Recall campaign: Lynnwood a ‘regional embarrassment’ due to shirtless councilmember

Apr 12, 2023, 2:25 PM | Updated: May 4, 2023, 10:34 am


Joshua Binda (left) in a city council meeting responding to public comment (Photo from Lynnwood City Council meeting)

(Photo from Lynnwood City Council meeting)

A recall campaign against Lynnwood City Councilmember Joshua Binda is underway after he was embroiled in controversy for posting a shirtless picture last month to promote his speaking tour for students, which some claimed was “sexual.”

Binda posted the photo March 19 as part of a promotion for his speaking tour at local middle and high schools. The post features Binda posing shirtless, highlighting a tattoo on his arm that reads “Love Conquers All” — the name of his tour. In addition to his council position, he is the CEO of Josh Binda Speaks LLC and regularly speaks at schools about youth leadership, unity, and cooperation.

Lynnwood council member under fire for posting shirtless photo

Several members of the community spoke during a public comment period Monday about why they thought Binda should resign from his position, stating that he was being a negative role model.

“Now, I don’t assume the worst about councilmember Binda, as far as I know, he is a young man that wanted to be involved in his community and got in over his head,” one resident said. “Young people are impressionable, and I believe that the council member has to do some self-reflection and put in some work before he is suitable for the role. My advice to Councilman Binda is: Take some time to find where you want to land and resign. We’ll all appreciate it.”

Binda’s “Love Conquers All” tour has reached more than 20,000 students across Washington state, focusing on the importance of leading with love and chasing their dreams. He was also chosen as one of 425 Business Magazine’s 30 under 30 brightest youngest professionals of 2022.

Some have criticized the movement against Binda, claiming the outrage about the Instagram post was racist and that the over-sexualization of the image was never meant to be provocative.

Rantz: Council member blames racism for ‘sexualized’ photo criticism

“In the city of Lynnwood, racism is thriving. The same group that is prepared for a recall campaign against a Black man also wants to dismantle the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Commission,” one resident spoke in support of Binda. “This group created tee shirts that resemble the Black Lives Matter logo to demand his resignation. They seek to silence his voice that does not want to emulate or simulate white culture.”

“Lynnwood is agonizingly devolving into a regional embarrassment,” a resident said at the meeting. “I asked the community if it was racism that caused this council member to file his PDC report 280 days late. Was it racism that compelled the councilmember to spend nearly $2,800 of campaign funds for personal use? Was it racism that caused the council member to use public resources for the promo video for a paid speaking tour? Now I ask this chamber when will this embarrassment end.”

Binda was previously fined $1,000 in January for using campaign funds for personal use. He also received a citation for filing a post-election report 280 days late. He is currently under investigation by the City of Lynnwood for filming a promotional video for his speaking tour inside city council chambers.

“I first want to start by addressing everyone’s comments here, but I just really want to break the cycle of hatred. I think we live in a really divisive world where people who differ, who have different perspectives, and who come from different parts of the world just find a way to attack each other,” Binda said. “You guys are members of my community, and as much as we may disagree, I still represent you. I want to make sure that you know I will keep representing you the best I can. All that to say that I will not be resigning. I will stay right here and keep being unapologetically who I am, who God made me.”

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Recall campaign: Lynnwood a ‘regional embarrassment’ due to shirtless councilmember