From The Political Junkie: Crawford’s Secret EmailsPermalink +
Tue, Apr 26, 2011, 3:39 pm // Riley Sweeney
Sam Crawford is the current County Council president and seems to have a little trouble with transparency laws. As a public official, his emails are public record if they pertain to county business. This is a pretty simple matter, for most people. The County sets up an email address firstname.lastname@example.org and the public official uses the public email for the public's business and private email for private business.
Unfortunately, Sam Crawford feels the rules don't apply to him. He uses his private email AND his public email for county business. Sometimes, he forwards a copy to the records department. Sometimes.
Recently, Mr. Crawford was busted by the Bellingham Herald for not only sending out emails from his private account about county business but, in the same email, asking people to delete the evidence! Luckily, one of these people had a conscience and forwarded it to Jared Paben at the Herald, who reported about it. Here is the juicy part:
Then, at about 11:30 a.m., using his personal e-mail account, he forwarded that e-mail with new text to other people. But, at the end of the new text, he wrote, “If you forward this email, PLEASE remove the elements that indicate I sent it to you using my personal email, as well as this introductory commentary. Thank you!”
This is not Sam Crawford's first shady dealing. When Bob Kelly resigned from the Council in November of 2009, Sam Crawford, Ward Nelson, and Pete Kremen met behind closed doors to stonewall the nomination process and ensure that Ward Nelson was appointed to the additional term. This move was so ethically suspect that lawyers, the Attorney General's office, and an official ethics complaint were all involved in trying to straighten out what happened.
Then there was the matter of his quid-pro-quo arrangement with CAITIC, one of the large developers in town. Sam Crawford received an email from a CAITIC representative that stated CAITIC had paid for Kathy Kershner and Bill Knutzen's election. When the public tried to get their hands on that email, oops, it had disappeared.
So, with all this background in place, I did a public records request on any emails to or from Sam Crawford's private email account in the last year or so from a handful of sources. The process here is that the public records officer logs into the county email system and searches for any emails that have passed to or from Sam Crawford's private email account, then sends them back to me.
HOWEVER, some of the people requested do not use the county email system, so the public records officer sends them a polite email asking if they could forward him any relevant emails.
Do you see the problem with this system? You would never see a police officer knock on a suspected drug dealer's door and say, "Excuse sir, but some people think you might be selling drugs. Could you please be ever so kind as to hand over any drugs you might have on the premises?" It doesn't work.
So I read through the pounds and pounds of emails. Lots of fascinating stuff about the Lummi Ferry dispute (some of which had to be redacted for legal reasons,) most of it procedural, but by far the most interesting emails were between Sam Crawford and David Onkels. Dave Onkels (or Dave6 as he is sometimes known online) is the newest County Planning Commissioner. Most of their emails were just back and forth about county business ("I had this idea," "you should read this,") except that they were from Crawford's private email account.
One of the emails, here, even has Crawford saying "I didn't send this to you." Clearly Sam Crawford, with his years of experience as a public official, knows better. The email, for those curious, was about this.
Sam Crawford knows what he is doing is breaking state law. He's just thumbing his nose at the public. Because he can.
Tue, Apr 26, 2011, 3:39 pm // Riley SweeneyRiley Sweeney does a public records request on Sam Crawford
5 comments; last on May 05, 2011
Fri, Apr 22, 2011, 7:38 pm // Riley SweeneyRiley Sweeney shares video of Jay Inslee's speech to the Whatcom Dems
1 comments; last on Apr 24, 2011
Tue, Apr 19, 2011, 12:15 am // Guest writerCitizens are denied access to the budget debate and evicted from the capitol while the media is blocked from the building
Sat, Apr 16, 2011, 11:19 am // Riley SweeneyRiley Sweeney reports on the April 15th Tea Party Rally
10 comments; last on Apr 20, 2011
Fri, Apr 15, 2011, 11:05 pm // Riley SweeneyTeaser for Riley Sweeney's article on Rally
1 comments; last on Apr 16, 2011
Sat, Apr 09, 2011, 11:50 am // Riley SweeneyRiley Sweeney highlights some Old School Politics
1 comments; last on Apr 10, 2011
Mon, Apr 04, 2011, 4:00 pm // Riley SweeneyRiley Sweeney reports on April 2nd Labor Rally
9 comments; last on Apr 09, 2011
Sun, Apr 03, 2011, 9:39 pm // John ServaisTom has filed as expected and will run against Pete Kremen for Whatcom County Executive office
1 comments; last on Apr 05, 2011
Election InfoCounty election results
State election results
Coal, Oil & Trains
Community Wise Bellingham
Powder River Basin R. C.
Local Blogs & NewsBellingham Herald
Bham Herald Politics Blog
Bham Politics & Economics
Friends of Whatcom
Get Whatcom Planning
League of Women Voters
Western Front - WWU
Local CausesChuckanut Community Forest
City Club of Bellingham
Futurewise - Whatcom
Lummi Island Quarry
N. Cascades Audubon
NW Holocaust Center
Reduce Jet Noise
Salish Sea Org.
Save the Granary Building
WA Conservation Voters
Whatcom Peace & Justice
Port of Bellingham
State election results
US - The White House
WA State Access
WA State Elections
WA State Legislature
Weather & ClimateCliff Mass Weather Blog
Nat Hurricane Center
Two day forecast
Watts Up With That? - climate
Edge of Sports
Famous Internet Skiers
Good Web SitesAl-Jazeera online
Foreign Policy in Focus
Innocence Project, The
Intrnational Herald Tribune
Julia Ioffe/New Republic
Middle East Times
New American Century
Paul Krugman - economics
Personal bio info
Portland Indy Media
Project Vote Smart
Stand for the Troops
Talking Points Memo
The Crisis Papers
War and Piece
NwCitizen 1995 - 2007Early Northwest Citizen
Quiet, Offline or DeadBellingham Police Activity
Citizens of Bellingham
Cordata & Meridian
Facebook Port Reform
N. Sound Conservancy
No Leaky Buckets
Protect Bellingham Parks
The American Telegraph