Stuff Yaron Finds Interesting

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11/6/2012 – General and Special Election, Seattle, King County, Washington State

It’s voting time again! But since I now officially refuse to engage in the false trade off of choosing between Republicrats and Democans my voting is simpler.
  • President and Vice President of the United States - Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala
  • United States Senator - No vote
  • United States Representative - Congressional District No. 7 - Jim McDermott
  • Governor - No vote
  • Lieutenant Governor - No vote
  • Secretary of State - No vote
  • State Treasurer- No vote
  • State Auditor - No vote
  • Attorney General - No vote
  • Commissioner of Public Lands - No vote
  • Superintendent of Public Instruction - No vote
  • Insurance Commissioner - No vote
  • State Senator - Legislative District No. 46 - No vote
  • State Representative - Legislative District No. 46 - Position 1 - No vote
  • State Representative - Legislative District No. 46 - Position 2 - No vote
  • Sheriff - John Urquhart
  • State Supreme Court - Justice Position No. 2 - No vote
  • State Supreme Court - Justice Position No. 8 - No vote
  • State Supreme Court - Justice Position No. 9 - No vote
  • Court of Appeals - Division No. 1- District No. 1 - Judge Position No. 4 - Ronald E. Cox
  • Court of Appeals - Division No. 1 - District No. 1 - Judge Position No. 7 - Marlin Appelwick
  • Superior Court - Judge Position No. 42 - Sue Parisien
  • District Court West Electoral District - Judge Position No. 1 - Johanna Bender
  • Initiative No. 1185 - No
  • Initiative No. 1240 - No
  • Referendum Measure No. 74 - Approved
  • Initiative No. 502 - Yes
  • Engrossed Senate Joint Resolution No. 8221 - Rejected
  • Senate Joint Resolution No. 8223 - Rejected
  • Advisory Vote No. 1 - Engrossed Senate Bill 6635 - Maintained
  • Advisory Vote No. 2 - Substitute House Bill 2590 - Repealed
  • King County Proposition No. 1 - Regular Property Tax Levy for Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) - Approved
  • City of Seattle Proposition No. 1 - General Obligation Bonds - Rejected

President and Vice President of the United States - Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala

Barack Obama and Joe Biden Oh please. From shredding our civil rights, giving 'get out of jail free cards' to the parasites that run this country and let’s not even touch the trillion dollar no strings attached TARP giveaway. Mr. Obama has proven himself unfit for the presidency so he won’t be getting my vote.
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan Elect someone for whom at least 32% of what he says is (by PolitiFact’s fairly generous standards) mostly false? 17% pants on fire? And that’s without touching his actual platform which I can’t figure out since it genuinely seems to change depending on who he is talking to. Next.
Gary Johnson and James P. Gray His number one priority is cutting government spending, you know, in the middle of a half crushed economy. Oh and after that he wants to ’reform’ our social safety net. You know, the one that actually isn’t in trouble. Sigh... I guess someone has to get the far right vote.
Virgil Goode and James N. Clymer Really just a Libertarian with a lot of hate thrown in, hate for Gays, hate for immigrants, etc. I heard Mr. Goode speak and it was quite scary. Lots of silly tripe about foreigners coming to America to steal our jobs. Sigh... next.
Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala Her main plan is a ’green new deal for America’. I like her focus on the environment as I do think it’s the main challenge of our times, even more than dealing with the parasites that have turned the U.S. into a police state. Will her plans work? I honestly don’t know but I’m willing to give it a try.
Peta Lindsay and Yari Osorio I read through the website but it seems mostly to be about what they are against more than what they are for. They want to abolish capitalism (which is silly of course, we don’t practice capitalism in the U.S., we practice oligarchy, but whatever) and replace it with something... they use the word socialism but never really define it to the point where I’m confident I understand what they want to do.
James Harris and Alyson Kennedy Unfortunately his website is actually a newspaper so finding out about the candidate’s views was difficult.
Ross C. (Rocky) Anderson and Luis J. Rodriguez I’ve heard Mr. Anderson speak and was actually quite impressed. I can’t find much of a difference between his views and Ms. Stein’s other than Mr. Anderson focuses less on the environment (not that I think him in anyway an anti-environmentalist). I really love his website. He puts his views out there in a very clear manner. In my happy world Ms. Stein and Mr. Anderson would be on the same ticket. But, alas, they aren’t. So I have to choose and for now I think Ms. Stein’s focus on the environment is what we need as a country and a planet.

United States Senator - No vote

United States Representative - Congressional District No. 7 - Jim McDermott

While I no longer vote for Democrats or Republicans, as I mentioned previously, I make an exception for Mr. McDermott.

Governor - No vote

Lieutenant Governor - No vote

Secretary of State - No vote

State Treasurer- No vote

State Auditor - No vote

Attorney General - No vote

Commissioner of Public Lands - No vote

Superintendent of Public Instruction - No vote

There is only one candidate and I don’t support him. See previous.

Insurance Commissioner - No vote

State Senator - Legislative District No. 46 - No vote

State Representative - Legislative District No. 46 - Position 1 - No vote

State Representative - Legislative District No. 46 - Position 2 - No vote

Sheriff - John Urquhart

Steve Strachan His website is content free. I have no idea what this guy really believes in or what he wants to do.
John Urquhart His website has a bit more content. He explicitly calls for reforming the domestic violence unit, for restaffing the internal investigations unit, having regular officer involved shooting reviews (which are already required but aren’t apparently happening within the mandated time frames), a properly staffed use of force review board and he supports 502. So he gets my vote.

State Supreme Court - Justice Position No. 2 - No vote

See here for details. I don’t vote for candidates who have raised enough money that make me feel that they are bought and paid for.

State Supreme Court - Justice Position No. 8 - No vote

State Supreme Court - Justice Position No. 9 - No vote

Court of Appeals - Division No. 1- District No. 1 - Judge Position No. 4 - Ronald E. Cox

Court of Appeals - Division No. 1 - District No. 1 - Judge Position No. 7 - Marlin Appelwick

Superior Court - Judge Position No. 42 - Sue Parisien

Seehere for details.

District Court West Electoral District - Judge Position No. 1 - Johanna Bender

Running unopposed.

Initiative No. 1185 - No

In theory this initiative is intended to require that taxes/fees can only be increased by a 2/3rds vote of both houses of the legislature or by citizens vote. This kind of initiative always has a warm place in my heart because I don’t think our government spends our money wisely. But I am also practical enough to see what happens in states like California that try similar limits to spending. The result is typically the destruction of basic services. I also don’t like the fact that this initiative allows a simple majority to reduce taxes or fees but requires a super majority to increase them. That is a recipe for already out of control special interests to get their taxes ratcheted down. This whole approach just seems wrong.

Initiative No. 1240 - No

This initiative would allow non-profit corporations to form their own charter schools or for existing schools to turn themselves into charter schools. The idea is that these charter schools are more independent and so in some unspecified way are supposed to be better. But charter schools would be paid for out of our tax dollars. This initiative sounds like a nice idea to introduce competition into our school system but I believe it’s actually just a trojan horse to allow for profit companies to suck in the billions of dollars we spend on schools nationwide. While the corporations forming the schools have to be non-profit, there is nothing to stop those non-profit corporations from hiring for-profit companies to run the schools on a day to day basis. And, in fact, that is exactly what is happening in areas like New Orleans which are on the ’cutting edge’ of the charter school corporatization movement. The last thing we need right now is more money being sucked out of our public schools into stealth for profit schools. Especially when there is literally zero (seriously, zero) peer reviewed properly conducted research that shows charter schools actually helping.

Referendum Measure No. 74 - Approved

Let same sex couples voluntarily enter into binding contracts to take care of each other? I can see all the benefits and literally no, even theoretical, downside.

Initiative No. 502 - Yes

In theory this initiative will provide a legal framework for licensed growers to grow and sell Marijuana to licensed stores. But note that all of this only provides protection from prosecution under state laws, not federal laws. So in theory anyone who gets a license will just be set up for federal prosecution so I’m not sure who will take up the offer. But this is as much as we can do on the state level to end the insane drug wars, at least in regards to Marijuana so I’m happy to vote for it on that basis.

Engrossed Senate Joint Resolution No. 8221 - Rejected

This one confuses me. On it’s face it reduces the amount of debt the state may take on to eventually be 8% from today’s 9%. But right now the amount of debt is a calculated as a percentage of state revenue that does not include state property tax. But this resolution would change the calculation of state revenue to include property tax. In 2009, for example, state property tax accounted for around 17% of total revenue. A little bit of algebra tells us that if we are going to reduce the debt limit to 8% then to match the amount of borrowing we had at 9% then state property tax revenue would have to increase the taxable base by 12.5%. So let’s pretend that the state was counting every penny in revenue it had except property tax for it’s current debt limit (which we know isn’t true) that would be 83% so let’s call that $83. So that means our debt limit would be $83 * 0.09 = $7.47. Now let’s say we put in property tax taking our revenue to $100 but at the 8% limit giving us $100 * 0.08 = $8.00. In other words, 8221 should let us increase our borrowing! But those who crunch the numbers say it will reduce our borrowing. So it would seem I screwed up the math. But I’d love to know how.
So let’s assume that it does reduce borrowing. That’s not a great idea in the middle of a huge recession. Now is the time to be borrowing to keep cash moving in the system and keep people in the work force. So I’m rejecting.
Regarding the arguments that we are borrowing too much, I know a simple solution, raise taxes on the top earners.

Senate Joint Resolution No. 8223 - Rejected

This allows the regents of UW and WSU to take operating funds (not endowment funds) and dump them into the stock market. The corrupting influences of this are obscene and putting operating funds into the stock market is just wacked out crazy. I find it beyond credibility to argue that this has to do with getting a bigger return for our universities and rather see it as another way for regents to curry favor with Wall Street and arrange nice jobs for themselves post retirement.

Advisory Vote No. 1 - Engrossed Senate Bill 6635 - Maintained

This bill is punishment for my past. You see once upon a time I was more focused on shrinking government spending than making sure we had a fair allocation of resources (e.g. tax the wealthy). This is because I didn’t, at the time, understand just how unbelievably skewed everything was. So in 2007 I voted yes on I-960 which had a provision that any time the legislature declares an emergency to pass a tax rate increase (something they apparently did a lot to get around I-601 which requires a 2/3rd majority to pass tax increases unless they are ’emergencies’) that an advisory vote has to be held. Now, to be fair, I did say I thought the advisory vote idea was a bad idea. And this is proof because here is an unreadable 44 page nightmare bill to be voted on.
What the bill does is mainly raise taxes on multi-state banks while reducing taxes on agricultural producers, newspapers, publicly owned cranes/docks and on data centers (I’m guessing this is Amazon, Google and Microsoft’s lobbying dollars at work). Since the net is positive for Washington state I’ll vote for it.

Advisory Vote No. 2 - Substitute House Bill 2590 - Repealed

This is a similar story to the previous advisory vote but this one raises taxes on petroleum products. The bill is actually part of an act wherein our state creates an insurance fund to provide insurance to companies storing fuel because, you know, those companies are so unprofitable that they need the state’s help. No corporate welfare here. This particular bill actually reduces the existing tax rate on those storing petroleum in return for extending the program. You know, the one that gives subsidized insurance to the petroleum industry. No thanks.

King County Proposition No. 1 - Regular Property Tax Levy for Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) - Approved

AFIS is a database system that lets police throughout King County share finger and palm print related information. An interesting question is - how effective is it? The state makes various claims but I’ve seen no independent analysis. Given the issues with finger print matching one wonders. But as is often the case our politicians push off ’critical infrastructure’ to ballot initiatives while using the general budget for I suppose less critical things? In any case we wouldn’t want to hamper our police.

City of Seattle Proposition No. 1 - General Obligation Bonds - Rejected

So, let’s see. We should burden everyone owning property in the city of Seattle with a $300,000,000 bond issue (the total cost of which will be much higher thanks to interest) so a few super wealthy developers on the sea front can get call the profit and let someone else take the bill? To hell with that. That is exactly the kind of parasitical behavior that has caused the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer. Enough already.

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