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11/3/2009 – General Election – Redmond, King County, Washington

Honestly, I don't know why i'm bothering with this. Now that we have gone to an all mail based ballot we have all but guaranteed that over time voter fraud will be the rule. There are just so many easy ways to cause ballots to 'spoil' (before if I screwed up a ballot the machine would tell me, now if there is a mistake I'm just out of luck), to connect who a person is with their ballot, to make ballot purchasing or coercion verifiable and therefore easy, that it's ridiculous. An all mail in ballot system is inherently an illegitimate voting system. We lost folks. There's no way around it. I don't know why I insist on going through the charade that our votes matter. Any system that makes fraud easy will be defrauded and an all mail in ballot system is the very definition of a 'fraud friendly' environment. But my guess is that the fraud will take a little while to start up in full bloom so until then I'll pretend my vote matters. I'll pretend my vote was received. I'll pretend that my vote was counted correctly. Because that's all the system leave me with, pretense.

  • Initiative Measure No. 1033 - NO

  • Referendum Measure No. 71 - APPROVED

  • King County Charter Amendment No. 1 - YES

  • King County Charter Amendment No. 2 - YES

  • King County Charter Amendment No. 3 - YES

  • King County Charter Amendment No. 4 - YES

  • King County Executive - Dow Constantine

  • Sheriff - Sue Rahr

  • King County Assessor - Bob Rosenberger

  • Metropolitan King County Council District No. 3 - Kathy Lambert

  • Court of Appeals, Division No. 1, District No.1 Judge Position No. 3 - Anne L. Ellington

  • Port of Seattle Commissioner Position No. 1 - John Creighton

  • Port of Seattle Commissioner Position No. 3 - Rob Holland

  • Port of Seattle Commissioner Position No. 4 - Tom Albro

  • City of Redmond - Council Position No. 2 - John P. (Pat) Vache

  • City of Redmond - Council Position No. 4 - Kim Allen

  • City of Redmond - Council Position No. 6 - John Stilin

  • Lake Washington School District No. 414 Director District No. 3 - Nancy Phillips Bernard

  • Lake Washington School District No. 414 Director District No. 4 - Doug Eglington

  • Public Hospital District No. 2 - Commissioner District No. 1 - Al F. DeYoung

  • Public Hospital District No. 2 -Commissioner Position No. 4 - Charles A. Pilcher

Initiative Measure No. 1033 - NO

This initiative would limit the rate of growth in spending at all levels of government in Washington state to the rate of inflation plus an adjustment based on population growth. It would take our current budget as its baseline. I support the core idea behind this initiative, that we should have a rate limiter on the growth of government spending. But it's not clear me to me that a recession era budget is the right base or that the inflation rate is the right limiter. I would rather see a base of a more normal budget and a limiter that is based on the wealth of the state, not an adjustment of fluctuations in the money supply. So this gets a no from me.

Referendum Measure No. 71 - APPROVED

My preference would be to get the state out of the marriage business all together and just have domestic partnerships that would be open to any and all. But until then this bill which creates a legal definition of 'domestic partnership' and accords it many of the same rights as marriage is at least a step in the right direction.

King County Charter Amendment No. 1 - YES

Near as I can tell this is what it says it is, a clean up. King County has gone through some transitions in government over the last decades and sections of the charter were added to deal with those transitions. Now that the transitions are done it's time to remove the transitional language.

King County Charter Amendment No. 2 - YES

This would appear to be another clean up of an obsolete section of the charter regarding a budget control process that is no longer used. I can't find anything, anywhere, saying that this is anything other than what it looks like, clean up, so I'm going with it.

King County Charter Amendment No. 3 - YES

Every decade a committee is supposed to get together to review the King County charter and recommend changes to the county council if the committee thinks they are needed. It would appear that the current law is a bit fuzzy on who exactly has to approve the composition of this committee. This charter amendment would clarify that the county council decides who is on the committee. Second, this amendment would specify that the review committee's recommendations have to be publicly reviewed and responded to by the council. This all sounds fine to me.

King County Charter Amendment No. 4 - YES

King County owns a number of parcels of land that it has marked for preservation. This amendment would put in place a number of hoops that anyone who wants to develop that land would have to jump through. First, there would have to be a 28 day review period on the requests. Second, the county council would have to vote by a super majority (7 out of 9 votes) to approve the new usage. The point is to make it hard to 'un-preserve' this preserved land. Note, this amendment only applies to land that the county already owns. It doesn't call for buying any new land and it doesn't apply to non-county owned land. The only thing I don't like about this amendment is that it requires the same super majority to add new land to the protected list. I would have actually liked to have seen a lower bar for adding properties. But whatever, it's still a good thing so I'll go with it.

King County Executive - Dow Constantine

Susan Hutchison - First, it's unclear to me what qualifications Ms. Hutchison has to run for King County Executive. Being on the board of the creationist Discovery Institute (and yes, the Discovery Institute has tried to erase her name) doesn't really count, although it certainly puts us on very different ends of the political spectrum. Her time as executive director of various small organizations and board of directors is nice but this isn't real executive or government experience.

Dow Constantine - At least Mr. Constantine has some serious qualifications for the position as someone who has sat on the King County council. That doesn't mean he will make a good executive but it does mean he at least knows the ins and out of King County government. I also liked his website because he has more than one idea (Ms. Hutchison seems to believe in Zero based accounting, that's about it) and talks about them reasonably clearly. Unfortunately I really dislike his ideas. I think his support of light rail is just, well, wacky (let's spend billions moving no one, see the bottom of my article here explaining the details) and his support of deep bore tunnels in Seattle is... frightening. The tunnels will turn into a multi-billion dollar boondoggle that will do little more than pay off a bunch of construction and property development interests. Only the citizens will lose.

This race is so stereotypical it makes me want to cry. There's something so nasty about this. Putting up two extremes of the scale. An unqualified creationist or a tax and spend liberal? I'll go with the experience and vote for the liberal.

King County Sheriff - Sue Rahr

She is running unopposed.

King County Assessor - Bob Rosenberger

Graham Albertini - His pitch is that he teaches assessors how to assess so he is qualified for the position. His not so coded language is that he will give people lower assessments.

Gene Lux - His pitch seems to be that he has been in the construction industry and involved in politics for decades and he knows that assessments are important but I have no sense of what he would do in office.

Lloyd Hara - His pitch is is that he has lots of political experience including a financial background from his time as Seattle City Treasurer and King County Auditor. Oh and he'll reduce our assessments.

Bob Rosenberger - He may win for voters pamphlet entry that most misses the point. This guy is a former assessor for King County with tons of experience but I couldn't figure that out from his pamphlet description. And like everyone else he promises to lower our taxes.

Bob Blanchard - He has worked for a real estate company (another fox...) but he is also the only person to actually propose something which is that he will switch to a system where by property is evaluated every two years instead of every year. Is that even within the power of the assessor to decide?

To help me narrow things down I'm going to use the Muni League ratings and knock out Bob Blanchard and Gene Lux. I took a look at the three remaining candidate's website and by far Mr. Rosenberger's positions impressed me the most. He just lays it out point by point, and it all made sense to me.

Comparing the three I think that Mr. Albertini doesn't have the executive experience to really do the job. I'm worried about Mr. Rosenberger's executive experience although his experience with the office is obviously beyond reproach and his plans are very solid. Mr. Hara clearly has the necessary executive experience but his plans for the office felt vague to me, more like "I'll figure it out when I get there." In an ideal world Mr. Hara would win and Mr. Rosenberger would be his assistant. But I have to pick one and I think that of the three Mr. Rosenberger is likely to do the job best.

Metropolitan King County Council District No. 3 - Kathy Lambert

She is running unopposed.

Court of Appeals, Division No. 1, District No.1 Judge Position No. 3 - Anne L. Ellington

She is running unopposed.

Port of Seattle Commissioner Position No. 1 - John Creighton

He is running unopposed.

Port of Seattle Commissioner Position No. 3 - Rob Holland

Rob Holland - I think his summary is (Union) jobs for everyone! His muni survey does draw out a distinction between him and Doud. Holland wants the port to focus on promoting maritime trade while I think Doud wants the port to focus on real estate development. Mr. Holland's website also focuses on specific ideas around developing jobs at the port.

David Doud - Make the port earn more money! I read Doud's muni survey and near as I can tell he didn't say anything. But if I'm reading between the lines I believe his goal is to get the port to invest in real estate (did we mention that he is a property investor?). I checked out Mr. Doud's website and couldn't find any meaningful content.

Neither of these candidates is my cup of tea. Mr. Holland's focus on creating jobs worry me. I would rather have a port commissioner focused on promoting maritime trade and let the jobs part handle itself (e.g. if the port can run better with fewer people that's fine with me). On the other hand it's not completely clear to me that Mr. Doud even knows he is running for port commissioner. What little he says doesn't seem to have much to do with the port. So Mr. Holland gets my vote.

Port of Seattle Commissioner Position No. 4 - Tom Albro

Tom Albro - His voter pamphlet entry read like a conspiracy story so I instead went to his website. He apparently likes videos which I'm not going to spend the time to watch but he does provide the transcripts which is useful. He lays out some basic ideas on how to reduce carbon emissions at the port (getting rid of deadheading of various types, good idea). Unfortunately that was the only substantive thing I could find him saying on his site besides an idea to let businesses threatened by Green River flooding use vacant port lands. Otherwise it's the standard "green jobs" line everyone has. I do like the fact that he ran the muni league for several years.

Max Vekich - His website suggests a few changes including 24 hour operation, allowing ships to connect to port power to not run their (dirty) engines and for the rest requiring carbon scrubbers while in port and cab (specifically) deadheading. Unlike Mr. Albro who is mostly a businessman, Mr. Vekich is a professional politician. According to what he says about himself in his Muni form his legislative record doesn't appear particularly compelling, a farm worker unemployment bill and the getting the state to either build or buy (his Muni form isn't clear) the Lady Washington tall ship.

So when in doubt, follow the money. According to the Public Disclosure Commission Mr. Albro has received $157,875.50 in contributions so far and has spent $122,550.99 in expenditures. This money is coming from (in order of size of contribution) folks like Alaska Airlines, CityIce Cold Storage, Marine Resources Group, Washington Association of Realtors, Bellevue Chamber of Commerce, Trident Marine, Holland America, etc. In other words the businesses who use the port want Mr. Albro.

Mr. Vekich has raised $127,930.57 to date and spent $74,979.87. But before you think that puts him at a disadvantage he also has had $39,890.08 of independent spending (which I believe is money spent in support of the candidate that is not directly controlled by the candidate). So in fact the two candidates are neck and neck in terms of cash on hand. And Mr. Vekich's contributions are unions down the line. Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, HOD Carriers & General Laborers Local 242, IBEW Local 77, ILWU Locals 19 and 52, Inland Boatmen's Union of the Pacific, etc.

So the choice is - businesses or unions? It's really hard to take Mr. Albro's protestations of green given who is paying for him. On the other hand I can't see Mr. Vekich making the port profitable and competitive given the iron chain of unions dragging him below the water (something I was willing to put up with in terms of Mr. Holland in the previous position because I felt him the better qualified candidate). I do think Mr. Albro's resume is more impressive so Mr. Albro gets the nod by a hair.

City of Redmond - Council Position No. 2 - John P. (Pat) Vache

He is running unopposed.

City of Redmond - Council Position No. 4 - Kim Allen

Sally J. Chen - Neither her voter pamphlet entry nor her website provides anything I can really sink my teeth into. She does lay out her priorities but they are so general as to not really help me understand what she wants to do and they don't seem meaningfully different than anything the council in general or her opponent in particular have to say. She does mention no new taxes, not letting Redmond become too metropolitan and lots of greenery on her website but again, this is all standard. Her main point, something she repeats everywhere from the pamphlet to her candidate website is that she's young, the council is old, so we should vote for her. As someone closer to old than young that isn't going to cut a lot of slack with me.

Kim Allen - While Ms. Chen's website is light, Ms. Allen's is near empty. Desperate to find anything I watched her candidate video. Her pitch is basically she has experience, she's connected, she wants to bring us lots of busses and light rail and she wants affordable housing in the city.

The candidate's information doesn't give me much to go on. But what I do see is that Ms. Allen's background and experience seem to make her an excellent fit for the job while Ms. Chen's do not. Without some strong differentiator I'm going to go with Ms. Allen.

City of Redmond - Council Position No. 6 - John Stilin

He is running unopposed.

Lake Washington School District No. 414 Director District No. 3 - Nancy Phillips Bernard

She is running unopposed.

Lake Washington School District No. 414 Director District No. 4 - Doug Eglington

The other candidate withdrew.

Public Hospital District No. 2 - Commissioner District No. 1 - Al F. DeYoung

He is running unopposed.

Public Hospital District No. 2 -Commissioner Position No. 4 - Charles A. Pilcher

Charles A. Pilcher - His pitch is that he is an emergency room doctor with long experience at Everygreen as a director and as a manager so the move to the board is a natural one and besides there hasn't been a doctor on the board in years and it's about time there was one.

Rex H. Lindquist - His pitch is that he has been on the board for over 10 years, doesn't have any conflicts of interest (I'm assuming this is a jab at the fact that Mr. Pilcher is a doctor) and won't take donations.

Mr. Lindquist's comment about donations got my attention. I checked the Public Disclosure Commission website and as of today Mr. Pilcher has not received any direct contributions but he has received $15,072.10 in indirect support. Unfortunately the PDC doesn't record who those donations are from. And true to his word Mr. Lindquist has not taken any direct or indirect contributions. What's equally interesting is that the entire existing Hospital board have publicly backed Mr. Pilcher against Mr. Lindquist.

In thinking this one through I would have liked to have seen Mr. Lindquist put up a website and explain why he should win over Mr. Pilcher. I would also like to understand his view on why the entire existing board has come out against him. But unfortunately no website is listed in the voter pamphlet nor did a search turn up anything. Given the board's lack of support for Mr. Lindquist and without any counter as to why this is I'm left supporting Mr. Pilcher even though is primary claim to fame (e.g. that he is a doctor) is not something that I think should necessarily carry the day.

6 Responses to 11/3/2009 – General Election – Redmond, King County, Washington

  1. Peter M says:

    Check out Bob Rosenberger’s TV Ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaqjfDeRoK0

  2. FYI, Mr. Rosenberger never was King County Assessor. In 24 years in a department of over 200 employees, he never made supervisor.

    • Administrator says:

      I changed the language to read “This guy is a former assessor for King County”. I hadn’t meant to imply that he was the King County Assessor. I meant he had worked as an assessor for King County.

  3. garyn says:

    Mr. Rosenberger having retired after 24 years in the county assessor office, suggests to me he may have calcified into a view tolerating the status quo (good or bad). In the 8 years I worked for state gov’t, I learned to expect long-serving gov’t employees to support inertia and resist improvements. So I lean to Albro, who seems to understand the turf well enough and yet can bring new perspective to the org.

  4. garyn says:

    doh. I meant I lean to Albertini, not Albro, for assessor.

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