“No on Parks” Campaign Uses 911 Caller ID to Hook Voters into Listening to Their Lying Robocall

If your phone rings today and you see “911-9111″ in the caller ID, don’t worry that it’s a reverse 911 call warning you about a toxic gas leak or an armed fugitive or something in your neighborhood. In fact, don’t pick it up at all. It’s just those lying liars from the “No on Parks” campaign attempting to trick you into listening to their robocall.

I’ve heard from several people who’ve picked up this call, initially alarmed that this might be coming from 911. One annoyed recipient posted a screen shot from his phone to Reddit. Pretty damn shady.

Also shady are the robocall’s now familiar claims that a Metropolitan Park District can “sell our parks, build stadiums, [and] fund development.” Bullshit scare tactics. All the evil that opponents claim the mayor and city council could do with parks money, they can already do now. But they don’t. Because they answer to voters.

But there’s one more subtle bit of trickier in this robocall. Near the end, before identifying who has paid for the call, the speaker says: “Join us, the League of Women Voters, and the Seattle Times.” Of course, that first comma can be read one of two ways—it could be understood to separate “us” from “the League of Women Voters,” or it could be understood to describe “us” as “the League of Women Voters.” The speaker glides through it in an intentionally* ambiguous manner.

Clever. But also incredibly dishonest. Just like the opponents entire lying lie-filled “No” campaign.

So don’t let bullshit win. Vote “Yes” on Prop 1.

UPDATE: To be clear, 206-911-9111 is not a valid phone number, and it has been suggested to me that such caller ID spoofing may in fact be illegal, punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 per violation. I won’t speculate further, but I’ve been told that this call went out to 100,000 voters, so if the courts were to interpret it as fraud, it could potentially add up to a $1 billion fine!


* And yes, the starting point is to assume that every detail in a political campaign is intentional. If it wasn’t, then the campaign’s Republican political consultant, Sharon Gilpin (who likes to tout herself as a “savvy political operative”), wouldn’t be doing her job.


  1. 1

    Theophrastus spews:

    This behavior is unquestionably illegal, and someone(s) ought to be dragged into court over this. What does the state attorney general say as to in who’s jurisdiction the indictment falls?

    Good for you for keeping on this exploding shit-storm, Goldy. Curiously, none of the other local media outlets seem motivated to cover it (one has to wonder why)

  2. 2

    Sloppy Travis Bickle spews:

    So, they intentionally intoned correct punctuation in a sentence?


  3. 3

    Deathfrogg spews:

    @ 1

    Falsifying official documents is a felony. State-owned phone numbers are official and considered documentation when communication happens.

    Someone just put themselves in prison.

  4. 4

    MikePhoto spews:

    They have shown a willingness to break the law, and spoof their caller-ID. Why should I trust them in anything else they say?

    Hopefully someone is taking a close look at this, and there will be some legal actions taken against these scammers.

    I just sent an email to their contact address (ourparksforever@gmail.com) asking why they were using these sleazeball tactics. The FCC frowns on spoofing caller ID for fraudulent purposes.

  5. 5

    Andy spews:

    I did get this call too.

    I just called Don Harper at Harper Electric (206) 281-9018

    He said he was not in charge of picking that number.

    If you got this call you should talk to Don and try to find out what is going on.

  6. 7

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @2 Imagine if you were having a heart attack, dialed what you thought was the “911” emergency number, and got a canned voice message saying, “Good afternoon, this is the Washington State Republican Party, I can take your donation information now …”

  7. 9

    Deathfrogg spews:

    RR @ 7

    If the Republicans had their way, and they have said this, 911 would be a pay-per-use service and one would be required to have a credit card number handy before making a report.

  8. 10

    Godwin spews:

    Further proof that you have abandoned the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, Goldy. Prop one is a power grab for your faves to privatize public spaces under the guise of “partnerships”. The only thing missing for your neo-lib credentials will be your support for Hillary Clinton as a “pragmatic” approach to opposing the GOP. Can’t wait….

  9. 12

    Better spews:

    This seems WAY above a normal response. Who is the organization that is going full court press illegal to defeat this? Why are they so terrified?

  10. 13

    headless lucy spews:

    How can you waste your time worrying about this when there are mechanics out there capable of keeping ferryboats running who are making a lot of money on overtime?

    Keep your priorities straight!

  11. 14

    MikePhoto spews:

    I wonder how many people tried to call back to complain, but instead reached 911. The city should be after these idiots, with a vengeance, for all of the false 911 calls they may have generated.

  12. 17

    Theophrastus spews:

    so if the courts were to interpret it as fraud, it could potentially add up to a $1 billion fine!

    and thus would cover the projected revenue of prop-1 over 20 fold; clearly a valuable revenue stream which ought not to be neglected. (“It’d go to the Feds you moron!” …ok, federal parks need love too)

  13. 18

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    We now live in an “anything goes” society. Some people think of freedom as a license for chicanery, dishonest, lying, stealing, corruption, and all manner of other abuses. They’re giving the word a bad reputation. The rest of the world must be looking at us and thinking, “We don’t want to be like them. We’ll stick with our strict religious rules.”

  14. 19

    Mike 0rtloff spews:

    Ah yes, those religious rules that make Hamas, Catholic priests and Westboro Baptist such glowing examples of altruism driven by religion. And since it’s a NEW thing, at what point in American history were we so very moral and ethical? 1860? 1951? March of 1968? Tell us oh wisest of representatives, WHAT POINT in American history were we so very PERFECT?!? Go back to worshiping death, torturing your women and children and leave the rest of us to try to make LIVING here and now – work…