The email was peppered with profanities and anger.
In the message to Mark James and his fellow Marysville city councilmembers, the writer expressed rage over a recent story about a council candidate who had said she hoped her town should be a “white community as much as possible.”
A photo of the Marysville council and mayor was attached to the email, its writer indicating he hoped the story would go viral so the city would be exposed.
It was shocking, James recalled, in part because of the content and because the city council candidate who sparked the backlash lives nowhere near his Marysville.
Jean Cramer, whose racist remarks during a candidate forum and the media have indeed since gone viral, lives in Marysville, Michigan.
“It was disconcerting, because the person included a photo,” James said of the email. “I thought ‘wow, they took the time to put this together, you think they would have also taken the time to realize it wasn’t us.’ ”
The email was among a wave of emails, calls and social media posts the city received in the days following Cramer’s remarks. Some of the responses were hateful enough that city officials decided to take a proactive approach, clarifying on social media that the Marysville in Washington is not where the comments were made.
The posts were tagged with “NotOurMarysville,” to signify that the Snohomish County city views itself as a welcoming place that condemns racist language.
City officials were careful not to sensationalize or capitalize on the issues facing the Michigan city, said Marysville, Washington, spokeswoman Connie Mennie, who crafted the posts.
“We tried to characterize it not as being cute or saying ‘did you hear what happened in the other Marysville?’ ” she said. “But if there is some confusion out there, we want people to know it’s not us.”
Some of the confusion could be attributed to an MSN story, which featured a stock image of the Marysville, Washington, municipal court sign, including the city’s logo and municipal court address. The headline and story noted that the city is in Michigan, but the photo was clearly from Washington.
“If you live in this community, you say ‘hey, that’s right down the street,’ ” Mennie said. “It was an unfortunate case of mistaken identity. If you read clearly you would know it was Michigan, but if you looked at the photo you would think it had happened here.”
The story now has a line at the top stating that a previous version had an incorrect photo.
“We deeply regret this error,” the editor’s note adds.
Cramer’s message, James stressed, wouldn’t be accepted in Marysville, which he said celebrates its diversity. About 25% of its 70,000 residents are people of color, according to U.S. Census’ five-year population estimates. It neighbors the Tulalip Indian Reservation, and the city and tribe work together on many community issues.
It appears her words weren’t accepted in the other Marysville, either — Cramer dropped out of the race earlier this week.