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October 28, 2011


STATEMENT FROM MOVE BELLEVUE FORWARD REGARDING 

RECENT NEGATIVE CAMPAIGNING TACTICS



BELLEVUE - Recently, negative campaign mailers were sent out to many Bellevue residents attempting to discredit city council candidate John Stokes' experience as a professional attorney.  We recently learned that these mailers were funded by a political action committee largely supported by various developers who have expressed opposition to light rail.  Mr. Stokes has been endorsed by Move Bellevue Forward for his commitment to our parks, schools, public safety, light rail, and economic growth.  


It is unfortunate that these negative campaign smear tactics are being resorted to in Bellevue's political arena. Not only are the allegations on the mailer deliberately misleading, they also attempt to launch personal attacks and only serve to distract voters away from the real issues that Bellevue residents should be concerned about.  


We have since corresponded with Mr. Stokes regarding this mailer and have received a response in which tells the entire story surrounding these so-called allegations, as copied below.


Move Bellevue Forward is a non partisan, grassroots, city-wide coalition that supports responsible implementation of light rail in Bellevue and supports the vision set forth in the Downtown and the Bel-Red plans. It includes more than 160 members representing neighborhoods throughout the city of Bellevue.


STATEMENT FROM JOHN STOKES

October 28, 2011


A sad day: the politics of personal destruction arrived in Bellevue. Thousands of voters in Bellevue received an innuendo-filled and grossly inaccurate mailing from political committees funded by Kemper Freeman and the Wallace family on behalf of their son, Bellevue City councilmember Kevin Wallace and council candidate Aaron Laing. Here are the facts.


The allegation is that I have said I was an attorney but have not been licensed in Washington State and no longer had a license to practice law in Texas. That is an outright lie. I have been licensed in Texas since 1965 and continue to this day to be a member of the Texas Bar, license #19273000. I did not become licensed in Washington State because I did not practice private law here.


As a federal attorney, I provided legal services in Washington State as a lawyer in the Office of Hearings and Appeals, Social Security Administration for 18 years until my retirement in 2008. As a federal attorney, I could do this in Washington State because I have always been admitted to the bar in the state of Texas. Over two decades ago before we moved to Bellevue, a client and I had a significant difference of opinion about how to handle their case. I should have handled the situation better and when the client complained to the Texas Bar, I admitted my mistake.


At no time did I lose my right to practice law and I was neither fined nor ordered to pay restitution. I learned that better communications with clients was very important and I was a better lawyer for the experience.


I am proud of my record helping people in the legal system both in private practice in Texas and with SSA in Washington. One blip in 40 years of being an active attorney is a pretty good record.


As for the allegations around the PDC reporting, again the piece is misleading at best. A complaint was filed over my campaign’s misfiling of certain expenditures, which have been rectified. The PDC is investigating the complaint as it is required to do, and there is no “professional misconduct” nor are there “multiple campaign law violations.” Again, these are falsehoods for devious purposes.


My questions are: why have Kemper Freeman and the Wallace family gone to such depths to smear my reputation? Do they fear my independence and determination to represent all of Bellevue, not just their interests? Do they really need yet another captured vote on the council? What is it that Kemper Freeman and Kevin Wallace have to hide? Are they trying to kill light rail? Do they want upzones for their properties only that will benefit them?


It is telling that they went to such extremes to hide their identity from the public. Freeman and Wallace and their political guru, the Madison Group, formed multiple political action committees to hide their identity. The Madison Group is best known for its support of corrupt Alaskan politicians. Do we need that type of politics here in Bellevue?


I am running a positive campaign for the future of Bellevue; the opposition is slinging mud. I have a solid record of work in Bellevue for the good of all in PTSA, Bellevue Schools Foundation, the Parks & Community Services Board, Eastside Heritage Center and in the Human Services community. I have been endorsed by the Seattle Times and the Bellevue Reporter. Let’s get back to the issues of how best to bring light rail to Bellevue and the direction of the future of this great city. I would love to talk about that, not defend against smears and childish accusations.


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