“Town Hall Meeting with 42nd District Legislators
Our Republican legislators are having town halls on Saturday to discuss what’s going on in the Legislature and Democrats are organizing people to disrupt these meetings. Don’t let them go Wisconsin on us! You are encouraged to peacefully participate at Saturday’s Town Hall meeting.
-Peter Graves. Washington State Republican Party”
As the communications director for the Whatcom County Democrats, I wasn’t aware of any party members who were planning on being disruptive, much less pulling a “Wisconson” (as if generating broad public support to peacefully congregate against anti-worker legislation is bad thing?) Now, I know several Democrats who wanted to hear their legislators talk and politely ask them questions. And that is what happened. Still, its sad that the local GOP continues to feel compelled to use fear to motivate its members. “Watch out, those scary Democrats might show up and ask someone a question. They’re disruptive.” OoooOOoo.
HOWEVER, I would like to note one altercation that happened there.
Shane Roth, local blogger at Latte Republic and friend of The Political Junkie, is known for filming local political events. He and his camera have been at many a council meeting or public hearing. Because this was a public event, paid for with our tax dollars, he showed up to film our representatives answering questions. As a good member of the citizen press, he arrived, set up his camera and plug it into the PA system so that he could record some quality audio.
That’s when Sen. Doug Ericksen apparently flipped out. He demanded that Shane remove his plug from the PA system and not be able to get good audio of this event. Shane refused, saying he needed to get a quality recording of the event and the PA system was the best way to do that. Ericksen threatened to have him arrested. Sure, call the cops. I just want to record this public event. I’m not trying to do anything illegal, just record what our representatives have to say, Shane said.
Ericksen continued to berate and demand that Shane be denied audio access until a Lynden School District employee came over and, at Ericksen’s biddng, removed Shane’s sound cord. Shane didn’t want to escalate the situation so he contented himself with getting the best sound he could.
You can read Shane’s account himself here.
If you are looking for a republican view on what happened, check out Wally Wonders Why’s account here. He did not notice any disruptive Democrats either.
So this just leaves the question, what was Doug Ericksen so worried about? With all the video “sting” operations by the Tea Party folks making the news recently (NPR, Planned Parenthood), was he worried that the local Democrats were going to use his own tactics against him? That they were going to cut and paste his words to make him look ridiculous?
Or was he more concerned that they wouldn’t have to? That merely recording and replaying him speaking would be dangerous? Those are questions only Doug Ericksen can answer.