Friday, July 30, 2010

The Political Desk: Sources

So I'm going to make recommendations for the upcoming primary, but I'm not the only one. Other forces, large and small, are making their voices known. Here's a selection of them, and I always recommend checking out a number of sites and opinions when making your own decisions.

The Seattle Times, the sole surviving daily paper in Seattle, has been a bit conflicted since the demise of its more liberal sister, the Post-Intelligencer. Usually the Times can be trusted to weigh both sides of the issues fairly and carefully, and then select the one that fits the conservative corporate nature of its editorial page. It is usually very kind to local conservatives, and is a good launching point for that well-time hit job on an opponent. This year they are pitching a "reset government" platform, which translates into "Get rid of anyone who won't help us get rid of the Estate Tax". Their endorsements are summarized here Fortunately, their political blog gets more into the nuts and bolts of reporting and acts saner than their editorial page.

The Stranger was once a collection of young hipsters and skatepunks with unsupervised access to a printing facility, but the near-demise of its weekly rival, the Seattle Weekly, has actually transformed it into a paper that pays attention to politics. Unabashedly liberal and frequently obscene (the election board recommendation are NSFW, I'm just telling you right now), the Stranger actually puts together good political reporting, particularly on their blog. Their big problem is that they believe that King County runs from Belltown in the north to Georgetown in the south, and the rest of us in the exurbs couldn't be bothered with what they think. Pity, that.

The Seattle Weekly was once the haven of leftie politics and old hippies, but then got sold to a conservative franchise out of Arizona that figured that young people not only don't vote, but they shouldn't be encouraged to do so. Oddly, over the past year or so, their bottom-diving readership numbers have caused them to actually talk about Seattle politics in their pages. Their blog, the Daily Weekly, has increased its posting over the past year and actually has somethings worth saying.

Now let's go to the purely online options - Crosscut is where all the old hippies went when the Weekly cleaned house. You'd think this outtfit would be screaming lib, but this lot pretty much longs for the glory days when Boeing was going out of business and threatening to take Puget Sound with it. Interesting for frequent columns by Knute Berger saying how good things used to be and by Republican former chairman Chris Vance who usually points out that the only way for Democrats to succeed is to act more like Republicans. Don't know if they will endorse but I find their Lesser Seattle myopia intriguing.

Publicola is actually the more liberal operation among the blogs, and even that is a misnomer. It is probably more of a urban operation, strong on bikes and rapid transit issues. Still, they are wired in at a time when a lot of places are not. Their endorsements are grouped here, but would benefit from having a page to themselves. Really, Publicola, would it be that hard to pull off? The greybeards at the Times manage it, and they're still trying to figure out how html code works.

The late Seattle Post-Intelligencer ("It's in the PI") has not one but two successor states online. The official PI site is notable only for the fact that it still runs Dave Horsey cartoons, which means nudity about once every two weeks. Strange Bedfellows is their political blog. The Post-Globe consists of employees that the PI let go when they went online, and is more liberal. Neither has the throw-weight of even the Daily Weekly. Sadly. I don't know if either is going to do endorsements.

Moving over to non-partisan web sights, Vote For Judges is a good clearing house site for judicial elections. Yes, we elect our judges here, with the result that a lot of stealth politics creeps into these supposedly nonpartisan positions. They do not directly endorse, but collate other endorsements and provide information. Since judgeships are some of the most important positions voted on with the least amount of information, it is worth checking out.

And then there is the Municipal League. You'd think a goo-goo like myself would embrace the Muni League, and I will admit they do a good job weighing options. But they and I have had a falling out - they've supported some recent election measures, such making all the King County positions non-partisan, that actually make it HARDER for people to get a handle on voting. So the League is a good source, and I will continue to report them, but I don't take it as gospel nearly so much anymore.

And last but not least is the State itself. For the main elections, Washington State does voters' pamphlets, and there is some confusion right now as to whether they will show up for the primaries (apparently King County will do it out of their own pocket, but the rest of the counties won't - which means King will have an even bigger pool of informed voters (not a win for the rest of the state)). However, all the information is online, so if you can read this, you can read that.

Those are the usual (or unusual) suspects. I may add more as we get nearly to the main election, but that's a good place to start.