Saturday, November 3, 2012

Voting (Wrapping Things Up)

So, only a few more races to go, some of them more or less local, some judicial (the hardest of all for me to get a good grip on).

Most important among these are for our two state legislators (apparently our state senator's term's not up for re-election this cycle). Both Orwall and Upthegrove (yes, that really is his name) have done a good job, so that raises the bar for any challenger. And both these challengers, Benge and Metz, wd lose on a tie in my book: Metz for some talk about "reducing Governmental burdens on local businesses" (usually code for 'cut taxes') and Benge both for similar language ("reduce excessive municipal and state burdens") and for his rather bizarre response, when asked about his education, that "American's greatest achievers are self-made" -- which is true enough in one sense, but makes him feel like someone who dodges questions. Do have to say that one aspect of Benge's platform is v. appealing: his advocacy for more urban vegetable gardens and for fruit trees in public parks. Let's hope he gets appointed to some park commission to carry out that part of his agenda.

For the next contest, Sheriff of King County, I have to switch to the other Voter's Pamphlet, which deals with county and city-by-city measures. Here the two candidates -- new appointee Strachan and former dept. spokesman Urquhart are both kind incumbents and both kinda shake-things-up new brooms. Both the Seattle police and the King Co. sheriff's department are badly in need of re-training and de-programing; the question is which of these men is better able to do it. I's frankly torn between the two. I was originally leaning towards Urquhart, but a little digging around turned up an incident where, when the department's spokesman, he helped cover over a nasty case of a deputy smashing a guy's head into a wall, resulting in permanent brain injury. The incident clearly wasn't Urquhart's fault, but his complicity in trying to cover it up is a bad sign. As a result, I think I'll follow Grubbstreet's recommendation, go with Strachan, and hope he does indeed turn out to be the "much needed change agent" he promises to be.

And that just leaves the judges, which are always difficult, since they're theoretically non-partisan -- meaning that they may have party affiliations but don't reveal them during elections. However, this year they've made it easier for us: two of the State Supreme Court positions (Judge Owens* and Judge Gonzalez) and two of the Appellate Court positions (Judge Cox and Judge Appelwick) are unopposed; luckily they all seem to be pretty solid, given their write-ups (one, Cox, even bemoans low-information judicial voting and urges voters to resort to (which Grubbstreet also recommends).

Of the two contested seats, the Supreme Court position seems to have attracted the most attention. Of the two candidates, I'd pick McCloud over Sanders, the latter having been booted off the court in the last election. Leaving aside the red flags in his write-up (a call-out to 'property rights' and backing from the Libertarian Party), a little poking around online reveals that he's what's called by admirers "a character" and by others a loose cannon, who tended to collect a string of official rebukes while on the bench. In short, a dinosaur. Which, contrasted by McCloud's commitment to women's issues makes her v. much the kind of justice I want on the court.

Finally that just leaves the King County Superior Court judgeship, Parisien vs. Washington. Here I initially leaned towards Parisien, but Judge Washington's write-up is ultimately more impressive -- not least because his is positive while hers includes a somewhat incoherent attack on her opponent.** Amusingly enough, it turns Washington is a Marquette grad., but I'm more impressed by his taking part in 'mock trials', which are a great outreach to show folks (esp. students) how our legal system works.  In any case, sounds like he's doing a pretty good job, and so he gets my vote to continue doing so.

And that, at last, is in. Next up: a brief Tolkien-related post (you didn't forget that this is a Tolkien blog, did you?

--John R.

*interestingly enough, from her write-up it turns out she spent years as a tribal judge, for the Quileute and Lower Elwha S'Klallam

**"52% rated the incumbent Chris Washington's legal decision making as unacceptable or poor" -- 52% of what? You can eventually find out the answer, if you go on-line and frame yr query carefully enough, but that really shd have been in the write-up. In any case, it doesn't include his fellow judges, several of whose endorsements he includes in his write-up.

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