Public Disclosure Commission won't act on library complaints

The state Public Disclosure Commission has informed Renton residents that staff won't take any further action on complaints residents filed against the King County Library System and Renton Mayor Denis Law concerning the Aug. 7 election.

In an email sent to the Renton Reporter, Lori Anderson, PDC spokesperson, summarized the reasoning behind the PDC decision not to investigate any further the actions of KCLS and Law that residents took fault with ahead of the vote to select a location for the downtown Renton library.

"The PDC staff has notified K. Lambert and Beth Asher, et al. that we will not be taking further action on their complaints," wrote Anderson in an email.

The letters were sent out on Feb. 15.By July 2012, at least five people had complained to the PDC about KCLS' letter sent to Renton residents, which detailed library redevelopment plans in the city. They alleged that KCLS used public money to sway Renton residents into voting for the Piazza site location on the Proposition 1 ballot measure for the Aug. 7 election.

Anderson's summary of the PDC's decision states the following reason for their rejection of that claim:

"The PDC’s staffs initial findings are that the statements in July 2, 2012 letter sent by KCLS were based on information the agency received from architectural design firms, professional cost estimators, and on KCLS’ own experience in commissioning library buildings.  The PDC staff found no evidence that KCLS acted in bad faith in using the $13.1 million Cedar River library renovation estimate, that the numbers expressed were the numbers on which the agency relied, and that the KCLS letter to not sent for the purpose of promoting or opposing a ballot proposition."

In August 2012, Renton resident Kal Lambert also filed a complaint with the PDC against Mayor Denis Law and named the Renton Reporter as a witness. Lambert alleged that Law "acted inappropriately with respect to prescribed activities of an elected official," he stated in his complaint.

He also claims Law favored one cost estimate over another, presumably preferring one site over another, based on a quote from Law that appeared in the Renton Reporter.

The PDC found in their investigation that Law "is not restricted in expressing his personal views concerning a ballot measure, so long as he does not use public facilities when expressing his support or opposition," wrote Anderson.

"The letter to Mr. Lambert points out that so long as he was responding to a reporter’s questions, Mayor Law is free to say anything he wishes," Anderson said.


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