Dirty Politics: Altered campaign sign falsely states endorsement by Kirkland Firefighters

Election sign of Kirkland City Council Candidate falsely claims "Endorsed by Kirkland Firefighters." The firefighters actually endorsed his opponent.

On Thursday morning I joined Kudos Kirkland volunteers working on the Market Street median. Directly across from our location, I spotted an interesting campaign sign in a vacant lot which caught my eye. It was a Jason Gardiner for Kirkland City Council campaign sign with the words "Endorsed by Kirkland Firefighters" stapled to it. Ordinarily, this might not draw one's attention except for the fact that the sign was planted not fifteen feet from a Bob Sternoff for Kirkland City Council sign claiming the same endorsement.

The Firefighters have endorsed Sternoff, not Gardiner in his challenge against Sternoff for his City Council Position 2 seat.

I spoke with both Sternoff and Gardiner about this matter, and neither of them knew who modified the sign. Further investigation has uncovered no other modified Gardiner campaign signs around town. "Really the only person who has put up my signs is me," said Gardiner in a phone interview. "I have not been endorsed by the Firefighters. I will take down that sign immediately." The modified sign has since been removed.

Both campaigns have experienced the usual level of sign "shrinkage": signs that mysteriously go missing, signs knocked over, signs mutilated or marred with tire treads.

The attempt to confuse voters by adding "Endorsed by Kirkland Firefighters" to campaign signs is in a different league entirely. Modifying campaign signs in such a manner is a deliberate attempt to trick voters. It is quite frankly dirty politics. Such shenanigans are uncalled for and shameful.

We, the voters, have a decision to make as to whom we want to represent us on the Kirkland City Council. No one has the right to interfere with the election or any campaign. The way to persuade voters is by presenting the more compelling case. There should be no tolerance for such dirty tricks.

The campaign sign modification has rightly been condemned by both candidates.