Opinion

Defending candidate's reputation

reputation As I write this letter, the final results of the Woodinville City Council race are unknown, so this is neither a cry of victory, nor a wail of defeat.
    Either way, I am compelled to defend the reputation of my wife, Barbara Solberg, who, in my opinion, was unfairly attacked during the campaign by her opponent and his sponsors, the "Friends of Woodinville."
    A cornerstone of Walter Backstrom's campaign was the endorsement he received by an Eastside newspaper. The endorsement included two negative comments about Barbara: she was the spokesperson for the Woodinville NO Committee which fought the incorporation effort three-and-one-half years ago, and she was "disruptive" in the Woodinville community.
    Incorporation passed by less than 51% of the vote; does that mean over 49% of those who voted against incorporation are unfit to run for City Council? If not, why does such a restriction apply to the spokesperson?
    The rest of the negative endorsement also has no foundation; I challenge the Friends of Woodinville or anyone else to substantiate the remarks about Barbara being a disruptive influence in the Woodinville community.
    Backstrom was also endorsed by Mayor DeYoung, who compared any questions about his residency claim with the "whisper campaign" Barbara conducted about her [DeYoung's] residency in the 1992 election.
    The DeYoung residency controversy was public knowledge long before the 1992 election; the complete story was published in the Woodinville Weekly the week before the election. Is that a new definition of "whisper?"
    Regarding Backstrom's residency, Barbara was advised in August that he voted in Bothell in November 1994. Barbara ignored this information prior to the Primary and General Election.
    When the Backstrom residency question was disclosed, without her knowledge, in another newspaper, she made no comment or use of it in her campaign. Some whisper campaign!
    Regarding Backstrom's published remarks about the voters rejecting "..the dirty tricks by our opponents:"
    To start with, compare the positive campaign literature of Solberg, Engel, and Dixon with the negative accusations of their opponents.
    In particular, look at the "Woodinville Free Press," distributed three days before the election by the Friends of Woodinville. I estimate at least 75% of that "paper" was negative advertising about Solberg, Engel, and Dixon. Then defend the assertion of "dirty tricks."
    The comments by Backstrom are particularly galling to me because, during the campaign, Barbara received a variety of unsolicited negative information about Backstrom.
    Barbara was committed to positive politics and chose not to investigate or use any of the allegations about Backstrom in her campaign. For her ethics, she was rewarded by being publicly accused of having conducted a campaign of "dirty tricks."
    At this point, I feel strongly that anyone who wants to run for office in Woodinville, against the obvious existing political machine, should have their heads examined. Woodinville has potential, but the power base is strong, and in my view, it is not interested in the vision of most Woodinville citizens.

Andy Solberg, Woodinville