Friday, October 29, 2021

The Political Desk: Guest Editorial

 So in talking with a friend, she said that she agreed with much what I said, but not everything. And I volunteered the space here for her to give her own recommendations. So here is Janice Coulter, formerly of the Social Security Administration, who does not have a blog, and is spouse to our resident Tolkien expert, Sacnoth:


If all politics is local then have I got an election for you. Aside from 1 fellow running unopposed in a judicial race and the three advisory votes all the November 2, 2021 contests are on the county, city, and even further down the ballot than that level. But that doesn’t mean that this election isn’t important. Whoever wins these races is going to have a serious impact on our lives so we’d best pay attention.

First up the Advisory Votes. Think of these as gentle political warm up exercises. You can stretch your political thinking to its limits knowing full well what you decide will have no consequences whatsoever.  

Advisory Vote No. 36 — You’re asking me if I’m willing to pay 24¢ per month per phone line increasing to 40¢ per month per phone line beginning in January 2023 for a suicide prevention hotline? Yes I am willing to spend $1.20 per month (3 lives X 40¢) to save a human life.  Maintained. 

Advisory Vote No. 37 — I’d be happier with this tax if corporations were also subject to paying 7% tax on capital gains of more than $250,000 but for now I will have to settle for taxing rich real people while the fake ones go scot free. Maintained

Advisory Vote No. 38 — Captive insurers have done the near impossible. They’ve made traditional insurance companies into almost sympathetic businesses. Maintained 

Then comes the slightly more rigorous King County Charter Amendment votes. These votes have consequences but no one is going to suffer regardless of how you vote. Except for maybe the team responsible for the typo being corrected via Amendment No. 1. Let’s use this election to end their suffering.

King County Charter Amendment No. 1 — I have to look up the difference between insure and ensure every time so my heart goes out to the folks who have been staring this mistake in the face.  It’s silly that it must be put to the voters and past time to correct the mistake. Yes 

King County Charter Amendment No. 2 — Speaking of silly questions, Yes King County should comply with Washington State laws.

Now that we’re fully warmed up it’s time for the heavy voting. None of these folks have access to nuclear weapons codes but that doesn’t mean they don’t have the capacity to change our lives for decades to come. Don’t take my word for it. Ask the people of Flint, Michigan if they wished that they had been paying attention to who ran their water district.

King County Executive — You know what you did Dow Constantine! If you hadn’t disrespected Kent at the start of the pandemic I would have happily voted you in for another term. But you did and you’ve got a competent challenger so Joe Nguyen gets the vote.

Metropolitan King County Council District No. 5 — Dave Upthegrove is another candidate that I would gladly have voted for again if only … Multiple agencies that have endorsed him in past elections threw their support to his opponent. How did Upthegrove go about wooing them back? He demanded to know if they dropped him because he’s a White Guy (apparently being openly gay doesn’t count as being a minority in King County) and threatened their funding. He of course denies he said any such thing. So what does he do with everything hinging on his credibility? He claims credit for fighting Sound Transit to “save a landmark South King County business.” While there’s no arguing that Dick’s Drive In is a landmark Seattle business they opened their first and only South King County restaurant on December 12, 2018. So while he might not be technically lying he’s not being entirely honest at a time when he’s up against a competent opponent. Shukri Olow gets the vote on this one.

Port Of Seattle

Commissioner Position 1 — Ryan Calkins is exactly the kind of policy wonk with fresh ideas that I enjoy voting for.

Commissioner Position 3 — Vote Hamdi Mohamed because Stephanie Bowman fought against the $15 per hour minimum wage.

Commissioner Position 4 — Vote Toshiko Grace Hasegawa because she’s willing to put actual detailed plans on the table instead of the usual platitudes.

City of Kent

Here’s where it gets interesting so I’ll get the easy endorsement out of the way first.

City Of Kent Council Position NO. 6 — Brenda Fincher has been doing good work. She earned my good opinion when she responded via email, telephone, and an in-person visit on a weekend the first time I contacted her. She’s kept my good opinion by continuing to do good work. 

My next two picks are about creating a team. If Dana Ralph is your choice for mayor then you should also vote for Toni Troutner. Their views align and they would work together to achieve their goals. If Dawn Bennet is your choice for mayor then you should vote for Cliff Cawton because their views align. Both teams share the same goals (reduce homelessness, bring jobs to Kent, fight crime, etc.) but they have fundamentally different approaches to solving our problems.

City of Kent Mayor — I’ve generally been happy with Mayor Ralph’s work but I am throwing this one to Dawn M. Bennett because it’s time to try new approaches to the same problems we face year after year. Both Ralph and Troutner want to continue to throw more and more police at problems that Bennett says can be better addressed with a different approach. Rather than have 7 full time police officers devoted to working with Kent’s homeless population (they steer them towards services, help them get SSN cards and IDs, etc) Bennett wants to have social workers take on that job. She’s also the only candidate who is talking about solving the affordable housing crisis by instituting rental caps. How much Kent rents have gone up in the last few months is a regular feature in the Kent Reporter. Prices are only going to get higher with the light rail extensions opening in 2024. We really need to do more than throw platitudes at this problem.

City of Kent Council Position NO. 4 — Cliff Cawthon because he would work well with Dawn Bennett. 

Kent School District No 415 Director District 4 — Awale Farah gets the vote because his opponent, Bradley Kenning, is intent on carrying on the tradition that only the Germans should own up to their crimes against humanity. 

KSD No. 415 Director District 5 — Tim Clark gets the vote because while both candidates seem genuinely concerned about the students Clark has the credentials and experience necessary to make the tough choices.

Public Hospital District No. 1 Commissioner District No. 2 — Dustin Lambro won on the endorsements. AG Bob Ferguson endorsed him for this nonpartisan position. 

PHD No. 1 Commissioner Position No. 4 — Monique Taylor-Swan because she’s a board member of Caregivers Union SEIU 775 and the union should have a seat at the table. 
Thank you, Janice. I'll do my own summing up tomorrow. 
More later,