Erin Jones Gets It Wrong (Again)

Update 2: it appears someone has either tried to hide the Holland donation to Jones or sent it back (AFTER this thread was posted) because it's no longer posted at the PDC.  Hmm.

As well, look who else joined the party...Vulcan just kicked in $2,000.

End of update 

Update: A few interesting developments.

1) Remember those donors to Jones' campaign, Clyde and Rena Holland,who also gave money to Tim Eyman? Know who else they gave money to? Donald J. Trump for president (via the Puget Sound Business Journal.)  Now, Chris Reykdal got rounded criticized for mentioned Trump in a donor letter but apparently, he wasn't too far off the mark.

2) Once again, I am getting heat for reporting what a candidate said.  There are even a couple of people who think Senator Carlyle is not telling the truth.  You have to ask yourself, "Why would he lie?"  That Jones remains silent on this issue should tell you something.  I also note that I would have to wonder about her effectiveness with legislators once they hear - and they will - that she distorts what is said in personal conversations.  What legislator is really going to want to talk candidly with her?

end of update

Two updates on the race for State Superintendent of Public Instruction in Washington State between Chris Reykdal and Erin Jones.

Once again, I do not believe Jones is ready for this office.  Her tendency to say what she thinks people want to hear - and then go back and rearrange her thoughts -  is not a good trait for someone in public office.

I'm supporting Chris Reykdal who has been consistent in his views and his words for the entire campaign and is the best qualified candidate. 

This is a video (it appears to be a house party for Jones) where she talks about a phone conversation with Rep. Senator Reuven Carlyle whom she calls "a leader in the House."  She told the group that he called her and she talked with him for 45 minutes and:

- He said he's not voting for Chris Reykdal "even though they work together."  
- He said, "I need you to win this election and we need to hit the ground running."
- They were on the phone for 45 minutes, "plotting"
- "He and I are going to meet the first week in November, even before the election.." to talk about issues.

Except for the fact that she did have a phone conversation with Carlyle, in a conversation with me, he sayid NONE of what she stated to that group of people about their conversation is true.

This is not a "he said, she said."  This is Carlyle, a respected Democratic legislator, telling me that he has never been this misquoted in the entire time he has been in office.  He was really upset at what she claimed.  (Update: his comment to me was that the majority of their speaking time was about McCleary and how to get that important piece of legislation done.)

He said he likes Reykdal and respects his work but is not endorsing either of them.  (To note, people at OSPI including Randy Dorn and Gil Mendoza, Deputy Superintendent - people Jones has worked with - are not endorsing her either.)

He said he called her at the request of a friend and did not know her.  He said they did not "plot" anything.  (FYI, I have known Carlyle thru the years and he's really not the "plotting" guy.  The minute I heard her say that I thought, "That's not Reuven.")

Who do I believe?  The person who doesn't have the credibility problem, Reuven Carlyle.

I don't believe the person, Erin Jones, who over the course of this campaign, has repeatedly said she misspoke or was misquoted or changed her mind on various issues.  

She also again said that The Stranger practiced "irresponsible journalism."

The Stranger only used her own words against her.  No one trapped her, no one twisted her words and The Stranger actually gave her space to speak her peace after they withdrew their endorsement.  Very classy on their part.

The second issue is the flood of big money now pouring into Jones' campaign.

These people - ed reformers - are not giving her money because they "like" her.  They are giving her money because they believe she will listen to their ideas and drive OSPI that direction. 

One key issue to consider is who she might hire to help her at OSPI.  I suspect if she wins you will see many more ex-TFA and charter school types.

So who are these people?

- David and Patricia Nierenberg (and their investment management group) each giving $4,000.  They have donated over $40K to the Stand for Children PAC. 

- Clyde and Rena Holland, Republicans, each giving $4,000, who have donated over $800K to the State Republican Party in the last four years.  In case you have not heard of the Hollands, they are big supporters of Tim Eyman.

- Howard Behar, $3,000.  He has donated $40K to the Stand for Children PAC.

- Arthur Buerk, $3,500.  He has donated heavy to the campaign to oust Justice Barbara Madsen from the Supreme Court.

- Christopher Larson, $2,000.  He has donated to ed reformers, to the tune of $356K over the last four years, like LEV and DFER.

It's quite a long list.

Other interesting people on the list:

- Sean Waldheim, $1,500.  Teach for America
- Paul Brainerd, $1,500.  Has donated $3,500 to DFER
- Kelly Munn, $1,000.  LEV State Field Director
- Don Nielsen, $500.  Former SPS Board director and promoter of charter schools, vouchers, etc.

Consider all of this as you decide who to vote for. 


Po3 said…
I don't see this as getting it wrong, I see it as lying.

Very disturbing.
Anonymous said…
You write, “This is not a ‘he said, she said.’” True. It is a “she said, she said.” You are asking us to believe what you are telling us about a private conversation you had with Rep. Carlyle over what Ms. Jones said about her conversation with him—and you are not even providing direct quotes as you do with Ms. Jones. I don’t know who is telling the truth in this situation, you or Ms. Jones—and I won’t until Rep. Carlyle provides his own public response.

Reuven contacted me this morning noting that he is a senator (not a representative as Jones and I had done) and that their conversation was mostly about McCleary (as I said in my update.) Other than that,he said I had it right.

Again, it depends on who you want to believe, Carlyle or Jones. It's not me; it's them.

Don't shoot the messenger.
mirmac1 said…
Thanks Melissa for shining a light on this. Very disturbing.
Anonymous said…
“Again, it depends on who you want to believe, Carlyle or Jones. It's not me; it's them.” But, Melissa, it is you. Both you and Erin are making statements about conversations you had with Sen. (thank you!) Carlyle—so you are asking us to believe either you or her. And, of course, this is your blog and that is absolutely your right. I’m just pointing out that you have a great deal of power and this is a potentially damning accusation you are making—and I feel that it is an irresponsible action without providing a quote from Sen. Carlyle. As a longtime fan of Erin Jones, I will definitely question my support of her if I learn that what you are saying is true. But I can’t just simply take your word over hers.

And, Peno, if your comment is in reference to mine, I would like to respond. I have a great deal of respect for Melissa and great appreciation for her work. I have learned a tremendous amount from her. I just happen to disagree with her on this.

Watching said…
Thanks, Melissa.

I hope Carlyle makes a public comment on this issue. Very difficult to imagine electing a person that is willing to promote misinformation.
Thank you for bringing this to our attention Melissa
So here's what I think I'm hearing from some of you:

- you don't believe I talked to Reuven about this issue this weekend because I didn't record the call and have direct quotes

- you don't believe I spoke to Reuven today and he read what I wrote and just asked that I correct his status as a senator and he added that the conversation with Jones was overwhelmingly about McCleary but that I got it right

So how is me going to him for a direct comment going to convince you? Would you think I am making that up as well?

I mean how absolutely stupid it would be for me to lie about this? And I'm not even running for office.

You are welcome to call his office.
Uh, misrepresenting yourself as linking to the Times is a dangerous game. Maybe I should let them know what you are doing.
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown said…
In the interest of transparency given this post, I'm willing to respond and outline the situation directly. The overview as provided here regarding my conversation with Erin Jones is generally an accurate portrayal of the situation. Melissa called me a few days ago that she had seen this video and asked for my response.

Last week, a mutual friend asked me to call Erin confidentially to provide some private insight, policy framework and ideas from a legislative perspective that would be important for her to have a successful transition in the event that she wins the race. It was a courtesy call to touch base about the importance of a strong transition strategy if she wins given the scale of the McCleary work before the Legislature. Erin and I discussed at length McCleary funding challenges, budget issues in 2017, local levy reform, relationships with the governor's office and legislative leaders, and the role of OSPI and stakeholders. In the few minutes we discussed the campaign, I was clear that I had not endorsed in the race and wanted to work collaboratively with whomever wins the election given that I play a role in the budget.

I believe Erin brings a global viewpoint and a valuable perspective as well as diversity of thought and experience. Her voice is not one that is often heard in Olympia. I think she would need to surround herself with strong staff on the legislative and other fronts but that she is highly capable and knowledge about the real issues facing public education. I also have genuine respect for my legislative colleague Chris Reykdal, who is among the smartest folks in the state on K-12 finance, and cares deeply about building a modern 21st Century education system from early learning through higher education and workforce.

I was saddened at best when I learned that our private conversation had been used openly at a campaign event. I do consider it an inappropriate and unjustified disclosure of a private conversation. More importantly, I fully acknowledge that I was and am deeply unsettled how this conversation was conveyed in the video. I do not consider this tape to be an accurate reflection or a fair representation of our conversation, and I have told Erin that I believe she materially mischaracterized our discussion.

Running for and serving in public office is harder than it looks. Being a first time candidate is particularly difficult and it's easy to inadvertently oversell a point or message. We as a community must have grace in allowing people to make human mistakes and errors--to make them teachable moments of kindness-- but we also need to hold folks accountable for misstatements that do go far outside acceptable boundaries.

Your partner in service,

Reuven Carlyle
State Senator
36th Legislative District--the heart, soul, passion & spirit of Seattle
Anonymous said…
This site is commonly used as a political tool to slander candidates which the blog administrators don't support. There are several lengthy comments over on the Seattle Times exposing this blogs political practice.

For a seated state Senator to feel the need to comment on this blog is shocking and questionable.

Anonymous said…
Thank you Melissa and Senator Carlyle for commenting on this very important race and on the challenges facing education funding in Washington state.

You know I think I'll leave Ed's dumb comment up (what's this? for the sixth time?)

It's dumb because if Charlie or I were slandering people, we'd get sued (especially by people running for office.) Has never happened. (The one person that did sue me? The court wouldn't even hear her case and threw it out.)

And the comments at the Times? They make this place look like a kindergarten playground.

Lastly, Senator Carlyle has a right to air his side of this situation anywhere he likes. He chose to do it here. Maybe "Ed" should take this up with the Senator.
Anonymous said…
Mr. Carlyle's statement was thorough, clear and credible. And I appreciate his clarification.

While the narrative constructed by Ms. Jones was both dubious and disappointing, I might be, in the spirit of Mr. Carlyle's gracious remarks, be willing to overlook that; hyperbole is a syndrome affecting almost all office seekers, or anyone seeking any kind of job, anywhere.

What I'm NOT willing to overlook are the contributions Ms. Jones has accepted from some of the most heinous characters imaginable! And I'm glad I knew about this prior to filling out my ballot!

TIM EYMAN supporters? Stand For Children? Teach For America? League of Education Voters?!?!?!? Are you kidding? These are a Rogue's Gallery of those dedicated to vouchers, charters and other privatization measures. And while these people might be nefarious, they're usually not dumb; they're giving her money for a reason and they expect certain things back for their "investment."

While Erin Jones claims she is "anti-charter," to her credit, she ALSO has a suspect background of being very close to a lot of these pro-privatization types, and they may see her as easily malleable and someone who will "be afraid of disappointing us after she took our money."

I'm appalled that she would accept this money from these types of people. It says one of two things:

1) Erin Jones doesn't know who these people are, who they've supported in the past, and what they'll now expect from her in return. And such ignorance is not acceptable.

2) Erin Jones DOES know who these people are, who they've supported in the past, and what they'll now expect from her in return---and she either doesn't care about that, or, even worse, she actually agrees with them! And either one of those is terrifying.

Time to choose Chris Reykdal, or deeply regret it for a long time.

Thanks, Melissa. But we need to spread this news about Jones' financial backers far and wide; too many people could be easily fooled otherwise.
More Questions said…
True or false?

"- He said he's not voting for Chris Reykdal "even though they work together."
- He said, "I need you to win this election and we need to hit the ground running."
Carlyle says he has not endorsed either candidate and, to the best of my knowledge has not publicly said who he is voting for to anyone.

As to your second questions, Carlyle denies saying this.
Watching said…
Erin Jones is not ready for office- politically or otherwise. I can't imagine her managing a $10B budget. Reykdal must get into office.
Anonymous said…
We need a new system one where educational funding is attached to the student and not institutions. We need to eliminate local levies used to give wealthier districts advantages over poorer districts. We need to make the state responsible for educating our children by taking an active role in the day to day activities in all public schools and it's the state, not local districts that should have sole authority on teacher compensation by eliminating all local teacher unions.

It is the States paramount duty to educate the children NOT cities and not unions!

Anonymous said…
Oh good a new witch hunt and this one is off the chain wacko

- Fun Times
Anonymous said…
Senator Carlyle, THANK YOU for the time, thought, and care you put into your statement. You have provided the nuance and details that I (a big fan of Erin Jones) need to process this troubling information.

Anonymous said…
The donors for Jones make me the most nervous. What have they been promised? What will be offered? I want a supporter & protector of public education, not a privatizer, and not someone who is beholden to the reformer/deformer crowd

Anonymous said…
A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth. Michael Kinsley

Unknown said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown said…
Hi Sen. Carlyle,

Tara Nelson here. For what it's worth, I am the one who posted that video. I was at Erin's event that night and it's funny because neither myself nor anyone I spoke to who was at the event recall her saying or implying that you had endorsed her.

That may be true but that's not the issue. The issue is what Erin is saying the Senator said to her in the phone conversation that she told your group about.

That's the issue.
C&H, money is attached to students and moves with them. That's the big argument from charter supporters.

Ken, I can see you are trying to create that this is a non-issue as well. Problem is, this is yet ANOTHER time when Jones misspoke. Jones may have thought the phone call was a private conversation but it is she who brought it into the public conversation. She may have been at a private party but I assume she wanted those people to go out and tell people, far and wide, that Carlyle supports her. That's her takeaway message and Carlyle said he said no such thing.

It's interesting how we are to excuse Jones' verbal missteps, over and over, and yet she says she ready for office.

My point has always been that she is not.

And those donors? More proof that she is in the ed reform camp.
I think some missed the Senator's closing - and key - statement:

"We as a community must have grace in allowing people to make human mistakes and errors--to make them teachable moments of kindness-- but we also need to hold folks accountable for misstatements that do go far outside acceptable boundaries."

Yes, we allow mistakes but he seems to believe she went "far outside acceptable boundaries."

My readers may remember School Board candidate Suzanne Dale Estey who also had this problem. She said thing after thing that turned out not to be true. That was problematic then and it's problematic now.
Unknown said…
And Melissa,

In my opinion, Erin's only mistake is being honest and transparent and not polished like her opponent. Erin's not a professional politician, she's a professional educator and administrator who understands the problems of our education system from the ground up, not from the marbled legislative tower, down.

Second, you're wrong about Erin supporting charter schools. Her entire campaign is based on opposition to charter schools. She also testified in the McCleary case. It's a shame Seattle liberals are on such a witch hunt to attack a candidate based on the simple fact that they were able to garner a broad range of supporters. The office of Superintendent isn't a partisan race. Personally, I'm involved with Democratic politics but I also believe education is not a partisan institution that belongs to one party. I'm proud to support someone whose good character, experience and decency as a human being resonates across the spectrum.

Finally, I have worked both as a full-time reporter and as a freelance writer and I can say The Stranger most definitely does practice irresponsible journalism. This page isn't journalism, either. Rather, it's a hit piece by a blogger who has an agenda and is clearly supporting her opposition.

If you want to talk about campaign contributions, just look at Chris Rykdahl's PDC reports from previous campaigns. Lots of charter supporting organizations and businesses have been giving him money.
Gads said…
I'm tired of Jones and her double talk. Jones claims not to support charter schools and she posts:

"2. What is your stance on charter schools?
My stance has always been - I do not believe charter schools are THE answer to closing the opportunity gap. I was concerned that in this season of incredible gaps in funding, we should not be having conversations about funding another system. I have said I believe all schools should answer to the public. With that being said, we can't just say "HELL, NO" to charter schools without a willingness to address the ever-growing achievement/opportunity gap and the school-to-prison pipeline, which are ravaging communities of color in Washington state"

Jones hired Stand for Children's former lobbyist. I suspect she was looking for campaign contributions from Rebecca of Sunny Brook farms.
Tara, you don't believe Carlyle? Are you saying she was being "honest and transparent" and he's not? I'll have to tell him that.

I'd bet she'd disagree with you on "her entire campaign is based on opposition to charter schools." Have you read her website because I have and I don't get that impression at all. She has softened her stance since I talked with her in the spring and she did it at a forum on students with disabilities.

And that donor list - I know those people and they don't just give mony away.

I'm not on a witch hunt; I'm pointing out true facts. How many gaffes are okay with you? How many endorsements rescinded are good with you?

I've never said she's not a good person; I know that and I have said that she's a good person. She's just not ready.

You are new here but I have NEVER claimed to be a journalist. Ever. I'm a citizen-reporter and there are lots of us out here. Most government entities recognize me as media and I go to press conferences. I got to do that because real journalists stuck up for me. Even Senator Murray's office recognizes me as media. It's a new world out there for reporting. I'm certainly down the media food chain but I'm there.
Anonymous said…

Your not winning Ms. Jones any votes with your posts. There's no allegation that Melissa doctored the video, and Senator Carlyle seems to confirm that Ms. Jones misrepresented their conversation. Melissa presented those facts to her readers. What's wrong with that? You call it a "hit piece" and "witch hunt," but to me, this seems to be far better journalism than we see from the mainstream press. Journalists shouldn't just be a conduit used to disseminate the messages of those running for office. They should investigate the candidates and their positions, daylight any problems they discover, and yes, draw inferences from the facts rather than simply repeat what others tell them. Attacking Melissa is misguided and makes it seem like you have no substantive response to her report.

Anonymous said…
I haven't been that impressed by either candidate. But Erin's supporters act more like religious converts than reasonable voters. Erin has made a series of serious errors in judgement this year and has received support from some very questionable people, most of them right-wingers. Yet when she's called out for this, she plays the victim and her supporters act as if you've somehow personally offended them.

I'm voting for Chris partly because Erin's supporters have driven me to it.

I only received that portion of the video; I have no idea how long the video is.
Unknown said…

Did I say she doctored the video? No, I did not.

Unknown said…

All I'm saying is these allegations about Erin are unsubstantive and that's a reason the major media outlets didn't pick this "story" up and run with it.


Don't tell me about the role of journalists. No one knows the role better than someone who's been too broke to pay for heat because her freelance reporter income didn't pay the bills. I didn't get into it for the money. I, like Melissa, believe Democracy functions best with the free flow of information.

Bloggers like Melissa DO add to the media landscape and overall, bloggers and traditional media outlets complement each other, but blogs will never replace fair, accurate and ethical journalism. People need to remember that on the whole they are two different things and for that matter every news source should be treated with a certain amount of skepticism.

Unknown said…
This blog is interesting...

"Examining the contributions we see that, of Chris’s 39 donations of $1,000 or more, only three were from individuals and one of those individuals is a lobbyist. The remaining donations are from Microsoft, Weyerhaeuser, unions, corporations, the Nisqually Tribe, and PACs. In fact, of those 39 donations, 10 are from PACs, making Chris “PAC-man” Reykdal’s accusations that Erin Jones is beholden to special interests blatantly hypocritical."
Anonymous said…

My point is that you have yet to offer any substantive criticism of Melissa's reporting. You keep acting as if this is some sort of personal attack on Ms. Jones, but if you can't argue with the facts, I don't see your point. You also attack The Stranger but fail to explain how its reporting has been irresponsible with respect to Ms. Jones. As someone preparing to vote in this race, I'm looking for substance not name-calling.

Based on the video and the Senator's comments, Ms. Jones seems to have been misleading in recounting her telephone conversion. Your only objections seem to be that this report appeared on a blog rather than some other media outlet and that you don't like the facts reported because they reflect poorly on a candidate you support. That's not persuasive. That you don't think this story matters and seem to judge the importance of news stories by whether major media outlets run them first is an opinion that many of us do not share. Argue the facts and stop attacking the messengers. I agree that we should be skeptical with all reporting, but here, we have video and a witness who participated in the phone call. Are you suggesting the Senator is lying?


Po3 said…
Tara--I am wondering why you released this vid? Was it because you thought Ms. Jones had the endorsement of Sen. Carlyle and wanted to let other voters know? Or was there another reason?

Joseph Rockne said…
Erin Jones' "misstatements" went "far outside acceptable boundaries."

Tara, are you ok with this?

Should Ms Jones correct her misstatements? Apologize for going outside "acceptable boundaries"?

Or call Senator Carlyle to task for misrepresenting what was said?

As for journalism, I'll give Melissa much credit. She has allowed the video to be posted showing exactly what was said. She allowed Senator Carlyle to comment and I am sure she would allow Ms Jones the same courtesy.

I would like to hear from Ms Jones.
Again Tara, if you want to say Reuven is wrong/lying, that's fine. Just as you say that is not how Jones is, I say Reuven does not lie. He's a precise, detailed person.

As well, I would think that whether this gets other press, the word will get out to other legislators who, if she is elected, may think twice about speaking with her on education issues.

And about the donor list, that is from an older post. This post reflects how much corporate ed reform money is pouring into Jones' campaign, even from a guy who supports Tim Eyman.

Yes, I understood that it was Ms Almond who released this video and then took it down. That's what my source told me.

I absolutely would allow Jones to make a statement. Everyone who is civil is welcome here.
Anonymous said…
I have a hard time with this blogs modus operandi, but more troubling to me is why a state senator would officially comment here. This site is known for spreading misinformation and inciting violence against a school board member.

I don't really care who gets elected SSPI, but I'm going to have to rethink voting for Carlyle again.

In Carlyle's defense he said it was MW who initiated the conversation. MW has also contacted KUOW, the stranger, king5 pushing this story.

36th voter
Seattle Resident said…
Tara, Do you have access to the entire tape? I'd like to see it.

Jones is free to respond to Carlyle's comment.
I was given a piece of video where a conversation with Reuven Carlyle was talked about. I know Reuven so I called him to ask him about it. He already had seen the video and was very unhappy.

I frequently pass on news stories to many in the media and they are appreciative for my efforts. Nothing weird there.

36th, who "incited violence against a school board member?"

Our standard here IS provide an open forum on issues about public education. Do we always get it right? Nope but we do not spread "misinformation."
Anonymous said…
Well that's not what I was told. I think with you there's about 75% truth and 25% spin on many of your stories including this one. The fact that you're playing dumb on the Peaslee threats only reinforces my opinion.

The reporter over at KPLU Kyle said, "Melissa is like the classroom tattletale running to the teacher every time she doesn't like something". He said he tolerates you just in case you do have something big for him. He said you receive a lot of information via disgruntled teachers.

What say you?

36th voter
36th, I had forgotten about that. I did not do anything to encourage that and I stated my unqualified disgust at such an action. What other people write here is not something I can control.

And 36th, I don't know who you spoke to (or even if you did) but the former ed reporter at KPLU was a good guy and would never have said that.

I don't have to reveal my sources.

I say you need to stop making this about me and worry about your candidate, Jones. She's the one with a credibility problem, not me.
Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…
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36th voter, I checked with Kyle (we stay in touch even though he is now is LA.) Just as I suspected, he said no such thing. He also said that would never use the word "tattletale."

Take your sorry self and go back under your bridge.
Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…
36th voter:

You recorded a conversation with Kyle? I hope you had his consent. Washington requires both parties to a phone call to consent to recording. Carry on.

Smelling BS
Anonymous said…
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Frustrated said…
36th voter, At this point, it is fair to say that you are harassing Melissa.
Anonymous said…
Wow, if 36th voter is an example of a Jones supporter, that speaks volumes.

Melissa's account seems accurate, credible and of importance to voters.

Times Reader
Anonymous said…
Times, you said exactly what I was thinking!

I am astonished at this deflection by Jones' supporters.

Her many verbal gaffes? She's just not a "polished" campaigner.

Her not one but two endorsements rescinded? They act like that didn't happen AND that she has the support of the LGBT community. No group is monolithic but ask The Stranger, is the majority of that community behind her? At this point, highly unlikely.

Is she likeable? Of course. Is she inspiring? Of course.

But we're not electing a public speaker; we're electing a person for an executive position to oversee the public schools in this state.

Lastly, if anyone thinks that this incident with the video is not going to get back to other legislators, I think that's a bad bet. How well can legislators trust her now that they know that private conversations with her will not stay private?

I am so willing to take this abuse because I truly believe - again - that she is not ready for elected office.

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