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Botkin sign brouhaha still brews

Bremerton resident Ken Akler says he purchased 250 red-and-white “Vote No — Tim Botkin” signs that have popped up around Kitsap County roadways in the last week.

And he claims those signs comply with state public disclosure laws.

Public Disclosure Commission spokesman Doug Ellis, however, said compliance division officials issued Akler a letter of warning on Monday which he should receive in the mail shortly.

Ellis said Akler is urged to comply with disclosure laws, which state when the first $100 is spent, a PDC report must be filed.

At issue is the fact Akler’s signs don’t provide a party affiliation for the candidate named on the sign — in this case, Botkin, who is the Kitsap County Commissioner from District 3.

He is seeking re-election this November, while Republican opponent Patty Lent is looking to remove him from the post.

Last week, Lent denounced the appearance of the signs, saying they employed negative tactics and were not a part of her campaign camp. Lent said she filed a formal complaint with the PDC.

Akler has never met Lent.

“This fight was between me and Mr. Botkin,” Akler said. “I have had nothing to do with Lent; I have never spoken with her. This was me.”

Akler maintains that he submitted to the PDC an independent expenditure report for the signs he had made, as required under state law.

“I sent it last week by registered mail,” he said.

On Monday, Ellis said he hadn’t seen the document yet.

Akler wouldn’t disclose how much money he spent on the signs against Botkin.

But he did say it was worth it.

“A lot of people — even my friends think I am crazy to have spent money on this, but my freedom is worth all the money I can come up with,” he said.

Ellis said so long as public disclosure laws are accurately followed any sign for or against a campaign is OK.

“If he had said vote ‘yes’ the problem would still have been the same,” Ellis said. “The party affiliation needs to be on the sign.”

Meanwhile, Kitsap County Sheriff’s deputies were reportedly called out to Silverdale on Sunday because some of the controversial signs were being pulled up, according to Akler.

Deputies took a report, which is being investigated.

Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer said Monday that once all the facts are gathered, the information will be forwarded to the appropriate agencies such as the PDC or the Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Office.

“I have been injured by these people,” said Akler of those who pulled up his signs.

Botkin’s wife, his campaign co-manager issued an e-mail press release on Monday asking people to not go out and pull up the signs. Anyone with concerns, she said, should contact the county Public Works Department.

Akler said he studied the PDC’s Web site and the rules and regulations governing campaign signs and believed he had followed the letter of the law.

Meanwhile, Ellis said a separate expenditure report arrived at the PDC on Monday, Oct. 14.

In it, Michael Svardh of Hansville disclosed he spent $314 on campaign signs that are in opposition of Botkin.

According to the report, the signs also include the proper party affiliation identification.

“It sounded as though he understood the law in his filing,” Ellis said.

According to the report, the signs read: Dump Bot“king.”

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