Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Election Election

I don't know about you, but I'm a little burned out on politics. Not a surprise, after a bruising political season just past. Yet here we go again, with ANOTHER election here in King County. You've probably got your voters guide (A slender thing about the thickness of a Seattle Weekly) and your ballots.

And there is only one major topic on the agenda - electing the new King County Director of Elections.

Now, readers will know that this blog felt that making Director of Elections an elected post was a stupid idea, and making it a "non-political post" was even stupider. But, vox populi and all that, so let's see what the people have wrought. The Renton Reporter, of all people, gives a good summary of those involved.

The best of the bunch is Sherril Huff, who a)gets an outstanding rating from the Municipal League, b) currently has the job, c) has got us through the most recent monster election without any major suits, and d) has the support of the local Dems. No problem, right?

Well, there is also e) she didn't live in King County while she was doing the job. She's moved to King County since, and while I am usually really nasty about folks moving into an area just to run for office, this is a case where Huff had to re-apply for the job she already has, and they've changed the requirements, so I'm a little forgiving on this one.

Oh, and here's a spoiler - I think you should vote for Sherril Huff. Just getting that out of the way.

Also "outstanding" according to the Muni league is David Irons, who ran for King County Exec against Ron Sims back in 2005. He's one of two recognized Republican candidates for this operation, and has name recognition. Problem, is, some of that name recognition is from a nasty family dust up, so caveat emptor.

The other notable Republican who is running is Pam Roach, who is "a character" to judge from her various campaigns and offices. She also has a blog, which, speaking from experience, is one of the best ways of cheesing off large numbers of people in a single quote (Here's a random pullquote talking about the decreasing number of reporters in Olympia - "For a conservative it just means fewer bullets. However, they will be higher caliber."). While I would admit she'd be the best choice for sheer entertainment value, she only gets a Adequate rating from the Muni League.

The Muni League's ratings in this race, by the way, are Outstanding, Very Good, and Adequate. Huff and Irons were at Outstanding. At the Very Good status is Bill Anderson, banking executive and software engineer. Downside, he has no political experience. Upside, until this election, neither did this job until this year. He running on the knowledge if not the exact credentials, and to honest, he'd be my second choice. Here's his site (but Bill, Bill, Bill! Don't have your video start up on opening. And you're looping it! Arrgh!)

Back down at the Adequate level is Julie Anne Kempf, who WAS King County elections director until being fired in a scandal in 2002. Which sort of set up the entire mess we're in right now. Then there was some additional extracurricular activity which led to an arrest. Problem is, some people are hearing about Kempf (former director) and ascribing it to Huff (current director), so the confusions is getting thick out here.

And adding to the confusion is Chris Clifford (Adequate rating from the Muni League), who is also filing suit to bounce Huff out for not living in King County, despite himself having a gig with a San Diego planning group without living, you know, in San Diego.

Clifford also gives us the quote of the election, in his Voter's Pamphlet entry: "There are actions I believe are unworthy of your vote. Filing a false declaration, lying about where you live, being accursed of assaulting your mother, being arrested for forgery, and being arrested for attempt to over a police officer".

Yes, the second line is a second fragment (He's a teacher), but more importantly it is a "Where's Waldo" of accusations against the other candidates (Note - not any single candidate is responsible for all of these accusations, but fitting which one to which took me the better part of an afternoon, and I still don't know who the forger is supposed to be).

But it does sum up my feeling on this election - it has not brought out the best and the brightest, but rather a collection of usual suspects, and will do little for improving the office of Director. At best, right now, I am looking to mitigate the damage. Go for Huff.

More later,