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Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Two Faces of Gael Tarleton: A Footnote

Posted by on Thu, Oct 25, 2012 at 12:23 PM

double_gael.jpg
  • AH

This week's paper has a story about Gael Tarleton, the president of Seattle's port commission who's trying to get elected as the state representative for Ballard, Belltown, Queen Anne, and the rest of the 36th district.

Since she was first elected to the port in 2007, she's left a broad wake of former supporters—environmentalists, union folks, lefty Christian and social-justice activists—who feel burned by Tarleton's habit talking more progressively than she acts.

One thing I didn't have room to quote at length in the story: a scathing email from Port Commissioner John Creighton about Tarleton's two-facedness on the salary of port CEO Tay Yoshitani. She makes a big show of saying she's opposed his raises and contracts—but her fellow commissioners say she's hustled behind the scenes to make sure he gets his money, then publicly votes against it for the sake of her p.r.

The email also mentions Tarleton's campaign manager Jason Bennett. Some people I talked to for the story didn't want to be quoted, not because they were scared of Tarleton, but because they were scared of him. (As one person said: "The only thing I really don't want quoted is any mention of my saying Jason Bennett's name or referring to him in any way. He's mean when you're on his 'list' and I'm already on it.")

Sounds like a charmer.

From Creighton's email:

Thanks Tay,

I wouldn't put too much stock into Commissioner Tarleton's campaign mailers. They are probably best understood in context. Her campaign consultant - Jason Bennett - has the reputation of being one of the dirtiest, sleaziest campaign operatives in Washington State. He represented one of my opponents in my race for King County Council and filed a 16-page complaint against me with the Public Disclosure Commission two days before primary election day - all of which was nonsense and all of which I was cleared of with flying colors.

Bennett has never won at the state level or any other major political campaign, so I take it the stress and strain of being behind in the polls is wearing on him in this race.

The full email is below the jump.

UPDATE

I just talked with Bennett. His response: "John Creighton can attack me all day long if he needs to... The truth of the matter is that Gael has been consistent in her opposition to Yoshitani's pay increases, her opposition to the port contract, and she believes his role at Expeditors is a conflict of interest and she would like Tay to either step down from the board of Expeditors or resign from the port. John Creighton cannot say the same—he's been all over the map on this issue."

From: Creighton, John
Sent: Saturday, September 08, 2012 06:49 AM
To: Yoshitani, Tay
Cc: Tarleton, Gael; Bryant, Bill; Holland, Robert; Albro, Thomas;
Kennedy, Mary Gin
Subject: FW: Fm Tay

Thanks Tay,

I wouldn't put too much stock into Commissioner Tarleton's campaign
mailers. They are probably best understood in context. Her campaign
consultant - Jason Bennett - has the reputation of being one of the
dirtiest, sleaziest campaign operatives in Washington State. He
represented one of my opponents in my race for King County Council and
filed a 16-page complaint against me with the Public Disclosure
Commission two days before primary election day - all of which was
nonsense and all of which I was cleared of with flying colors. But with
the Washington State Supreme Court holding more or less that one can lie
and slander in political campaigns and it is all covered as protected
speech under the First Amendment, that gives a lot of rope to those with
little or no ethics.

Bennett has never won at the state level or any other major political
campaign, so I take it the stress and strain of being behind in the
polls is wearing on him in this race.

As someone who laid out principled and clearly articulated reasons at
the time why I felt the retention agreement was poorly drafted and an
overall bad idea, I am most disappointed, however, by Commissioner
Tarleton's seeming about face. But for Commissioner Tarleton's
cheerleading for the retention agreement behind closed doors
and help in
lining up Commissioner Holland's vote as the deciding vote in approving
the contract, we wouldn't be in our current predicament having to deal
with this controversy.

John

________________________________________
From: Yoshitani, Tay
Sent: Friday, September 07, 2012 10:35 AM
To: z-POS-Commission
Cc: Beckett, Kurt; Watson, Craig
Subject: Fm Tay

Commissioners,

I read Gael's comment in the Times that I was suggesting that you "buy
me out with a severance package". This subject may have come up during
one of several conversations I had with the President of the Commission.
Quite frankly, I don't have good recollection of it but far be it for me
to challenge the President of the Commission's recollection
. What is
important at this point is to clarify where I am on this matter.

My intent is to continue to operate as the POS CEO until the end of my
contract in 2014. Rest assured that I will continue to do the very best
job I can, as I have done during the past 5 and 1/2 years. As you know,
we have many critical issues before us. I hope that, together, we can
get beyond this current distraction, roll-up our sleeves and get going
on those 100,000 jobs that we want to create.

Tay

 

Comments (22) RSS

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Ya Sure Ya Betcha 1
Brendan, your horse Noel Frame is a stooge of the unions, especially the teamsters. She employs Lisa MacLean of Moxie Media as her consultant, a confirmed shady character. Lisa MacLean was heavily penalized by the WA PDC for shady actions.
Posted by Ya Sure Ya Betcha on October 25, 2012 at 1:07 PM · Report this
2
So nice to see some real reporting. Thank you Brendan.

We have some dysfunctional public institutions in this state but the Port really takes the cake. How telling that the person proclaiming herself its reformer is one of its biggest enablers.
Posted by Echo HIll on October 25, 2012 at 1:16 PM · Report this
3
Classy -- attack a guy you obviously didn't talk to and call him "sleazy" based on an email from a guy (Creighton) whose ex got a restraining order against him after he stalked her with a series of pornographic texts and late-night visits and phone calls. Great source ya got there.

Jason is one of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet, which you would know if you bothered to do even the most rudimentary reporting. And he has more important things to do than being a meanie to you in the Stranger's comments.
Posted by classy on October 25, 2012 at 1:36 PM · Report this
Mrs. Fields 4
All of this makes me wonder what sort of legislator Gael would be. Just what we don't need is more Dems backstabbing Dems in Oly (we already have enough of them in the Roadkill Caucus - wonder if Gael would join up with Hobbs and his ilk?).
Posted by Mrs. Fields on October 25, 2012 at 1:48 PM · Report this
5
Was it intentional to make Tarleton look like a battered wife in the photo, or just an accident? Pretty fucking tasteless either way. Shows the great lengths of "ends justify the means" hypocrisy from the Stranger.
Posted by hmmmmm on October 25, 2012 at 1:51 PM · Report this
6
Ouch. Just more evidence we can't trust Gael Tarleton.
Posted by opengov on October 25, 2012 at 2:08 PM · Report this
7
May I offer one motive for Port Commissioner John Creighton's denunciation of Port Commission President Gael Tarleton? Creighton, who has a history of angry emails to (and about) colleagues, still holds a grudge after Creighton finished out of the running in the 2011 primary for Jane Hague's King County Council seat. Creighton was beaten by Richard Mitchell, whose campaign consultant in that race was Bennett. Bennett produced a mailer highlighting Creighton's intemperate outbursts against colleagues and a former girlfriend's move to obtain a restraining order against him after he bombarded her with dozens of messages a day. Creighton is still seething about Bennett's role in frustrating his political ambitions; he also has deep animosity for Tarleton because she has a good chance of doing what he failed to accomplish last year: move on from the Port Commission to higher office.

Creighton is an unprincipled political shape-shifter, as his financial support of Republicans over the years shows. (Remember George W. Bush?) Creighton's current alignment with Port Commissioner Rob Holland (a progressive darling who hardly is in a position to criticize anyone for the rest of his short political life) allows him to score a few cheap political points at Commissioner Tarleton's expense now and then and to exact a measure of revenge against Jason Bennett, Tarleton's campaign consultant. Bennett doesn't always play nice, but he has never been the target of a lawsuit by the state's Attorney General, unlike Lisa MacLean of Moxie Media, who is handling Noel Frame in the 36th District race. MacLean incurred a huge fine in 2011 after Moxie Media's successful dirty tricks to take out State Senator Jean Berkey in the 38th District primary in 2010. (I wonder if Noel Frame knew of MacLean's CIA-style black propaganda operation when she hired MacLean to help promote Frame's "progressive values" in the current campaign? Perhaps some enterprising reporter could ask Frame and let us know what she says after she finishes sputtering.)

By the way, this is not Jason Bennett. I'm just an interested (and disgusted) observer of this latest progressive jihad against a local Democrat and elected official.
More...
Posted by Gorn on October 25, 2012 at 2:17 PM · Report this
8
I don't have a favorite candidate in the 36th race, but Creighton's whining about Jason Bennett is just ridiculous. Of course Creighton hates Bennett: Creighton tried to run for County Council and Jason rightfully and accurately attacked him for his history of poor judgment, including stalking behavior that led to a restraining order. If Jason hadn't done it and Creighton went on to the general election, a Republican consultant would have done the same.

Creighton's political career will take him no higher than a part-time stipend-paying job because of his own failings, not because of Jason. His griping is sour grapes, and quite comical frankly.
Posted by sour grapes on October 25, 2012 at 2:22 PM · Report this
9
@5: The imagery was intended to convey the idea from the headline of the article of the two faces of Tarleton—one good, one distinctly otherwise. I made the call to use it, but we're replacing it online with one that does the job better.
Posted by Bethany Jean Clement on October 25, 2012 at 2:27 PM · Report this
10
I hear Jason Bennett killed a man.
Posted by J.R. on October 25, 2012 at 2:39 PM · Report this
11
@7 Say what you will about Creighton, but it's clear Gael manipulated her fellow commissioners on votes to make herself look clean. That's not leadership, and it goes against the narrative she's trying to build.

Noel Frame says what she means and does the work. She doesn't play both sides of the issue. She works with progressive allies and doesn't throw them under the bus. That's why she has my vote.
Posted by Elinor on October 25, 2012 at 2:49 PM · Report this
12
@10 Don't make this about Jason - that's a distraction from the race at hand. I know the guy and he has helped a lot of great candidates.

He happens to like and trust Gael. I used to like and trust her and now I don't.
Posted by Elinor on October 25, 2012 at 2:52 PM · Report this
13
Well, all of that certainly makes me think much more highly of the Port Commission.
Posted by sarah70 on October 25, 2012 at 2:54 PM · Report this
14
Jason's the battered wife here, standing up for his abusive client even after all his friends tell him to DTMF already. We should be offering Jason counseling and a steak for his political black eye, not blaming the victim.
Posted by Larkshead42 on October 25, 2012 at 2:59 PM · Report this
15
Brendan -

Actually, there's something else you "forgot" to quote or correct: your description in the original story of the money race between Frame and Tarleton. You got that wrong, and it's still wrong.

See, there's an agency in this state called the Public Disclosure Commission. That's where candidates are supposed to report the money they're raising. That's also where those horrid independent expenditures are reported. With a mere two clicks on your digital thingy, you'll find that Frame's colluding cronies have dropped oh, $87,000 in dark money on this race. Where's it coming from? Who knows?

The Times reported it. The Ballard-News-Tribune reported it. Your pals at Publicola (who retain a semblance of dignity) reported it 10 days ago:

http://www.seattlemet.com/news-and-profi…

I know, I know - when you commit to six months of Tarleton-bashing, these little details don't matter. At a certain point, however, acts of omission turn into deliberate misrepresentation. Defensive claims of irrelevance become excuses for intellectual dishonesty. Doubtless you knew that already.

Fortunately, there's a remedy. Go ask Noel a tough question, maybe something like, "Could you tell us again why you're so awesome?" Minions always feel better when they snuggle.

Posted by Relling on October 25, 2012 at 4:19 PM · Report this
16
Oh, and one more thing - your Bennett-bashing is bullshit. You're unloading on an openly gay campaign consultant who worked his guts out for R-71. Now he's off the island?
That's one smug little club you're running.
Posted by Relling on October 25, 2012 at 4:31 PM · Report this
17
I appreciate the kind words in the comments threads (and I think I know who you are) but it would be great if both sides could tone it down a bit. I don't this is moving the ball down the field for either side, quite honestly. And it's distracting from what really matters. I personally think folks should be more focused on the Gov's race, Ref 74, Suzan Delbene, the State Senate, etc etc etc.

We have two progressives - one is midnight blue and the other is navy blue. I like Noel - a lot. She and I have worked together and I have a ton of respect for her. Gael is my client and my friend. She is backed by 11 labor unions, so the argument against her on that doesn't stick for me. I even like the people in the original article who are opposed to Gael. They are wrong about Gael, in my opinion. But we've been on the same side of campaigns in the past and we will again in the future.

I will say I don't have a lot of time to orchestrate comments threads. I wish I did. I can barely tivo my Dancing with the Stars. I would also say that I try to keep my enemies list to a minimum, sometimes I succeed, sometimes I fail. I can get pretty wrapped up in the win and lose sight. I think we all can. But people SCARED of me? Well, that is just kind of absurd.
Posted by JasonBennett on October 25, 2012 at 5:55 PM · Report this
18
Gael is an extraordinarily skilled liar, but still a liar. Must be that Pentagon intelligence background. These candidates are not two shades of the same color Jason. Liarton called unions "special interests." Did you advise her to use this tactic, the standard attack line of every right wing republican? The 36th deserves better.
Posted by Dave Charles on October 25, 2012 at 10:33 PM · Report this
19
It appears Jason wasn't interviewed for this story. Or anyone who has actually worked with him. Why not?

.

Posted by What the on October 25, 2012 at 11:53 PM · Report this
20
@19, let me take a wild guess, how about because he's her consultant and is paid to say she's great? The story is about her not him and it is immaterial who he has worked with.
Posted by Dave Charles on October 26, 2012 at 7:18 AM · Report this
21
Dave Charles - Let me get this straight, just so I can understand the ground rules for the story I'm preparing about you, tentatively titled, "People who don't like Dave Charles."

I don't have to talk to you, since naturally you'll lie about yourself. I don't have to talk to your friends, since they'll lie about you, too. Only the accusations that opponents level at you qualify as truth. Nothing else is even worth discussing. Is that about right? Presumably you also favor military tribunals and indefinite detention, which function along similar lines. Now go back to your cell.
Posted by Relling on October 26, 2012 at 9:56 AM · Report this
22
@21, my my my, you are one upset puppy! Indefinite detention would be an accurate description of where Gael would like to put the truth, and the simple truth is she is a two faced, cynical liar. The article was a well reported account of highly respected leaders ( including former supporters of hers) who say she says one thing and does another. That is Gael. You are clearly more upset about the Jason comment references than the article itself. Let yourself out of the Jason cell! This is not about him, it is about Liarton.
Posted by Dave Charles on October 26, 2012 at 9:40 PM · Report this

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