In the races for Seattle School board, an independent group that’s raised $32,750 has sent out a negative advertisement targeting candidate Sue Peters and promoting one of her two opponents, Suzanne Dale Estey.
The group, which calls itself Great Seattle Schools, declared that Dale Estey is the “candidate for change” while Peters would offer “more of the same,” painting Peters as someone who would add to the problems that have plagued the school board over the past few years.
Peters has criticized the ad, saying it misrepresents or omits her views, qualifications and endorsements.
The ad is unfounded, she said. “I have the support of four of the current school board members and what that means is that I have their respect, and I will be able to work with the board in a constructive manner if I am elected.”
On her website, she has a point-by-point rebuttal, including refuting that she would oppose any grant that Seattle Public Schools might receive from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“Like many others,” she wrote, “I was disturbed to see supporters of my opponents resort to such dishonest tactics on her behalf, and so early in the race.”
Dale Estey said she first saw the ad when it arrived in her mailbox. She said the law doesn’t allow her to have any knowledge of what independent campaign groups do. She said she agrees with the ad’s main message, although she has mixed feelings about its negative approach.
Asked whether she had expressed those misgivings to the group, she said: “If members of the business community are fed up with the status quo of the school board and chose to articulate that – I’m not going to illegally try to inhibit their freedom of speech.”
All but $2,750 of the $32,750 traised to date came from two individuals: Real estate developer Matt Griffin and former Microsoft executive Chris Larson. The rest came from the Civil Alliance for a Sound Economy, a political action committee sponsored by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. In its paperwork to the state’s Public Disclosure Commission, the group says it also plans to support Stephan Blanford, one of the candidates in the District 5 race, which covers Central Seattle and Capitol Hill.
Peters and Dale Estey are two of the candidates running for an open seat in District 4, which covers Queen Anne, Magnolia and part of Ballard. The other is Dean McColgan, a former Federal Way councilman.
Griffin and Larson have also contributed directly to Dale Estey’s campaign – donating the limit of $1,800 apiece.