King County councilman calls for review of proposed bus signs

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by LINDA BRILL / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on December 20, 2010 at 1:16 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 20 at 6:24 PM

SEATTLE – King County Councilman Peter von Reichbauer is calling for a review of proposed advertising on Metro buses that blasts Israel and the U.S., claiming U.S. tax dollars support war crimes.

Von Reichbauer says the ads could incite violence.

"I know hate when I see it," he said. "A number of people in King County see hate in this advertisement."

E-mails have been pouring into von Reichbauer's office since KING 5 broke the story of the planned ad campaign. He's asked Metro to reconsider.

Although Metro attorneys say the ads are covered by the First Amendment, they are now reviewing their policy on non-commercial advertising.

The Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign is paying Metro $1,800 to run the ads, attempting to get its message out on the street.

"Reaching them through these paid advertising methods tends to frame the message as something we should all be caring about. Is it inflammatory? The intention is not to inflame. It is to educate and raise awareness," said Ed Mast of SMAC.

"We don't need to see a public transportation system be a medium for a message of hate," said von Reichbauer.

It's not clear if the ad campaign will run as scheduled. It was supposed to roll out on Dec. 27. Metro is scrambling to re-assess its advertising policies before next week.

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