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Monday, April 10, 2006

Connelly Lives in Madrona, Votes on Whidbey

Posted by on April 10 at 15:19 PM

Stefan Sharkansky reports that P-I columnist Joel Connelly—the same Joel Connelly who has repeatedly worked himself into an ethical lather about Stranger reporters’ friendships with certain City Hall employees—has four people registered to vote at his 737-square-foot vacation home on Whidbey Island, including Connelly, his landscaper, and two friends who actually live overseas. According to Sharkansky:

The registrations that appear to be outright fraudulent (and I don’t use that word lightly here) are those of Ellen and David Lawsky. David Lawsky is a correspondent for Reuters, who relocated from the Washington, DC bureau to the Brussels bureau in 2001. Ellen Lawsky is Head of the International High School in Brussels. In a May 2004 column, Connelly described Lawsky as “a hiking buddy visiting from Washington, D.C.” Funny then, that this out of town visitor and his wife had registered to vote at Connelly’s Island County cabin in October 2002 and have voted in 8 elections since, including those for local school, park and library measures. But how can they legitimately claim to be legal residents of Island County, Washington State, and not Washington, DC? As far as I can tell, they can’t.

Sharkansky also posts pdfs of his correspondence with Connelly, in which the P-I columnist attempts to justify allowing his overseas friends to claim residency at his tiny cabin: “They are… former Seattleites who registered with the expressed intent of moving back to Washington when present assignments come to an end. David has more than a bit of sweat equity in the place. He helped haul railroad ties used to buttress the trail system.”

A good friend, indeed. But in terms of specific legal facts that establish residency? Neither of the Lawskys possess Washington state drivers licenses, and the kicker—they continue to own their longtime home in Washington DC where they claim the homestead property tax credit which is available only for property owners who use the property as their principle place of residence.

Connelly also defends his own Whidbey Island registraton, calling the “place… far more than a ‘vacation cabin’: It’s been featured on the Travel Channel.” But despite his righteous indignation (he also accuses Sharkansky of “ratfucking” him) Connelly appears to actually live in Madrona, to which he has referred in columns as his “home” and “neighborhood.” Lucky for him, Connelly can choose where to vote. The rest of us have to vote where we actually live.

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not to rain on your parade, but when you live overseas, you can "reside" anywhere you darn well have any claim to.

When I lived in Canada, my official US residence was San Antonio, Texas, which I hadn't been in for more than a decade.

That said, Connelly does actually reside in the US, so it does matter where he lives. So, in the end, your original point is valid, even if his guests' residence may not be.

oh, and you have to pay US income tax when you live abroad, FYI. it's a royal pain.

who knew hauling railroad ties in a particular region is a means of establishing legal residency?

anyway: isn't ratfucking when you make shit up against your oponent? i thought know-it-all connelly of all people would know the difference between being smeared and being hoist on your own petard...


Will, you're correct that expatriate citizens are entitled to vote -- but at their last U.S. residence. The Lawskys' Washington DC residence appears to be their last (and current) U.S. residence.


Now if Darcy Burner was registered to vote at Joel Connelly's Whidbey Island cabin--THAT would be news!

poor joel, victim of voting laws and their evil ratfucking schemes. how dare they claim to apply to him.

i'll pray for his vindiction tonight.

Residency is sort of a hard thing to prove, but I'd say the biggest trouble Connelly might be in is that they made faking your residence to avoid Monorail taxes a felony (which I think was a really over-the-top thing to do, for all it helped the Monorail).

Of course, what elected prosecutor is likely to pursue charging someone whose employer buys ink by the barrel?

That said, Connelly has referred to himself as a Whidbey resident for at least the last few years in his columns (which is why I always thought he should open a big ol can of shut the fuck up when he bitches and moans about good Seattle elected officials like Jim McDermott and Nick Licata)....

what struck me is that stefan used the term 'fraudulent.' what proof do you have of actual fraud, stefan, because that's a criminal accusation?

Proof? Only a court proceeding can provide legal proof. I qualify the word fraudulent with the word appear. This appears to me to be a case of fraudulent voter registration. I laid out the facts that led me to this interpretation in the blog post. What does it appear to be to you?

What a nit picking piece of least he votes, and by the way, a lot of people have two residences and even think of it that way.

Is this the same Stefan who made fun of transgendered people and their quest for equal treatment and protections against discrimination?

If it is, and I know it is, go fuck yourself, asshole bigot.

Your opinion is negated by your smug stupidity on social issues of substance.

I am surprised you dare post at this trans friendly blog site.....yuk to your slime politics.

It's nice to hear someone say we're trans friendly. I'm getting the crap kicked out of me for using the word she-male in my column two weeks ago.

stefan, you just answered my question by proving how clueless of libel law you are. attempting to qualify something with 'appear' doesn't cut it. look at the case law. and since no court has ruled specifically as to the status of the voter registrations in this case, then you have no legal standing upon which to make an assertion of 'fraud.' have a nice day.

Joel Connolly is a public figure, and prolly going to be subject to Times v. Sullivan standards. I wouldn't be sweating if I were Sharkansky (which for the record, I am not).

ah napoleon, joel would be a pulic figure within the context of anything related to his job, but i don't think voting is that. try again, guys. and um maybe actually read times v sullivan. hey shark you've gone quiet! what's up?

So can i sue the Weekly for writing about my voting record? Or my age? Which, for the record, is 33?

nope, sorry dan. whatever anyone says about your voting record--um, ok fefer said it--is a matter of fact contained in public records and no assertions were made of a crime like 'fraud.' if i recall the only assertion fefer made was a certain disconnect between your rhetoric on voting and your voting participation. as for your age, i dunno. fefer told me voting records had your dob in 1964/5 (i forget which). so you are saying you were born in 1972/3?

"appears" is an appropriate qualifier, just like "allegedly." there is no way this scoop is libelous. and it's a good scoop, too... I mean, his gardener is registered there? give me a break!

hi ratfuck. you might want to look at the case law on that. appears is far different from allegedly. but i'll let you dither in ignorance. have a nice day.

Dawdy -- I posted a reply to you in a comment last night, but it was held up for review, probably because it contained a URL.

Please cite the specific case law where it says that "appears" is different from "allegedly".

you're a funny guy, shark. i'll enjoy watching this business play out.

"I'm not a legal expert but I play one on the internet" Should be the tag line of every hack who throws around the terms libel or slander. A bit ironic in this case, since the next most abused legal term by internet Perry Masons is fraud.

The facts as reported, appear to be a clear case of three invalid registrations, fraud is a stretch. Of course its not nearly the stretch required to call shark's post libel.

Somebody ought to remind Dawdy why an argument on the internet is like competing in the special olympics.

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