Campaign Fizz: Classless War in Renton

By Erica C. Barnett October 5, 2011

Your one-stop shop for today's local campaign news, gossip, and analysis. 

• Rosemary Quesenberry, a supporter of Renton City Council candidate Robin Jones, distributed documents today she said demonstrate Jones' opponent Ed Prince's "personal irresponsibility, lack of integrity, as well as poor judgment, characteristics unbecoming to a city council member."

Ed Prince, Renton City Council candidate

Prince's alleged crimes? He was unable to pay his mortgage (in Quesenberry's terms, "the 'default' incident); he received an overpayment from unemployment security ("the 'employment fraud' incident"), and he had his paycheck garnished by a creditor ("the 'Bank of America' incident.")

In her letter, Quesenberry writes that although Prince's debt to Bank of America, at just under $1,300, is
the smallest of the incidents represented here in monetary terms, the written letter from Ed Prince is telling. In my opinion it reveals his true character. Ed Prince begins [by] admitting that he owes the debt, makes a series of excuses and then finishes with threats against the firm representing the debt holder. It is a must read!

Politically, it's pretty tone-deaf, during the Great Recession, to vilify a candidate for losing his job and ending up in debt.

Read the letter and judge for yourself, but the way I read it is this: Prince agreed to pay the debt; repeatedly called the creditor asking to set up payment arrangements, but never received the paperwork; and was finally served with a lawsuit at his house, prompting him to say he would contact the state attorney general's office to complain if the creditor, a company called Merchants Credit, did not send him a list of what he owed so he could pay it.

Contacted this afternoon, Prince said he lost his job just as he and his wife were adopting a baby and was no longer able to keep up with the mortgage payments on their three-bedroom Renton condo. "We made a deal with the bank where we gave them the keys, cleaned the house, and walked away," he says. "There was no foreclosure."

Prince chalked the attack up to the fact that "Robin and I have been running against one another since June, and he hasn't been able to get endorsements."

"It's just kind of funny to me that [Quesenberry's] trying to use something like this, in this economy that we're in, to make it seem like I'm irresponsible."

As for the unemployment insurance, Prince says his former employer disputed the amount he was being paid in unemployment compensation. "They contested it and they won, and I'm paying it back" now, he says.

• King County Council member Jane Hague announced a half-dozen business and real-estate endorsements yesterday, including the Rental Housing Association, the Affordable Housing Council, the Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy (the Seattle/King County Chamber of Commerce's political arm), and the Eastside Business Alliance. Hague, a Republican, is in a tough battle for reelection against Democratic challenger Richard Mitchell, a Mercer Island attorney who served as counsel to Gov. Chris Gregoire.

• The Redmond City Council has voted to oppose Tim Eyman's anti-toll, anti-light rail Initiative 1125, "fearing it would raise costs and jeopardize the S.R. 520 bridge project," the reports.
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