Int Association of FireFighters / IAFF Local 29 / Spokane County, WA elections 2017

As we head into another election tomorrow, information is surfacing about Citizens for an Honest Government PAC and the political mailer sent out by it’s offspring Spokane for an Honest Government PAC to Spokane voters on Oct 24, 2017.


Nov 7, 2017 ARB: Response to Gary Crooks, Opinion Editor, Spokesman-Review (see below)

Couple more points to address from your email:

“If [IAFF L-29] wants to write a piece on the larger issue of PACs, his involvement and why it’s a good thing, that would be great. A piece on the good works of firefighters, which makes them too busy to understand politics, would  beg the question: “Then why get involved?“

CITIZEN’S UNITED US Supreme Court decision is the reason unions, nonprofits, organizations, associations like Salvation Army, Red Cross etc must get involved in politics. Readers can Google this for lots of unbiased information.

1,  The Spokane Firefighters created at least three PACs solely to discredit a citizen, Matthew Howes, running for City Council.

If this is incorrect, we will correct it. An article noted that money came from various sources. Perhaps that’s what the writer meant.

That’s not what the writer said. How do you know what the writer meant?

Since we can only rely on the written word how do we know the writer meant something else instead of what he actually said? You didn’t add any clarifying comments like “ED note: this writer’s opinion may or may not mean what their words say.”

Is everything we see, hear, read up to interpretation? I cannot see how “money from various sources” (has this been verified?) is the same as “The Spokane Firefighters created at least three PACs solely to discredit a citizen, Matthew Howes, running for City Council.”

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Thx
Darlene Brice



Nov 7, 2017

Thank you for your quick response. My interest in this is opposition research and love of my hometown. As I said, I’m trying to understand – regardless of everything – why did the Spokesman Review choose to publish these two particular letters the day before the election?

My point is not that the same terminology about Spokane’s elections are on Russian message boards but the same sentiments are being expressed in local chat rooms, Next Door Spokane, etc. Determining where information is coming from has become so complicated we have software to run text, HTML through to match content on specific longtail keywords w/ altRIGHT news sites like Brietbart & InfoWars.

My point is nobody knows what’s really going on anymore. Nobody knows who people really are. What is Fake News and what is truth? In research, we look at the end result and work backwards. Who benefited from that mailer and from the publication of those two letters in the local newspaper the day before the election.? Who was hurt by both?

We are on the same side. I’ve worked for newspapers and publishing my whole career. One of my twin daughters is a journalist / editor with Bloomberg News. I appreciate your insight and assistance so we can sort out these types of blackhat political tactics from our United States electoral process. Please look at what’s happening in the Virginia governor’s race.

I will post your email on IAFF Local 29 FaceBook page and here https://americarisingblue.com/2017/11/06/elections-2017/

I am arranging a 10 minute interview between the Spokesman Editorial Board and the IAFF Local 29 at the altLENS CMTV studio, 3rd & Browne, to clarify this issue for the public. I know you are busy so please, at your convenience, let me know when you are available.

Thank you.
Best.
Darlene Brice


Nov 7, 2017 Response from Gary Crooks, Opinion Editor, The Spokesman-Review to ARB letter (see below).

Just now seeing this. What is your interest in this?

If Mr. Marler wishes to write something about this issue, it would need to be soon. Christmas is too far off. Better to do this while the issue is fresh in minds. He can contact me if he wishes to do so. I am off next week. If he wants to contest a couple of letters, that would be a letter to the editor or we’d run a correction.

If he wants to write a piece on the larger issue of PACs, his involvement and why it’s a good thing, that would be great. A piece on the good works of firefighters, which makes them too busy to understand politics, would  beg the question: “Then why get involved?“

Be advised that more letters would probably follow, and I would run those, too. But the issue would is the PAC and not that firefighters have important jobs. Nobody disputes that.

The letters, I’d assume, are based on the articles and columns written in response to the Howes mailer. If that had happened sooner, the letters would’ve run sooner. Out cutoff is always the Sunday before an election for letters in print.  Weekend letters are posted on Mondays. We contact each writer to make sure they wrote their letters. So it wasn’t Russians or message boards. And I certainly don’t have the time to monitor all of that. If we need to run a correction because something is factually inaccurate, we will do that.

1,  The Spokane Firefighters created at least three PACs solely to discredit a citizen, Matthew Howes, running for City Council.

If this is incorrect, we will correct it. An article noted that money came from various sources. Perhaps that’s what the writer meant.

2 Do [Union members] know that part of their dues is being used for character assassination?

This is a rhetorical question conveying the writer’s opinion. Will correct as needed.

3) The Firefighters Union & the Democrat Councilwoman Candace Mumm, if elected, should be forced to recuse herself from any discussion or voting associated with the Fire Department.

This is the writer’s opinion.

Mr. Marler can contact me if he wishes to proceed.

Thanks
Opinion Editor Gary Crooks, The Spokesman-Review


Nov 6, 2017
Lead Researcher, America Rising BLUE

Dear Letters to the Editor, Spokesman Review,

I am struggling to understand why you published two letters with inflammatory but unsubstantiated claims about the Firefighter’s Union & the mailer sent on their behalf to Spokane County voters Oct 24, 2017. As the lead researcher for the opposition research firm America Rising BLUE, I am noticing the same scenario playing out in the Virginia Gubernatorial election. The “Latino Victory Fund” produced/ released a video of a child’s “nightmare” that was obviously intended to anger everyone.

Offensive material is offensive no matter where it falls on the political spectrum. My question: when does offensive material become propaganda meant to influence the outcome of a our elections in ways we can’t readily see? When do Opinion letters become little soldiers amplifying the same talking points to destroy the “other” candidate?

I have seen this same terminology used on Spokane affairs’ chat boards and feeds. I would like to request please the sources for the accusations in Larry Medin’s letter “Mumm should return money” published the day before the election Nov 6, 2017.

1) The Spokane Firefighters created at least three PACs solely to discredit a citizen, Matthew Howes, running for City Council.

2) Do [Union members] know that part of their dues is being used for character assassination?

3) The Firefighters Union & the Democrat Councilwoman Candace Mumm, if elected, should be forced to recuse herself from any discussion or voting associated with the Fire Department.

As researchers into Fake News, or Soft Power, Dezinformatsiya campaigns the Russians were able to plant into our politics & culture, we are finding the same political tactics, strategies used by the same operatives from Election 2016, like Mike Cernovich of Pizzagate fame.

It is precisely this reason that I question the intent of the letters published this morning, again the day before the election. This now has become the main issue. Why would the only newspaper in town publish inflammatory opinions with accusations almost too bizarre to believe.

“The Spokane Firefighters created at least three PACs solely to discredit a citizen, Matthew Howes, running for City Council.”

Does the Spokesman Review Opinion Editorial Board believe this is true?

Something has gone terribly wrong and we need to find out what happened and why. Any information you can share about Citizens for Honest Government, Spokane for Honest Government PAC, Spokane GOP & DNC parties & involved Council members is greatly appreciated.

After speaking with Randy Marler, President of IAFF L-29, I suggested a “My Turn” piece in the Spokesman after the election to explain their side. I believe it’s important to remind everyone that FireFighters are not experts at politics. They proudly care about fighting fires and saving lives. My mother’s house fire. Your neighbor’s medical emergency. Fires, car accidents, chemical spills off the trains that go right through the heart of our downtown aren’t Republican or Democrat tragedies.

These are all our tragedies.

Do we really want to smear FireFighters by shaming the FireFighters Union without knowing the facts?

The Letters to the Editor I reference are simply not truthful.

I’m sure you agree IAFF L-29 FireFighters are far too busy serving the public, risking their lives for us to spend their time purposefully setting up three Political Action Committees (PACs) solely to ruin one candidate in one election for Spokane City Council.

I look forward to discussing this issue with you further. We hope to publish the “My Turn” piece toward Thanksgiving or Christmas. The less time between the election tomorrow and rectifying the record the better. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Darlene Brice
Lead Researcher AmericaRisingBLUE.com