A letter to the city council with a needle inside is an anonymous writer’s way of expressing their opinion about the council’s ongoing discussion of ethics.
The letter included a printout of the website EthicalWoodinville.com with a terse message scrawled in capital letters along the top: "THE SIMPLEST SOLUTION WOULD BE TO SEW SHUT ASPEN’S MOUTH."
The envelope, which was addressed to the Woodinville City Council and mailed on August 12 from Seattle, also held a needle and thread.
Deputy Mayor Liz Aspen said she received a copy of the letter in her council mailbox and was "disturbed" to see the needle.
She talked to Police Chief Sydney Jackson about the letter, but they agreed it would be difficult to trace since it was anonymous.
"I would be just as incensed if any other councilmember’s name was written on this letter. I am not bothered it was my name (this job has given me thick skin) and it’s ridiculous that they think I have something to do with this website which I do not," Aspen wrote in an email interview. "But the sending of a needle is what made me very angry. It is so unsafe to put something like that in the U.S. mail that might have hurt the letter handlers or one of our own city staff. That is taking things too far."
Aspen said the council has received anonymous mail before with rude comments about councilmembers or suggestions about how to handle an issue.
Although she said she could guess who might have sent the letter, she can’t say for sure.
Aspen initiated the council’s discussion of ethics and bullying in July after Councilmember Susan-Boundy Sanders sent an email to citizen groups calling Aspen "mean" and describing former mayor Lucy DeYoung as "The Evil Bitch-Queen."
Aspen originally suggested the council create consequences for councilmembers who bully or personally attack other councilmembers, but the ethics discussion grew to include creating a procedure to remove the mayor and deputy mayor from office.
At the council’s July 16 meeting, all the citizens who came to comment on the ethics discussion criticized the city council for spending too much time on personal conflicts at the expense of other city business.
EthicalWoodinville.com, in contrast, is a group that supports passing stricter ethics rules governing councilmembers’ behavior.
The anonymous site has sponsored calls and mailings to citizens urging them to contact the council to ask councilmembers to support the stricter ethics rules.
Members of EthicalWoodinville.com wrote in an email interview that they have not heard anything about the letter with the needle.
Councilmember Les Rubstello said the letter is "a disturbing thing to do, and we will hopefully not spend much time on it."
Aspen described the letter as another example of the bad behavior in Woodinville.
"I am not sure if citizens think they can behave badly because some of the city leadership does or the city leadership behaves badly because some of our citizens do," she wrote. "And as I have said before, it just needs to stop."