Sunday, October 28, 2007

Local Politics: Land of Confusion

We're down to the final ones now, and it doesn't get any less murky.

So how can you make a relatively quiet position such as King County Assessor more intriguing? How about running two candidates with similar names, such that the voter's guide has to identify which is the incumbent? That incumbent would be Scott Noble, who has a pretty good rep for transparency and fairness (appeals are down to a 10-year low, which surprises me, given the ever-rising housing costs). His opponent is Jim Nobles, who wants to see transparency and fairness in the assessors office, though is a little light on details. Oh, and to make matters worse, there is a PHIL Noble running for Bellevue City council. Talk about flooding the field.

Go for Scott Noble - No "s", but bring along a reminder as to which one that is.

The two Public Hospital District #1 positions, for the region dominated by Valley Medical Center down the hill, should be a snoozer. Yet such is not to be, because of the LAST election, with a proposition increasing the Hospital's area up into Maple Valley. That proposition went down by an embarrassing 94% No vote, but what was interesting (as in illegal) was that Hospital spent tax money for pollsters, focus groups,and push polls. The state went after them, investigating the largest misuse of taxpayer funds in history, and resulting in a record fine.

So, throw the bums out, right? This would be bums in the general sense, meaning incumbents Carole Anderson and Gary Knowles, who have yet in any of my digging come up with a smoking gun as far as their participation, but whom at the very least should have been watching. The problem is that their opponents, Anthony Hemstad and Sue Bowman are running on the indignation of a 2005 election which raised the VMC chunk of property taxes by 600%. No, your property taxes didn't go up 600% (which was the message we got on the answering machine), just the chunk that went to Valley Medical Center (which is more obvious from the Voter's Pamphlet, but you still have to look). I'm not onboard with scaremongering, and this felt like a big chunk of it. Oh, and Hemstad's website purports the usual "endorsed by Republicans and Democrats" line, which is campaign talk for "mostly Republicans", like Slade Gorton, Dan Evans, Sam Reed, and the usual smattering of Dunns and Roaches.

So, what to recommend? I'm splitting the ticket. I'll stay with incumbent Carole Anderson and go for replacing Gary Knowles with Sue Bowman.

And guys? Regardless of who wins, you MIGHT want to get a new CEO over at VMC.

More later,