Friday, August 15, 2008

VG: State Representatives

So it's a quiet weekend, as a lot of people that I know are all out in Indianapolis for GenCon. Mystical Forest, who is armed with his Iphone and twitter, has been liveblogging at a furious rate.

For me, I thought it would be cute to examine the Voter's Guide in detail. Yeah, I'm living to regret THAT decision.

State Representatives, then. We have two positions in the 47th district, 1 and 2, that come up at the same time. I've always wondered why we time it so these offices BOTH have to be filled at the same moment, but them's the breaks.

Let's do position 2 first. Two candidates, so whatever happens, you're going to see these guys again.

Pat Sullivan is the Democrat and the incumbent. His candidate profile is pretty boilerplate and straightforward - not giving me a lot to work with, but I can appreciate that. First elected in 2004 to the position, before that mayor of Covington. Not mentioned here, but has a Muni League rating of Outstanding.

Timothy Miller is the challenger and willing to go on record as being a Republican. He's a little more florid in his prose. Traffic congestion is Staggering, health care costs are Spiraling, and property tax rates are Escalating. Strong action words. He comes from a strong engineering background, and is the creator of Traffic Tim (that may sound a little snarky, but actually, its kinda cool, and though from the site Tim looks like a work in progress. There is a pdf for an activity book).

Over in the first position, we have a little more activity with three candidates. The incumbent is Democrat Geoff Simpson, who packs a Municipal League rating of Very Good. However, he's carrying a lot more baggage into this contest in that he and his wife have separated, and, more importantly, he was several months ago briefly detained on a domestic violence investigation. An investigation cleared him quickly, and from what I can gather Mr. Simpson aided the investigating officers completely and professionally (unlike some other pols who have been picked up over the years). Simpson remains a solid leader, and even when I have disagreed with him (getting a NASCAR track out here) I have found his arguments smart and persuasive. Put me down as conflicted on this one.

His Democratic challenger is Leslie Kae Hamada, who lists herself as a published children's book author. This is true - Pee Wee's Adventure in the Woods is on Amazon, but its publisher is AuthorHouse, which is a vanity press. There's nothing inherently wrong with self-subsidized or vanity publishing - there seem to be a LOT of authors running this year who use this method of getting their message out - but it should be called on. More pertinent is the argument that since she will step away from her volunteer work, she can work year round for us. Well, that's good, but our state legislature is a part-time job for a reason, and most of us seem to like it that way (it provides less chances for them to get up to mischief). Her Muni rating is Good.

The Republican challenger is Mark Hargrove, who goes to ground on the fact that despite 16000 bills introduced (not bad for a part-time body), the important issues are not being addressed - traffic congestion, property taxes, reduced spending (ignore that reducing spending means less money to fix traffic), and property rights. Accuses the incumbent of looking out for Seattle-based special interest groups (like, um, NASCAR), and promises to look out for local special interest groups. His Muni rating is Adequate, behind the two Dems.

This one should prove to be very interesting.

More later,