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Slog: Stranger Picks Up Our Conlin Story

By Josh Feit May 31, 2011

The Slog picked up on PubliCola's little burn on Richard Conlin.

Morning Fizz had the news on Friday. Here's the story: After Erica's reports on Seattle City Council president Richard Conlin's defensive and misleading blog post about the tunnel referendum, Conlin had to go in and change his post to make sure he was in line with city ethics rules.

Conlin's initial post, which got churlish about the signature gathering campaign and Mayor Mike McGinn's role in the anti-tunnel effort, ran the risk of crossing over into political campaigning.

The Slog adds some  follow-up reporting to Erica's story, quoting the email exchange between Conlin and Seattle Ethics and Elections Director Wayne Barnett, about the issue.
[Wayne] Barnett, who was contacted by Conlin asking about the post, says Conlin had been "dismissive of the vote, trying to minimize the importance of the vote" and mentioning the number of signatures gathered had attempted to "cast questions on the legitimacy of the referendum." Conlin insisted he was merely being factual.

"Even if it’s a fact, it’s a campaign issue," [Wayne] Barnett wrote in an email to Conlin. "Official City communications aren’t an appropriate place to weigh in on either side of that debate."

Conlin replied, "So, I can’t make a joke… is there an alternative way I can word the other two sentences?" Conlin removed the Seinfeld reference, deleted the portions about the mayor and the number of signatures, and rewrote the final line to say, "There are a variety of opinions as to what the outcome of this vote would actually mean."

No official complaint has been filed against Conlin with the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission, and Conlin has not yet replied to a request for comment.

It's a little weird that Slog doesn't credit Fizz and Erica with the initial reporting on the story (both outing Conlin's bias and the news that he changed his post), but I guess it's just a vicious biz.

For Conlin's response to the flap, read Erica's piece here.
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