Case #59732
Respondent name: City of Medina Officials
Complainant name: Wilma Edmonds

The complaint alleged City of Medina officials may have violated RCW 42.17A.555 by using or authorizing the use of City of Medina facilities for the promotion of Proposition 1, a 2019 ballot proposition. PDC staff reviewed the allegations, the applicable statutes and rules, the mailer, and the response provided by Scott M. Missal, Medina City Attorney, to determine whether the record supports a finding of one or more violations. 

Based on these findings staff has determined, in this instance, the alleged use of public facilities to produce and distribute a mailer regarding Proposition 1 does not amount to a violation warranting further investigation. 

Staff’s review of the publication found that the majority of the content was a fair and objective presentation of facts, however there was some statements or phrases included such as “unstainable financial future,” and that “threatening the delivery of essential City services – police, fire, medical aid…” that were more inflammatory in nature rather than factual statements.  In addition, staff believes the statement “Medina’s property tax rate is the 4th lowest in King County” is not an objective statement or comparison, and the graphic using a dollar bill to indicate the amount received by the City of Medina, minimizes the amount of the proposed taxation level. 

PDC staff is reminding City of Medina officials that in the future when publishing election related information about a ballot proposition, that information be an objective and fair presentation of the facts in accordance with the statutes, rules and PDC Interpretation No. 04-02. 

Based on this information, the PDC finds that no further action is warranted and has dismissed this matter in accordance with RCW 42.17A.755(1). 

Disposition: Case Closed with Reminder (Resolved 12/16/2019)
Date opened: 11/05/2019
Area of Law: RCW 42.17A.555

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