Look at the man behind the candidate
I was among the 1,500 recipients of an e-mail message from former Edmonds City Councilmember Michael Plunkett asking us to elect Randy Hayden to the City Council.
Mr. Plunkett’s message was that “special interests continue to run candidates that will support tall buildings on the Edmonds waterfront” and that Mr. Hayden, who is running against Kristiana Johnson, is on the record as an opponent of increased building heights along the “downtown corridor.”
I am a supporter of the incumbent, Kristiana Johnson, who has served on many committees, boards and commissions in Edmonds.
But I was curious about the Man in the Black Hat pictured on Mr. Plunkett’s e-mail message. I began by watching a candidates’ forum sponsored by the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce.
At first glance, general contractor Randy Haden comes across as a soft spoken, humble and polite gentleman who has nice things to say about our city.
Like all of the other council candidates, his top priorities are “roads” and “public safety.”
His only substantive comments concern height limitations. He asserts that “once you allow 55-foot buildings, you open the door to litigation.”
So I decided it was time to peel off the veneer. What I found underneath the façade was unnerving.
Mr. Haden hosted a campaign kick-off event self-titled as the “2nd Amendment Campaign Kick Off.”
He invited Edmonds voters to “come to my campaign kick-off and celebrate your 2nd Amendment rights with a day of target shooting; bring your Guns and Ammo.” http://events.seattlepi.com/arlington_wa/events/show/337541523-2nd-amendment-campaign-kick-off
According to the data gathered by Project Vote Smart, Mr. Haden receives a 92% rating from the National Rifle Association. http://votesmart.org/candidate/evaluations/140142/randy-hayden#.UlbmJFPiRli
Mr. Haden is a co-organizer of the group, We Surround Puget Sound 9/12. Notices of their “meet-ups” are posted on a “Tea Party” website http://tea-party.meetup.com/cities/us/wa/seattle/
The group is a local chapter of the national 9-12 project founded by former FOX news commentator Glenn Beck who launched the organization on March 13, 2009.
As a candidate for Position 1 in the 32nd Legislative District in 2012, Mr. Haden spoke at a forum sponsored by the organization Uniting for God and Country.
The invitation to the event summoned Christians to “mobilize and vote according to their faith and values in both this primary and the upcoming general election.” https://www.facebook.com/events/351354834941529/?ref=22
But the most unsettling discovery came when I viewed Mr. Hayden’s favorites on his Facebook Page. Listed was Shahram Hadian with whom I was not familiar. Mr. Hadian is featured on You Tube speaking at a Guns Across America 2nd Amendment Rally in Olympia. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5_GI5XrOVA
It was difficult for me to sit through nearly 13 minutes of bellicose invectives alluding to our president as a dictator and inciting a potential riot.
It was a toxic stew of guns, God and reverence for the Second Amendment as the lynchpin of our Constitution. It is a message that I never heard on Sunday morning.
Writing has been a life-long hobby. This is the most difficult piece I have ever written. I have many friends among the Disciples of Plunkett and I fear some may walk away from me. But it is my duty as a citizen of Edmonds to share this letter with all of you.
Kristiana Johnson, in her opening statement at the candidates’ forum, asked us to consider “who we [as candidates] are, what our values are and what we bring to the table.” My research has brought to light the real Randy Hayden.