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Sleazebag in WA city council race tries gay-baiting

Rethug Jay Weatherill, the former mayor of Port Orchard, Washington, is now running for a city council seat against Fred Chang, the first double-minority (Asian and gay) to enter local politics there. Weatherhill is trying to weasel out from responsibility for a sleazy mailing (above, click for PDF) that went out to voters.

It’s a real conservative class act, intimating that Chang is gay (he’s out anyway) without specifically saying so in order to rile up the wingnuts. Weatherhill gets bonus points for insinuating a personal interest in tarot cards is a disqualifying quality in a city council candidate.

How many other races around the country are being conducted like this? Don’t ask. From the Kitsap Sun:

A Port Orchard City Council race took a strange turn this week with the mailing of a brochure that promotes the election of Leslie “Jay” Weatherill and slams opponent Fred Chang.

The brochure is a mix of direct accusation, mysterious innuendo and non sequiturs that both Weatherill and Chang describe as poorly done. It’s also designed to look like an official product of the county elections staff, prompting a citizen’s inquiry to that office asking if its unidentified creators broke any rules. The brochure indicates it was “Paid for by Citizens to Elect Jay Weatherill” to the council’s Position 6.

It begins with a comparison of the candidates’ interests, identifying Weatherill’s as “Hunting, Fishing, Fire Department volunteer, education of our children.”

Chang’s, it says, are “Tarot cards … ‘I don’t know why I was told they were evil.’ Astrology and Mythology.”

…Weatherill is described as a lifetime resident while Chang “moved to the area in 1995 with a friend.” That’s accurate — Chang is gay, but he doesn’t live with anyone now and said he doesn’t consider himself to have been “outed.”

“My frame of reference is my neighborhood,” he said. “After 10 years of knowing me and seeing me walk my dogs, I think they all know.”

…The brochure’s authors are anonymous, but South Kitsap developer Dick Brown said he helped research it. He said after learning that Chang favored a restrictive version of a critical areas ordinance for the city, he hired a college student to find information about Chang.

Here’s a real Voter’s Guide for this race.

Hat tip to Blender Gary.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding