Published October 30, 2012
Romero to give away JZ Knight's campaign cashBRAD SHANNON
Echoing moves by the state Democratic Party and other candidates, Thurston County Commissioner Sandra Romero said Tuesday night she is giving away $3,600 in campaign contributions received from Yelm-based channeler JZ Knight, whose comments about Catholics, Mexicans and gays have caused a political stir. Romero, who was the last South Sound candidate to defy Republican calls to give the money back, went a step further than the party, congressional candidate Denny Heck, or state Senate candidate Bruce Lachney – all of whom are donating money received from Knight to political causes or charity. Romero also called on Knight to “retract” her statements, describing them as “highly offensive” and “grossly disparaging of a large portion of the people who live in Thurston County.” Spokesmen for Knight and her Ramtha School of Enlightenment have said her remarks were taken out of context during a talk about the sexual abuse by Catholic priests and that she has always supported gays and lesbians. But in a news release, linked here, Romero said new videos released Friday (which prompted state Democrats to give away $70,000 received from Knight) offered clearer evidence:
Unlike the other videos that were heavily edited, spliced and taken out of context this most recent one appeared to be undoctored. I am appalled by Ms. Knight's outrageous anti-Mexican, anti-Catholic raging. These vile, racist, and divisive comments against responsible and caring people have no place in Thurston County, or anywhere else. I am particularly stunned by these anti-human rights comments from her, because of her otherwise very positive record of supporting scholarships for students in the Yelm area, her support for positive environmental organizations and policies, her support of local social service agencies and her significant contributions to the economy in southeast Thurston County. However, these hateful comments are the complete opposite of everything I stand for. I denounce them. I condemn them.The Democrat said she is giving the money to two charities – one sponsored by SafePlace in Olympia and that assists Latina victims of domestic violence and another, called C.I.E.L.O., that serves as a cultural center for Latinos and others in the community, Romero said. Romero and other Democrats had been under pressure from state Republican Party chairman Kirby Wilbur to distance themselves from the comments. Her Republican challenger, Andrew Barkis, also called for her to so. Blog posts here and here carry some of the details of the comments captured in videotapes. The first tape spliced footage of Knight speaking with other footage from Romero’s attendance at a candidate forum at Knight’s Ramtha School of Enlightenment. Other videos showing Knight talking about gay men being former Catholic women and one showing her talk about Mexican immigrants breeding like rabbits were posted online by the Freedom Foundation, a think tank that has tangled with Thurston County commissioners over land-use issues.