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The whole "it was just business" defense doesn't really work for me. I'll pass, thanks.

Posted by monkey | August 30, 2007 3:18 PM

I would like to see Mr. Burgess' record of support and advocacy for gay rights and a woman's right to choose.

Saying you support gay rights & choice in endorsement meetings is one thing but actually having some record you can point to is quite another.(Endorsements from gay people also don't count as a record of advocacy).

I still would have a hard time supporting a local Seattle elected official who knowingly choose to profit from CWA at my expense. Does he have a right to pick his own clients? Sure. Do I have a right as a voter to make inferences about him as my elected leader? Yes. Indeed, it is my responsibility.

Posted by Barb | August 30, 2007 3:26 PM

Here's a question: what candidates and causes has he donated to? It could be that he took money from CWA and funneled it to pro-gay and pro-choice causes and candidates.

Posted by Gitai | August 30, 2007 3:35 PM

Dammit. Just when I thought I could vote for this guy, this happens.

I'm concerned about Burgess' judgement that he not only took on a client like this, but kept them on for almost a decade. I don't expect to share his values, but I am concerned about his judgement.

Posted by me | August 30, 2007 3:44 PM

@3, I think that's a decent question, but even if he donated every cent to Lambda Legal, his firm still actively helped CWA etc. by writing promo materials for them. You can't cancel that part out. If he'd done something else, something neutral, for them -- say, catered their events -- then not profiting from their business would be more neutral. It's the nature of the services provided that makes it so questionable.

Posted by Emma Leigh | August 30, 2007 3:49 PM

If Burgess were going to appoint Supreme Court justices, or running for state legislature, all this would be a dealbreaker.

But does all of this make much of a difference on the city council? What does he believe on the issues where a single vote might actually make a difference?

Posted by MHD | August 30, 2007 3:52 PM

A city council seat can be the beginning of a political career. Be careful who you elect dog catcher -- or governor of Texas -- because that person just might be appointing Supreme Court justices on day.

At the presidential level, I'm going to hold my nose and vote for the Dem. At the local level, where my vote carries more weight, I'm not going to support anti-gay, anti-sex, anti-choice candidates. Just not gonna do it.

Posted by Dan Savage | August 30, 2007 3:56 PM

Weird, I agree with ECB about something.

@1: Absolutely. How you choose to earn your pay says as much about your personal ethics as anything else you do.

Posted by Orv | August 30, 2007 3:58 PM

burgess was my boss at domain group and i have kept my mouth shut re: past biz involvements because i knew that eventually this would come to light. but in his defense, he is probably the only politician i know firsthand who is actually honest. bottom line is that all $ is dirty $.

Posted by mongo like slog | August 30, 2007 3:58 PM

It's bullshit. As the founder of a company you don't take on clients with whom you don't agree on very basic issues like civil rights, the right to have a choice, etc.

Imagine what business he would take on as a city council member just because it pays the bills. (Didn't Wills and Nicastro do that?!).

Della is an awfully boring council member and it slays me to vote for him, but I will--unless Burgess pulls some great reversal out of his hat.

An apology for working for a bigoted, hateful, faith-based organization that uses their tax exempt status to lobby against my rights would be a great start.

And this is a great opporunity for McDermott and Podlodwski to say, in light of these issues, that they can't support someone with his values.

Posted by you're right dan | August 30, 2007 4:06 PM


Man, this is not going to go over well.

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 30, 2007 4:10 PM

Be sure to read the op-ed that Burgess wrote and that ECB refers to.

A paragraph from it:

"Admittedly, we struggle with a lot of pressing issues. We don't like abortion. We value the sacredness of marriage between a woman and man. We recognize that not everyone agrees with us and we know the law isn't a good mechanism to resolve these issues, but moral persuasion is."

Moral persuasion and the sacredness of marriage between a woman and man. Those two things together scare the shit out of me. Seems his values are much more in line with CWfA than he indicates.

Posted by you're right dan | August 30, 2007 4:14 PM

and if he doesn't agree with all his clients (the argument he's using to distance from CWfa) which ones does he agree with?

Here's the list he filed with the state in 2002:

African Wildlife Foundation
American Leprosy Missions, Inc.
Bible League, The
Concerned Women for America
Cooperative for Assistance & Relief Everywhere, Inc.
Elim Christian Services
Food for the Hungry, Inc.
Lance Armstrong Foundation, Inc.
Mercy Corps
Seattle's Union Gospel Mission

Does it also mean he doesn't agree with Lance Armstrong Foundation and American Widlife Foundation, but just opted to take money from them too since he did non-profit consulting work?

Sounds cagey.

Posted by yikes | August 30, 2007 4:19 PM

None of this changes the fact that David Della is a lying conniving lazy weasel - he ran on one freakin issue 4 years ago (that he would fix city light), then he turned down the opportunity to Chair the Energy Committee! That's all I need to know about the guy.

Oh, and now he claims in his TV ads that he's lowered people's electrical bills....

I'd vote for Larry Craig before I voted for David freakin' Della.

Posted by Willis | August 30, 2007 4:27 PM

still not sure about this one but appreciate the continuing flow of information.

personally, I appreciate a heterogeneous city council, school board, etc (as long as my liberal values are in the ascendancy) - and may vote for someone other than my favorite candidate if it seems like the resulting mix would otherwise be too homogeneous.

This about Tim Burgess doesn't bother me, so far - though it would be great if he would speak to it personally.

Posted by momster | August 30, 2007 4:29 PM

@13, I don't follow your logic. He said he doesn't agree with all his clients - he didn't say he disagrees with all his clients.

Posted by Emma Leigh | August 30, 2007 4:30 PM

I'm sorry but all the comments excusing the work that Tim did for the CWA with the phrase, "Its just business" is total crap. That is the same rational that people use to sell arms to third world nations, or to win no-bid government contracts. What you do, and who you do it for says EVERYTHING about you. Not the least of which is that idea that if you are willing to sell your principals do I really want you to represent me? My answer is no, and hell no.

Now I'm not even sure that I want to support Tina. If she knew what Tim did (and who he took money from) what does that say about her?

The next question for me is who do we want as a write in candidate for city council?

Posted by jackofgreen | August 30, 2007 4:34 PM

Hey all you stupid fools who can rationalize themselves into half way accepting the ugly, vile, attacks of Concerned Women of America ... how can you do that?

This is the most horrible anti-gay group in America, relentless year after year after year. Raising millions on our backs, repeating the most vile and ugly crap you can imagine in their mailings.

I could not stand to be in the same room with these people, their smell and facial expressions would be so foul.

Let alone take hundreds and hundred of dollars of their blood money.

Your enemies friend is your enemy. Did Burgess do work for Karl Rove? Ask him Erica?

I think Mr. Burgess is a Republican trapped in a City than has no place for Rs.

Not my vote. Not my friends vote. Never.

Years back I got on the CCWA mailing lists - Did
Burgess work on the PR about how gay men ear feces - and deserved the AIDS epidemic as the revenge of God. Did he?

Dan and Erica and Dave Coffman, just what PR materials did Burgess and his company work on? How bad is the stench?

Posted by ida mae | August 30, 2007 4:35 PM

Mr. Yikes -

I hate to break this to you but Lance Armstrong is a pretty conservative guy and a Republican. What he is doing for testicular cancer is great and all but he is probably not very closely aligned with the political values of Seattle either.

The rest of that list looks pretty oriented toward 'Christian values'. The only one on the list that does not seem super religious is the African Wildlife Foundation but then I don't know that forsure either.

Posted by Say What? | August 30, 2007 4:36 PM

Hey, is the Stranger going to go after Seattle school board candidate Sherry Carr because of her employer's role as an arms merchant (Boeing)? Think of all the shady dictators they're selling jets and missiles to.

Posted by Trey | August 30, 2007 4:47 PM

@20, surely you understand the difference between the culpability of the founder of a small firm taking on morally questionable clients and an employee of a company the size of Boeing working for... well, for Boeing. Presumably the founder gets to choose but keep his position either way; presumably the employee doesn't.

Posted by Emma Leigh | August 30, 2007 4:51 PM

Trey –

You have a right to vote for Mr. Burgess if you wish to do so. If the information that has come to light does not sway you then do as you will.

I personally feel that this information is very important to me in making a decision about who will represent me. I have a hard time believing that the Stranger is happy about Mr. Burgess’ opponent being reelected since they have also criticized him A LOT!

Posted by What it is | August 30, 2007 4:59 PM

Emma Leigh @ 21, if "choice" and "choosing" is the barometer of culpability here, you should keep in mind that a Boeing employee can "choose" to work somewhere else. So no, I guess I don't "surely" understand the difference you're trying to claim exists. I'm merely putting forth the idea that in the corporate world, most companies do not get into evaluating the politics of their customers or clients.

Posted by Trey | August 30, 2007 5:05 PM

That's Seattle's dirty secret. We're liberal, liberal, liberal, except for our (former) company town company that makes high-tech weapons for the defense department. Boeing has masterfully characterized itself as this benign "Lazy B" over the years. No one protests.

They give away a truckload of money in philanthropy and provide a ton of jobs, but one of their core businesses is profiting from war. It's sick, really. Oh, well.

Posted by hee | August 30, 2007 5:14 PM

@23, the difference is that the founder of the firm can choose to accept or decline clients with no risk to his job. The employee of Boeing can't, and is typically far removed from the decision-making process anyway.

I get your put-forth idea. I'm merely pointing out that you were maybe stretching the comparison a little thin.

Posted by Emma Leigh | August 30, 2007 5:25 PM

Burgess sounds like Jane Hague: blame everyone else for his questionable actions.

Nobody forced him to make big donations to McCain, McKenna and Maleng, write a Republican code-filled column for the Seattle Times, or professionally promote Concerned Women for America.

Yet to hear him talk, all these easily verified facts are just dirty tricks and distractions from the big meanies at David Della's campaign.

Posted by Lesley | August 30, 2007 5:56 PM

So who pulled Tina's LESBO FREE PASS, is Sally Clark next?

Posted by whatever | August 30, 2007 6:00 PM

I won't necessarily vote against him over this brouhaha, but I do note that on his website Burgess brags about his client list (scroll down about halfway to "Leading to Help Others Serve"). Specifically he cites seven organizations that his company raised money for.

Seems to me that if he's not responsible for the views of his clients, then he can't take credit for "helping" those seven clients either. After all, it was only money.

Posted by five toed sloth | August 30, 2007 6:11 PM

So let me make sure I understand what everyone's arguing...

Despite the support or endorsement of prominent LGBT community leaders, and his own statements that he supports civil marriage equality and opposes discrimination, we should not support Burgess because he did some work for an awful organization.

On the other hand, we all need to support the eventual Democratic candidate for President, even though it is quite possible that he or she will have voted for the War on Iraq and the Patriot Act and DOMA, and be opposed to civil marriage equality?

Why exactly is it okay to vote for the lesser of two evils in one instance and not the other?

Is the argument that Burgess is less qualified to be on City Council than Della, or that y'all just don't like him because you disagree with his religious beliefs?

Posted by Mickymse | August 30, 2007 6:44 PM

From Tim's King County Democrats Candidate Questionnaire:

Do you support the King County Democratic Platform? -- YES

Do you support freedom of choice in contraception, abortion and sterilization? -- YES

Admits to previous support of some identified Republicans, but declares himself "a progressive Democrat."

Member of the 36th District Democrats

10. What is your position on civil rights for Gay. Lesbian, bisexual and trans gendered people? What is
your position on equal rights for same-sex couples when it comes to benefits, civil unions, marriage
and parental rights? I favor equality and fairness without discrimination for all people. I support civil
marriage and full rights for all persons, including same-sex couples. I remember in the 1970s when Seattle
was a national leader in granting domestic partner benefits to city employees. One of my police academy
classmates launched a petition drive to overturn these benefits; this effort was an embarrassment to me and
many of my police colleagues.

Posted by Mickymse | August 30, 2007 6:56 PM

Burgess also has a spotty record of contributions to politicians. I suppose I can semi-excuse the $1000 he gave to John McCain in 2000 -- after all, we didn't yet know just how false McCain's "maverick" act was. And also his contributions to Norm Maleng ($500 for the 2002 primary, $1725 between Tim and Joleen for the 2006 general). For the record, Della also contributed to Maleng in 2006 ($50 in the primary).

But then there's that maxed-out contribution of $1350 in the general election to ROB MCKENNA in 2004!?! Burgess says he was a Sidran guy, but if you're a Democrat what you do when your guy loses in the primary is sit it out in the general. You don't actually help a smarmy, on-the-make, stealth-wingnut like McKenna get ahead.

Early in the campaign, Burgess's stump speech included mention that he'd maxed-out to Della in 2003. If so, SEEC doesn't know it ... they show a $250 contribution from Tim Burgess. Maybe Tim's confusing Della with Jean Godden, Robert Rosencrantz, Margaret Pageler, or Jim Compton. Each of them got $650 from Tim.

I don't want to vote for either of these guys.

Posted by N in Seattle | August 30, 2007 7:11 PM

@29: This goes way beyond mere 'religious beliefs'. If Tim Burgess gave a bunch of money to his church, well that's his perogative. Instead, he did marketing and communicaions for what is basically a thinly-veiled hate group. "Concerned Women for America" isn't exactly the PTA or the Church Council of Greater Seattle, the Salvation Army, or even Crista Ministries. This is an advocacy group that actively preaches outright intolerance of others and doesn't appear to have any other redeeming value. (i.e. Salvation Army is an evangelical Christian organization that discriminates against gay people, but one could argue that they do tremendous good by helping homeless people. CWA has no such value.)

Check out their "core issues" here:

I don't see how Burgess can claim that he was 'only doing his job' here.

Posted by la | August 30, 2007 7:15 PM

Above, Mickymse - Let me explain my personal poly-sci 101 - no theory politics.

After years of utter frustration with national politics, it hit one night. YES, I can help control my back yard, no matter what the hell is going down in DC, at the UN or else where, I CAN vote and influence big time my back yard. That is Seattle.

This corner of the world is different in many ways. And it is very pleasant to live here and be gay. There are no moderately supportive council members, none. The city is pro active, not just OK.

I will vote to keep it that way. Burgess is tarnished, it seems charming, but luke warm, tepid, and I think deceptive and sly.

I don't spend money with right wing businesses, and I cannot fathom why anyone with a whit of intellect, progressive politics, and spine - why they would taint their lives with business with Concerned Women's hard HATEMONGER dollars.

YES business owners say no. All the time. Ask the Lesbians who own Urban Press if they would do printing for them .. I know the answer, no.

LGBT folks/voters need to say No to Burgess. And let it be known to the political establishment why. The famed civil rights activist Barbara Jordan said her faith in the constitution was intact - she was brilliant - to the world let's say our guts and balls are intact in this city which is our back yard.

Tina and Joe need to reconsider. Apparently some sort of nice guy thing has clouded their nitty gritty evaluations. Too bad.

Posted by Jack on the Hill | August 30, 2007 7:20 PM

What we need here is a serious credible write-in candidate.

Della is an incompetent hack who deserves to go down in flames.

Burgess is at best a cheap hooker (albeit competent) and, more likely, a lying sack of shit.

A year ago I could not have imagined supporting Della's reelection or voting for him. But nothing about Burgess makes me want to vote for him and there's a great deal that makes me want to vote against him.

Posted by gnossos | August 30, 2007 11:17 PM
On the other hand, we all need to support the eventual Democratic candidate for President, even though it is quite possible that he or she will have voted for the War on Iraq and the Patriot Act and DOMA, and be opposed to civil marriage equality?

Why exactly is it okay to vote for the lesser of two evils in one instance and not the other?

City Council members don't have their fingers on the nuclear button, and they can't use the Patriot Act to send you to Gitmo.

Please don't insult our intelligence with such an obvious false equivalency. Oh, and vote for Della.

Posted by ivan | August 30, 2007 11:35 PM

Hi Eria,

I wanted to ask you and Dan to talk a little bit about all the teenage and young adult readers The Stranger so successfully attracts. The readers who you then deliver to lying, destructive tobacco advertisers. If those pages of tobacco ads don't sell cigarettes to your readers, then why do the tobacco companies spend so much money on them? Are they crazy?

Does the money big tobacco gives to The Stranger affect you reporting? Why not? How could you be free of the influence of such an important client, yet the employees of other companies can't? What's your secret?

Posted by elenchos | August 31, 2007 7:45 AM

What a non rational statement - to suggest a Boeing worker is an arms merchant and then let the guy off the hook who takes HATE MONGER MILLIONS (thanks poster for the phrase).

If Burgess was cashing checks for up to 300,000.00 per year for nine years - god, what a wad of HATE MONGER MONEY....over 2.5 MILLION.

Someone will try to let him off this jagged hook, not I. My granny used to say the thing about making your bed, and then having to sleep in it. Mr. Burgess, it fits. Your political career in Seattle is toast.

And Tina - I think you did a great job at the Foundation, but political savant, you are not. The devil is in the details, not the smiling PR expert face... who is a nice neighbor. The Mafia dons are reported to always be nice neighbors.

Posted by Angel | August 31, 2007 10:36 AM

@30 - yes, and we in the 43rd fight to keep that question in the KCDCC Questionnaire every year.

And this is why.

But as to Boeing (caveat - I worked for them in cruise missiles and star wars) - maybe this is why Brian Baird switched his vote - someone should check his recent PDC filings to see if he got a nice check from certain "groups" or "individuals" to explain his switch.

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 31, 2007 11:11 AM

Will - who did the 43rd endorse?

Perhaps they should re visit this fellow and his propensity to do PR work for the ultra, far, far right wing. Concerned Women of America is polar opposite to all the 43rd works for, everything, day after day.

I don't think the fighting 43rd - the heart of gay liberation - should even want him in their midst ... throw him out, he is a Republican in all but name.

No time for wishy washy ... send a message from the best of the best Demo. districts.

Posted by Angel | August 31, 2007 11:25 AM

My understanding is Tim Burgess' company wrote the dreadful and horrible fundraising letters for CWFA. These were the letters that say that gay people deserve the AIDS epidemic.

CWfA, as an organization, are the people who stand outside funerals with 'God Hates Fags' signs. These are the people who Tim chose to write vile fundraising letters for during all of the campaigns in Washington to try and pass anti gay initiatives. He did direct mail for them. He helped propagate the vile hate filled letters that went out to raise money. Their company was hired (and paid) to make those letters more compelling and persuasive so that CWfA could raise more money to support a serious anti gay, anti choice agenda.

They worked hard to make their client’s message better. I really don't know how a man could sit in a room brainstorming about better ways to say homosexuals are evil and you should all be very scared so send money for our campaign.

If I found out Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama or John Edwards had CWfA as a client I would not vote for them either.

It's a free country and Tim can have whatever clients he wants. But as a voter I do believe as a candidate Tim is responsible for his professional choices.

Sure, we all indirectly support things around the squishy edges of life in our actions and we all have to live with our choices. For me, I won't vote for a city official who profited by using his skills to promote lies and untruths about me, my family and my friends. That’s a line in the sand for me.

I sure wish Bruce Harrell would have run for this seat.

Posted by Concerned | August 31, 2007 11:56 AM

Tina wrote that she knows what’s in Tim's heart but besides his answers on an endorsement questionnaire, I have yet to see anything that would show that Tim has been a supporter or advocate (actively or passively) on these issues.

Isn't that nice that he was 'embarrassed' by his colleague’s actions. If the most he has done is answer a questionnaire in a way that he needs to get an endorsement and had some 'embarrassment' over a classmates petition drive to overturn partners benefit’s then I would say he is a pretty lousy ally.

In addition I think Tina has shown a real disregard for the queers on the Burgess related SLOG postings. She is a leader in the GLBT community she knows that her endorsement carries weight. Yet she has not offered us anything at all to convey how Tim has demonstrated his support for these issues. She has lost a tremendous amount of credibility by jumping on here and giving us such a flimsy answer for her endorsement. 'I have talked to him and I believe him' just is not good enough.

Posted by Concerned 2 | August 31, 2007 11:59 AM

What has Della ever done for the gays in Seattle? He's had four years to prove HIS track record.

Go to a Della / Burgess debate. Ask Burgess. Someone convince ECB to ask Burgess.

Burgess leans more to the right than most of Seattle. At least he's competent and can get done what he says he's going to get done.

Della leans whichever direction won't cause controversy. Most of the time, he lays under the mayor's and Paul Allen's and Suzy Burke's feet. Just look at who pays for his campaign.

It's not easy to justify Burgess's client list. At least ask him if he'd take the same clients today. Ask him why he took those clients when he did. Look at the work Domain Group did for the CWfA. Did they publish trash?

Is Dan saying Della would make a good dog catcher? Only if he could avoid the controversy.

Posted by DownWithDella | August 31, 2007 12:34 PM

Oh, honey - if it is good enough for Tina it better be good enough for you.

Truth, her political skills are nil.

Executive skills are much, much better.

AND, I bet he lied to SEAMEC. If they really knew the whole truth about all the cash from the far right and what he did for them, they should have given him a zero.

PR expert, it means paid liar in politics. Take note Tina, his million dollar house and engaging smile mean nothing about real character.

I am obsessed about the link of money and politics. I do not buy Domino pizza, my choice, as the fellow who owns it is a million dollar funder of the far right.

This stuff about Burgess is far worse.

Posted by hilda | August 31, 2007 12:35 PM

I'm not Will, but I can answer Angel's question in #39.

The 43rd hasn't endorsed anyone yet in the Della/Burgess race; we'll vote on our general election endorsements on September 18 (c'mon out for the fun!). In this week's Candidate Forum, Burgess's smattering of applause was probably a bit less light than Della's, who did little except remind us that he's on City Council.

My expectation is that we'll endorse neither of them -- we do have standards, you know. Before the voting, members of the E-board may point out possibly-troubling issues observed in the KCDCC questionnaire and in study of FEC, PDC, and SEEC reports. On both sides of this race and other races.

Posted by N in Seattle | August 31, 2007 1:26 PM

Above N - thanks for the answer that raises more questions

JUST how bad does
Burgess have to get before you eject him? Something just short of tar and feathers.

Have you ever read the fund raising letters that Burgess helped write, apparently, in chasing the almighty dollar? Have you? He is a media relations whore ... truly for sale and no scruples.

They, these fund raising mailers, are beyound the pale, just gross. Hate mail in a good definition.

The 43rd of all places, should never say, well, Della isn't too polished in speech making, SO, what the hell - hate mail vs. polish ... who cares ... all the same. It isn't. This is serious stuff for gay Democrats.

Clearly it is no longer the fighting 43rd, home of the most most progressive and activst political voices in the state ... Cal Anderson's legacy is crying out for justice.

Too bad.

Angel, I live in the more gutsy 37th.

Posted by Angel | August 31, 2007 2:41 PM

I work at Tim's former company, and I've known him for many years. If you knew Tim Burgess, you wouldn't be lumping him in with the "God hates fags" crowd. That just misses the point in a huge way.

A lot of the conversation here is missing the important point: The man has changed. Decide whether or not you want to vote for him by who is now, not what he was before. Because he has evolved. Like anyone else who has integrity, he's more enlightened now than he was in the past.

If you're going to limit your list of acceptable allies to people who have never been wrong, you're not going to have a lot of allies. He's clearly a believer in equality and progressive change. And he's going to be an effective champion for these things, unless we insist on perfection going back into the past.

Concerned Women for America is an ugly organization. It would be better if Tim had never gone near them in any way. It was his mistake. But life experience and some deep soul-searching have worked a change in him. I can tell you that even when he was wrong about CWA, he was never a hater. His company was always respectful gays, progressives, and noncomformists.

Have you ever looked back at something you believed or did in the past and thought WHAT was I THINKING? The only people who don't have that experience are people who never grow.

We should be inspired that a man like Tim can change. Some day there's going to be equality in this country, and it's going to happen through the work of people like Tim, people who at one point didn't get it, but then saw the light.

Posted by JB | August 31, 2007 4:28 PM

I understand the hurt and anger displayed in this blog regarding the Tim Burgess controversy from the gay and lesbian, as well as the progressive community of Seattle. I have respected the editorial content of The Stranger for many years and especially the writings of Dan Savage.

Concerned Women for America is a terrible organization. They are the antithesis of what true Christianity is about: Love, forgiveness and grace.

If I didn't know Tim Burgess, and had just read the few "facts" posted in this blog, I too might be tempted to run to conclusions, make judgements and rush to condemnation of Tim. However, I do know Tim. I know him very, very well because I worked alongside of him for 11 years and have known him for 14 years.

14 years ago I met Tim at a Christian Management Conference seminar on fundraising (I think CMC was actually mentioned in one of the blog posts). I was working for The Other Side Magazine, a radical, left-wing Christian magazine which was published for 40 years until it folded just three years ago. It was the first Christian publication to stand up for civil rights for African-American's in 60's and for Gay Rights in the 70's.

I felt uncomfortable there because most of the people attending were from very conservative organizations. In fact, many people came up to me and told me I should not be there because of the magazine I worked for...I was not wanted in that seminar room...except from one person...the speaker that day...Tim Burgess. Tim, came up to me and said, "hey, I love your magazine and really respect your work..."

Three years later, after becoming friends and after Tim gave me great counsel on how to raise money for our poor magazine, I came to work for The Domain Group, now Merkle|Domain.

At that time I could not honestly say that Tim was a big supporter of gay rights, however, he was accepting of people who were gay. And, while he was involved in the beginning on the CWA account, over time he went from not being involved on the account to actively trying to get rid of the account with a group of us progressive employees. Eventually we won out, fired the client and had a great happy hour celebrating.

And, yes it was a compromise for me and all the other liberal, progressive employees to work at a company that had CWA as a client, but it was one we made because of all the amazing work we were able to do for clients who helped feed hungry people, help people during disasters, protected animals and the enviroment, worked to help children of prisoners...and the list goes on. All the while, working within the agency along with Tim, to bring in other business so we could fire CWA.

For all those who say that you would not make that compromise, I applaud you, but life and business is not always so easy...if we had just fired CWA at the time, we'd also have to let five employees go too. And, I know there are many of you who would still say that is not enough to compromise your beliefs, but I'm saying it's just not always that easy.

While I understand that the Gay and Lesbian community may not be able to trust Tim due to his past involvement with CWA, I can tell you, as someone that knows Tim, that you can. I know that over time, Tim's views changed and that he supports equal rights for all people, that all should have the ability in the eyes of the state to be married no matter what their sexual orientation.

How did this change happen? Well, I guess like it did for me and many heterosexual people...we actually became friends with gay and lesbians and realized they were no different than us, that they loved like we did, were people of faith...and were just as messed up as us heterosexuals. I know that Tim would be embarrassed that I'm revealing this, but I want to tell this story so that you really understand what type of man Tim Burgess is. When one of my colleagues at The Domain Group, who was a gay man, learned that he had acquired AIDS, it was Tim that he confided in first. Why, because he knew Tim would accept him and his situation. And, when he was in the final weeks of his life, it was Tim Burgess that appealled to my colleague's insurance company to get them to pay for hospice care when they rejected him. And, when he died, it was Tim who did his eulogy, requested by my colleague. That experience, along with many others over the past several years, changed Tim and his opinions about the rights of gay and lesbian people. He went from accepting gay and lesbian people for who they were to full support of their civil rights.

Now, you don't have to believe can still hold on to your "story" playing in your head about how Tim must be a bad person because he once had a bad client, but I ask you to ponder that there is another side to this, that as someone who knows Tim well, has a handle on the real facts, not a story, that maybe Tim really is the kind of person who needs to be representing the citizens of Seattle on city council. A person, who is bursting with integrity, creativity, passion and a drive to make Seattle a better place for everyone.

So, Dan, while I respect your work and the work of The Stranger, I urge you before you rush to judgement that you sit down with Tim and hear the real facts from Tim, talk to people like me who know Tim and then you can write your story. I'm telling you, you will not find a man more passionate about the city of Seattle and ALL it's people than Tim Burgess.

Posted by JS | August 31, 2007 8:29 PM

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