Sunday, January 23, 2005

Local Politics

First off, a Not-So-Brief Update on the Governor's Suit:

1) The State GOP went judge-shopping for a friendly venue, and thought they found one in Chelan County, just on the other side of the Cascades. The judge disappointed the GOP by refusing to expedite a ruling, instead requiring evidence being presented. He also refused to dismiss the case (which the Dems wanted).

2) Speaking of disappointment, members of the right are calling for Secretary of State Sam Reed's impeachment for the crime of being insufficiently Republican. Its an interesting approach to state governance - shooting your own people. Maybe this is a message being sent to our new Attorney General Robert McKenna, also GOP, who now has the responsibility of carrying forward the state's case in the suit.

3) The latest GOP ballyhoo, by the way, is an examination of felons who have illegally voted. Cursory examinations proves that they are there, but like everything else in this state, they are split between voting Dem and Rep. The Times dug up one such felon in the Sunday paper, who not only voted GOP but was helping running GOP campaigns, not realizing that this was illegal.

4) And speaking of Sam Reed, he's put together a pitch for reforms to the electoral system. These include some basic common-sense decisions like moving the primary forward, requiring the mail-in ballots be in-hand by election day, among others. Looks pretty solid, and the goo-goos should keep the pressure on our legislature to move this forward.

But actually all this is not what I'm here to talk about - instead let's look at another bit of fallout from the past election - the redistricting the King County Council. Intiative 1A passed, requiring the King County Council to come up with a bi-partisan solution to the eliminating four of its thirteen seats. At the time I thought it unlikely that they could do so in a short time frame, being ready for THIS fall's elections.

But unlike at the state level, the Dems and GOP of the council have come together in a common cause - punishing those members who supported this initiative in the first place. Four of the members who supported reducing the number of council-entities just happen to find themselves in districts where they will have to square off against each other. Those who were against reducing the size of the council, on the other hand, find themselves in safe districts, some of which seem to be even a little more safe after the dust has settled.

In our case, our little pied-a-terre up on the East Hill looks like it will shift over from the mostly-rural 9th and into the new 5th, which is shaping up as the "swing district" for the council. As this area becomes more developed, it has steered more towards the center and left, so shearing it off from the rest of the 9th (which sweeps east and south to the county line) should help the GOP Incumbent in the 9th.

Except that our current incumbent in the 9th, Steve Hammond, may now be facing off this fall against the son of the popular former US Representitive, Jennifer Dunn. Reagan Dunn (no, I'm not making the name) looks like he will be tapped to fill out Rob McKenna's term (since McKenna is now state Attorney General), and lives in the rebuilt and more rural-than-ever 9th. Needless to say, Councilman Hammond is displeased with the result of the re-org, and I don't blame him. Should the young Dunn choose to run (and he could always relocate - our council candidates seem to come mounted on wheels for easy portability), he'll have a major advantage in the shortened 9th district, which includes a lot of Rep. Dunn's old stomping grounds.

So the potential political entertainment factor here is high. More later as all this unspools.