BELLEVUE, WA – Backers of Initiative 591 in Washington State, whose campaign signs were stolen by a Bellevue resident and former city councilwoman who now faces possible theft charges, are asking for leniency from the Bellevue City Attorney in the case.
The appeal comes from Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, which is part of the Protect Our Gun Rights (POGR) coalition that is sponsoring I-591. Gottlieb also chairs the POGR/I-591 campaign.
Last week, former Bellevue councilwoman Margot Blacker, a supporter of a rival gun control measure, reportedly admitted to police that she stole two campaign signs belonging to the I-591 campaign. Blacker has also contributed $225 to the rival I-594 campaign. The story has gotten widespread attention from two Seattle television news agencies and the Seattle Times, and national attention from Reuters and Examiner.com, which broke the story.
“We’re asking that the city attorney show some leniency toward Mrs. Blacker,” Gottlieb said, “but only on the condition that she publicly apologizes for her action, promises not to do it again, and that she makes a contribution equal to or in excess of her I-594 donation, to LifeWire, a Bellevue-based domestic violence organization. LifeWire is the former Eastside Domestic Violence Program.
“While there is no excuse for stealing someone else’s property, especially when it is done by a partisan for one campaign taking something from a competing campaign,” he continued, “there are appropriate punishments. We think that an apology to the I-591 campaign and a donation to a deserving organization that supports victims of domestic violence in Blacker’s own community would be of far greater benefit than some court-ordered fine or other restitution.”
Gottlieb also said the I-594 campaign should repudiate Blacker’s actions, and return her contribution or donate it to a legitimate charity. Otherwise, he said, it would signal that the I-594 campaign condones her actions, and the attempt to stifle free speech.