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Michael Medved

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Rantz: Seattle Councilmember Lisa Herbold sped through school crosswalk, had nearly 30 infractions

During a debate last week, supporters for Councilmember Lisa Herbold went on a social media campaign to highlight, in their view, an embarrassing history of traffic infractions by her opponent Phil Tavel. The attacks extended into the weekend.

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But it turns out Herbold has a much worse history, including speeding through a school crosswalk, driving on a suspended or revoked license, and illegally parking in a handicapped spot.

Heather Weiner, a political consultant and Herbold supporter, went on a Tweet-storm attacking Tavel. She called him out multiple times for 18 traffic infractions:

These tweets were picked up by progressive activists as they fight to maintain their control over the Seattle City Council. Behind the scenes, I’m told Weiner has been pushing opposition research against Tavel to area reporters, even though she doesn’t directly work for Herbold. The research isn’t really being picked up by the media, which explains why Weiner turned to her small Twitter account to push the desperate attacks.

It’s a bizarre strategy by Weiner, given Herbold has been charged with at least 26 driving infractions since 1992, much more than what they put out against Tavel, some for dangerous actions that even put school kids at risk.

Herbold was once charged with speeding through a school crosswalk in May of 2007. The court lists a finding of “committed” on the case, and Herbold paid a $229 fine. It’s not her only speeding ticket, according to court documents. In 2008, Herbold was ticketed for going 45 miles per hour in a 30 mile per hour zone, paying $206 in fines. In 2002, she paid $86 in fines for speeding 50 miles per hour  in a 40 mile per hour zone.

When consultant Weiner posted her onslaught of ticket-related criticisms, Tavel opponents and anti-car activists quickly pounced. Andres Salomon Tweeted: “Reckless driving displays a pretty clear lack of concern for public safety as well as selfishness. Not exactly the kind of features one desires in public servants.”

They don’t actually believe what they Tweet; they just think this will hurt Tavel. It won’t. Weiner herself criticizes Tavel for things Herbold did.

Those weren’t even Herbold’s only tickets. She has a long history of infractions, including driving on a suspended or revoked license (from 1994), parking in a spot marked disabled (from 1997), several seat-belt related tickets (two from 1993, one in 1994 and 1997), improperly stopping at a stop sign (from 2015), and driving without a license (two from 1993, one in 1994 and 1995).

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The Herbold campaign responded to a request by leveling attacks on Tavel for laughing at his record owing $1,000 in unpaid tickets, “since that amount would keep most working people up at night.”

No mention of Herbold’s privilege in fragrantly ignoring traffic laws, since she’s able to afford the over $1,600 worth of tickets that would keep most working people up at night. The campaign also said: “It’s not about being perfect; I’ve owed money before, too. But accountability matters. It’s important to me to take responsibility.”

Tavel confirmed to The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH that he has paid his outstanding tickets.

In my view, neither Tavel’s nor Herbold’s traffic infractions should disqualify them from consideration of your vote. But if Herbold supporters insist on these petty attacks, it would help if Herbold wasn’t as or even more guilty than the person you’re desperately going after.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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