At the end of Goldy's post yesterday about the nasty, expensive school-board race between Sue Peters and Suzanne Dale Estey (we endorse Peters, and here's why), he linked back to a nine-year-old story about Estey. Estey, it turns out, was the Washington Mutual lobbyist who led the bank's campaign against the monorail in 2004. Even more interesting was the fact that while Estey was flogging the monorail recall Initiative 83 for WaMu, telling the bank's 9,000 local employees to vote for I-83, she was also on the board of the pro-transit Transportation Choices Coalition, which was against the initiative and was battling monorail opponents. Josh Feit wrote at the time, "The most substantial reason WaMu customers shouldn't believe Estey is this: She probably doesn't believe her anti-monorail shtick herself."
Hey, fine! People have to shill for stuff they're paid to shill for, even if they don't believe it, all the time. But one of the main themes in this race is that Estey is supported and funded by charter schools advocates, other corporate ed reformers, and some of the crappiest board members in recent history, but she promises that just because they endorse her or give her lots of money, they don't really speak for her. In our SECB meeting, when we asked her about her endorsements from the scandal-tinged Peter Maier and ineffective incumbent Michael DeBell, she told us: "Just because someone is supporting me doesn't mean I embrace all of their weaknesses."
Even the pro-charter-schools Seattle Times has pointed this out as a notable factor in the race, calling the fact that she "adamantly opposes charter schools, but is taking a lot of money from uber-wealthy donors who support them" her main "baggage."
So, in a race where an outside PAC funded by corporate ed-reform people has raised more than $100,000 to help elect Estey, this old WaMu/monorail story is pretty funny. And relevant. Estey keeps saying that her personal values are what matter, not the values of her funders and supporters. And yet at the least, this is a story about her talking out both sides of her mouth. Or, alternately, about her shilling for big money, regardless of her own values.