Monday, October 25, 2021

The Political Desk: King County

There are some interesting things going on at the county level, but first we must do a little bookkeeping. King County has a Charter, and if we're going to mess with that charter we have to put things to a vote. Often this is minor, minor, stuff, but still, we put it to a vote. I'm not as indignant about this as I am about the advisory votes, since it does involve really checking with people. This is very much a be bear-with-me-we'll-get-to-the-juicy-stuff-soon sort of thing.

King County Charter Amendment No. 1 Preamble is correcting a typo. OK, quit laughing. In addition to "Change Insure to Ensure in All", it also puts forth Equity and Promotion of a Superior Quality of Life as goals. OK. Vote YES. 

King County Charter Amendment No. 2 Initiative, Referendum and Charter Amendment Timelines and Processes has to my mind its own typo (I believe in serial commas, thank you), but is to bring such things as initiatives, referendums, and charter amendments into line with the state. Sure, why not. Vote YES

And FINALLY, we get to the point of voting for living, breathing candidates. 

This one has some serious activity. A lot of it involves areas that I don't vote in, because of the quirky way we've divied up the county council.

King County has an executive and a council. The council is divided up into nine regions which elect people to the council. So while you may have have some say in your elected officials, you can't necessarily run the board. This year we are looking at the Executive and the odd-numbered districts. And while I can't vote in some of these, I will pass on the highlights for your enjoyment. 

King County Executive - Dow Constantine has done a good job over the years, and I am normally disposed towards people who do a good job over the years. However, at the start of the COVID crisis, he had set up a quarantine motel in Kent. That's cool. But he did it without conferring with the local Kent government. Surprise!. His challenger, Joe Nguyen, is full of promise, short on experience. Both men are intent on confronting homelessness, promoting safety. Both would fit under the "Progressive" banner. It is a tight choice, and at the moment, I'm going to say Joe Nguyen, but we are in the fortunate position of having a choice of a good and better. 

Metropolitan King County, Council District No 5 - This is my district, and should be relatively quiet normally. Dave Upthegrove (still a great name) is challenged by Shukri Olow, and both candidates also come from the Progressive end of the scale. But a huggamugga emerged from when some traditional Upthegrove supporters switched their endorsements to Olow. Supposedly Upthegrove's campaign responded with threats of HIM no longer supporting those groups in legislation. The campaign denies they made those threats, but the information came from several formerly supporting groups. It is a mild political scrum of who-said-what. I'm going to with Shukri Olow on this one, but note that Upthegrove's mailer notes that he has a orange tabby named Dobby. So there's that.

Then there is some stuff for the Council that I can't vote on, but this year there has been more of that type of activity than usual than usual. In addition to the Upthegrove huggamugga, we've seen activity in other districts as well. 

District 1: Ron Dembowski is running with minimal challenge, so naturally he should get his own scandal - Verbal abuse against a chief of staff leading to that chief's resignation and subsequent lawsuit.  Dembowski has been admonished and owed up to his sins, which is easier to do when you don't have much of a challenge.

District 3: This should be a straight up fight between Centrist/Conservative Kathy Lambert and Centrist/Liberal Sarah Perry. Then the Lambert campaign released a mailer accusing Perry of being a puppet of Bernie Sanders, fellow councilmember Girmay Zahilay, Kshama Sawant, and Kamala Harris. Or, to put it in other terms - a jew, a black man, and two women of color. The cringe meter went to 11 on this, old reliables like the Seattle Times pulled their endorsement of Lambert and she stepped down from all her positions on the council. This is one incident, but didn't she have anyone on her campaign to double check this thing to see if it could go horribly, horribly, wrong? If you live in the District, go with Sarah Perry.

District 7: No one seems to have a major problem with incumbent Peter von Reichbauer. The Times likes him, the Stranger skips over this position entirely, and the Progressives over at Fuse declare there are "No Good Choices". But we'll mention this here since we're running the full list.

District 9 has been Reagan Dunn's since the middle of the last decade, with the borders moving eastward all the time to keep him viable. Once, long ago, he represented my district, so I keep tabs. In the Primary he has a weird self-own on his stand on the homelessness problem ("Its a problem, it's worse than it was, so re-elect me!") but has settled into a more law-and-order approach for the general. His opponent is Kim-Kahn Van, who is from the Renton City Council. Sounds like a good time to upgrade.

And that's it for King County - next up, the Port Authority!

More later,