By Miki Mullor
Sammamish City Council Candidate Josh Amato did not respond to tough questions raised regarding the veracity of his candidacy announcement concerning an arrest and a recent attempt to scrub his 2010 ties to a white supremacy hate group.
Instead, Amato’s sister posted a comment on our story, largely backing Amato’s version of the events. The sister’s comment, however, leaves many questions open.
The Sammamish Comment asked Amato for further clarifications – three days ago – with no response from the candidate. Amato also ignored requests to comment on the original story.
In a blog post responding to questions about his history as a Republican, Amato said “as uncomfortable as confrontation may be, I believe it is absolutely your right to ask tough questions of those asking for your vote.”
Instead, his supporters are now attacking The Comment for highlighting the issues with his campaign’s obfuscations.
UPDATE [Oct 25]: after ignoring our interview questions, Amato told Lin Yang’s blog the Comment “did not talk to him ti understand the full story.” – another falsehood from Amato, refuted by copies of the emails we sent him prior to publishing our stories. See more at the bottom of this story.
No responses from Amato – sister responds
A day before we published our original story, we asked Amato for his comments. Amato had knowledge of the police report since at least March 2021, an email shows, so the details in it were not a surprise to him.
Amato did not respond. After the story appeared, his sister posted a comment, largely backing Amato’s videotaped version of the events that was posted on his campaign website.
“Josh’s goal that night was to get my boyfriend to leave, and to keep me safe from a man who was obviously drunk and angry. I never once heard a death threat or anything racist, not from Josh or anyone else. When it was clear that my boyfriend would not leave and would continue to escalate the situation, Josh and the others left. They had the cooler heads in the situation,” wrote the sister in a comment to our story. The complete text of the comment can be seen here.
The sister explained she told police in 2010 what her abusive boyfriend made her to say – and that both her statement and the boyfriends’ statement to police were not true.
Questions remain unanswered
But the police report details an interview with a third witness, Eric Schimming, a friend of Amato, who also participated in the incident and told police he heard the death threats and saw a shotgun being “cocked.” Also included in the report were statements from Amato’s grandmother, who retrieved for the police two shotguns from the house where the Amato brothers lived at that time.
Three days ago, The Comment again approached Amato with specific questions on these discrepancies between his and his sisters’ public statements and the police report, but did not receive a response.
The Comment also asked for Amato’s response, again, on the recent scrubbing of his name from a 2010 mention in the website of an anti-immigration hate group called Alipac.
We have not received a response from the candidate.
Amato attack on Lam contradicts his own record
Separately, in a recent post on his website, Amato attacks his opponent, Amy Lam, for favoring high density development: “Amy wants more growth and is a strong proponent of high-density housing.” (the claim is largely true judged by Lam’s own words on her website)
On his campaign website, Amato promised that “I am opposed to adding additional high-density housing to Sammamish and will push back against any attempts to upzone areas for higher density.”
But his promise stands in contrast to his vote in the Planning Commission to upzone a 2.4 acres parcel in the Town Center from a TC-E zone (1 single family home per acre) to a TC-B zone (up to 20 units per acre).
The official minutes of the vote, taken on September 19, 2019, is shown below:
The following chart taken from the upzone application shows the density difference from TC-E to TC-B Amato voted for. For this 2.4 acres parcel, it will translate to about 50 additional units.
In the past, Amato explained his upzone vote did not change the total number of units allowed in the Town Center area (which could be viewed as “not adding additional high density”) – minimizing the impact of the vote to the distribution of high density development throughout the Town Center area.
As city staff explained, the total number of units in the Town Center is bound by the Town Center plan and will require a separate council vote to be changed.
In 2019, the City Council ultimately voted for this upzone the Planning Commision recommended.
Amato’s supporters attack The Comment
The Comment has been under attack for exposing Amato’s campaign messaging discrepancies.
Amato accused former editor and author of this story, Miki Mullor, as not being “his biggest fan,” even as Amato was invited to author his own guest article on this site and his candidacy announcement was the only one covered here out of nine total candidates:
- City’s budget deficit cuts and tax increases explained
- Amato announces candidacy for Sammamish City Council
UPDATE [Oct 25]: Amato smears the Comment with falsehoods on Lin Yang’s blog
After ignoring our requests for comments before publishing our stories, Amato has now doubled down on his campaign tactics by accusing the Comment for not reaching out to him.
“Amato also said that Mullor, who wrote the blog post, did not talk to him to understand the full story before publishing it,” wrote Lin Yang on his Sammamish Independent blog, “I just wished he [Mullor] would’ve tried to approach this honestly rather than attempt to smear me because of whatever personal reasons he has,” Amato said.”
Amato’s deflection is demonstrably false:
Below are the emails we sent Amato, asking for his side of the story:
- Oct 15: request for comments. The story was published on Oct 16.
- Oct 18: interview questions. The story was published on Oct 21.
An excerpt from the Oct 18 is shown below:
Amato did not respond to any of these emails.
The Sammamish voter just got a good taste of what to expect from Amato should he get elected.
Copyright (c) 2022 The Sammamish Comment
Thank you for the update Miki. I am Amy Lam, the opponent against Josh Amato. This election is a clear choice between Josh Amato, someone who obscures important facts of his past and myself. I have no criminal past nor connections to hate groups. I have run my campaign with integrity, truth, and respect. I have not solicited donations to be free of obligation and to speak freely. I have accepted no money from PACs. Amato distorts my viewpoints on development, traffic and public safety on his site to paint me as someone I am not. To be clear, I support redirecting growth to our Town Center by building higher density units using sustainable materials because the alternative, massive single family homes all over Sammamish, is more environmentally damaging, brings more cars to our roads, and more children to our overburdened schools. It’s what you see now all over Sammamish right now. Is this more of what we want? My website addresses answers those questions here: https://www.amyforsammamish.com/faqs If Josh Amato has integrity, he would respond to this article.
Redirecting growth to a town center is problematic for a lot of reasons that are obvious if you’d been talking to key stakeholders to learn more before running for office. That is still not a bad place to start. Highly recommended in fact.
That aside, you jumping on the bandwagon of a guy who just threw two hit pieces at a candidate is suspect. Might I remind you and Miki Mullor that this is Domestic Violence Survivors Month and you are using an incident from over a decade ago in which his sister had to speak up here and should be the only person anyone cares about in this. Anyone who knows Josh Amato knows that he’s a man of integrity who knows, through life experiences, to walk away from unproductive conflict. Let’s all admit that this is one of those times. Responding to a blog post of someone who isn’t just being constructively critical but is vengeful is not productive. Still can’t get over you two coming together to weaponize a DV incident of a candidates sister to knock someone down.
Thank you for the comment. I take issue with characterizing the stories are hit pieces and as “weaponizing” the 2010 incident.
If that’s the impression you got from the stories you should read again with an open mind.
Amato decided to make his troubled past a campaign issue.
He is the one who used the incident to ask the public for trust – in his announcement video.
Once he did that, as someone seeking office, the veracity of his story is of public interest – because there are discrepancies between his public statement and the record. He was given two opportunities to explain the discrepancies and ignored both.
And he still ignores and fails to explain his ties to an awful anti immigration hate group (Alipac) and the RECENT attempt to scrub his name from that site. The story includes all the evidence so voters can judge for themselves.
(as an immigrant, like many residents in Sammamish, I take huge offense with Alipac and their hate messaging. I haven’t seen any evidence from Amato showing he’s changed his views on subject – other than trying to hide it)
It’s unfortunate that when Amato saw benefit in engaging with the Comment he knew how to do it – but is now dodging answering tough questions (he just turned to smear us on another site).
Your accusations of weaponizing the incident is misplaced. Had Amato chose not publicize the incident I would agree he deserved more privacy. But he didn’t.
He publicized in a professionally produced video for political reasons at a time he thought he could control the narrative.
We’re not “weaponizing” – we’re scrutinizing.
Your point to Lam on “redirecting growth” is correct. We have explained on this site many times how the proposition that the Town Center will “absorb” growth is not valid anymore (it was valid in 2006 when the Town Center plan was conceived)
In the courtroom, the analogy here is that Amato “opened the door.” He dragged his sister into the campaign and it becomes fair game to scrutinize what he said.
According to Amato (and his sister) now, the boyfriend lied to the police; the sister lied to the police; Eric Schimming, who was with Amato, lied to the police; and Mullor lied when he reported that he reached out to Amato for comment before the stories were posted. Everybody lied except Amato. That’s one heck of a series of claims.
What Amato hasn’t responded to his is solicitation, as campaign manager, for an endorsement of a group with racist beliefs and a Congressional candidate with racist views; nor the scrubbing of his name from the document revealing his role in soliciting that endorsement.
As the saying goes, it’s not the crime, it’s the cover up.
The story has been updated with email evidence refuting Amato’s new false claim that the Comment did not try to get his side of the story.