Saturday, August 13, 2011


It is time to dust off the old Political Desk, piled high with yellowed pamphlets, faded yard signs, and broken dreams. This is the primary for an off -year election, and in fact is a primary an off-off-year election, and the pickings are extremely thin. If you look at the other political desks elsewhere, most of the media have determined to ignore this year entirely and proceed directly to the 2012 election (Spoiler: Incumbent Obama will defeat challenger Romney is a close election. Washington will get a Republican governor - there, that's out of the way).

Yet I am faced precious little material to work with. But I am nothing if not diligent, and armed with little more than the voter's guide, the Stranger recommendations, the Muni league, The Times and PubliCola (though you have to dig for them), I wade into this matter.

And folks, there isn't a lot of there, there. But rather the basic nuts and bolts of democracy. A lot of stuff on the Seattle ballot does not get on the list down here, and your local ballot will likely be different. Here's what is on the ballot that reached Grubb Street:

King County Proposition No. 1 Veterans and Human Services Levy - This is a renewal of an expiring levy, and while I can kvetch about the cute puppy syndrome (What, you don't want to fund Veterans? What kind of monster are you?), it is not of new tax but a re-establishment of an existing one. Yeah, we should do it. Vote YES.

City of Kent, Council Positions 3, 5,and 7. Hey, I'm the new kid in town here, since our neighborhood was just sucked up into Greater Kent, making it the 4th biggest city in the region. And despite my normal anarchic tendencies, I am really predisposed to the incumbents in this race because of recent events - not only the annexation of Panther Lake (done with a minimum of muss and fuss), but also the revitalization of the downtown district (I actually go down there, now!), and the ShoWare center. And most of all, biting the bullet and taking a lead last year when it looked like the Howard Hansom Dam would not hold, investing in a lot in dikes, sandbags dikes preparation. In the end, the area was spared innundation, and while I would love to get my riverside trails back, they did the right thing given nasty choices. Congrats all around.

And yet, there are problems in paradise, to there is current dissent within the council. Here's what I understand is going on, courtesy of the Kent Reporter. Last year, Kent moved from having its own fire department to joining a larger fire district. However, it was still collecting taxes as if it was still providing the service, and using those funds to help meet other needs. The Incumbent from position 3, who was in charge of the Operations Committee, proposed cutting property taxes to adjust for this. Not only was the proposal shot down, the Incumbent from Position 3 was pulled from his chairmanship and replaced by the Incumbent from Position 5. Both incumbents are now up for re-election in their own positions.

So there will be more in this, but for the moment, I'm sticking with what I said about them doing a good job, and supporting BOTH incumbents for the Primary.

Les Thomas for Position 3
Debbie Raplee for Position 5

Position 7 is open, and poses a challenge, since most of the major papers and sites don't get far enough south to bother with endorsements. Michael Sealfron may be very good but lacks a web site for further information, Suzanne Smith has determination but not as much direct experience. Dana Ralph gets the nod primarily because of endorsements from firefighters, cops, and Washington Conservation Voters.

Soos Creek Water and Sewer District Commissioner Position 1 (I told you it was a light year), has no less than six candidates for this open position. One didn't provide any information for the Voter's Guide, and the rest consist of a software tech engineer, a real estate agent, a veep with T-Mobile, a geotech engineer, and a retired manager for Cascade Natural Gas. Talk about an embarassment of riches. And by the time you get this far down-ballot, your ONLY clue is what is in the Voter's Guide. Darold Stroud has very strong credentials and is a current commissioner (Position 2), but my natural engineering tendencies takes me to Larry West for the gig.

Public Hospital District No. 1 Commissioner District No. 1. Last time I checked in here, we had a dust-up about the hospital board. This time, the big question this season is what to do now that Valley has merged/alligned.associated with UW Medical Center. Paul Joos is a doctor who claims not political agendas or financial conflicts. Mary Alice Heuschel is heavily awarded, endorsed, and funded (she's the one I have seen mailers from), and comes from a strong public service background (school board, advisory committee to the hospital, advocate for the alliance). Jim Grossnickle says the hospital needs a Commissioner needs someone independent of the political establishment, and then mentions that he is endorsed by Reagan Dunn and  Brian Sonntag, members of, well, the political establishment.  So I'm going with Mary Alice Heuschel.

And that is it. Really small-time, local politics, which is a good thing sometimes. Enjoy it, because it will not last. Vote by Tuesday, folks.

More later,