LETTER TO THE EDITOR: ‘How to Abuse Position’

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The SeaTac Blog nor its staff:]

How to Abuse Position:

This is a story of abuse of position and power, and of intentionally misrepresenting the facts to gain an edge. As many of you know the current SeaTac City Council Election is just four weeks away and the campaigning has been furious. This election year has seen some interesting situations created by some candidates.

On September 12, 2015, one candidate in particular, Dave Bush, contacted another candidate, Rick Forschler, with the following text message:

“Hi Rick, could you please tell the people that puts the signs out for your side that the Rotary Park next to Galleano’s is private property and only Mia, Sally and my signs can be be placed on that property. Thank you, Dave”

“Rotary Park” is actually known to SeaTac residents as “Peace Park” by Safeway on the corner of Military and s166th Street. The search of property records shows that the park is actually owned by Integrated Living Services (ILS) located in Kent. ILS is a nonprofit corporation which was voluntarily helped by the Rotary club years ago in preparing Peace Park for public use.

Dave Bush is a member of the Rotary club that assisted ILS in the past. The Rotary club does not own that park.

This is unethical on so many levels:

  1. If this is an issue, why doesn’t Dave Bush have the actual property owner contact the candidates?
  2. Why is Dave Bush speaking for Mia Gregerson and Sally Andrews, when Rick Forschler, Erin Sitterley, and Peter Kwon are not his opponents?
  3. There have been no signs on that property for over 3 weeks since the Primary Election ended, why is this even an issue?
  4. And most importantly: Why is Dave Bush using his Rotary membership as leverage in his campaign when it is a Rotary ethical violation?

I personally went to the offices of ILS and they verified that the Rotary had helped them in the past but they had no knowledge as to whether anyone had given Dave Bush the ability to use the property for his campaign signs while denying it to the other candidates. I was referred to Greg Miller at ILS and Peter Kwon contacted him to request permission to place his campaign signs at the park. Below you will find Mr. Miller’s response to that request:

“From: Gregory Miller
Date: Mon, Sep 28, 2015 at 10:15 AM
Subject: Re: SeaTac Peace Park signs
To: peter kwon Cc: “Joseph Emmanuel

Good morning Peter;
I apologize for not responding sooner than this. I tried to respond from my iPhone but for some reason I am not able to send email using this address.

ILS is a private, not-for-profit organization (501(c) (3)) organization which serves disable people throughout King County.

I regret to inform you that we will not be able to accommodate your request. It has always been our practice at ILS to not allow political signs on our property unless it is a position or cause sign that ILS endorses. This position is consistent with law.

As it relates to your opponents signs on our property, he has continued to place signs on our property without our permission even though our staff have consistently removed them. I have asked our staff to contact the campaign for that candIdate and direct them to cease the placement of the signs. I also understand from our Group Home Administrator who is responsible for that park that questions may exist as to the ownership of the property. That park is owned solely by Integrated Living Services and is private property. While we have historically allowed access to the park for the enjoyment of the neighborhood, it is not a public park.

Thank you for reaching out to me. ILS believes in the election process. I hope you can appreciate our practice of only promoting position issues that may come up from time to time in election cycles. Best of luck to you with your campaign.

Yours truly,
Greg Miller”

This response begs the question, did Dave Bush intentionally misrepresent his relationship with ILS to pick which candidates can place signs on this property? It’s clear from Mr. Miller’s response that this policy has been in place for some time. It’s also clear that the Rotary does not control this property.

This incident with campaign signs is a minor one that reveals major character and moral issues, specifically:

  1. Dave Bush does not respect other people’s private property
  2. Dave Bush abuses his authority (perceived or real) for personal gain
  3. Dave Bush does not abide by the Rotary club’s own code of ethics

One example of many from the Rotary’s “Policy on Conflicts of Interest and Code of Ethics”:

“Members will not utilize their office for personal prestige and/or benefit. With the authority inherent in an office of importance comes access to special privileges not available to other Rotarians. Taking advantage of such privilege distracts from critical responsibilities and calls into question the commitment to the Objects of Rotary.”

from: https://www.rotary.org/en/document/757

For some time now the SeaTac city council has refused to adopt a code of ethics that would bind the Council members to behave appropriately within their political roles. This incident raises issues that go directly to the need for such a code to be adopted because it is clear that some council members go out of their way to abuse their authority when given the opportunity.

Citizens of SeaTac, please vote for candidates in this election who support implementing a Code of Ethics.

P.S As of this writing at 9/29/15 12:00 pm, the campaign signs for Dave Bush, Sally Andrews and Mayor Mia Gregerson are on the site against the property owners wishes.

– Joel Wachtel

[Have an opinion or concern you’d like to share with our Readers? Please send us your Letter to the Editor via email. Include your full name, please remain civil and, pending our review, we’ll consider publishing it.]


13 Responses to “LETTER TO THE EDITOR: ‘How to Abuse Position’”
  1. Mike Condon says:

    And that is why I stopped being a member of the Rotary, Dave Bush power struggle, where it always had to be his way!!

  2. Vicki Lockwood says:

    Thanks, Joel, for sharing this incident. It’s too bad that political candidates don’t have to pass an ethical and maturity test prior to filing, but they don’t. So it’s up to the citizens who vote to pay attention to the campaigning techniques as well as the rhetoric before they make a decision. A person who misuses power during a campaign will have MORE power to misuse if elected. A person who reshapes reality for their convenience during a campaign will do the same after the campaign is over. It’s up to each voter to decide what kind of person they vote for, but please let’s all be informed before marking your ballot. Your vote does matter.

  3. Melissa says:

    Just shows how entitled they think they are.

  4. Greg Miller says:

    I am Greg Miller. My response was posted here without my permission. While it may not be illegal to do so, it certainly brings into question the transparency and ethics of those on the other side. My statements are accurate but ILS does not appreciate being used as a tool in this political battle. We should be able to focus on our mission without being dragged into something for which we have no interest.

    • Michael J West, says:

      Dear Greg Miller,
      I ,for one, did not take your comments as favorable to one side or another, only as the facts. However , I do take exception to your response to having your remarks posted. It would be good if we could have the convictions of our statements and the courage to stand behind them. Nobody should be planting signs on the ILS property without permission from ILS. The fact that you object to someone posting your position on the placement of signs on the property you oversee is very troubling. It is hoped that we still live in a country where we may feel free to openly state how we feel about how our property is used by others without fear. On the contrary to what you said in your response ,the placement of signs on your (ILS) property, without your permission should be of the utmost interest to you. When I as a citizen, see those signs placed there, I have been assuming that you support those candidates, when you really seem to want to portray an image of neutrality. Why not just say that?
      Mike West

      • Greg Miller says:

        I stand behind my statements, including the one in which i stated that ILS remains neutral, which is required of us by the Internal Revenue Code, which requires not-for-profit organizations to remain neutral in political campaigns by either allowing all people to post signs or none. I also stand behind my statement that it is an ethical issue to repost emails without one’s permission. Candidates should hold themselves to a higher standard than the average person. As such, it would have been appropriate, transparent and ethical to ask my permission to repost my email. I most likely would have done so. But to repost without either asking or informing me is not a good practice and erodes public trust in a candidate. I am not intimidated or afraid to express this position. It is hardly controversial. If you find it troubling that I should expect those running for office to show transparency in how they conduct their campaigns, that is your issue. For me, I expect greater ethics. Considering that ILS runs a business in Seatac, I find that concerning.

  5. seatac says:

    Greg Miller;
    please note that it appears to be Dave Bush who dragged you and ILS into this, by misrepresenting ILS and the Rotary to another candidate. any questions regarding ethics should be directed to Dave Bush.

    the political campaign signs for Dave Bush, Mia Gregerson, and Sally Andrews still persist on ILS property. does this mean you are supporting them? is it not illegal for a non-profit that does not pay taxes such as ILS to be involved with any political campaign?

    what is really going on here?

    • Greg Miller says:

      What is really going on here is that we do not have full time security staff to police the park for candidate signs as we are a provider of services for people with disabilities. We are also not participating in any political campaigns and your accusation is spurious. It is only intended to be a diversion from the issues I have outlined above. As of noon time, when the administrator arrived at the group home the signs were removed and all of the candidates have been informed that they may not post via email. I suggest you find something more constructive to do with your time and leave us to our mission. As far as I am concerned this is just cyber-bullying.

  6. Balanced Approach says:

    Hi Greg,

    I understand how you would be surprised and annoyed to be at the center of such attention. Hopefully you can understand why the foundation story needed to be brought to light and how Dave Bush was negatively impacting the image of ILS.

    Thank you for your efforts to ensure compliance!

  7. Kathie Brave says:

    Wow really? Dave thought he and 2 others could post signs while others couldn’t. How special are they? In their own minds anyway. If no one should post signs then one should post signs. Unbelievable.

  8. seatac says:

    dave bush is now trying to appeal to the war veterans using the USMC logo ILLEGALLY in his campaign mailers. is this really the kind of person we want affiliated with the Rotary, ILS, the USMC, and the SeaTac city council???

  9. seatac says:

    it looks like seatac isn’t the only small city being manipulated by john wyble and winpower strategies;

  10. jellybean says:

    Here is something to think about…. Sally is a paralegal and use to work in Seattle I believe. Well, for some reason (bribe maybe) a attorney left and opened up a office in April (few months back)…. in Burien.. and Sally went with him.. hmmm. Well few months back, I saw a ‘vote for Sally’ campaign sign west of Ambaum? Huh.. Well wouldn’t you know, it was where she works, with the attorney who works with IMMIGRANTS. Her Linkedin states ‘completes and edits government application forms, interpret government documents to clients’ and she speaks arabic. Why would she have a Vote for Sally campaign sign in Burien where she works.. with Immigrants? How do we check to see if all voters are citizens?