Friday, September 09, 2005

Local Politics - Voter's Guide

But First: Mystical Forest links to leadership. Paul Kemp talks about the President's authority to act (quick version: He has it). Poppy Z. Brite has 14 of her cats rescued. Gaming cartoonist John Kovalic does a political cartoon comes up with a new product tie-in. And Lady Gumdrop's brother-in-law ships out for the Gulf. Our gulf.

But hey, let's look at the Voter's Guide for King County's primary. Here's the on-line link so you can play along

Let me pick on the cover a moment (not on the online version, thank gods), which continues the weird cartoony vibe of earlier elections, with the cartoon female pen ("Penny") darkening the holes of the pudgy, male ballot (Billy? Bally? Gimpy?). The Lovely Bride says I shouldn't fixate, but it has a weird, almost carnal feeling to it. I just keep staring at it and wondering what the next level of their relationship is and feeling shamed about it.

Add to the fact that Penny is voting for one of three office-holders (which is two more than in the majority of races inside - a cartoon pen gets more choices than we do). The candidates, in all their copyright-violating splendor are: E.T, Bambi, and Pinocchio. Now I think Bambi is the Democrat, catching that "deer in the headlights" feel. E.T. is an independent who doesn't realize he can't run because he's (wait for it) an illegal alien (thank you - I'll be here all week). And Pinocchio is the Republican. He was a Democrat, but he started carrying a pencil sharpener with him when he switched parties.

Inside, there is a "Life of your Ballot" flowchart that just begs for satire from both sides ("Step Five: Be sure to explain to the nice lawyers that you aren't dead!"). And when we get to the candidates - well, there it goes downhill a bit.

I really miss the 9th, since that's the only county race in South King that has any real passion in it. Goldy over at Horses Ass already lit into Reagan Dunn's twisted language (look for the 1 September entry) that makes it sound like Dunn was admiring terrorists and promising to bring those hard-working terrorist values to the Council. No, he doesn't mean it that way, but the Dunn campaign needs an copy editor, in case anyone out there is interested in a gig.

Hammond's statement is interesting in that he can portray himself both as the incumbent (yes, both men were originally selected for the posts they now occupy, but Hammond at least was re-elected once) and an outsider (even though he won the caucus vote). Hammond also makes a grim point - even if elected, he would be the only rural member on the council. The redistricting has pretty must pulled the teeth of the rural voters, which is a shame.

It's also a shame I don't get the mailers for Dunn and Hammond to get an idea on the ground campaign, but I have to press on into the 5th, which is much less interesting. Julia Patterson runs a pretty straight positive campaign bio ("I'm a native! I'm experienced! Like the way things are going? Good! I'm doing my job!") while Orin Wells is just a bit - odd. Here's the paragraph that raised my eyebrows:

"In 1773 the "Boston Tea Pary" was staged to protest special tax advantages the British Parliament had given to the East Indian Company, a special interest group. When representitives start passing legislation based more on pressure from special interest groups and their own policial futures than input from the citizens, it is time to make a change."

First off, its the East Indies Company. And calling them a "special interest group" is sort of like calling Microsoft or Boeing a special interest group. Which is true, but they're not normally thought of as such in the conservative playbook. Maybe Wells and Dunn are both secretly "smash the state" radicals? More likely, Mr. Wells needs an editor as well - I think the GOP can swing a group rate (author holds imaginary cell phone to his ear and silently mouths "call me!").

There is a lot on the Port Commissioners, which is a non-partisan post, so you have to read their writeups to figure out if they're really GOP or Democrat under their non-partisan labels. Those that talk about growth and opportunity tend to get developer money and are really GOP, while those that speak of jobs and the environment are part of the Blue-Green alliance and are Democrats. I believe its a "top two" runoff, so I'll worry when I get closer to the final date. You guys can read up on these on your own.

The sheriff's race consists of three cops - ET, Bambi, and ... no, no, I have that wrong. Current Sherriff Sue Rahr was Reichert's assistant and hand-picked replacement, and in many ways this election is a referendum on Reichert's last term as sheriff. Her main opponent is Sgt. Jim Fuda, who I know from the fact that he has the biggest bloody signs I have yet seen in a campaign (I mean, they show up on Google Earth maps), and Lt. Schmidt, who I will confess to knowing nothing. Its another of those "top two" races that the political parties hate when its applied to them, so we'll see two of these names again for the general.

The Kent Mayoral looks interesting, but to be honest our neighborhood around Panther Lake hasn't been swallowed up by the township yet, so like in the 9th, I am missing the ground campain. In general, it feels like a very typical and mostly lackluster primary, but of course, I'm planning on voting, if only to get an idea of the lay of the land for the November ballot. And regardless of where you are, I recommend you do the same. Because somebody has to win these things.

More later,