Constantine all wrong on ad, group says
Dow Constantine's campaign for King County executive stood by a television ad the Washington Policy Center says misrepresents the think tank's positions on light rail, minimum wage and other issues.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Dow Constantine's campaign for King County executive stood by a television ad Wednesday the Washington Policy Center says misrepresents the think tank's positions on light rail, minimum wage and other issues.
Constantine's latest ad links his opponent, Susan Hutchison, whom it calls "too extreme for King County," with policy positions in a 313-page book she touted while emceeing WPC's annual dinner last year.
The ad says the book calls for slashing the minimum wage, stopping light rail, opposing clean energy jobs and raising school class sizes.
"He spends the entire ad misleading the public on what our positions are," Washington Policy Center President Dann Mead Smith said.
Constantine spokesman Sandeep Kaushik defended the ad.
"We are being absolutely truthful," he said. "The real issue here is that they are rightfully terrified that when the voters of King County find out where Susan Hutchison really stands on the issues they will not vote for her — and they should be terrified."
An earlier Constantine ad displayed a headline that referred to Hutchison's support for WPC's Center for the Environment this way: "To Hutchison, 'environmentalist' means someone who doesn't believe in global warming."
The think tank doesn't deny global warming, its environmental director, Todd Myers said, but it has challenged "alarmists," including some local scientists, for allegedly exaggerating current and projected effects of climate change.
Constantine spokesman Kaushik said the WPC was "trying to split hairs on their position." The business-backed WPC promoted this month's premiere of the film "Not Evil Just Wrong," whose Web site says it proves the only threat from global warming is "the flawed science and sky-is-falling rhetoric of Al Gore and his allies in environmental extremism."
Hutchison said Constantine lied about WPC's positions and her endorsement of its policy guide.
"Lying is not a leadership trait," she said. ... It is absolutely wrong to portray them [WPC] as some radical right-wing organization and then it is doubly wrong to tie me to them because I suggested to people that they read the book."
Hutchison, who emceed six WPC dinners, directs the Charles Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences, which donated more than $100,000 to help WPC create an environmental center. At WPC's October 2008 dinner she called the WPC policy guide "one of the most extraordinary books" about Washington government and said, "This book makes you smart."
Here are some of the claims in the current Constantine ad about the WPC policy guide and what the guide says.
The claim: Supports slashing the minimum wage.
What the WPC guide says: Stop automatic inflation-based increases in minimum wage, and count restaurant tips as part of wage earnings.
The claim: Opposes new clean-energy jobs.
What WPC guide says: Drop state targets for creation of new "green-collar" jobs, because the target may lead to economic inefficiency.
The claim: Wants to stop light rail.
What WPC guide says: "Reduce spending on costly and ineffective fixed-route mass transit" and improve highways. (This was written before voters passed Sound Transit 2 light-rail expansion.)
The claim: Supports raising school class sizes
What WPC guide says: Give more budget authority to school principals and "remove restrictive class size requirements."
Keith Ervin: 206-464-2105 or email@example.com
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