Monday, November 7, 2011

Local Election, 2011

Election 2011

So, to match Janice's write-up on the various issues and candidates she posted on Facebook, here are my own thoughts re. the local election tomorrow. All opinions are my own.



1125. Normally I'd vote 'yes' on this one, since it's anti-toll road, and I'm an opponent of tolling public roads. I also like it's provision that any toll be specifically targeted to a single road or bridge and retired after that project had paid for itself -- as I understand it, that was the case w. the Tacoma Narrows bridge and the 520 Floating Bridge.

But in the end I had to vote against it because (a) there's a sting in its tail in that it chokes off funding for public transport, like the badly-needed expansion of the new light rail, and (b) Tim Eyman supported it, which means that whatever it says on the surface its true purpose is to defund government. NO

1163: reinstate background checks on nursing home workers. Given the potential for abuse, increasing scrutiny here is a good thing in my book. YES

1183, the hard liquor bill: we got not less than nine flyers asking us to vote against this one (eleven if you count portmanteaux flyers that also opposed 1125 and, in one case, supported 1163), and four against.

This is the rock-and-a-hard-place vote for me, since I'm opposed both to the law as it is and to the proposed change. I don't like the state running liquor stores any more than I like the army fighting unjust wars or a governor executing accused criminals. But on the other hand, I don't want there to be MORE liquor stores, which is what the bill would allow. So as a Prohibitionist I voted NO: fewer hard liquor outlets is better than opening the floodgates.

Joint Resolutions

8205: this is v. much an editor's bill, standardizing the Constitution's text so it agrees in various places about the state's residency requirement to vote in elections. YES.

8206, the rainy day fund. The tobacco settlement was squandered by tax deadbeats in the state legislature (think this was back in the early Bush days), and the rainy day fund that replaced it under Gregoire has been a godsend to keeping the state from going under during the Great Recession. This bill requires extra deposits into the fund in boom times so that a little of that windfall is there to offset the next crash. YES.


County Assessor, Lloyd Hara, unopposed. Seems to have done a decent job. YES

Director of Elections, Mark Greene vs. Sherril Huff: HUFF. As Janice points out in her facebook post re. the election, Greene rambles about how they did him wrong back in '04 rather than trying to explain what he'd do if elected. And so, while it might be fun to have an anti-interventionalist playwright in a major elective post, I'm going with the incumbent here.

Appeals Court Judge, Michael Spearman, unopposed. YES. Judge Spearman sounds like a good candidate, and I trust Gregoire's judgment in having appointed him to the post he's now seeking election to.

Port Commissioner, Richard Pope vs. Gael Tarleton: TARLETON. Pope comes across as a tax deadbeat who wants to divest port assets; Tarleton talks about transparent bidding, disaster preparedness, clean air standards, and free wi-fi at the airport. This one's a no-brainer.

Port Commissioner, Dean Willard vs. Bill Bryant. Both these candidates sound good, and I cd go with either of them. In the end, I gave Willard the edge because of what Janice wrote re. Bryant's favoritism towards executives over workers. WILLARD.


Deborah Ranniger vs. Bailey Stober: RANNIGER. Not only is she a strong supporter of city parks (one of the nicer things about living in Kent), but Stober ran a nasty attack ad in the local paper. Stober also seems to have a background of not paying his own bills, while critical of the current city council for not managing finances better (ironic, that). In the abstract, Stober is the more attractive candidate; we cd use a community activist on the city council. But the closer you look the less he walks the walk.

Les Thomas vs. Nancy Skorupa: THOMAS. Thomas lists a string of achievements that have bettered Kent in recent years, then goes and ruins it by going pie-in-the-sky, promising to cut taxes while providing even more good things. Skorupa just whines about taxes without offering anything. And so even though Thomas did some annoying grandstanding recently at council meetings, he edges out the (other) tax deadbeat.

Bill Boyce vs. Debbie Raplee: normally Boyce wd get my vote here, but his having been on the school board that provoked the teacher strike two years back has to count against him. I've been unable to find out how he voted back then, but he seems to have been on the anti-teacher side of the issue. Raplee as incumbent gets to align herself with the various good things Kent has done to keep afloat in recent years. So, RAPLEE, by default.

Dana Ralph vs. Michael S. Sealfon: Ralph doesn't make much of a case for herself, but then Sealfon doesn't really give any reason at all why we shd elect him, other than that he seems to think he shd have the job. RALPH.


Larry Sims vs. Russell Hanscom: SIMS. Even though Sims didn't bother to submit a profile to the voter's pamphlet, he still outperforms Hanscom, who can't decide whether he'll serve or not if elected (cf. KENT REPORTER, Oct 21st, p.2). Ironic, given that Hanscom's voter profile boasts of how he's "committed to making the Kent School District the best . . . in the State". Yeah, right. Sims' statement printed in the local paper basically says he thinks things are on-track and wants to keep them that way. I'm okay with that.

Karen L. DeBruler: an actual teacher, running unopposed. No-brainer. DEBRULER.

Debbie Straus vs. Leslie Kae Hamada: HAMADA? Neither candidate spoke strongly to me, but Straus seemed more pie-in-the-sky about "our mission to Successfully Prepare All Students for Their Future" (caps hers), as if she thinks in bullet points.


Paul Joos vs. Mary Alice Heuschel: JOOS. Flyers in the mail seem enthusiastic for Heuschel, but I'd rather have a stakeholder like Dr. Joos making decisions about a hospital than an outsider with no hospital experience, like Heuschel (a school superintendent). Besides, I like Joos' promise to reduce the number of administrators and hire more nurses instead.



David Bratman said...

If 1163 is to reinstate background checks, then at one time there were background checks, but they were taken away. My first thought would be, why was that? Also, it's hard to believe that there are currently no background checks on nursing home workers. Perusal of campaign websites suggests that background checks vs. no background checks is not actually the issue here, though it's harder to tell what, besides budgetary concerns, actually is the issue.

John D. Rateliff said...

Hi David
I don't know the full history of the measure, and the write-up in the Voter's Information Pamphlet doesn't explain this v. well but implies things were relaxed in recent years because of the budget crisis.

The measure has three main parts: it requires additional training of caregivers (including annual refresher courses), certification (even for those helping a family member), and federal background checks (currently required only in some cases). I gather some of these measures wd have kicked in in 2014 to 2016; if this measure passes those provisions move up to 2012.

The 'Argument For' was written by patient-rights advocates; the 'Argument Against' by nursing home & caregiver organizations

I shd say that Janice reached an opposite conclusion about the measure's merits after researching it, but this is a case where I'd rather err on the side of extra regulation rather than too little.