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Lynnwood City Council member being investigated by ethics board

Josh Binda used the city council chambers as a backdrop for a social media post.

LYNNWOOD, Wash. — Two years ago, at 21 years old, Josh Binda became the youngest African American elected to political office in Washington state history.

While serving on the Lynnwood City Council, Binda has since launched a public speaking campaign aimed at inspiring youth to be more loving and compassionate. But he's not feeling the love at city hall right now.

The charismatic Binda is giving inspirational speeches to groups of students at 13 schools across western Washington. He calls it his "Love Conquers All Tour" where he preaches positivity and strategies for success.

He has been paid upwards of $12,000 for the series of appearances -- which is perfectly legal.

The trouble started when he brought his personal passion to City Hall.

"This is not just a nothing situation," said fellow city council member Jim Smith. "This is actually very serious."

Binda recorded an Instagram video about his speaking tour inside the council chambers -- prompting some to question whether he used public resources for personal profit -- a violation of city rules. He is also accused of failing to reset security alarms, leaving City Hall unsecured for an entire night.

The matter has now been referred to the city's ethics board.

"There certainly are bigger fish to fry in the City of Lynnwood, however, if you have small problems they get to be bigger problems," said Smith, a 27-year city council veteran.

Binda has denied any wrong doing.

In an email to KING 5 he stated, "The purpose of the video was to engage with youth and help get them excited about the message of the tour at their assemblies. After some consideration, I have decided to take down the video in question to avoid further confusion."

Binda went on to say, "I will trust the Lynnwood Board of Ethics to come to the proper conclusion on this matter. If the Board of Ethics finds any wrongdoing from the video in question, I will accept the consequences and take full responsibility for my actions. In the meantime, I will continue to do my speaking engagements, as I believe it is still important to inspire the younger generations to chase their dreams and lead with love."

Binda's platform both politically and personally is one of positivity and inclusion.

Smith said council members are supportive of their young counterpart.

"We're all trying to help Josh out," said Smith. "He's new, he's young. Unfortunately, he doesn't understand we have rules, regulations and courtesies that we have to follow."

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