Saturday, October 17, 2009

Election 2009: The Jeff Recommends

If you live in King County, you have received your 2009 Civic Intelligence Test, better known as the ballot. As is my wont, I'm sharing my endorsements and encouragements for things I can vote on. I will attempt to be short and pithy, and reserve the right to come back to this stuff later.

Remember, the penalty for failing your 2009 Civic Intelligence Test is that you get the government you deserve. Oddly enough, that is also the benefit for passing it.

Now turn over you papers and begin:

Initiative Measure No. 1033, hiding in the lower left-hand corner of your ballot (if it were a menu, that would be the dead zone), is this year's Tim Eyeman Magic Pony initiative. I don't remember ever seeing an initiative that has had more serious opposition across the political spectrum, from Republicans to the hipsters at The Stranger. Vote NO on this.

Referendum Measure No. 71 is an "are your sure?" referendum about the recent "Everything but marriage" granting of rights to domestic partners (said partners being mostly, but not exclusively gay). I am a "Everything including marriage" kinda guy, so I recognize this as a small step in the right direction. Vote Approved on this one.

King County Charter Amendments are deep geek civic wonkery for the most past, the first three tidying up the language on the Charter. The fourth, however, changes how the county handles lands with "high conservation value", which includes of the open public land, including Cougar Mountain, and requires a larger majority and public hearings when the status of those lands change. Vote Yes for all of them, in particular number four.

County Executive to replace Ron Sims for the last month of his term and then a full term thereafter. Dow Constantine is not as flashy as his Reaganite opponent, but has done well on the County Council, and has already been facing the problems (budgets, getting a preliminary declaration of emergency for the Green River) that will test the next County Executive. Of course, I'm always a fan of granular, progressive policy-wonkiness. Vote Dow Constantine

Sheriff, Metropolitan King County Council District No. 5, Court of Appeals, Port of Seattle Commissioner Position No. 1, and similar offices. It is not the position of Grubb Street to venture opinions and endorsements for candidates running unopposed. However, Susan Rahr should be commended for firing the officer that was caught on tape beating the crap out of teenage girl in a holding cell. Just saying.

Assessor causes me to address something that I have not seen from other sources that engage in recommendations and endorsements. Last time out, I reviewed all the available data and endorsed incumbent Scott Noble. Earlier this year, Mr. Noble, driving under the influence of alcohol, went the wrong way on I-5 and crashed into another vehicle, injuring two women. Mr. Noble has stepped down, but there is the fact that I said "Yeah, let's keep him." In other words, take everything said here (and elsewhere) under advisement - we don't EVER have complete knowledge.

That said, the seat is open and there are a number of strong candidates. I recommend Bob Rosenberger, who has served the assessor's office, has the experience and the ability to get the job done.

Port of Seattle Commissioner Position No. 3 - Ah, the port, my favorite hive of scandal and villainy. I am pro-reform on this as such recommend Rob Holland for the position.

Port of Seattle Commissioner Position No. 4 - Ah, the port, my favorite hive of scandal and villainy. I am pro-reform on this as such recommend Max Vekich for the position. I will note that his opponent, Tom Albro, gets an Outstanding rating from the Municipal League, but provide the grain of salt that he's served as the head of the Municipal League. I don't think that's a secret, but just so you know.

Kent School District No. 415 Director District No 5 OK, I am seriously downballot now, and there is going to be like THREE people who will vote on this AND read this blog AND unfortunately, there is no way to PUNISH the school board for handling the teachers' strike so badly (one incumbent is running unopposed, the other is running for Mayor of Kent). Because in addition to ALL this, there is another screwup. There were three candidates originally, and after the primary the lower two were separated by a fraction of a percentage. However, the winner of those two has publicly dropped out, leaving Tim Clark as the only candidate on the ballot who can take the position. However, there is a write-in slot if you want to vote for Dave Watson, the guy who got edged out, anyway.

Really into the weeds now, King County Fire Protection District No 37, Commissioner position No.1 - Allan Barrie. Soos Creek Water and Sewer District Commissioner Position No. 5 - Alice Marshall (with a headnod to the work of incumbent Connie Sullivan as well). Public Hospital District No 1 Position 4 ....

Yah got me on this one. One one side we have a lot of new development at Valley Medical, with a strongly endorsed incumbent in Mike Miller challenged by the scandal de jour and Aaron Heide. I'd go tentative to Mr. Miller over Dr. Heide, but keep up the heat to keep the board public.

You will notice a definite lack of snark in all these proceedings, and I appreciate your patience, for the last item on my list is Panther Lake Annexation Area Proposition No. 1 Proposed Annexation to the City of Kent. I strongly endorse For Annexation. Grubb Street is situated in one of the suburban archipelagos of unincorporated King County, and I think a more local government (one within arm's reach) better serve us. The area around Panther Lake as grown and developed extensively in the short decade I have been here, and it is time to join up with a more local (as opposed to county wide) authority.

When I started going through the Voters' Pamphlets, it was with an eye towards pointing out the well-intended, the underqualified, and the raving nutters in the pack. But with the recent reforms, I will admit, there isn't as much in the way of characters and sprawling rants as there once was. But for your own amusement, go read the Voters Pamphlet writeup on this. I will direct you to the last line of the "Rebuttal of Statement For" - "The ShoWare Center hosts a Lingerie Football League team. Women’s rights groups say it’s degrading to women, Kent says it’s entertainment."

Yep, that's why we should vote against annexation - lingerie football. Of course, they also have roller derby, and I think they call THAT entertainment as well.

So get out there and vote, people. And more later,