Targeted political attacks hit close to home

Hate speech and politically motivated attacks on Washington cities, counties and political parties have been ramping up in recent months and Clark County is no exception.
On Monday, Congressional candidate Joe Kent posted a video on social media alleging the Clark County Republican Party office on 114th Avenue in Vancouver was vandalized over the weekend. The vandals spray-painted messages about former Pres. Donald Trump, antifa, LGBTQ and Hamas on the office’s windows.
Kent, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez for the 3rd District seat, said the vandalism was “clearly by antifa.”
In the video, Kent said Perez “openly supports antifa and she wants to change Blue Dog Democrats into rural antifa.”
Perez refuted Kent’s claims and said political violence is unacceptable in any form.
“Whether committed against people or property, it causes fear and discourages peaceful participation in our democracy,” Perez said in a written statement on Monday.
The Clark County Democrats’ office on Fourth Plain Boulevard in Vancouver was vandalized in May when someone threw a rock through the window.
“The attacks on the offices of the Clark County Democratic Party and the Clark County Republican Party this year are unacceptable behavior, and I support our local law enforcement taking appropriate action against the perpetrators.”, Perez said in the statement.
But it’s not just candidates that are being targeted.
In early December, a livestream feed for Battle Ground’s city council meeting was interrupted after someone breached the city’s security measures and began broadcasting pornography that featured a racial slur-filled voiceover.
Battle Ground recently announced it was changing its meeting procedures and would now require anyone wanting to offer public comment virtually to submit a request at least 48 hours in advance.
Pierce County, King County, Port Angeles, Kenmore, Lynnwood, Tacoma and others have begun tightening security protocols after several city council and county council meetings were hijacked by callers defending Nazis, using profanity and anti-Semitic language.
A report from the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs’ showed that reported hate crimes in Washington increased from 177 in 2002 to 673 in 2022.

— Shari Phiel

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