Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Political Desk: King County Executive

OK, Let's put aside the whinging and get down to actually things I will have to vote on.

The position of King County Executive is, in the words of a friend, "The mayor of the county". That's a pretty good description, as it covers both those areas not covered by other municipalities (so it is in charge of the King County Sheriff's Office), as well as services that span multiple communities (such as transportation). It has a lack-luster name, and to be frank, is not a gold and glory position. The current office-holder is Dow Constantine.

Two candidates will emerge from this primary, Dow Constantine, and the Guy Who Will Lose to Dow Constantine. This is because Mr. Constantine has pretty much acquitted himself well, and has showed wisdom in working with the King County Council (yeah, we have one of those as well). Strong on environment and transportation, strong on consensus, reduced the cost of government, and most importantly, hasn't done anything to embarrass us. No, really, that's a big thing we look for in a politician. Don't make me sorry I voted for you.

So what about the other guys? For them, low on cash and exposure, the Voter's Guide is their Oscar moment, the place where they can talk to on an equal footing with a better known, better funded, more experienced opponent. Let's take a look.

Allan E. Lobdell is a bit earnest in his presentation and has a tendency to put everything in bold and underlining it. Still, he touts a Civil Engineering background, and I am a sucker for that sort of organization. If you hate Dow Constantine for some reason (he backed out of your driveway and took out the mailbox, or something), he'd be the good choice.

Goodspaceguy is a perennial candidate. When I first moved out here, he would run for local offices on a platform of how we can solve all out problems by going out into space (and yet the King County Aeronautical and Space Administration remains woefully underfunded to this day). He has since evolved his positions from being a single-issue candidate on space to being a single-issue candidate on destroying the minimum wage, which is responsible for all unemployment and crime (meanwhile, in Reality, King County has a hefty minimum wage and the lowest unemployment in the state. Crime's on the downswing, too). But don't let that stop statements like this:
"If right now the minimum wage were raised to $100 per hour, most people would lose their jobs, and our competitive free market economy, that works for you the consumer, would collapse. Crime and violence would skyrocket."
And pondering the truth of this statement, I must add that if bears were 200 feet tall, then we would have to construct giant twin-piloted battlesuits in order to protect our National Parks. So where ARE our Smokeyjaegers, eh?

Lastly, Everett A. Stewart comes with strong ideas on transportation, which is good, since that is something that actually the King County Executive is involved with. And some of the ideas he pitches are downright lefty - a carbon tax, a tax on the wealthy (income? estate? luxury?), and more electric buses. Then he gets bogged down on the question of bus drivers having to go the bathroom, and how long hours create duress and unsafe situations (I get the feeling there was a real-life situation that spawned this, and yeah, being in a vehicle when you need the loo is not a pleasant situation - now imagine it when you have a schedule and about thirty people sitting behind you). He wants to address this by not granting overtime and by using part-time bus drivers. Hang on, I'm not quite sure how that the latter part quite agrees with the first part, but by that time the orchestra is warming up to play him off.

In any event, I'll just say Dow Constantine here, with Mr. Lobdell as "The Other Guy".

More later.