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PDC dismisses complaints against Svardh
The Washington State Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) has dismissed multiple complaints against North Kitsap resident Michael Svardh, with regard to allegedly false and biased statements he made during the 2002 county elections.
The complaint cited nine statements, all of which were ruled to not violate disclosure laws. The ruling took so long due to difficulty....in verifying the factual basis for many of the statements...that were the subject of the complaint according to a letter sent to Svardh from the PDC.
Svardh said he was happy about the ruling, that it served to clear his name.
When you reported this back in 2002 you ran a six inch by eight inch story about the charges, Svardh said. I would hope youd give me that amount of space to say they were dismissed.
In the ruling, the PDC maintained many of these statements reflected only Svardhs opinion and were protected by free speech.
The PDC also dismissed a complaint by consultant Jim King, who disagreed with the assertion he was affiliated with North Kitsap Commissioner Chris Endresen in her efforts to turn Old Man House over to the Suquamish Tribe.
While Svardhs 2002 efforts were focused on defeating then-commissioner Tim Botkin, he has now taken on Endresen in her re-election bid. He has sponsored a web site (www.fireenedresen.com) and has attempted to enter his Fire Endresen cannon in several local parades.
The web site contains approximately 11,000 words on a single page, most criticizing Endresen for one transgression or another. When asked what percentage of the assertions on the site were 100 percent accurate, he said there is no such thing as 100 percent accurate. It depends on who you talk to. There are some people who might say my links are wrong.
Botkin, who still quarrels with Svardhs accuracy, said he did not know how these assertions influenced the election results.
At the time I didnt think anyone was listening to him, Botkin said. His allegations were pretty out there. Did I underestimate him? I underestimated something.
Botkin feels that Svardhs tactics obscure intelligent discourse.
He presents outrageous things and when hes corrected he says oh, I didnt know that. Its one thing to agree to disagree. But this level of attacking on the local level is disturbing. Where will it end?
While Svardh said he had the same burden of proof as a journalist, he admitted that mistakes do happen. He also seems to value expediency over accuracy.
You need to go with the information you have, when you have it, he said. It depends on your comfort level with the information but if there is something important, like an election, you need to put it out. The other option is to say nothing and stay home.