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Monday, April 30, 2007

Re: The Verdict on Pedersen

posted by on April 30 at 11:55 AM

Defensive much, Eli?*

“Erica and Josh in particular” didn’t oppose endorsing Jamie Pedersen. Erica, Josh, Sarah Mirk, Annie Wagner, Dan Savage, and David Schmader opposed Pedersen. Everybody, that is, except Eli.

And while we did predict that Pedersen would be disappointing (particularly on issues of interest to renters, which turned out to be true), we didn’t say it would be “corrupt.” What we pointed out was that Pedersen would continue to work for Preston Gates & Ellis, a corporate law firm that lobbies the Legislature, while serving as a legislator, which struck us as a conflict of interest. (The actual endorsement expressed concern that Pedersen would be “too compromised and middle-of-the-road to be truly effective.”) As for “annoying”—well, I don’t know what that means, but I guess I was annoyed by Pedersen’s contention that money has no influence on politics. I certainly stand by my vote for Stephanie Pure. As I imagine the entire rest of the editorial board, all of whom voted against Eli, does.

* Generally, we don’t like to talk about our editorial endorsement process. However, since Eli brought this up, I feel compelled to respond. Having served on the Stranger’s edit board, unlike Eli, for the last four years (and on the Weekly’s edit board for two years before that) I can say that the process is always very contentious, and that heated arguments are extremely common.

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Milgard Windows & Allied Trade Group (which sells plumbing and lighting fixtures) are clients of Jamie's. Think they want a cap on condo conversions? Me neither.

Posted by DOUG. | April 30, 2007 12:08 PM

I still feel that Pure would have been a bette addition to the legislature -- so I stand by my Pure vote as well. And we will never know if Pure would have outshone Jamie as he won and she didn't. So comparisons to Pure's imaginary legislative record are beside the point.

JP had a good session, Josh gives him credit. But the rest of the edit board doesn't have to eat crow over the Pedersen non-endorsement just 'cuz the PI gave JP a blowjob this morning. If I had to make the same choice again today--and vote again today--I would still vote for Pure.

Posted by Dan Savage | April 30, 2007 12:20 PM

One of the main things that Erica, Annie, Dan, Schmader, and I argued was: Stephanie Pure had a renters rights consciousness to match the majority of the 43rd.

Pedersen had a good session, but he messed up on a key renters rights bill.

I too stand by my Stephanie Pure endorsement.

Posted by Josh Feit | April 30, 2007 12:35 PM

But we're changing that. A vote for Pedersen was a vote for the area's future.

Condos. And condo buyers.

Posted by Pike/Pine Developer | April 30, 2007 1:27 PM

Well, except the U-District, where the students' parents pay the rent.

Posted by Pike/Pine Developer | April 30, 2007 1:31 PM

It's clear The Stranger's decision to endorse Stephanie's campaign was based on the areas of focus she felt would be important to her district, such as renter's rights. Thank you for reaffirming your support for her and providing your arguments for that support. Eli's comments, if intended to discredit her, are misguided at best.

Posted by Dave Pure | April 30, 2007 1:32 PM

Thanks for sharing your dissenting view, Eli, especially in light of the apparent code of silence that operates over there. I hope they don't have you whacked.

When it comes to the more controversial issues and elections, a general endorsement by the "board" is dishonest and rather useless. Perhaps its time to reexamine this holdover from the mainstream press.

Posted by Sean | April 30, 2007 1:52 PM


There a big flaw in your accusation about a "code of silence ...over here."

As I linked earlier, Eli wrote two or three stories for the news section that were positive pieces for Jamie P.

Moreover, I wrote a few positive pieces on Jamie P. during the recent session.

There's obviously not some blackout on good press for Jamie at the Stranger...neither during the election nor during the session.

Stop making accusations that don't hold up to the record.

Posted by Josh Feit | April 30, 2007 2:09 PM

Any claims of supreme objective approval for Pure's qualifications, which consist entirely of being a city council underling, from a rag whose writers are friends with Pure, are laughable and an insult to our intelligence.

Posted by Gomez | April 30, 2007 2:14 PM

@6: "Eli's comments, if intended to discredit her, are misguided at best."

Go reread Eli's post and cut out this ridiculous sticking-up-for-my-sister routine. Eli was defending Jamie, not dissing Pure. And anyway, can't she stick up for herself? What's her next campaign slogan going to be, "Vote for me or my brother will beat you up?"

If anything discredited your sis, it was endorsements from reporters who have alienated the district with a steady dose of uninformed, dogmatic, and polemic articles. Contrary to assertions made on Slog today, the majority of the voters in this district are not underachievers who haven't figured out that getting a loan and investing in a condo is better than flushing your rent money down the toilet each month.

This district is full of highly educated, thoughtful, and successful people. If you don't believe me, then take another look at the election results.

Posted by Sean | April 30, 2007 2:22 PM

How about we get more CITY Council members elected with a "renters rights consciousness"? I adore Stephanie, but we don't need her down in Olympia. We need her putting her energy to work right here in Seattle.

Posted by Mickymse | April 30, 2007 2:40 PM

Josh @8:

Erica: "* Generally, we donít like to talk about our editorial endorsement process."

This is the code of silence I was referring to.

As for your coverage of Jamie, what stands out most was the incorrect and potentially quite damaging assertion that he was a big bad mean greedy corporate lobbyist.

P.S. To be fair, I think your Oly coverage since then has been really good, despite what the haters say.

Posted by Sean | April 30, 2007 2:41 PM

Hey, ECB, what is a conflict of interest? How would you define it?

Posted by Luigi Giovanni | April 30, 2007 2:41 PM

Luigi: Representing residents of an area while simultaneously taking a paycheck from a law firm that sometimes lobbies against those residents' interests would be a conflict of interest.

Posted by ECB | April 30, 2007 3:18 PM

Sean@ 7: We've always done general, unsigned endorsements by the board. Trashing one another in print is counterproductive to the endorsement process (it's also tacky.) The voice of the paper carries more weight than that of an individual writer (like me), which is one reason we do Stranger endorsements, rather than Josh Feit endorsements or Erica C. Barnett endorsements.

Posted by ECB | April 30, 2007 3:23 PM

So, how come he hasn't fixed our transit problems yet?

Just wondering ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 30, 2007 3:23 PM

Will @16,

What transportation problems in the 43rd? Best bus service in the City, light rail expansion already planned, and talk of a streetcar line between Capitol Hill and First Hill and the ID!

It's the 34th & 36th District folks that need some more hounding.


Posted by Mickymse | April 30, 2007 3:30 PM

@ 10: Wow! It's nice to see the words "dogmatic" and "polemic" not only in the same post, but the same sentence. However, the adjective form of "polemic" is "polemical."

Posted by word police | April 30, 2007 3:50 PM

Another definition, Luigi: a publication endorsing a candidate for election with whom several writers and editors have a personal friendship.

Posted by Gomez | April 30, 2007 3:52 PM

You didn't really define a conflict of interest. Let me ask you if the following circumstance qualifies as a conflict of interest: A reporter/advocate, writing for a publication, endorses a personal friend for a politcal office without notifying his/her readers of the relationship. Is that a conflict of interest?

Posted by Luigi Giovanni | April 30, 2007 3:55 PM

Luigi: Wow. Brilliant gotcha! I had NO IDEA you were going there.

OK, I'll bite: The fact that I'm friends with Stephanie has been discussed ad nauseum on this web site. Moreover, if that's a conflict, we ALL have conflicts: ALL of us have socialized with people we've written about. All we can do is give good reasons for supporting a particular candidate, which we did for Pure. Even if I was petty and unprofessional enough to vote for Pure just because she's a friend, which I absolutely am not, I don't have godlike powers over the editorial board. My single vote wouldn't matter if every other member of the edit board (except one) hadn't also supported Pure. So stuff it.

Posted by ECB | April 30, 2007 4:23 PM

David Postman's latest blog entry is about the Slog's discussion on Pedersen/Pure. Postman says the first-term House D's had multiple bills pass this session, with Larry "NASCAR" Sequist bringing up the rear with four bills passed. The other first-termers each had at least five of their bills pass.

Posted by Ebenezer | April 30, 2007 4:34 PM

Thought Postman was right on here.

Posted by totally | April 30, 2007 4:50 PM

From Eli's post a poster called JW said:
"Does anyone else out there relish threads like these as an insight into Stranger office politics? I can practically hear the axes grinding."

Well JW, i must heartily agree! This sh-t is gold. This kind of insight actually reasures me that the Stranger's staff meetings aren't just a single minded clusterf-ck of consensus.

Posted by longball | April 30, 2007 4:57 PM

@17 - yeah, right. I was talking with some people at a retirement lunch at the UW today for Joan, and we are so far behind it's pitiful.

Transit is NOT a strong point here.

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 30, 2007 5:10 PM

Hey, ECB, a true professional, one with decency and honor and high standards and devoid of hypocrisy, would avoid entering into personal relationships with those they cover. The true professional is loyal, above all, to his/her readers.

If you can't avoid such personal relationships, you owe it to your readers to disclose them yourself, at least.

You apparently are sensitive about this discussion. Didn't you recognize you were an easy target in this context? How are you any less compromised than Pedersen?

With much affection.

Posted by Luigi Giovanni | April 30, 2007 5:18 PM

Erica @21:

So your defenses against the accusation of conflict of interest are "But ... but ... everyone's got conflicts of interest," "The conflict didn't affect my decision" and "Besides, it didn't make a difference in the result"? Gotta call bullshit on that.

If the issue were only you writing favorably about someone you "socialize with," those excuses would still be bullshit. It's not that tough to understand: The believability of your point -- "I'm being fair, I swear" -- is undercut, justly or unjustly, by your friendship with your subject. (Maybe you should go back and read Jen Graves's story about M. Kangas; this issue is why serious journalists don't write about their friends.)

But when you're making a political endorsement, your excuses are even more bullshit, especially since you could easily (and should) have recused yourself from a vote in which you're pals with one of the candidates.

Posted by Um, Hello? | April 30, 2007 5:30 PM

Erica @21:
If Stephanie was a personal friend of yours, you should have disclosed that in the endorsement and let readers make up their own minds. In general, your writing would be more persuasive if it showed the reader some trust and respect. Too often, it just feels manipulative.

Erica @15:
I'd still rather see split endorsements for split issues rather than an artificial consensus. And wow, I can't believe you called Eli tacky.

A well meaning aside: whenever I see "ECB" beneath your comments, I'm reminded of those silly monogramed sweaters once popular with sorority girls. What's wrong with "Erica Barnett"?

Posted by Sean | April 30, 2007 6:18 PM

Everyone has a time and a place, and at this time and place, Jamie is it. I am living in the 43rd and I supported Pure from the moment I met her. But I do not believe for one minute that Mr. Pedersen is doing me wrong by any stretch of the imagination, and I am particularly grateful for our new DP law, of which I intend to take full advantage on July 23.

Enough about him for now. It's a lost cause, but in the absolute best sense. Let's focus on Stephanie Pure--she is the future of this city and state and we need to engage her again. I don't want her to believe for a minute that her candidacy and all of the great work she has done for this City is a waste. I was hopeful that she would run to replace Steinbrueck, but it appears that she won't. Stephanie, if you are reading this, please know that you are the future.

Posted by SB | April 30, 2007 10:13 PM

I don't know who you are SB, but I'll definitely be talking with you if I ever choose to run again! Thank you for the kind words; that means a lot.

Posted by Stephanie Pure | May 1, 2007 9:35 AM

Stop the presses! Erica Barnett, swollen from her Muni League honor and personal time with Mayor Steinbrueck, has pronounced Josh Feit tacky.

Erica, you are starting to act like a grown up. Pack your bags. Tell the short bald guy you've had enough.

Posted by I've spotted the weasels named Josh and Erica | May 1, 2007 7:35 PM

With a name like Pure, she's got to be good.

Posted by Willard Scott | May 1, 2007 7:36 PM
"Trashing one another in print is counterproductive to the endorsement process"

Does this apply to editorial board members making posts on the Slog that undermine the official endorsements? I remember this from the smoking ban, and maybe a couple other races since the Stranger started a blog.

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