Monday, August 25, 2003

The Blog Goes Ever On And On

Things I have picked up so far with my blogging experience:
1) I am a wordy SOB
2) While I have a lot to say, very little of it revolves around my job, except to say that there are lot of good people there.
2a) For example, our company picnic was a pleasant, dry (someone forgot to get a liquor license) shindig at the Niles Shriner Country Club. Tug of war, bocce ball, good food, speakers blasting loud music away from me, and all of the music I recognized and liked (and it is true that you can play all of the Beach Boy's songs at the same tempo and key without anyone noticing).
3) I can't link worth a darn. The site address for Canlis is I promise to learn how to link in the near future.
4) Blogger does not have a spell checker.
5) I am reading and listening faster than I am writing reviews. I'll catch up with the backlog. Eventually.
6) I always seem to have something to say.
7) While I am pretty political, I don't have a lot to say on national politics at the moment. I thought I'd wait until November, despite numerous temptations. There are others in the blogosphere who are doing a better job at relaying the national mood. The only national note would be to say Bush (isn't he supposed to be on vacation?) was here playing to a select crowd on Friday of contributors, while Dr. Howard Dean, who has been dogging his steps, shows up Sunday and gets 10k (and a huge turnout in Spokane as well, which is on the other side of the bloody mountains, in Red America territory).
7a) And if Dean wins, what would you call him? Dr. President?
8) I do, however, have some things to note on politics on the local level (see below), since no one else would note them.

The Friends of Mr. Fortunato

All politics are local, but some are more local than others.

I live in the 9th District of King County, which means I have representation with the King County Commissioners. Despite Seatle's rep as a haven for Liberal Democrats, the 9th is pretty conservative and Republican, though that's changing as the old farms are giving way to new subdivisions. For the past ten years, until his recent untimely passing, the district has been represented by a conservative Republican, one Kent Pullen. With his death, the Republicans got to put forward three candidates, and the Council would choose one to function as the temporary Commissioner until a special election this fall to fill out Pullen's term. Local Republicans put three hard-core-right Republicans into the mix (they didn't want to risk getting an electable moderate in - they would never get rid of him), and Council chose the lesser of the three weevils. Their choice from the roster the Repubs gave them was Steve Hammond, a pastor from the rural community of Enumclaw. Passed over were State Senator Pam Roach and For State Representitive Phil Fortunato.

So now the primary is coming, and the Republican candidates for the post are (you guessed it), Hammond, Roach, and Fortunato. There's a Democrat in the mix named Barbara Heavey, who is a land use attourney, but the conventional wisdom is that the Repubs will take the 9th, and the winner of the Primary will be elected.

Now the fun begins. Pam Roach is particularly repellant to anyone with a environmental bone in their bodies, being of the "pave-the-earth" school. But that doesn't keep her from being a viable candidate out here, with a lot of older families looking to selling dear and moving further away from the city. What has given her trouble is that she keeps changing her place of residence, with 5 moves in the last 2 years. Each move was accompanied with an attempt to put her name on the ballot as a resident in the new location. For this one, she was reportedly living out of a trailer in the driveway of a supporter. She is being challenged about her residency, and has put the down payment on a 600k home in King County (quite a jump from the trailer), and complains about double-dealing and backstabbing.

Phil Fortunato was our State Rep when I first moved out here, and is pretty tactless and often embarrassing. My first encounter with him was in the form of breathless pamphlets declaring that "My opponent is lying about me!" (the problem was he didn't HAVE an opponent at the time). He is also notable for a slew of "Another Friend of Phil Fortunato" lawn signs that went up with amazing regularity - I always thought his best friend was his sign-maker. He lost the seat to a Democrat after a particularly whiny campaign - I think he lost primarily because most people were just tired of his antics (He once was quoted in the Seattle paper as saying the hardest part of being a State Rep was "staying awake".)

Anyway, Phil Fortunato was passed over for the Pullen's replacement, and is now running a populist shoe-string campaign for the seat. Under King County law, if you don't have the money to file (5% of the yearly salary of the position), you can make it up with signatures. Well, Phil got the signatures, but now someone is challenging Fortunato that he HAD the money, and was just trying to save it by pleading poverty and getting the signatures. AND FURTHER, it turns out that there weren't enough legal signatures, either (The King County Elections Board is letting that one pass, since they didn't catch it the first time). Phil Fortunato, is, of course, complaining about double-dealing and back-stabbing.

OK, so with Roach richocheting through the South End and Fortunato trying to pull one or more fast ones on the election committee, Pastor Hammond looks pretty solid. EXCEPT that the guys who blew the whistle on both Roach and Fortunato were . . .(oh, you know) . . . supporters of Hammond. So the entire right wing of the operation is collapsing in a mire of recrimination, charges, and counter-charges. You'd think we were living in Chicago.

Or to put another way - "If God meant us to vote, he would have given us candidates".

More later,