Three Mercer Island residents were rushed to the hospital on Monday night after a city council candidate inadvertently verbalized support for I-90 tolling.
During a candidate forum at the Mercer Island Community Center, city council candidate Rob U. Blind was answering a question about transportation policy when he reportedly said, “I-90 tolling could eventually become a reality, so don’t you think we ought to be part of the discussion?” According to someone in attendance who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity, there were audible gasps, and several people collapsed. Paramedics arrived on the scene quickly and three citizens were transported by ambulance to Overlake Hospital, where they were treated and released.
While hospital officials cited patient privacy in refusing to comment about the incident, local physician Marco Welbio said that the fainting spells were most likely the result of a condition called Sudden Reality Syndrome, or SRS. SRS occurs when a person’s strongly-held beliefs are challenged by established facts, which causes an interruption in the flow of oxygenated blood to the brain. Normally the effects of SRS are relatively minor and short-lived, but in extreme cases — most famously, a 2006 meeting of the National Rifle Association where attendees saw actual statistics on gun violence — it can lead to a coma or even death.
Asked later about his comments, Blind angrily disputed the allegations of pro-toll sentiments. “My comments were misconstrued and taken out of context. What I actually said was, ‘Never, never, never! I will never support tolling on I-90. Read my lips: Never.'”
Editor’s Note: The Distorter requests that anyone who recorded audio or video of Monday’s candidate forum contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.