whom Dale Estey worked instead of looking at a piece of paper from 15 years ago and drawing their own conclusions? This is not Murrow - this is National Enquirer.


Anonymous said...

Yeah I have. I actually live in Ms. Dale Estey's neighborhood. Look she's nice enough, eager. However, what she knew before this election year about SPS was limited. She's been trying to catch up since announcing her candidacy. But last minute cramming by influential, well connected PACs and handlers shows through. Her views just don't reflect an understanding of the depth, breadth, and craziness of SPS and the pressure politics within and surrounding it.

Ms. Peters and Ms. Dale Estey are much alike in demographics, but Peters has a better grasp of SPS. Neither of these candidate grip me, but between these two, Peters is the better choice. More independence. Less beholden to all that donated money.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Blech, I have done repeated outreach to numerous Locke staff but as he is now Ambassador to China, they are scattered. His Washington chief of staff is not available as he is undergoing cancer treatment. His DC chief of staff did work for Jim McDermott as his chief of staff in D.C. but left and I can't find her.

But Blech, I think that getting verified information from two different state finance departments on her work status is a lot more real than getting anecdotal recaps from past co-workers. That said, I did both.

I also am seeking to verify if most governors, if they can't attend their national conventions tend to send an intern to represent them.

Anonymous said...

Melissa, can you tell us if the claim above is true that you've donated money directly to the Peters campaign?


Anonymous said...

Melissa-bashers should take note of the appropriate use of public-disclosure requests: strictly limited to verification of campaign claims, and nothing about school or teachers of candidate's children.

Wondering, fair question. You can see for yourself at Melissa probably has. I certainly have. Most definitely not in excess of $900.

Chris S.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, I did indeed give money to her campaign. I normally don't give money to most SB candidates I support (thinking that writing here about why I support the candidate is my contribution to a campaign). But with the firepower coming from Dale Estey's supporters, I did give money to Sue's campaign.

Anonymous said...

Chris S...good points.

I went ahead and checked the PDC and verified that Melissa has contributed two modest donations. I believe Melissa has been transparent in her support of Ms. Peters AND has also given Ms. Estey the benefit of the doubt.

But the facts have a way of getting in the way sometimes.

The point is that Ms. Estey is now her own worst enemy. You can't go around inflating your credentials without it eventually catching up with you. Just because Melissa, a supporter of Ms. Peters, is the person to bring the facts to light is irrelevant.

Thankful Voter

mirmac1 said...

Whether Melissa did or not (and she would have every right to, of course), what does that have to do with documented creative resume' writing?

Taking your query further, if Matt Griffin, Nick Hanauer and Chris Larson front a PAC for SDE, they shouldn't write or worse, make stuff up about Sue Peters. But they do. Are you wondering about that?

Someone said...

I've been a reader/commenter for a while now and this is something I've been contemplating saying for a while now - this seems like the best moment.

There is often some confusion about whether this is a blog, local news site, personal platform. This kind of post, while valuable, contributes to that confusion. Perhaps it's time for some kind of clarification of each post - like adding a tag stating OP-ED or NEWS or whatever so that the lines are a bit less blurry? And I do think if you are going to write this kind of piece it should START w/full disclosure that you have personally contributed to the opponent campaign. Yes it's been said before, but doing anything less smacks of "smear" no matter how accurate the info provided might be.

unimpress said...

President vs. Co President (yawn)

intern vs. paid work (trivial)

"this blog" (petty details)

I'm new please point me to some real journalism!

Anonymous said...

Regarding the supposed, "conspiracy theories" of Peters. Around 2008, Peters and Dora Taylor wrote & published a diagram called "Lines of Influence in Education Reform" which traced the money behind all these astro-turf Ed Reform think tanks, like Stand for Children, the NCTQ, Students First, etc. and discovered that the vast majority of them are all funded by the same three characters: Gates, Broad & Walton.

That drawing is 100% correct, btw. Has anyone challenged it? Nope. Because they can't. So much for the conspiracy theory.

Estey's supporters taking a play right out of the right wing playbook, attempting to do to Peters what Rush Limbaugh did to Hillary Clinton when she claimed there was a "Vast Right Wing Conspiracy" against her husband: Proving it.

As a NYT writer later wrote: "The only thing Hillary got wrong was how vast the conspiracy actually was."

So, keep it up, "conspiracy" theorists. All you're doing is showing your true colors while calling attention to Peters' strength, credibility, and accuracy, and proving that she knows the truth far better than almost anyone in this district, and how to find it.

Anonymous said...

WSDWG, above.

Wowza said...

Claiming to run the governors office is a lofty claim for an intern.

Estey has been telling the public that she was an analyst for Locke when she knew she was an intern is quite the embellishment.

The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Someone said, I have been pondering the blog for awhile and your point is well-taken. As Charlie and I go forward, I think we may do what you ask. I think sometimes it is difficult to report on a meeting and then keep the editorializing separate but something to consider.

Unimpress, she was a paid intern. I said that. But if you don't think there's a difference between being an intern and full-time permanent employee, then you've never been an intern. And when was the last time an intern ran an office? Again, you probably haven't been an intern.

Yes, the whole high school thing IS petty. And yet Dale Estey brings it up - over and over. That's why it's worthy of comment.

John S said...

I always assumed this was a blog, and the authors can post whatever they want. You can choose to believe it or not, agree with it or not. Obviously there's a shortage of Seattle education reporting, but you can't call this blog the primary news source and then complain about it being more like a blog.

And I don't think Westbrook has made any secret of her support for Peters.

Anonymous said...

I have to laugh at the dime-store critics who decry this blog's slant and say they won't partake anymore.

Get over yourselves.

If you can't handle the truth, shoot the messenger.

Blech, indeed.


suep. said...

Has anyone actually spoken to the people for whom Dale Estey worked instead of looking at a piece of paper from 15 years ago and drawing their own conclusions?


Anonymous said...

Vote for Sue Peters if you want better math in SPS. She will join other directors who support the need for a fundamentally sound math curriculum.

Suzanne Dale Estey has some positives but her self importance may not lead to better math. I am tired of directors who talk the game but end up producing nothing.

S parent

mirmac1 said...

OMG! Diane Ravitch is a conspiracy theorist!

Our Kids, Under Constant Surveillance?

"Parents and school districts are beginning to understand that student information will no longer be private.

The Gates Foundation and the Carnegie Foundation created something called the Shared Learning Collsborative, now called inBloom. They have a contract to Wireless Generation, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, to create the software to collect massive amounts of data. InBloom will collect confidential data about students. It will be stored on a “cloud” managed by Amazon. There is no guarantee that the data cannot be hacked."

Oh. Wait. SDE volunteered with the group that is amassing ten years of our students data. Must be okay then.

Relatedly, if I post a public record revealing CCER and the Road Map Project's collecting of student data without parent consent, and I've made clear my objection to this practice, does that mean it's not true? That I made it all up? That it is trivialized because of the messenger? Whatever, keep your head in the sand.

Anonymous said...

Melissa: Don't be cowed. Speak your mind and publish the truth as you see it. Why should you be held to some evasive "journalistic standard" when all of the people in Ed Reform and their Ministry of Propaganda at the Times do nothing but tell one side of the story, fabricate claims, skew data and buy elections?

Don't be like the MSM, who, by trying to be "fair" slide and slant further to the right, year after year, until we have a so-called liberal President who does everything his predecessor does, and even worse in many areas. Hold your line and let the critics write their own damn blog if they don't like your views or how you operate. Do they pay your salary? Didn't think so.

I don't look to you or this blog for perfection. I look to it for information, and your best shot at fairness and/or relevance in a media world full of pulp, trash and lies. If you're wrong, that's what comments are for.

Give substantive critics the time of day and respond accordingly. As for the other "I'm taking my ball and going home" whiners? Let 'em rot. WSDWG

Anonymous said...

Melissa, your case would be stronger if you were more pro-Peters and less anti-Estey. Yes, we know the facts. Yes, I see her donors. I can make my own judgment on those. To those who say we aren't addressing the content of the post, I don't find her info as scandalous as she does. How about a reason to vote FOR Peters? All you do is rant about Estey. We get it. You're not voting for her. The disservice here is there is no open forum for discussion, which there used to be. If you have a thoughtful reason to vote for Estey, it's not valid or welcome. That's why people aren't addressing it. Who wants to get flamed? I think Sue Peters is not a great fit for our school board. That is my opinion. I think she's divisive and I haven't seen anything that shows she'd be a great candidate. I don't like Estey's donors, but I'm not voting for them. I think Estey can get things done: I think Peters will be the equivalent of this blog: flame throwing, angry, dismissive of other opinions, and feeling intellectually superior to all around her. You are (were) a great blogger. You wouldn't be a good school board candidate, not that you're interested. I feel the same about Sue. Would love to read what Sue says about math: wouldn't want to see her try to get it put into practice. Don't think she can. There are other opinions out there Melissa, and they are valid. Not everyone voting for Estey is a stupid corporate puppet. Take your tone down a notch, and support your candidate, but don't obsess on the negative slams on her opponent. You have really lost my respect with your campaign coverage. There are lots of us Estey supporters - again, not rich or NE or white or privileged. Take a hard look at some of the criticism against you. There may be a nugget of truth.
-Last post

Anonymous said...

Dear Someone,

I agree with your reference to smear tactics on this blog. Apparently her financial interest in certain school board candidates might be part of the reason Melissa has supported the interruption of after school programming to Black chldren and aligned with school members who are invested in this disruption in educational services to black children.

Anonymous said...


we are enjoying the teaparty rants, but calm down!
Melissa is an adult, she started this blog discussion.
she knew some would find it offensive.

Anonymous said...

Melissa, this is a solid post and I'm glad to have the information.

Take it or leave it, people! Why in the world would you spend your time crafting an argument psychoanalyzing Melissa? Take the info or leave it. The info is sourced, explained, and not distorted. She gets to choose her focus. What do you care if you don't agree? If you want to refute her points, make your case. It wouldn't be flamed.

What WSDWG said.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Last Post, I did an analysis thread about both candidates and I had good/bad to say about both. Maybe you missed that because there was plenty of opportunity to chime in for Dale Estey. In fact, we've written several threads of coverage and you could have chimed in there any time.

"..not rich or NE or white or privileged."Not everyone voting for Estey is a stupid corporate puppet."

Never said either thing once about Dale Estey or her supporters.

"..aligned with school members who are invested in this disruption in educational services to black children."

Let me know who those Board members are because I sure don't know. Not one Board member has said a word about doing anything. They asked some hard questions at the last Operations Ctm. meeting but that's the first time.

Anonymous said...

Estey's problem is her failure to distinguish herself from Steve Sundquist or Peter Maier, both of whom were beholden to their big-money donors ideologies, which wound up wreaking havoc, financially and substantively on our district. How's that Discovery Math working out? How 'bout them closures? How will Estey not be another pro-corporate rubber-stamp? Because she says she won't? Can somebody please explain that to me? I'm dying to find reasons to support Estey, and I can't find one. Being nice or easy to get along with? Not what I care about in a school board member, especially against real experience, work with the district, and perhaps most important: a good memory.

I've watched numerous campaign videos, read Estey's literature, which is mostly platitudes I've heard before, and I don't see an independent or tough-minded person in Estey. I see a loyal, big-city, life-long democrat who touts here native Seattleite status and party loyalty like entitlements. Not very persuasive.

Please, anyone, put an independent human being around this candidate for me and tell me how that makes her a good School Board candidate. I still like Peter Maier and Steve Sundquist, btw. Both are great guys in their own right, but were not - WERE NOT - good School Board members at all, IMHO. So, like a lot of others, I didn't vote for them a second time around.

I see no daylight between what Estey is saying and what Maier and Sundquist said way back in '06 or '07, whichever it was.


NW mom said...

Jeez people, don't like it then don't read here. Start your own blog. Vote for whomever you want. Coming here and whining does no one any favors.

Carry on, Melissa. I thank you for all your hard work for so many years.

Anonymous said...

Reposting anonymous:
Dear Someone,

"I agree with your reference to smear tactics on this blog. Apparently her financial interest in certain school board candidates might be part of the reason Melissa has supported the interruption of after school programming to Black chldren and aligned with school members who are invested in this disruption in educational services to black children."

Please take a look at the Lines of Influence diagram and see if you can see what's happening there to benefit Black children. Since Maria Goodloe-Johnson, it's the new "status quo." Do you want more of that? If so, vote Dale-Estey.

And if anyone can draw a diagram showing how Melissa (or anyone, except maybe Singapore math) will benefit financially from Sue's leadership, I'd love to see it.

Chris S.

Anonymous said...

What is funny and not the haha kind is that there is a whole group of voters in northeast seattle who would never vote for Sue Peters because of her outspoken supporters such as Melissa and Mirmac. These same people cannot stand the current board backers of Peters: Kay Smith-Blum who threw her a fundraiser, Sharon Peaslee, Betty Patu and Marty McLaren. I hear them talking at debates and these people, often women are downright catty.

Then there is another whole group who would never vote for Suzanne Dale Estey because of her supporters: Matt Griffin, Jeff Raikes, and current board members Michael DeBell, Sherry Carr and Harium Martin-Morris. These people see a conspiracy and a nasty capitalist hiding behind every tree er school desk.

This race has read more like a mean kid clique-on-clique fight than a thoughtful race from the get-go.

And the candidates aren't helping resolve the situation. Having seen both speak, Dale Estey appears clueless and Peters appears insufferable.

My thought is no matter who wins there will be trouble on and around the school board.

I'm writing in a candidate as a protest vote.


Jazzy Legs said...

Melissa - I don't always agree with your point of view, but I appreciate what you are trying to do.

That being said, I think it would be something to consider to label your posts with news or commentary. If you are doing straight reporting on a meeting, it would be good to know that.

If there was another site that covered the district so thoroughly that did straight news, I would go there too. But you've got really the monopoly here.

I enjoy your thoughts and insights. It would just be nice to read some straight reporting as well so I can form my own thoughts about what happened or should happen.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

If this election wasn't important I'd be laughing at this rush of Capt. Renaults feigning 'shock' at Melissa doing her homework.

Suzanne Estey lied or padded, take your pick. I already mailed my ballot.

Mr. White

Melissa Westbrook said...

Unimpressed, interesting analysis especially around what you have heard in your region.

As I showed from my district archives post, there is ALWAYS disagreement on the Board and no, this will not change no matter who gets elected. The last time the Board was almost fully unified (with poor Mary Bass being the canary in the coal mine) was the Board who rubberstamped everything Olchefske did and then found out he lost the district $32M.

I never said Estey lied - I am saying she embellished, mightily. You get to decide if that matters.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate that Melissa took the time to do this research and make the public documents disclosure request. That's more than anyone else in the journalistic world in Seattle has done.

I do think that if anyone else other than Melissa researched and published this, the naysayers here would have had a very different reaction. Thanks Melissa for your work.


Anonymous said...

I'm of the school that how I vote is a private matter.

That said, thinking votes for or against either candidate are unlikely to matter. The cold reality of politics is Dale Estey will crush Peters. The money disparity is just too much and will buy her name recognition, which matters more than anything in down ballot races. Yes, I know some of the current board won against well-financed incumbents but that was in a year when district malfeasance was front page news every day.

I liked the limit placed on individual donations to school board races. Is there a way to legislate a PAC donation limit to them too? If so, I'd be all for it. I see a distinction between this kind of race and city council/mayor/state races.


Gross said...

Everything on Estey shows that she was a legislative analyst for Gary Lock. This information is documented on her King County Democrat questionnaire, Northwest Women's Political Caucus endorsement and other places.

Estey did not disclose the fact that she was an intern. Rather, she embellished her brief stent as a temporary intern.

Claims of running Gary Locks office is a flat-out lie. There is a document regarding Lock's team from 1998 and Estey's name is no where to be found.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Savvy, two things.

One, I think the race is closer than you think. I think that the primary vote was only 4 points apart is telling. Frankly, for all that money, I'm not sure they bought all that recognition.

I would not underestimate either the larger union groups that support Peters nor the large number of LDs (who get the vote out) who support Peters.

Second, limits on donations to PACs? Get in line - most would probably like to see that.

Gross, you are taking what her campaign wrote about her as "factual?" The state of Washington shows her work for Gary Lock as "temporary paid intern".

I'd like to see that document because I was searching for just such evidence.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Melissa Westbrook said...

I had to delete a comment for being anonymous but the question was, "Could an intern be a legislative analyst?"

The answer is probably yes. But if you look at the list of what she said she was doing in those three short months AND single-handedly running an office? Very hard to believe.

Anonymous said...

@ Melissa: That 4 point spread was a limited geography vote. The $$ difference will come into play in a city vote. Unfortunately. Teacher Union endorsement doesn't mean jack in actual vote returns. If you think the LDs get the vote out on an off-presidential year you are mistaken.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, I know my LD, the 43rd, DOES get the vote out so maybe I should only speak for mine.

Anonymous said...

Just received the Karl Rove, er, Dale-Estey hit piece against Peters in the mail, sent by Great Seattle Schools, funded by the same big donors & bedfellows funding Dale-Estey's campaign.

Swing and a miss.

All it shows is that Peters and Taylor did their homework and followed the money right back to Gates & Broad. Is that supposed to scare people? The central message seems to be: Stay ignorant, keep you heads in the sand & vote for a chum!


Anonymous said...

I agree with FedMomof2 - thanks, Melissa.

I find it sad that I frequently get better researched information on this blog and on the Stranger Slog than I do from those major media outlets where I SHOULD be getting that info. It is their job! Yet it seems they are too lazy to double check claims and assertions, too lazy to verify that what they are writing or reporting on is actually true, too lazy to read through their writing to make sure their arguments and accusations even make sense, and unwilling to inform readers up front about their biases.

I know when I read Slog, for instance, everything there is coming with a liberal bias. They don't hide it, and will frequently state exactly where they are coming from. Seattle Times? Not so much. I'm often left wondering what agenda they are trying to promote when they "report" on various topics while leaving out any semblance of balanced reporting. Obviously with education, I am quite aware of their agenda - charter schools and big profits for all the profiteers, TFA good and union bad - but on other topics where it should be their job to produce a balanced piece complete with well-researched facts AND the viewpoints of both sides, I never feel that I can trust ANYTHING I read on there anymore.
Sad to say, but cat litter has more value than the Seattle Times in my world these days.


Anonymous said...

I agree with almost all CT wrote except "It is their job!"

US mainstream reporting is now about mediating what happened with filters approved by government and/or corporations. People who don't have financial reasons to obscure, embellish or conceal the truth are likely to have more objectivity. It's important to absorb information from more than one source for balance, especially a source funded by its readers and/or listeners.

I would rather digest Seattle-parent bias than Issaquah-parent bias on local education issues, especially when a plurality of different community and cultural voices in the comments add accuracy and perspective (vapid accusation flinging, that kind of noise I don't need drowning out the signal, but it's not as bad here as it is in the Seattle Times comment galleries). At least some of my questions are answered by parents here. The fact I don't have to empty my browser cache to continue reading more than ten blog articles is a cherry on top of the banana split.

--Disenfranchised, Disaffected

Anonymous said...

Cliff Mass also has a blog post about the Dale-Estey embellishments. Honestly, the major media outlets should be embarrassed. Thank you Melissa and Cliff for reporting this.


Patrick said...

I can't believe the number of people who think embellishing a resume is acceptable or that reporting it is some kind of hit piece. I hire people. If I find out candidates' resumes are exaggerated, I want to know about it, preferably in time not to hire them.

Thank you to Melissa for doing what investigative journalists should be doing.

Pinocchio II said...

Josh Feit wrote an article about Dale Estey in 2004. The title of the article is called "Corporate Puppet". The article casts doubt on Estey's credibility and points to an individual that is capable of speaking out of both sides of her mouth. Feit claims no reason to believe anything Dale Estey has to say.

Westbrook uncovers a story, again, about Dale Estey's credibility is called into question.

Should we believe Estey and should we take a chance? Why is her campaign being bought?

WE need to trust our elected officials and I have serious doubts about this candidate.

mirmac1 said...

There have been instances when school board members have resigned, based on proven allegations that they embellished their resume's.

Anonymous said...

Seems like a school board pattern:

- politics, blah

Patrick said...

Really, mirmac1? In Seattle or a different district?

mirmac1 said...

A different district. But always a first time.

MissWaterlow said...

In a race in which many people are on the fence, including my very-anti-reform self, this sort of information can be helpful. In itself, it wouldn’t be a reason not to vote for a candidate I otherwise believe in - or believe is clearly better than the other candidate - but in a case where I just need one more toothpick thrown on the balance, it can justly determine which oval I blacken.

That point, however, is rhetorical. I’m still undecided and may, like another commenter, do a write-in or just leave this one blank. Sorry, but I don’t believe in forcing yourself to vote when, after much consideration, you truly cannot decide (or, in the case of an initiative, understand it - like so many “yes’s” on 1240 - sigh).

And, for heaven’s sake, Melissa is a blogger not a pool man! She can report her research AND slather it with her opinion. Frankly, she can do whatever she wants. It’s up to her which tack she wants to take - in the blog overall or in any given post or all mixed up in one. And it’s up to the readers to create quality conversations, which many of you snippy types have failed to do here.

[That said, proactive transparency - about any campaign donations or personal or professional relationships, etc. - can only be a good thing, Melissa (and Charlie).]

SPS Mom said...

What I am seeing here repeatedly are comments about Melissa. I am concerned about this school board race, and what it means for SPS kids and their teachers in terms of charter schools and standardized testing. Estey is accepting large amounts of money from prominent advocates of these very aspects of so-called "education reform." She is also inflating her resume in ways that indicate a willingness to exaggerate and even lie when it is helpful to her. These - not Melissa - are the issues at stake for our children. SPS Mom.

Anonymous said...

SPS mom, best comment ever. I want to hear about the candidates, not a smear on Ms. Westbrook, who to my mind has done more to inform parents about what is going on in Seattle Schools than any other source, bar none. Whether I agree or not, I appreciate the service and all her hard work.