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.