Sunday, October 29, 2006

Local Politics: The Jeff Recommends

So today I cooked breakfast, recovered from the head cold, watched the Seahawks lose, carved a pumpkin, and voted (absentee ballot). And so as a result you get Grubb Street's endorsements.

At the top, for US Senator, I'm going with Maria Cantwell. For a freshman senator, she's done a lot, and her creds for environment, security, and veteran affairs are very strong for a one-termer. Her opponent, businessman and lobbyist Mike McGavick, started slow, then joined the ranks of self-immolating GOP candidates like Nethercutt and Rossi.

For US Representative, 8th District, vote Darcy Burner. Incumbent Dave Reichert, another freshman, has less of a sterling record, and though he is not under investigation (a rarity for GOP members of Congress), he has been pretty much in the pocket of his party, not his constituency. It is time to clean house in the other Washington, and I don't see Mr Reichert going in with a broom. Burner is a self-made candidate, the national party arriving late in the day to help out.

For Supreme Court, I strongly suggest Susan Owens over Stephen Johnson. Interesting thing that there was a lot of attack ads in the primary targeting Owens was (along with Chambers and Alexander, who won their positions). The BIAW, who has been funding Johnson, promised more of the same for the general. But then things went quiet, at least around here. Either the BIAW spent some of its money on real research and discovered this neck of the woods was not particularly friendly to their pave-the-earth approach, or they're just hoping that Johnson's generic name would carry through - this is one of those cases where more people would be more likely to vote for him if they didn't know what he stood for.

For the local-local races in the 47th, let's put up a cheer for Claudia Kauffman for State Senator, and Geoff Simpson and Pat Sullivan for the two State Rep positions. I've supported Simpson and Sullivan before, and to be quite honest, both men have done a good job. With all the work I've been doing on the game, I've missed that there has been a really sleezeball campaign coming from the state GOP against Simpson, stating that his marriage has problems. Yeah, I know, the GOP lecturing on family values is like the Holy Father of Rome going on The Dating Game, but Mr. Simpson has come out swinging, smashing the otherwise innocuous and inexperienced Donna Watts flat. So now the state GOP is robocalling, whining that Simpson runs negative campaigns (As a point of fact, no. I was paying attention the last time, it was the state GOP that was running the negative campaigns then, as well). Enough of this foolishness - Vote Simpson.

Then there are the initiatives. I-920 involves cutting taxes on rich, dead people as the expense of education. That simple. Its supporters could have scored points by coming up with an idea on where the money they were saving for the wealthy was going to be made up in the budget, but that woud be - you. Heck, even Bill Gates Senior supports the estate tax. Vote No on this mockery.

I-933 is another "gimme-gimme" initiative, where if you're prevented from putting a subdivision in your backyard, the state must either reimburse you for the lack of potential value of your imaginarily-increased property, or let you proceed. In other words, the state should either let you break the law or pay you for obeying it. This initiative is not only repulsive but badly written, and far from encouraging growth will choke it off in costly lawsuits as people try to figure out what it really means. Oregon has had to pay out six billion to date on a similarly badly-thought-out law. I'm not saying we're naturally smarter than Oregon, but this is a good place to prove it. Vote Hell, No on this one.

I-937 will require utility companies to seek out and develop alternate energy source, which is pretty much wind power. Similar laws have done well in Colorado and elsewhere, even saving money for the states, so this is one that's been driven around the block. Vote Yes on this one.

House Joint Resolution 4223 allows the state to up the withholding for personal property from $3k to $15K. It is one of those arcane measures that you look at and wonder why the heck they're asking you, but its a good deal. You want to help the small business that the I-920 and I-933 supporters cravenly hide behind? Vote No on the initiatives, and Yes on this resolution.

King County Proposition #1 is even more arcane. Sadly, it is not the Seattle Proposition #1, which involves whether strippers must stay four feet away from clients (which would have been more fun to research), but rather whether the county can sell or trade property that they bought in 1910 and whose bonds were paid off in 1936. Sounds pretty dry, but some of that property is on Lake Union and close to Boeing Field, so it could be valuable (Yeah, I use mapquest to find some of the land, but some of the descriptions were positively opaque). I'm going to say vote Yes on this one, but I really would prefer some assurance that the County will get a good deal on this, and not see some sweetheart deal move in. Keep and eye on this one.

King County Proposition #2 is more direct - raising taxes a smidge for better mass transit. Controverial, but as Dick Cheney would say, it's a no-brainer. I'd rather see more people on busses. Vote Yes on this one.

The rest of my ballot are guys without opponents, so if the issues and candidates in your neighborhood are not covered here, I suggest you go looking to find out the answers you seek. Then post them on your own blog. Because knowing is half the battle.

And now you know.

More later,

Update: One more thing you should know. If you're voting by mail, be sure to put 63 cents worth of postage on the letter. Democracy is expensive.