The Stranger Election Control Board’s Endorsements For the November 6, 2012, General Election
Reelect Our Kenyan Muslim Overlord! (With CHEAT SHEET!)
They say politics are boring. They say nobody cares. And sometimes they're right. So we do what we can to make the insurance commissioner contest or some equally dull bullshit—like that riveting race for state auditor—sound exciting in our endorsements.
But not this year. This year, we don't have to make it exciting. Holy Islamic gay Jesus, people, have you looked at your ballot yet?
This year, we get to vote on reelecting our Muslim socialist president, legalizing pot, legalizing gay marriage, mandating burrito drops—this election is so fucking exciting that you're going to need a Xanax smoothie right after you vote.
But you do have to vote—because all that exciting shit isn't going to legalize itself. Both gay marriage and legal pot are teetering on the brink. If they lose, it'll be because you had that Xanax smoothie before you voted. If they win, it's because you voted for gay marriage and legal pot—and free burrito drops—before you had your Xanax smoothie.
Even the governor's race is exciting this year: Republican Rob McKenna is running for governor, and he's a right-wing, anti-choice fuckwad who wants to lock up pot smokers, break up gay couples, and give you zero burritos. Vote for Democrat Jay Inslee instead, a man who kicked off his campaign with a solemn promise to legalize gay burritos everywhere.
And when you're done voting for all the exciting shit, well, there's some boring shit on your ballot, too. But you're already voting, right? So keep voting, because even the boring shit is important. Like that goddamn race for auditor. Pick the Democrat over the crazy teabagger. There's also a race for the state supreme court, where pro-life, anti-gay hypocrite Richard B. Sanders is trying to claw his way back onto the bench he was voted off two years ago. As always, there are four impossibly dull ballot measures referred by the legislature. On all that shit, just vote the way we tell you to—and if you disagree with our endorsement, write in "burrito drops."
Initiative Measure 1185
Jesus Fucking Christ, here we go again. This Tim Eyman measure would "restate"—as if it hasn't been stated, and stated, and restated a million times already—that the Washington State Legislature must somehow come up with an impossible-to-achieve two-thirds majority vote in order to raise taxes. Ever.
Wondering why our state is broke, our social services have been so brutally slashed, and the Washington State Supreme Court recently ruled that we're in violation of our constitutional duty to provide a good public education to all citizens? This is why. This fucking initiative. This goddamned idiot bait of a measure, which Eyman keeps packaging and repackaging, year after year, is the reason. Sadly, a majority of our state's voters are morons who like the idea of making it impossible for the legislature to raise taxes, but who don't think about what that actually means for the condition of roads, tuition at universities, class sizes in elementary schools, etc.
Right now, our supreme court is considering whether these Eyman turdlets run afoul of our state constitution's rules for defining legislative majorities (spoiler alert: THEY DO! OBVIOUSLY!), and maaaaybe the high court will rule on the question before the election. But then again, since the high court's justices are elected by a popular vote every six years (WE ARE BANGING OUR HEADS ON OUR DESKS HERE), they probably won't rule before the election, the cowards.
Initiative Measure 1240
If there were a single credible, independent, peer-reviewed study to suggest that charter schools do a better job of educating children than traditional public schools, we might drop our opposition to this measure. But there isn't. A widely cited Stanford University study finds that 17 percent of charters do substantially better, while 37 percent do substantially worse. Maybe it's our public-school education, but we don't like those odds.
I-1240 would draw scarce funding from existing public schools, while handing control over these dollars from elected school boards to private boards. A petition signed in secret by a majority of a school's parents could initiate the conversion of your neighborhood school to a charter school, but there's no like provision to convert a charter school back to a public school. Charters are nominally nonprofit, but there's nothing to stop them from contracting operations to for-profit companies. There's a lot of money to be made off of I-1240, hence the $8.3 million backing it got from the likes of Alice Walton, the Bezos family, Paul Allen, and Bill Gates. (The idea that Bill Gates, who never set foot in a public school as either a student or a parent, should tell us how to run them is doubly insulting.)
Proponents argue this is only a test run, allowing just 40 charters statewide over the next five years. But we know a foot in the door when we see one. Once voters approve even this limited measure, lawmakers will lose their aversion toward expanding its scope. But mostly, we object to the timing. In the wake of the state supreme court's landmark McCleary v. State decision requiring billions more for basic education, charter school advocates have squandered the opportunity to actually fund our public schools, pushing a divisive, ineffective, free market "reform" instead.
Referendum Measure 74
Thanks to a perversion in our democracy, the rights of gay and lesbian couples that want to marry—a fundamental civil right—will be decided by popular vote. But let us not dwell on how icky that is, how starkly unjust it is that some schmuck in Ritzville, who argues "them parts don't fit," gets to decide whom you can and cannot marry. And don't obsess on the roundly debunked claims that equality for gay people, through some sort of funhouse mirror, will result in discrimination against straight people. Sure, the ads from Preserve Marriage Washington claim that business owners will face lawsuits or schools will be required to teach about gay marriage, but there's no evidence of it. Let's instead focus on the positive: your vote to approve this referendum! As you fill in this all-important "Approved" bubble for R-74, thereby upholding a law passed by the legislature earlier this year, we want you to think about November 7—the day after this shit passes. Envision all the smiling, crying, rejoicing couples that will be counting down to December 6, when they can finally, legally wed. Picture Jesus tap-dancing in heaven to a looping soundtrack of "It's Raining Men" and "We Are Family." Imagine the deluge of impeccably tasteful weddings you'll be attending next summer with open bars serving high-end vodka. Oh yeah, and think about how right it feels to support the rights of others. Then, when you've bled a pen dry on that motherfucking "Approved" bubble, go celebrate—light a joint, eat a steak, drink a pitcher of wine, have a burrito, and then treat yourself to an orgasm. You're one fine motherfucking human being. Be proud.
Initiative Measure 502
Passing Initiative 502 would make Washington the first state to legalize the possession of up to an ounce of pot. Meanwhile, it would license farmers to grow it, companies to distribute it, and stores to sell it.
In doing so, I-502 would stop roughly 10,000 marijuana arrests a year in Washington State, freeing up law-enforcement resources while at the same time putting a stop to the pot-law-enabled harassment of racial minorities. According to a study released last week by three New York academics, blacks and Latinos in Washington use marijuana at a lower rate than white people, but they are arrested for pot at 2.9 times the rate of white people.
You're going to hear plenty of half-baked reasons to vote against I-502. Just last Monday, a pack of former drug czars and DEA agents argued that we shouldn't legalize pot because it will lead to a federal legal challenge. But challenging federal law is the whole damn point. And if all these former drug czars are so confident that I-502 would be overturned by the Feds, why are they campaigning so hard to stop it from passing in the first place?
Some medical marijuana industry profiteers are also opposing I-502. They dislike the prospect of new taxes and regulations on dispensaries, and they complain that the initiative's DUI law is too strict. It stipulates that people with more than five nanograms of active THC (the psychoactive compound in marijuana) per milliliter of blood would be automatically guilty of DUI. That's like the .08 blood alcohol limit for drunk driving. They claim that stoners will test positive for driving high the next day—or a week—after they last smoked pot, when they're no longer impaired.
There is no science to back them up. None. Zero. They're lying.
The scientific research that does exist shows people's blood levels of THC drop below the I-502 cutoff within a few hours, and always by the next day.
This is the year to pass I-502. Voter turnout is high, so more young and progressive voters make this the ideal electorate to legalize pot. If we don't, roughly 10,000 people will continue to get busted every year.
PROPOSALS FROM THE LEGISLATURE
These things are always—with. out. fail.—written in Sanskrit and then translated into Danish using the worst online translator available, after which they are translated back into English by a recent immigrant whose first language is French. However. We have figured them out. You can buy us a beer later.
Senate Joint Resolution 8221 would limit the amount of money the state can borrow for construction projects at a time when we need more construction projects to fix broken shit and boost the economy. Vote Rejected.
Senate Joint Resolution 8223 would allow state schools like the University of Washington to gamble some of their savings in investments in private companies and the stock market, but only after legislative approval. Risky! However: What choice do they have if we're going to systematically underfund our schools? As long as you're already voting to reject I-1185 (for the school-underfunding reasons stated above), then you can hold your nose, cross your fingers, blow on the dice you're shaking in your hand. Vote Approved.
Advisory Vote 1, Senate Bill 6635 asks us to affirm the legislature's decision to close a tax loophole benefiting out-of-state banks. This is purely a symbolic vote, and some deals were made to get this stupid loophole closed that you probably won't like. You don't want to know. Still, it's worth it. Vote Maintained.
Advisory Vote 2, House Bill 2590 is another symbolic vote, this one to support the legislature's decision to keep strong underground fuel tank safety standards going. Vote Maintained.
King County Proposition 1, Fingerprint ID System
If a stranger stabs your toddler in the face, you want that fucker found, right? King County's Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) is a regional fingerprint database accessible to all local law enforcement agencies. It helps solve "more crimes than all other forensic sciences combined," says King County prosecuting attorney Dan Satterberg. Voters first approved a property tax levy for AFIS in 1986 and have renewed it four times. If renewed again, the county levy would impose a 5.92-cent tax per $1,000 dollars of property value beginning in 2013. Don't let a stranger rape your toddler's face off and get away with it. Vote approved.
President and Vice President of the United States
Barack Obama and Joe Biden
This endorsement might seem like a no-brainer, but this shit is important, so let's go over it one more time. Electing Barack Obama to a second term goes beyond the standard Democratic boilerplate about how a Democratic president will nominate Democratic judges to the US Supreme Court—though that is vitally important, and is the reason we don't at all regret voting for John Fucking Kerry in 2004.
The thing that's easy to forget in the middle of all this bullshit is that Obama has been a very good president. He saved us from a second Great Depression; he passed health care reform that future Democrats can utilize as a first step to a national health care system; he's made investments in science, transportation, and green energy that will pay off for decades; he supported gay marriage at just the right moment; and he's made dozens of advancements for equality and dignity (Lilly Ledbetter, DADT repeal, executive orders for humane immigration reform) that have changed millions of people's lives for the better.
Sure, there are issues—with presidents, there are always issues—where he's dropped the ball (drones, Gitmo, drones). Those are serious issues. But right now, President Obama needs our help. After all he's done for us, we owe him the opportunity to transform from a very good president into a truly great one in his second term.
Yeah, Maria Cantwell can be a little icy. But in her second term, she's iced greedy Wall Street bankers and health-care-reform opponents, and her challenger is a creepy anti-choice Republican state senator named Michael Baumgartner who doesn't support abortion even in cases of rape. Jesus.
US Representative, Congressional District 1
Here is Republican John Koster on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, in his own words, from a video posted to his own campaign website: "It has become a system that punishes those who dare to dream, those who dare to invest, those who dare to work hard or succeed. And it seems to reward the mediocrity, dare I say it, slothfulness, and laziness, of those who choose not to do those things. And, furthermore, it creates a dependency on government programs, even an addiction I can say, by virtue of the sense of entitlement it creates."
Jesus Fucking Christ.
Democrat Suzan DelBene may not be the most—er—dynamic candidate to come before the SECB, but she won't vote to privatize Social Security, repeal Obamacare, turn Medicare into a voucher program, or ban abortion. Koster will. For chrissakes, vote for DelBene.
US Representative, Congressional District 7
Seattle Congressman for Life Jim McDermott is now running in the general against a Republican whose name we can't recall but it rhymes with "penis." McDermott deserves a 165th term in office.
US Representative, Congressional District 9
Representative Adam Smith may be whiter than Idaho snow, but he's progressive enough to represent Washington's redrawn 9th Congressional District, which now has a majority population of racial minorities. He's pro–gay marriage, is against extending Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy, and supported the Dream Act. Smith's Republican opponent, Jim Postma, humps tax cuts for fun.
Forget the focus groups and polls and campaign ads. All you really need to know about the governor's race is this: Elect Jay Inslee, and 350,000 additional low-income Washingtonians get health insurance. Elect Rob McKenna, and they don't.
The only thing McKenna won in his partisan lawsuit to overturn Obamacare was the right for states to opt out of the crucial Medicaid expansion, an option McKenna seems intent on exercising. This would cost Washington hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funds, while denying hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians the preventative care they desperately need.
You want other reasons? Inslee supports marriage equality; McKenna doesn't. Inslee champions reproductive rights; McKenna prevaricates. Inslee leads on green energy and the environment; McKenna whines that we have too much regulation.
Both candidates promise to increase spending on education, though neither really knows how to pay for it. But at least we know Inslee's heart is in the right place, whereas McKenna's heart is in a mayonnaise jar buried on the Isla Cruces. Vote for Inslee.
(Read more on why Rob McKenna is such a creeper here.)
We know, we know: Bill Finkbeiner is the R-word. (No, not "rapist." The other "R" word—wait, what? No, not "retarded." The other other R-word.) But he's the sort of uncommon, socially progressive Republican who is pro-choice, supports gay marriage, and even says he'd support a tax increase to fund education (although he was vague on specifics). It isn't just lip service—he's endorsed by progressive organizations, including NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, Planned Parenthood, Washington Conservation Voters, and Cascade Bicycle Club. He even has 14 years of experience in Olympia as a state representative and senator to back it up. But most importantly, Finkbeiner solemnly swore on a stack of hemp-paper Bibles that if the state supreme court strikes down Tim Eyman's wildly destructive law requiring a two-thirds legislative majority to raise taxes, Finkbeiner won't honor this year's update to that initiative, I-1185, which you should vote against. "If the supreme court decides it's unconstitutional, then it's unconstitutional," he says. This is more of a promise than we could squeeze out of feckless Democrat Brad Owen, the incumbent in this race and a worthless waste of space who has spent the last dozen years touring the state with his crappy-ass rock band and crusading to lock up pot smokers. Want to support Brad Owen? Buy his shitty CD. But vote for Finkbeiner.
Secretary of State
To say that Kathleen Drew impressed us with her depth of knowledge of elections procedures would be an understatement. On wonky question after wonky question, Drew, a former state senator, has a thoughtful and informed response. Other editorial boards have touted Republican Kim Wyman as the only county auditor in the race, as if that is a prerequisite for the office of secretary of state. We checked the Constitution. It's not.
So since both candidates have a reputation for being competent, dedicated public servants, and since both display an encyclopedic knowledge of elections procedures, we're voting for the Democrat. So should you. Vote for Drew.
Republican challenger Sharon Hanek insists her opponent has failed to adequately perform the duties of state auditor, which is fine by us considering that Jim McIntire is the incumbent state treasurer. Under McIntire, Washington enjoys one of the highest credit ratings in the nation; the only thing we could do to improve it, he says, is to implement an income tax and get rid of the initiative process. Fuck, yeah! Reelect motherfuckin' McIntire.
He wasn't the most liberal Democrat in the state house, and the ethical dust cloud kicked up by some old lawsuits gives us pause, but at least Troy Kelley isn't a herp-derp-stupid teabagger like his Republican opponent, James Watkins. Kelley's impressive credentials include JD and MBA degrees (as well as a possible OCD), plus his chairmanship of the legislature's JLARC committee (trust us, it has something to do with auditing). Despite his airs of nonpartisanship, Watkins has run for Congress multiple times as a far-right Republican. Vote for Kelley.
This race is more important than you think. Holy fuck, is it ever. Republican Reagan Dunn is a lazy, entitled pretty boy with one of the worst voting and attendance records on the King County Council. Yet a few million dollars from one of Karl Rove's Super PACs is inches away from hoisting Dunn up onto the stepping-stone the attorney general's office has proved to be. Let him steal this one, and Dunn is on a path to Congress or the governor's mansion.
Democrat Bob Ferguson, on the other hand, is the hardest working member of the King County Council with one of the best voting and attendance records. An accomplished attorney with the civil law experience the office really demands, Ferguson promises to be a fierce advocate for consumer protection. Ferguson also has a sometimes-annoying independent streak, for those who admire that sort of thing in an AG.
Stick a fork in Dunn's undeserved career and elect Ferguson.
Commissioner of Public Lands
Peter J. Goldmark
Possibly the only thing standing between us and a kajillion tons of coal dust billowing through downtown Seattle is the commissioner of public lands, who must grant environmental permits before any new coal terminals can be built. We trust Democratic incumbent Peter J. Goldmark to once again do the right thing for the state and the environment. So should you. Reelect Goldmark.
Vote for Mike Kreidler. He's the Democrat who's been doing this job for the last 12 years, overseeing and regulating 48 insurance companies in Washington. In his next term, he says, "Well over half of the operation of the office will be focused on health insurance." Much of that work is ensuring Obamacare—aka the Affordable Care Act—is implemented fairly and justly. We trust Kreidler to handle Obamacare, not his Republican, teabaggy challenger, John R. Adams, who spouted debunked myths about Obamacare taxes that don't exist in our interview. Yeesh.
Legislative District 11
Democrat Bob Hasegawa is on a mission to create a state bank—which would reinvest state money back into the state's infrastructure—and close tax loopholes and plug for an income tax. Right on. His opponent is a Republican dental hygienist whose greatest accomplishment is "revitalizing her son's high school football program," her voters' pamphlet statement boasts. To her detriment, Kristin Thompson is even endorsed by the Seattle Times. Pox! Vote Hasegawa.
Representative Position 1
Unlike some weak-ass Dems in the legislature, Zack Hudgins is willing to go to bat for things like a statewide income tax and allowing 16-year-olds to preregister to vote. His opponent, Jim Flynn, agrees with Hudgins on some things but is too green to get any of them done, so we're not sure why he's running. Vote Hudgins.
Representative Position 2
Steve Bergquist was the least impressive of the four Democrats running in the primary, but clearly, we don't know fuck about the redrawn 11th District. A high-school teacher, Bergquist handily beat the higher-profile, better-funded Democrats in the primary election. Go figure. We'd give his Republican opponent a fair hearing—we already endorsed one Republican this year—but she was too chickenshit to come in and talk to us. Bergquist would be the only active teacher in the legislature. Give him a shot.
Legislative District 34
Representative Position 1
Eileen L. Cody
Representative Eileen L. Cody is a practicing nurse and legislator (double your money!) whose legislation has helped lower Washington prescription drug costs and create a state program that compares insurance policies. She's the woman you want ushering in Obamacare as the head of the house's health-care committee. Her opponent, William Giammarese, has absolutely no legislative or blood-drawing experience. Vote Cody.
Legislative District 36
Representative Position 1
Reuven Carlyle (D-Vespa Scooters) is one of the smartest dudes in the legislature and has been a champion of closing stupid tax loopholes and fixing our state's other structural revenue problems. His opponent, Leslie Klein, hails from the "(R) Hope&change Party," whatever the fuck that's supposed to be. Vote Carlyle.
Representative Position 2
Noel Christina Frame
"I want to lead a statewide conversation about an income tax," Noel Christina Frame brashly proclaimed at a League of Women Voters forum on July 12. Say no more.
As the Washington State director of Progressive Majority and a longtime board member of the Washington Bus, Frame has spent years working to recruit and elect progressives to office. As a young social justice advocate, Frame has personally walked the talk, taking in and fostering two cousins whose mother couldn't care for them. Frame promises to be a bulldog of a politician, tenaciously fighting for progressive reform, even if it means dragging the rest of the Democratic caucus with her. Nobody else in Seattle's legislative delegation has taken such a bold stance—nor has her general- election opponent.
Frame's opponent, Port of Seattle commissioner Gael Tarleton, also says a lot of the right things, but she lacks Frame's passion and clarity. Both candidates say they want to spend more money on education, infrastructure, and social services, but only Frame zeroes in on our state's structural revenue deficit as the real obstacle to a progressive agenda. The problem: Washington relies on a sales tax more than any other state, but the sale of goods has been a shrinking portion of our economy for the last five decades, resulting in systematic cuts to education year after year. Frame understands the problem and is prepared to fix it. Plus, she's got the sole endorsement of Governor Chris Gregoire, a host of progressive labor unions, and prominent environmental groups. She's got our support, too. Vote for Frame.
Legislative District 37
Representative Position 2
Eric Pettigrew, man, fuck. Seriously: fuuuuuck. The dude gets fiery about charter schools—the Great White Whale that's magically going to fix all our public school problems—but where's that passion when it comes to closing tax loopholes, or creating a state income tax, or any other method for actually fucking funding our public schools? Since his sole opponent is a nutty Ron Paul organizer, we're holding our nose and voting for Pettigrew anyway. But fuuuuck.
Legislative District 43
Representative Position 2
The two-party system has resulted in a squabbling Olympia and a distracted Democratic Party that's become too satisfied with incremental—and often meaningless—gestures on the biggest issue facing the state. Our failure to adequately fund schools, preschools, colleges, health care, and literally everything that costs money is rooted in a structural revenue deficit that we've known about since the Gates Commission published its tax structure report in 2002. What have the Democrats done to fix that fundamental problem? Basically nothing.
They need a kick in the ass, and that kick is called third-party candidates. But far too often, third-party candidates are fucking loons.
Then there's Kshama Sawant. An economics instructor at Seattle University and Seattle Central Community College, Sawant is not a loon. She's uniquely qualified to understand how our state legislature has screwed over higher-education funding and how to fix that problem. She's also a flaming—and brilliant—Socialist Alternative candidate.
She's challenging Democratic house Speaker Frank Chopp, the second-most- powerful person in Olympia, who has presided over the last decade's devastating cuts to colleges (UW tuition has increased 82 percent over four years), to say nothing of slashing funding for health care and the disabled, and gutting funding from state agencies. Is Chopp personally responsible? Not entirely. He's a good man who has tried hard to fight for the poor, students, and the sick (while sometimes squandering his majority). But he's the party leader, and he's not going to lose this election, so this is a perfect opportunity for a third-party candidate to inject fresh ideas into mainstream politics.
Legislative District 45
Representative Position 1
We're not endorsing in every single one of the godforsaken Eastside legislative races, but we did somehow force ourselves to care about this one race, between solid lefty Roger Goodman and anti-woman conservative Joel Hussey.
In the primary, Hussey pulled 45 percent to Goodman's 49 percent. Too close for comfort! Especially when you consider that Goodman is a rarity in the state legislature: a smart, effective, mellow dude who is so progressive on drugs that you feel in an altered state just sitting next to him. He's for closing tax loopholes, better funding for education, and the new 520 bridge (duh, it will basically go straight to his district).
Hussey brags in his voters' guide statement that his political experience is "none." So let's do what we can to keep his experience at "none." Vote Goodman.
Legislative District 46
Representative Position 1
Say what you like about state representative Gerry Pollet (and a lot of people colorfully do), his years of fierce environmental and Democratic Party activism earned him his appointment to fill out a vacant house term, and a productive freshman session has earned Pollet the right to keep it. We like Pollet's smart, young challenger Sylvester Cann, but he seems too eager to appease both sides of every issue, and we just don't trust him on charter schools. Pollet is exactly the kind of unapologetic, brash liberal voice we need more of in Olympia, and unless and until he fucks up, he deserves to keep the job. Vote for Pollet.
Representative Position 2
Democrats in Olympia have proved prodigious at passing groundbreaking progressive legislation that doesn't cost taxpayers any money. But attach a hefty fiscal note to a bill, and it might as well be an anchor. That's because most legislators don't even understand that we have a structural revenue deficit, let alone know how to fix it. We hope Sarajane Siegfriedt helps change that. A former businesswoman with an MBA and a current member of the King County Board of Equalization, Siegfriedt has an intricate understanding of tax issues and a knack for explaining them.
Siegfriedt's opponent, former Transportation Choices Coalition director Jessyn Farrell, brings a lot to the table, too. She's young and dynamic and would no doubt prove to be an effective voice in Olympia on transit and other progressive issues. But it's Siegfriedt's knowledge and experience that's necessary if we're ever going to be able to pay for all the good stuff for which Farrell advocates. Vote for Siegfriedt.
King County sheriff Steve Strachan has two qualities that his challenger, longtime sheriff's office spokesman John Urquhart, lacks: management experience and tact. Far be it from us to wag our hairy-knuckled fingers at a kindred tactless soul (an armed one, no less), but solid management experience is a must when overseeing 1,000 gun-toting employees working from 25 different work sites across the county.
Strachan served as a police chief in Minnesota before becoming Kent's chief of police in 2006. There, inside sources describe Strachan as "very well respected by both line officers and elected officials, which is rare." Since then, Strachan says his focus has been on improving accountability, streamlining training, and discipline measures among his 25 satellite offices—you know, boring shit that a manager does.
But some of his experience made us worried. As a legislator in Minnesota, he sponsored anti-choice bills. Grilled on that issue, we were convinced those days are behind him. "I have been very up front that my position has changed," he told us. "Being a cop as long as I have, I have seen the difficult decisions people make. A government telling people what they can do in that kind of position is not okay. I am pro-choice, period."
Is he a flaming liberal? No.
While Urquhart may be slightly more Democratic than Republican (he's donated to candidates of both persuasions), his track record includes a sustained misconduct complaint from 2003 that his "management style and communications skills created low morale and stress at work," for which Urquhart was temporarily reassigned.
Our vote comes down to experience and tact. Vote Strachan.
State Supreme Court Justice Position 9
Sheryl Gordon McCloud
Sheryl Gordon McCloud has a long record of fighting for civil rights and the rights of criminal defendants. She's been arguing in front of the state supreme court as an appellate lawyer for the past 28 years, is widely respected, has an impressive list of endorsements, and is the true advocate of constitutional rights in this race.
And her opponent, disgraced former state supreme court justice Richard B. Sanders? He talks a good constitutional rights game, but is in fact one of the biggest hypocrites ever to sit at the Temple of Justice in Olympia. In the state's landmark same-sex-marriage case in 2006, then-justice Sanders signed an opinion denying marriage rights to same-sex couples—because they have "more sexual partners" and because other courts have found that monogamy is "the bedrock upon which our culture is built." And guess what? Sanders himself has been divorced twice and was dating multiple women simultaneously during the 2010 election season. But that's not all! In 2010, Sanders shocked his colleagues by scoffing at the idea that racism sometimes causes minorities to get unfair treatment in our legal system. But wait, there's still more! In 1996, the first thing Sanders did after his swearing-in was walk over to a pro-life rally and thank his supporters. There's more, more, more, but... enough said already? Vote McCloud.
Superior Court Judge Position 42
Christopher A. Washington
Oy, this race gives us heartburn.
In the August primary, we endorsed Sue Parisien, the smartest of several challengers to incumbent judge Christopher A. Washington. We noted at the time that local attorneys ranked Judge Washington dead last in a survey conducted by the King County Bar Association (KCBA), which also ran a survey in 2007 that ranked Judge Washington ninth from the bottom of 53 judges. That wasn't our sole reason not to endorse him. His rulings seemed to sometimes blatantly disregard the law (as evidenced by condescending appellate court rulings that overturned several of his decisions).
But we're changing our position for the general election. We're endorsing Washington anyway.
First, it turns out that the KCBA judicial ratings are rubbish. The marks for superior court judges were clearly skewed by prosecutors who sandbagged Washington (apparently due to him extending lighter sentences to juvenile offenders). Even the person who administered the survey, David C. Brody, an associate professor at the UW, said the KCBA survey results gave him "pause" because prosecutors ranked Judge Washington with lower marks than defense attorneys in all 16 categories. The judge's poor marks, he warned, "must be viewed with caution."
With the survey discredited, the question becomes Parisien's worthiness for the bench. Asked if she still believes the survey was valid, Parisien told us, "Yes I do."
As a judge, Parisien, whose background partly involves defending the state in cases of discrimination, would need to be capable of evaluating evidence and reaching reasonable, fair assessments on which to base her decisions. By embracing a debunked survey as valid, she showed a worrying comfort with setting reasonableness and fairness aside when it suits her purposes. Parisien also claimed when meeting with the SECB that Judge Washington has a "high rate" of overturned decisions. That may be true, and Judge Washington certainly has been overturned on a number of occasions. But when asked if she had any evidence to back up her claim of a "high rate," she didn't.
Judges must be held to a higher standard than most politicians. One test is whether they can fairly analyze the facts—even if they seem to contradict the judge's beliefs. Another is being able to cite evidence that justifies their conclusions. Parisien failed both tests.
Parisien has also refused to submit questionnaires for minority bar associations this year and avoided some public forums that would allow her to face off against Washington. And finally, on her campaign website, Parisien used a quote from Governor Chris Gregoire that implied the governor's blessing in her run for judge. In fact, the quote comes from a 2005 letter of recommendation that Gregoire wrote for Parisien when she was looking for a different job. "I asked for the language to be taken off [Parisien's] website," Gregoire spokeswoman Kelly Evans told us this month. "It implied an endorsement that doesn't exist." Ouch.
As for Judge Washington, he acknowledges his shortcomings: "I have never claimed to be the smartest judge there," he told us. We agree with him—he's not. But his judicial philosophy of compassion for young offenders, who are often chewed up and spit out by the justice system, is more in line with our philosophy than his opponent's.
Seattle Proposition 1, Seawall Levy
Do you want downtown Seattle to slide into motherfucking Puget Sound during the next earthquake thanks to a towering wave of voter apathy? No? Well then, vote approved on this 30-year, $290 million property-tax levy to replace the seawall for another 100 years. The levy would cost the average homeowner $59 a year (given that the median home price in Seattle is an eye-popping, bowel-evacuating $360,000). Everyone agrees the seawall needs replacing—the structure is nearly a century old and is being eaten away by gribbles (no joke), earthquakes, and the yawning jaws of time. Critics say the entire city shouldn't pay for something that benefits a few waterfront landowners, but, uh, last we checked, everybody likes keeping downtown above sea level. Yes, we acknowledge that it will be really expensive. But the only alternative is ignoring the problem, which is no alternative at all. Vote approved.
The Stranger Election Control Board is Bethany Jean Clement, Paul Constant, Christopher Frizzelle, David “Goldy” Goldstein, Dominic Holden, Tim Keck, Brendan Kiley, Cienna Madrid, Eli Sanders, Dan Savage, and Marilyn McKenna. The Stranger doesn’t make endorsements in uncontested races or races nobody cares about.