LYNNWOOD, Wash. — The NAACP is accusing members of the Lynnwood City Council of “targeting” a fellow council member.
Councilmember Josh Binda has been under intense scrutiny since taking office two years ago.
At a press conference outside Lynnwood City Hall, Thursday, Binda stood surrounded by supporters. He claimed he has been singled out by certain council members for investigation since he was elected.
“I, as a young, Black elected official have been targeted – subjected – to a web of lies orchestrated by my own council leadership,” Binda said.
Binda made a name for himself when he became the youngest African-American ever elected to public office in the state of Washington at the age of 21.
Since then, he has been fined by the state Public Disclosure Commission for spending campaign donations on personal expenses, reprimanded for using the council chambers to promote personal, paid speaking events, and accused of taking what the council considered an unapproved trip to Washington D.C. – while asking the public to pay for it.
An NAACP investigation determined everything Binda did was accidental and that he was targeted by fellow council members.
“It’s clear to me that the city council didn’t want this young Black man at city council,” said Gerald Hankerson with the NAACP. “Because when you don’t look like us, you don’t wear your hair like us, you don’t dress like us, you don’t belong here.”
The NAACP specifically named City Council President Shannon Sessions as the driving force behind Binda’s issues. They accused her of creating a “hostile work environment,” “obstructing city staff,” and “overstepping her authority.”
Hankerson pulled no punches.
“Karen Sessions, yes I called her ‘Karen,’ used all of her racist tools to attack him because she didn’t like the fact that a Black man beat out an incumbent,” Hankerson declared.
Sessions released the following statement to KING 5 News:
“We all want councilmember Binda to succeed and many people have tried to help him. As council president, it is my responsibility the city council is following its own rules. I don’t do this in a vacuum, other council members, attorneys, staff and community members have all weighed in on best ways to address ongoing concerns regarding CM Binda. All of the rules and regulations that are on the books and that have been updated by a major majority of the city council, are applicable to all of us, and the rest of us have no problem complying with them. Sadly, This is another example of councilmember Binda deflecting and not taking responsibility for his own poor decisions, and thinking he is above everyone else and that the rules all other elected officials are required to follow don’t apply to him. I’m glad the NAACP is finally coming alongside councilmember Binda. Hopefully they can help mentor him.”
The man who made a name for himself as an outspoken Black leader said, despite the controversies, he’s not going away.
“I urge you to remember that name, Josh Binda, because you’re gonna hear it for a long time with the change we’re gonna bring to our community,” he said.