Guest Commentary | Keep Kirkland Family Friendly

Note: The following letter has been broadly distributed around town and was forwarded to us by several readers. It refers to a promotional activity involving bikini-clad women during the Kirkland Classic Car Show which took place last month. - Editor

August 10, 2010 Dear Neighbor,

Origins of Keep Kirkland Family Friendly Initiative

The initiative to Keep Kirkland Family Friendly began in response to offensive promotional activity in downtown at community events.

The Incident One particular incident occurred on a Sunday afternoon in August 2010 while my husband, eight-year son and I attended the Kirkland Classic Car Show. We were actually participating in a water balloon race and were listening to the Andante – Kirkland Youth Choir perform when were exposed to “entertainers” walking all through the streets of downtown in Brazilian cut swimwear and high heels – see photos. Later, when we went to buy my little boy an ice cream cone, they were in Coffee & Cone, the ice cream store – see photos.

I feel that this type of promotional activity is completely inappropriate for a community event. I don’t want to be exposed to it and I certainly don’t want my son or any other children exposed to it.

More importantly, I’m concerned with the direction promotional activity in our city will head if we don’t address the issue. For example, at the Wednesday Market will Lover’s Package have “models” in lingerie, Deseret Sun have “entertainers” in thongs, and Tiki Joe’s have “go-go” dancers?

Who’s Responsible? This specific incident happened during the 2010 Kirkland Classic Car Show, which is put on by Legends Car Club. Jon Helle owner of Bikini Beach is a sponsor of the Car show and hired the “entertainers”. The event is permitted through the City of Kirkland Parks Department as a special event. I’ve spoke with all three parties with little result.

Legends Car Club Chair Teri Fletcher (sic) was reluctant to put any kind of restraints on Jon Helle’s promotional activity stating he is one of their biggest sponsors and fees for the event must be paid in advance. I spoke with Bikini Beach owner, Jon Helle (sic) during the event to express my objections with his promotional activity for a community event he told me if I “don’t want my son exposed to it don’t bring him downtown”.

Although the Parks Department admits there are “numerous complaints every year” for this specific issue, they are unaware of any of regulation they can employ to curb the inappropriate commercial promotional activity.

The Parks Department has a “de-briefing” on the event this Friday, August 11th. I have submitted a letter of complaint, along with photos to ensure the issue is formally addressed. If you would like to support the KKFF Initiative please give a quick call to the Parks Department and let them know you find this type of promotional activity objectionable. Please Call 425 – 587 3347, Sudie Elkayssi, Parks Department Special Event Permitting

Additional Action I will be taking additional action to address this issue at all levels of the city government and will enlist community leaders including KAN, Neighborhood Associations, and Eastside Moms to protect our collective interests. In addition, I will pursue violations in planning, code enforcement, city, and county ordinances and licensing. Further, I will contact local media outlets to reach out to the community.

Although the current focus of KKFF is cleaning up objectionable promotional activity, KKFF has an ongoing mission to preserve a community atmosphere throughout the City of Kirkland.

Thank you for Supporting Our Community.

Jennifer Todd Keep Kirkland Family Friendly Initiative