Friday, September 19, 2003

I Meet A Candidate

So I came home at a reasonable hour today, and for my efforts had a chance to talk with Barbara Heavey, Democrat Candidate for the 9th. Yeah, you probably thought I was done with local politics after clowning around with the Primary, but I did note that all the Repubs said they were doorbelling and didn’t see a one of them. Heavey I have now met. I took the pamphlet, told her I had voted for her once and would do so again, and wished her well.

Then I remembered something important and chased her down, and ended up standing with her talking politics in a slight drizzle across the street for about 15 minutes. Yeah, me with my head cold.

Here’s the thing that I had remembered. My neighborhood, the Panther Lake area, indeed most of Benson Hill and Fairwood, are King County for services, but are being merged into nearby cities like Renton and Kent. This has been a supposedly ongoing process, but with the tightness of the budget, the county is trying to expedite the annexation both through special incentives to the annexing cities, as well as by reducing services to the areas they hope to be annexed. Seeing my services reduced, this makes me concerned, and I brought the concerns to Ms. Heavey.

She was up to speed on the matter, and while she encourages moving the “urbanized county” areas into metropolitan government, she does not approve of the “starve them out” tactic so far in use. Instead she proposes two options – one is joining with an existing city, outsourcing the added service burden back to the county until the city is fully prepared to take on the added population (indeed, that’s something that, according to the Times yesterday is now being being kicked around), The other, which I had not considered, was forming a new city in the highlands above Renton and Kent.

Now, that’s not as screwy as it sounds. Apparently about 10 years ago, The Fairwood area considered it (and Ms. Heavey was a part of that attempt), but there were a lot of unknowns. Since then, both Maple Valley and Newport both formed, so there are fewer unknowns. The big problem would be tax base – apparently in the initial annexations, the nearby cities grabbed the commercial land (bucks) while leaving King county with the residential areas (spending). There has been more commercial development since then, but I don’t know if its enough to float our own city. I’m going to have to dig up a map.

The idea of a City on the Hill also appeals, since I tend to shop “up here” more than “down there”, and Kate tends to try to avoid needless trips down in the valley (gas and wear and tear on the car). And there is a difference in direction between the older communities in the valley and the newer places up here. The Hill is often an afterthought. Maybe its time for us to have our own voice.

Back to the candidate. Ms. Heavey struck me as sharp, knowledgeable, and very willing to get into the details. She gave me a lot of information on the issues and the campaign in general. She pointed out that Public Disclosures on on-line and that her description of “developer money” came from identifying the individuals making those donations (and a lot of it coming into the Republican pockets came from development interests to the north of the 9th, which is something I had not considered). She also feels that a fair amount of the votes for Hammond were more votes against Roach, and that her doorbelling has given her a lot of support to this theory. I remain convinced that Hammond is in the enviable position of being both the heir to the throne and a new kid on the block, and by not specifically offending Roach and Fortunato supporters, makes it easier for them to support him.

I told her about this blog and gave her the address, though if she tunes in, she should be warned that this reaches literally dozens of people, of which maybe 8 live in the 9th district, and of those maybe 4 are registered to vote (and yes, that’s a nag to you, Bill – get registered, you’ve been here longer than I have).

More later,

PS – I checked the election results, which take into account absentee voting (a big thing out here). Add about 5k votes to the total, but the percentages remain unchanged.