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  • 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