Hill campaign pic.
If you remember Will Baker, Tacoma's Austin Powers-inspired political gadfly and "International Man of Diplomacy," you might also recall he was arrested three times in three weeks for refusing to stop talking at city council meetings--then continued his monologues in jail where guards left his cell door open, hoping he'd leave. Still, in the 2004 state primary, he convinced 410,718 voters he should be state auditor.
Hill campaign pic.
Of late, Baker had been downstaged by Pierce County's run-amok assessor/treasurer Dale Washam, who tried and failed five times to recall opponents who had defeated him in elections, and who has himself been facing a recall--though needed signatures appear to have come up short. But don't despair, Tacoma City Council candidate Robert "The Traveller" Hill is back in action, bringing his pro-masturbation, anti-establishment campaign and lengthy court record with him, including a Seattle conviction for stalking a porn star.
As the News Tribune's Lewis Kamb writes in a profile of a perhaps-typical day for Hill:
At 10 a.m., he was set to be arraigned on assault and weapon charges in Tacoma Municipal Court.
At 1 p.m., he planned to swing by a League of Women Voters meeting, before attending a Pierce County District Court hearing to respond to a woman's petition for an anti-harassment order against him.
At 3 p.m., he had a status hearing set for a third court case in South Tacoma.
"Then there's the joint (council) public safety committee meeting at 4:30," Hill said. "So, that's the public schedule of candidate Robert Hill for Thursday."
Unfortunately, the day didn't go as planned: "At half past 10, when two deputies handcuffed Hill and led him from a city courtroom bound for the county jail, the candidate's schedule was officially blown for the day."
At city council meetings, Kamb notes, Hill has "at times sang from the [council] podium, waved signs promoting masturbation, and exposed himself to at least one council member."
In the City of Destiny, some consider him a political prisoner. And after all, Hill--whose earlier campaign runs include the county sheriff's job--was jailed on charges of pepper-spraying people at his campaign headquarters. "The people I temporarily caused discomfort to with the pepper spray, they were bothering me," Hill said.
The candidate is also accused of violating a no-contact order against initiative petitioner Sherry Bockwinkel, who says he hacked into her pro-marijuana website and issued phony robo-calls. He was also recently thrown out of a Tacoma Rainiers' game and temporarily banned from the stadium.
Kamb reports that in District Court alone, Hill has eight active anti-harassment cases. Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson and U.S. Congressman Norm Dicks are among those who have taken out protection orders.
As Hill says, outlining his philosophy on a local website, there are just "too many cops" in Tacoma.
But Hill's council campaign marches on. These arrests, that latest jailing? "It's just an inconvenience to my schedule," the candidate told Kamb in a phone call from jail. "...I've got stuff to do."
Campaigning from his cell ought to be a drawback. Then again, this is Tacoma, remember, where in 2008 Hill persuaded 51,587 county voters he ought to be their sheriff. He could be the next Will Baker.