Sunday, July 25, 2021

Political Desk Pop-Up: Primary

Yeah, we've got a strong sense of voting exhaustion. It seems like we just HAD a major election, and people are still whinging about THAT one. And it is an off-off-year election, so it is little surprise that the leading candidate for mayor of Seattle is I Dunno. Problem is, that this is the moment in the election process when the voters have more of a choice, and because we are not paying attention, we often end up with "What, These Two Clowns?" in the general.

Even the local media is kinda tapped out. The Seattle Times gives us a list of fairly safe, fairly corporate, centrist-to-not-insane-but-still-conservative endorsement. The Stranger clucks its tongue that no one ticks ALL the boxes on their agenda, but is more progressive. Both of course don't get this far south in a lot of their coverage. The Kent Reporter did a pretty solid article for our neck of the woods, summarizing their voter pamphlet statements, which is nice. The Urbanist has stepped up with their endorsements. The City Chamber of Commerce, after getting its collective faces blown off in the last election, is making no endorsements this time around. No Judges this time around. And I admit I miss the Municipal League.

And for those tuning in from out of state, Washington is currently a Top-Two Primary state. Which means we only are voting on races with more than two candidates and the top two vote-getters go to the general election. Almost all of the positions are "non-partisan", which means that there are still political parties, but they are hidden from you. Always, check out the endorsements - usually they are slanted one way or the other, with a token representative for "bi-partisanship". Candidate statements, which range from vague/positive to fever swamp of a twisted mind, can be found here. The King County Elections board is forbidden from editing them.

Here on Grubb Street? We have some usual suspects and some challenges. Here's what my ballot looks like:

King County Proposition No. 1 Regular Property Tax Levy for Children, Youth, Families, and Communities. This is a renewal of a existing tax, and yes, it for a good cause, so I go with Approved, with the note that we the people get to vote directly on things to support our communities, while stuff like, say, government pay or hand-outs to large corporations are never voted on.

King County Executive - Dow Constantine. Incumbents always get an advantage in that they have name recognition and their races are treated as job reviews as opposed to new hires. Constantine has done a good job in his long tenure, and has risen to meet the challenges of these pandemic times. However, with the notable exception of a continual candidate, the others have pretty good resumes as well. I'll revisit this after the dust settles, but you're not happy with long-term incumbents, you should take a look at Joe Nguyen as well. 

City of Kent Council Position No. 6 - Brenda Fincher. She's done a good job. Her opponents are someone would lists his job as magician, and someone who wants to protect you from marijuana and 5G. I hope the magician makes it to the general. 

Kent School District No. 415 Director District No. 4 - This one has juice in a way that only small local elections can have them. The school board is responsible for selecting the School Superintendent, among other duties. Bryon Madsen felt the superintendent overreached his position, and when the board reupped his contract, he launched recall efforts against four members who voted to keep the superintendent. Two of the members chose not to run again, and he withdrew the other recalls. He's running for a position on the board again, making the case that the school board should not be involved in education. (And the superintendent? He's taking another job elsewhere). SO. Looking at the others, I will go with Awale Farah, but let's see how this one plays. out. 

Kent School District No. 415 Director District No. 5 - When we get down in the weeds here, it gets tough. Everyone is concerned about quality education. Everybody has strong ties to the community. Everybody is thinking of the children. But I have a lean towards people with relevant experience. Tim Clark is a former board member and retired teacher. So that gives him the edge. 

Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority Proposition No. 1 Continuation of Benefit Charge - Again, we are asked to OK something beneficial to the community. See the above note on the King County Tax Levy and vote Yes.

Soos Creek Water and Sewer District Position No. 5 - Three good candidates, I lean towards the civil engineer in the group - Logan K. Wallace. 

Public Hospital District No. 1 Commissioner District No. 2 - The big friction the Hospital Disctrict is that, after a merger of Valley Medical with the UW system, the elected officials are in a minority compared to the UW Trustees. So the candidates break down into those that want to overhaul the entire system and those who want to keep it and continue to fight from a minority position. I am leaning with endorsements here, in particular the nurses - Dustin Lambro. 

Public Hospital District No. 1 Commissioner District No. 4 - The incumbent gave me nothing to work with here. I'm going with Monique Taylor-Swan.

There are other things going in the Seattle area  - Mayor of Seattle, various council positions at the state and county level, a potential recall that the target of the recall has signed on to make happen, and a potential move to a ranked choice ballot (which would negate the need for primaries at this level).  Which I may or may not talk about. 

So therefore, more later,