Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Political Desk - The Final Details

I've finally reached the bottom of the ballot, and with it such specialized positions as the Soos Creek Water and Sewer Commissioner Positions # 2 and 3, and the Public Hospital District No. 1 Positions # 3 and 5. These are write-ups that will concerns pairs if not trios of readers, made worse by the lack of information on the ground. Often at this level we are left with the comments in the Voters' Guide, and unless one of them suddenly confesses to being an axe-murderer, you wouldn't know from their presentations.

The Soos Creek Water and Sewer is responsible for, you got it, water quality and sewer services in the Soos Creek watershed, which starts just north of Grubb Street and flows south into Covington and Maple Valley. It is a diverse area, including both old farming plots, salmon streams, older homes with septic tanks, ancient pipes, and sprawling new developments. So it is a challenging region, dealing with both expansion as well as maintenance.

For Position #2, we see a rerun of three years back, with Larry West versus Darold R. Stroud. At the time this blog recognized both for their abilities and favored Mr. West (and we lost - oh well). This time out I have to recognize that DAROLD R STROUD has done the job and deserves to be returned to the position.

For Position #3 we have incumbent Gary G. Cline and Alan Eades, who has been a long-time employee of the water district. Again, from their descriptions in the Voters' Guide, I can pretty much say the neither is a self-confessed axe-murderer and sounds pretty calm and rational. I'd go with GARY G CLINE, but again, I don't think we would be wrong with Mr. Eades.

The Public Hospital District No. 1 is Valley Medical, which is just down the hill. And in general, I am positively disposed to Valley Medical - they have been an excellent health-care organization with a talented, positive, capable staff, and have used their services both intentionally (surgery) and unintentionally (emergency room, of which we will not go into detail). However, it has always managed some huggamugga and scandal every time there is an election, and this year is little different.

Previously, the commissioners were five in number and elected positions. Since the last election, Valley has merged with UW Medical (all the cool kids are doing it these days), but as a result, the board consists of the five elected positions and eight UWM appointees. So there is not as much local control as there once was, and while most of the candidates think the merger was a good thing, they vary about the details. 

So, this deep in the weeds, who to recommend? Fortunately, the Renton Reporter (sister-paper to the Kent Reporter) has been actually talking to the candidates (or trying, at least), and tracking the contributions to give a bit of clarity. They have articles on Albert P. Haylor versus Barbara J. Drennen for Position 3, and Tamara Sleeter versus incumbent Sue Bowman for Position 5 (Spoiler, last time out, this blog went for Ms. Bowman). 

The articles illuminate both in correcting the record (Ms. Bowman stated in the Voters' Guide that Ms. Sleeter did not live in the district - it has since been ruled that Ms. Sleeter does), and in following the money. In particular, Mr. Haylor and Ms. Sleeter have gotten their largest donations from the current president of the board and from the current president's medical practice. OK, so we know that someone would like to staff some friendly faces on the board. 

All approve to various levels about the Alliance with UWM (from enthusiastic to resigned), all have interest in how much hospital executives make (from outraged to concerned) and all have the patients at heart in their write-ups. And, of course, none appear to be axe-murderers. I agree that the Alliance with UWM is a necessary things (though it is apparently being challenged in appeals court, so stay tuned), and am going to go with SUE BOWMAN for Position 5 and BARBARA J DRENNEN for Position 3.

And with that, we hit the end of the ballot. Summary and updates to come, as we have More Later,