– To Yelm Community Blog readers:
I want you to hear directly from me on the misinformation from the Nisqually Valley News: “Yelm Changed State Rule for Campaign Funding” published October 6, 2017. The newspaper NEVER contacted me about their “rumored” report on my 2005 Yelm mayoral campaign. Mr. Wagar responded via e-mail that the factual errors would be corrected, which I look forward to reading in this coming week’s editions, though fully expect to be edited and buried at the bottom of some inside page, hence this blog post.
When Wagar came to the NVN almost 5 years ago, he committed the NVN to being fair and balanced.
+ Is publishing an uncorroborated and admitted “rumored” information being fair?
+ Will the NVN be balanced by printing a story about his paper’s rumor sources?
+ How is the NVN “The Real News Deal” by printing uncorroborated “rumored” Fake News?
+ Wagar’s NVN is being identical to his predecessor about a “rumored” 2005 campaign story!
My candidacy must have had an impact to revisit this again 12 years later, without contacting me.
– Story Highlights
* The Nisqually Valley News (NVN) published 6 factual errors about me Oct. 6th.
* The top-of fold, highlighted paragraph reported “rumored” information.
* To publish such misinformation provides a grave disservice to NVN readers!
* At no time in 12 years has the NVN ever requested my side of the “rumored” report.
* The 6 nonfactual errors are corrected below.
* Understanding the 2005 Yelm culture, when the council attracted worldwide attention.
* Why does Yelm’s mayoral election 12 years ago still matter and make news today?
* Yelm voters have a ballot choice to elect a mayor for the first time since 2005!
– This is what the Nisqually Valley News (NVN) published October 6th:
Yelm Changed State Rules for Campaign Funding:
Reporter’s Note: The Yelm mayoral race between Steve Klein and Ron Harding in 2005 changed the rules and regulations of small jurisdiction voting in Washington state. Before 2005, candidates running for positions in jurisdictions with less than 5,000 registered voters did not have to report contribution funds. This changed when Klein raised close to $50,000, providing voters full-color photos, promotional pens and a 14-minute DVD. In 2005, Yelm had less than 2,000 registered voters and had 4,200 in the last election. Klein’s contributions were rumored to come from Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment where Klein regularly attended and was part of the leadership team. Harding won with 78 percent of the vote, compared to Klein’s 21 percent.”
– The NVN said “Klein’s contributions were rumored…” without contacting me to verify. Publisher/Editor Michael Wagar e-mailed, “If we are wrong, I would like to run a correction in next week’s paper.”
Here are the facts he was sent:
FACT 1: Greater than 50% of my campaign was self-funded, the rest was derived from private individuals.
FACT 2: I accepted no campaign contributions from any corporation, school, business, union, or association.
FACT 3: JZK, Inc’s Ramtha School of Enlightenment (RSE) made no contributions to my mayoral campaign.
FACT 4: I was NOT part of the RSE leadership prior to or at any time during the 2005 mayoral campaign. I was an Independent Contractor in 2003 to consult/advise JZK, Inc. in my area my expertise, corporate air travel.
FACT 5: JZK, Inc. hired me as an employee subsequent to the election. I was not on the RSE leadership team until working in-house for a year.
FACT 6: The state legislature considered local reporting requirements far prior to the 2005 election.
The purpose of the unique approach of my campaign with a custom DVD video hand-delivered to every household was to introduce myself to the voting public after former NVN Publisher/Editor Keven Graves sponsored a Town Hall Forum with Ron Harding and me, where Harding withdrew, and that fact was not reported publicly by Graves or the NVN. False accusations in the newspaper from letters to the editor by one well-known pastor and his minions, uncorroborated rumors, innuendoes, omissions, and even a frivolous lawsuit with no merit by the former Police Chief (which he had to withdraw), were the tactics of that time. “The Old Guard” did not like me running against their candidate or how I went directly to the voters with a DVD and could not control my message except by employing a public slander campaign against me. In 2006, then Mayor Harding went to our area State Representatives (primarily then-Sen. Marilyn Rasmussen, D-Eatonville) to get a bill passed for campaign disclosure in local races reporting, which I was on-record strongly supporting, yet not during the underway campaign. The bill passed. Marilyn and I had a good laugh about this when she came to Yelm for her campaign last year, especially that she had been informed I was a long-time active supporter of her work in Olympia and campaigns.
I am still here working the betterment of Yelm, yet Harding resigned mid-third-term and took a city administrator post in an Oregon town less than half of Yelm’s population. He offered no public explanation, no thanks to his voters, and no appreciation to his constituents.
– Understanding the Yelm culture of 2005.
Yelm’s city council of 2005 with Mayor Pro-tem and mayoral candidate Harding was fill-steam ahead with their mission to expand this city.
Developments like Tahoma Terra (1,200 homes), Thurston Highlands (5,000 homes), a proposed NASCAR track, and a super Wal-Mart proposal were all super-plum fairies dancing in the council’s eyes for revenue and to quadruple the city’s size through massive growth. Yet that came with a price. NASCAR, Wal-Mart, and Big Box stores were issues presented by the public and Protect Yelm group and overwhelmed council with comments. JZ Knight also challenged the City of Yelm and 5 developments that she claimed affected her senior water rights. In December 2011, she prevailed in the Supreme Court of Washington State.
Council’s public comment restrictions made international news for violating First Amendment Free Speech rights. This received the egregious 2006 Jefferson Muzzle Award. While Mayor Pro-tem Harding voted for these restrictions and ran a campaign of major growth, I ran a campaign in support of the environment, measured growth with infrastructure support, proper stewardship of water resources, and transparency, all anathema to city leadership. What has been described by others as The Old Guard would have none of that, so Harding crafted a campaign by hiring Washington Media Services, and to discredit my association as a student of Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment, conjecturing that JZ Knight was intending to take-over the town with me as one of her shills. Harding and his backers worked through intimidation to ensure he would have no opponents when he ran for mayor in 2009 and 2013.
Yelm Blog readers know I am no one’s shill!
– Why does Yelm’s mayoral election 12 years ago still matter and make news today?
All of the things for which I stood are key “hot button” issues for which this city is now grappling: infrastructure, transparency in the public process, and stewardship of water resources.
The good news by the NVN misreporting is that this highlights the 2017 election:
Were not for my candidacy against Harding in 2005, this would be the first mayoral election in decades where voters had a mayoral choice. And for the first time in 12 years, Yelm voters will have a 2017 ballot option to elect a Mayor of Yelm, and THAT should be heralded as wonderful news. PLEASE VOTE!
I was and still am a strong advocate for residents to be able to express their views at council meetings, which is why I received the endorsement as mayoral candidate by The Olympian Editorial Board:
– UPDATE: October 19, 2017
“Klein: NVN Fails Standard of Real News Reporting”
Letter to the Editor published in the NVN.