Election 2014

Parks District Opponents Commandeer 911 Number

Proponents of a proposed Seattle parks district say opponents' claims are false, and that their alleged phone number, which starts with "911," isn't legal.

By Erica C. Barnett August 1, 2014

David Goldstein at Horse's Ass reports that the "No On Proposition 1" campaign—the campaign against the proposed Seattle Metropolitan Parks District—has been placing robocalls to voters from a suspiciously emergency-themed phone number: "911-9111," implying that the city's emergency operations department or the Seattle Police Department is on the line. 

Proponents say this may be an illegal misuse of the city's 911 system, and the police deparment says they're looking into it. UPDATE: When PubliCola called the number, we reached 911 emergency services. 

According to SPD officer Drew Fowler, calls returned to the number don't go to 911 (which, belying SPD's claim, is not accurate). "It is not associated with our 911 system in any way," Fowler says.

"I've heard rumors that [SPD investigators] know who it is, but we need proof beyond just rumors." Fowler says SPD's computer forensics experts are looking into the source of the calls before determining whether using the "911" prefix is illegal.

He adds that calling the number back will not connect a resident to any emergency services. 

We have a call out to the anti-parks district campaign

Metropolitan Parks District campaign spokesman Sandeep Kaushik says, "Our understanding is it’s completely illegal—they used a fake phone number for their robocall and, even worse, they started their number with 911. ... That's outrageously unnecessary. ...  I’m not a lawuer but it’s likely illegal." 

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