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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

If You Didn't Vote, Why?

Posted by on Wed, Nov 12, 2014 at 6:00 AM

LAST TIME TURNOUT WAS THIS BAD in a midterm election in Washington State, the voting machines looked like this.
  • Seattle Municipal Archives
  • LAST TIME TURNOUT WAS THIS BAD in a midterm election in Washington State, the voting machines looked like this.

Washington State just had the worst voter turnout in a midterm election since the 1970s.

But hey, at least we're doing better than the nation as a whole. Nationwide, voter turnout was its lowest in 70 years.

I could offer some theory or other as to why this is happening. But odds are at least half of you (if you're registered-to-vote Washingtonians) and about two thirds of you (if you're registered-to-vote Americans from some other state) were non-voters in this election.

So you tell me: Why?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Alison Holcomb Hopes Someone Else Will Challenge Kshama Sawant

Posted by on Mon, Nov 10, 2014 at 3:56 PM

ALISON HOLCOMB, left, will not be challenging Seattle City Council Member Kshama Sawant, right, next year.
  • ALISON HOLCOMB, left, will not be challenging Seattle City Council Member Kshama Sawant, right. But she hopes someone else does.

Back when Alison Holcomb was considering a run against Seattle City Council Member Kshama Sawant, things got a little testy between the two of them. Will they be progressive pals now that Holcomb has declined to run against Sawant in 2015?

Nope. Holcomb may be out of the race, but she's not done swinging at Sawant.

"I respect and appreciate Sawant's activism," Holcomb recently told PubliCola. "But I don't think she's an effective councilmember. In my conversations with constituents, community leaders, and city and organizational leaders over the past several months, I frequently heard that Sawant didn't invite them to conversation, hear their concerns, or engage with their issues. She clearly has an agenda, but I don't think it's District 3's agenda. So yes, I think someone should run against her."

Sawant was not immediately available for comment on Holcomb's new criticisms.

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Friday, November 7, 2014

Initiative to Reduce Washington State Class Sizes Is Now Passing

Posted by on Fri, Nov 7, 2014 at 6:00 AM

THE YES VOTES are leading the No votes by .28 percent.
  • The "Yes" votes are leading the "No" votes by .28 percent.

Initiative 1351 is just barely passing! Things could still change again, but last night's ballot count says the measure to reduce class sizes in Washington State now has 4,660 more "YES" votes than "NO" votes.

We're not saying the Stranger Election Control Board has big pull in Asotin and Spokane counties, but a "YES" vote is in fact what the SECB recommended. (Unlike "all" daily newspapers in Washington.)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Night to Ignore the National News and Get Lost in Local Elections

Posted by on Wed, Nov 5, 2014 at 6:00 AM

LAST NIGHT at the Prop 1B party. With the measures strong approval in early returns, it looks like Seattle will be taking its first steps toward universal preschool.
  • Kelly O
  • Last night at the Prop 1B party. With the measure's strong approval in early returns, it looks like Seattle will be taking its first steps toward universal preschool.

Somewhere out beyond the edges of our emerald bubble is the world in which Republicans just took control of US Senate for the first time in eight years. We had little to do with that. Neither of Washington State's senators were up for election this season, and as a result, last night offered an excellent moment to stare inward and avoid the grim beyond. Here in this city, at least, voters are willing to wade into the confusing thicket of a two-step ballot question and eagerly vote to tax themselves—their precious property, even!—in order to fund the start of universal preschool. This is not America.

Voters here also want to tax themselves, albeit regressively, to pay for improved public bus service. Not only that, but we and hundreds of thousands of other Washingtonians have pulled off the unique feat of using direct democracy as a means of closing the gun-background-check loophole.

In other parts of this country, all three of these efforts—universal preschool, Metro funding, gun control—might have been stymied by talk of "freedom." You know: the freedom to not have your property taxed to pay for some other family's kid to go to preschool. The freedom to drive your own car and not care about other people's public transportation. The freedom to buy a gun at a gun show without the government getting involved.

It's a hollow, selfish vision of freedom, and last night was another reminder: It's avoidable. Which is not to say it's very far away.

Just 60 miles down the road in the state capitol, Olympia, is a group of representatives who for years have refused to raise the revenue needed to fund basic things like K-12 education. Their cold intransigence, even in the face of a Washington State Supreme Court order requiring them to cough up more money, seems unlikely to change now that statewide returns show Republicans retaining control of the state senate.

In Seattle, though, election results show we'll be sending the senate a new and hopeful voice: Pramila Jayapal of the 37th District. She wants to get real on tax reforms that could raise the necessary money. It's unlikely to be an easy sell.

More likely, when the state legislature begins its next session in January, she'll hear a lot from other lawmakers about a concept they continue to think Seattle is unfamiliar with: freedom.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Election Night 2014! Running Just as Fast as We Can to All the Election Night Parties

Posted by on Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 9:26 PM

PRE-K PARTY BABY PASSES OUT
9:39 PM

The pre-K party baby is now an official Drunk of the Week™! Congratulations!!!!
  • SECB
  • The pre-K party baby is now an official Drunk of the Week™! Congratulations!!!! Good night, Seattle!


OUR OWN PRIVATE MONORAIL PARTY
9:39 PM

So, the SECB was not invited to the Monorail party and we have no idea why, but it's okay because their party is probably short and a waste like the actual Monorail. The SECB does not miss an opportunity to party though, so since we're not allowed at the Monorail party, we brought the party to the Monorail.

All the SECBs friends are here!
  • All the SECB's friends are here!

The SECB was surprised at how many people still ride the Monorail even in the evening. (And even on a night when the measure to study building more Monorail lines is going down hard, 80 to 20!) There were a handful of tourists boarding, but one person couldn't get on because he didn't have cash—much to the chagrin of his friends. They pleaded with the ticket cashier because he was paying for drinks that night, but nope, the ticket cashier runs the Monorail with an iron fist. Looks like your friend is walking.

But if you think about it, Seattle Center is a lot like our version of Disney World. Both are frequented by tourists and are serviced by a Monorail with few stops. But unlike Disney, the Seattle Center is completely devoid of joy. Ride the Monorail and arrive at the unhappiest place on Earth. But hey, at least there's food at this party!

There were a few chips left in this bag and the SECB ate some because we have no shame.
  • There were a few chips left in this bag and the SECB ate some because we have no shame.


OH, BY THE WAY: REPUBLICANS TOOK OVER THE US SENATE
9:35 PM

Photos of Republicans partying are always the saddest.


MAYOR MURRAY CALLS TIM BURGESS "THE GODFATHER OF PRE-K"
9:21 PM

burgessbaby.png
  • SECB
Tim Burgess and this pro-universal-pre-K baby are totally buds now. They've canceled their rap battle, and instead have decided to get cracking on stopping global warming. The baby is a political genius. Asked for his immediate reaction to the pre-K results, Burgess says "It's great! 67.2! Stunning.” The baby says nothing, just signals for another drink.

Meanwhile, Mayor Ed Murray just arrived, glowing with triumph, and stepped to the podium to call this a "historic night" in Seattle. "I know lots of people said we wouldn't know the results tonight," he went on, "but I'm gonna declare victory." He added that "we wouldn't have been able to do this if we hadn't done it 'the Seattle way,' by bringing progressives together"—which is kinda funny, because actually this preschool measure was a huge battle within the progressive community, since city politicians put their pre-K measure on the ballot in opposition to another measure (1A), funded by unions, that would've increased the pay and centralized training for preschool and child-care workers. Hmmm.

Thats Estela Ortega at the podium, executive director of El Centro de la Raza, leading the crowd in cheers of Viva! Mayor Murray and Tim Burgess are behind her.
  • That's Estela Ortega at the podium, executive director of El Centro de la Raza, leading the crowd in cheers of "Viva!" Mayor Murray and Tim Burgess are behind her.

No matter, everyone here is psyched! Murray called Burgess a "dreamer" and "the godfather of pre-K," so Burgess came up to the mic and told Seattle: "You, tonight, invested in the future of our children," and talked about how this is a step toward universal pre-K in the city. Which is a major, major, major victory for kids, especially low- and middle-income kids. High five, Sea-town.


JESS SPEAR CAUSES THE STRANGER'S EARS TO BURN
9:10 PM

Heres Jess Spear probably in the middle of saying something mean about us.
  • Here's Jess Spear, probably in the middle of saying something mean about us.

The SECB was in the room for the Jess Spear primary night party earlier this year, and it was a bad scene. When the numbers showed catastrophically low results for Spear, it was like someone walked in the party and personally smashed everyone in the mouth with an aluminum softball bat. People wandered off into the night with stunned looks on their faces. Despite the very low numbers we're seeing (16 percent has to be a bed-shittingly bad number by anyone's accounting) tonight's election night party at the Spear campaign doesn't resemble that awful summer evening at all. Nobody was surprised to lose tonight, it seems, and they're still here to party.

Spear's political director, Phillip Locker, set the stage for the bad returns by telling the audience "the initial results have come in and the number one thing they show is that voters are not happy about Frank Chopp and the political establishment. There is a record low turnout." He admitted that Spear did not meet their highest expectations, but he said that every loss is met with an upsurge of support: in 2010, Republicans launched "the tea party and they were met by Occupy." Locker theorized that Chopp was spending election night "on his luxury yacht with his Boeing executives."

Spear took the stage and admitted that the results were not what she wanted, but "I think it's really, really important that we don't feel discouraged I don't feel discouraged about this." Then, as the SECB slunk low in our seat and clickety-clacked on our keyboard, Spear said voters were "cheated by The Stranger's cheat sheet." The room rocked with boos for The Stranger, which endorsed Speaker Frank Chopp. The Stranger, Spear said, "saw [socialists and socialist candidates] as a tool to push the Democratic party to the left," not as a viable political party for the working class. "We can't rely on The Stranger," Spear said. "We need our own media outlets" that don't serve the interests of "crumb-delivering Democrats and insane Republicans." Boy, are our ears burning. If it was possible to die of stinkeye, we'd be scrawling our last will and testament on the back of this sausage-slick paper plate right about now.


WASHINGTON BECOMES THE FIRST STATE IN THE UNION TO CLOSE THE BACKGROUND CHECK LOOPHOLE BY A POPULAR VOTE
9:05 PM

Whoops and fists raised and photographers flashing at the 594 party at the Edgewater. All of these people would be happy to have their backgrounds checked if they try to buy guns.
  • JG
  • Whoops and fists raised and photographers flashing at the I-594 party at the Edgewater. All of these people will be happy to have their backgrounds checked if they try to buy guns.

Look, you could stand these people up at the gates of hell, but they won't back down. That's what song was playing—Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down"—after the sonic smoke of the cheers died down when the big screen showed the numbers. It looks good for Initiative 594, meaning it looks good for Washington State to implement background checks on gun owners regardless of where they're buying. As of this first data-drop, of more than a million votes across the state, more than 60 percent voted yes on I-594. And the secondary whoops came in when Initiative 591, which could undo some of what I-594 wants to do, showed less than 50 percent for.

Now we wait to see whether the numbers hold as more votes are tallied. But this just became a party. When an organizer finally gets up to the mic several minutes after the drop, everybody is ready to make more decibels and to do much hugging and high-fiving, and YES: "We have become the first state in the country to close the background check loophole by a vote, at the ballot, of the people." The pols "found it a lot less easy when we went to the people," he says.

Cheryl Stumbo at the middle of a very happy crowd. This movement is HERE. TO. STAY, she said.
  • JG
  • Cheryl Stumbo at the middle of a very happy crowd. "This movement is HERE. TO. STAY," she said.
"CHERYL, CHERYL, CHERYL, CHERYL." The crowd goes wild again, and with good reason again: for Cheryl Stumbo, citizen sponsor of Initiative 594. She was one of six people shot at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle in 2006.

Gun safety, she says, is "totally consistent with respecting our Second Amendment rights." Her dad's a gun owner and full supporter of 594.

"We've shown," she says, "that Americans can take on an out-of-touch gun lobby, and win... We're going to continue this fight for policies that reduce crime and save lives. This movement is HERE. TO. STAY."

And now comes Bruce. "Glory Days" takes us out.


SEATTLE VOTERS AGREE TO ADD $45 MILLION IN FUNDING TO METRO BUSES
9:00 PM

Saved by the voters.
  • Saved by the voters.

You like buses? You like not being totally crowded on those buses? You like saving greenhouse gas emissions? You like less traffic? You like a modicum of mass transit in the fastest growing city in the country?

Well, you got it! With the first drop of ballots counted, Seattle voters are approving a sales tax and vehicle fee measure that would add $45 million in funding to King County Metro to strengthen bus service in Seattle. "Because of this victory, we're going to have the best bus service we've ever had," proclaimed City Council Member Tom Rasmussen (okay, not necessarily proclaimed, because Rasmussen is too damn soft-spoken to properly proclaim something). Mayor Ed Murray said Seattle just did something it hasn't been able to do in decades—expand transit. Fuck you, Olympia. We do what we want.

City Council Member Tom Rasmussen says, Because of this victory, were going to have the best bus service weve ever had.
  • City Council Member Tom Rasmussen says, "Because of this victory, we're going to have the best bus service we've ever had."

"Reliable public transit is critical for our city, and the results tonight show that Seattle recognizes this," says the Downtown Seattle Association, in a statement some flack just handed me. Savor the victory, for the moment. Now can we please fucking do something about light rail—i.e., have a lot more of it? Please? Finally? Now? Thanks.


PROP 1A CAMPAIGN RELEASES VIDEO STATEMENT FROM SECRET BUNKER
8:58 PM

Hey, if you're not gonna throw a party, and you're gonna lose, then why not pre-record a video statement, toss it out to the press on election night, and then head back into the bunker for a nightcap and some well-earned rest?


BIG WINS FOR CHOPP, KONDO, AND SHADID
8:56 PM

Frank Chopp is beating Jess Spear by nearly 67 points:

Screen_Shot_2014-11-04_at_8.20.21_PM.png

Seattle Municipal Court Judge C. Kimi Kondo is beating challenger Jon M. Zimmerman by more than 30 points:

Screen_Shot_2014-11-04_at_8.52.39_PM.png

Challenger Damon Shadid is beating longtime incumbent Seattle Municipal Court Judge Fred Bonner by more than 52 points:

Screen_Shot_2014-11-04_at_8.53.07_PM.png


DAMON SHADID'S PARTY ERUPTS IN CHEERING, CLAPPING, AND "OH MY GOD"S
8:49 PM

Newly elected Seattle municipal court judge Damon Shadid, on the right. Thats his friend and colleague Omar Nur on the left.
  • Newly elected Seattle municipal court judge Damon Shadid, on the right. That's his friend and colleague Omar Nur on the left.

That's the reaction to the news that Shadid beat his opponent, Judge Fred Bonner, 76-23.

Shadid got on the microphone to thank his volunteers and campaign manager. "You never know until you know," he said. "We actually got people to care about a judicial race," which elicited cheers.

Then he had a "celebratory scotch."


IT'S SO FUCKING QUIET AT THE PARTY IN SUPPORT OF SMALLER CLASS SIZES, IT'S FREAKING US OUT
8:46 PM

The webcams thermal reader is picking up almost no heat on these people.
  • The webcam's thermal reader is picking up almost no heat on these people.

Well it's been another half an hour, and things here are still virtually soundless over at YES! on 1351 headquarters. Imagine fourteen people in a conference room speaking at a volume between a mutter and whisper, and you've got a pretty good idea of the aural landscape in the Adams room of the Hilton right now. You might even say that this is the sound of a very reasonably sized classroom. Almost too reasonably sized, actually. Someone just said, "Why are we whispering?" Everyone had a brief laugh and then went back to whispering. The people from KOMO look bored out of their minds. Their cameras want blood and tears. Apparently there's a party with wine happening in a suite upstairs. The SECB requested a quick look at this party and maybe a modestly sized glass of wine. The SECB received a silent head-shake coupled with a polite, sympathetic smile.


MAYORAL CAPTION CONTEST!!
8:38 PM

This photo has not been doctored. He really is doing that with his mouth, and holding his hand like that, with nothing in it.
  • This photo has not been doctored. He really is doing that with his mouth, and holding his hand like that, with nothing in it.


PUBLIC PRESCHOOL IN SEATTLE IS WINNING BIG
8:28 PM

party_people.png
  • SECB
Okay, now the preschool party is really BUMPIN'. They're passing out a bunch of tiny sandwiches—grilled cheese and pulled pork!—and if this party doesn't end with either Tim Burgess (or that party baby) rapping, we're gonna be hella disappointed. The party is packed!

Wait—whoa! They just announced the results, and Prop 1B is winning, and by serious margins. THE CROWD GOES WILD!!! WOOOOOOOHOOOOOOO!!! I can see Tim Burgess planning his celebratory rap battle with that baby already! Everyone's freaking out about the margin here. The first question, which complicatedly is whether either of the two preschool measures should be enacted at all, is going 65-35 percent "yes." That's the first hurdle. In the second question, which is which of the two measures should be enacted, Prop 1B is winning 67–33 percent.


GUN CONTROL IS PASSING! SO IS UNIVERSAL PRESCHOOL IN SEATTLE, AND METRO FUNDING!
8:20 PM

Initiative 594, which would close the gun show loophole, is passing statewide:

Screen_Shot_2014-11-04_at_8.40.38_PM.png

Initiative 591, which would thwart the closing of the gun show loophole, is failing statewide:

Screen_Shot_2014-11-04_at_8.41.25_PM.png

Initiative 1351, which would mandate smaller class sizes, is narrowly failing statewide:

Screen_Shot_2014-11-04_at_8.42.33_PM.png

Seattle Prop. 1B, which would create a universal preschool pilot program, is passing:

Screen_Shot_2014-11-04_at_8.21.33_PM.png

Screen_Shot_2014-11-04_at_8.21.43_PM.png

Seattle's Metro-funding measure is also passing:

Screen_Shot_2014-11-04_at_8.22.03_PM.png


THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE AT THE I-594 PARTY THAT SURELY GUN BUYERS WILL HAVE TO GO THROUGH BACKGROUND CHECKS AFTER THIS... RIGHT?
8:12 PM

Its jam-packed—and the stakes feel high—up in here at the Initiative 594 party at the Edgewater.
  • JG
  • It's jam-packed—and the stakes feel high—up in here at the Initiative 594 party at the Edgewater.

How many people will fit into the Edgewater's chandeliered fourth-floor conference room where the Initiative 594 party is happening? "Uh, not many more," a spokesman said.

It is seriously packed. The mayor is here. The governor is here. People are not here for the drinks and hors d'oeuvres. They're here because they really do want to see background checks required for gun buyers. (You would like to know why? Oh, here is why.)

Just wandering around talking to people, it seemed like everybody had a personal story to tell. A daughter's best friend was at Seattle Pacific University during last year's shooting. A school nurse was pushed over the edge by the prospect of the six-year-olds she knows going through Sandyhook.

There are many, many youth here. Jessie Pippin, left, goes to Center House high school, where a kid recently brought an explosive to class. If a younger generation wants this to happen, how much longer is it going to take?
  • JG
  • There are many, many youth here. Jessie Pippin, left, goes to Center House high school, where a kid recently brought an explosive to class. If a younger generation wants this to happen, how much longer is it going to take?
"I'm a senior at Nathan Hale High School, and I was home alone sick the day of the Cafe Racer shooting, and I live a block away," Anova Nurius, 17, told us. "I heard the gunshots through my window."

It seems like everybody here under 30—and plenty of people here are under 30—has been in lockdown in school at least once, if not multiple times. Hodan Hassan, 24, experienced it three or four times at Franklin High School, and she's here to help make things safer for the people who are shot most often, she said: women of color, and kids of color.

Cebrina Martin, now 21, still remembers hiding from a gunman in her first-grade classroom. The shooter was in a nearby office building; he'd been fired and came back angry and armed.

Jessie Pippin, 16, is here because of a more general culture of violence: "A few Mondays ago," she said, a kid brought a molotov cocktail to her school, The Center School.

We're nervous, because this might not happen.

As 594 organizers emailed earlier today, "Washington State has not traditionally been a bastion of gun sense":

The last time a gun violence prevention initiative was on the ballot it suffered a devastating defeat. In 1997, the gun lobby resoundingly defeated Initiative 676, which would have required safety training and licensing for handgun owners and required trigger locks for new handguns...

Washington State has been an NRA stronghold for decades. The NRA spends more money on Washington State political activity than in any other state in the country. In 2013, the NRA spent $68,300 in direct contributions to state legislators.

"I believe that the sanity of safety is gonna break out against gun violence tonight," Gov. Jay Inslee just said.

Sense and sanity, man. Can they win?

Note: During the typing of this post, a bearded man offered us a glossy business card that said "Ben 'Jammin'" just in case we would like to buy some "weed," and Starship's "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" played.


READY FOR VICTORY AT THE COMET
8:10 PM

WP_20141104_19_50_08_Pro.jpg
  • Ansel Herz

The Comet Tavern on Capitol Hill is filling up with bus supporters, who all seem to think, absent any organized opposition, that Transportation Benefit District Board Proposition 1 is going to pass handily. Two thirds of Seattlish, 100% of local corporation David Meinert (who donated $1,750 to the approximately $300K campaign in favor of the proposition), and an indeterminate portion of Mayor Ed Murray's staff is here. The mayor himself should be showing up shortly. Also here: Mike O'Brien and Dow Constantine.

Beau Morton, an official with the Transit Riders Union, says his members phone banked for the county-wide version of this measure that failed back in April. This time around, the response from voters they've reached has been much more positive, he says—they were already aware of the need to bolster Metro funding and ease the burden on our crowded buses. Hopefully we're not in for any rude surprises when the first results get posted.


ALL PIZZA AND SMILES
8:05 PM

Council member Mike OBrien: All pizza and smiles.
  • Council member Mike O'Brien: All pizza and smiles.

The SECB ran into Council member Mike O'Brien at Big Mario's pizza, and while our attention was pretty focused on pepperoni, we're pretty sure O'Brien told us he's all about finding "happiness" tonight. Which is the most Mike O'Brien thing that Mike O'Brien could possibly say.

In search of happiness, he's avoiding the Prop 1B party around the corner from Big Mario's at Soul Repair (too much acrimony in that whole 1A vs. 1B thing) and is heading instead to the Comet, where he hopes to find bliss at the Metro-funding Prop. 1 party. Good luck, man.


THE COZY SOCIALIST UPRISING IN MADISON VALLEY
7:50 PM

Jess Spear is happy she got Frank Chopp to talk like a liberal.
  • Jess Spear is happy she got Frank Chopp to talk like a liberal.

The atmosphere at the Jess Spear party is cozy and familial, with a bunch of kids running about, trays full of vegetables, sausages, and rice free for the taking, and a possible Knute Berger sighting. (You never forget the day you spot your first wild Mossback.) We're all crammed into the delightful Harbour [sic] Pointe [sic] Coffeehouse, in a neighborhood owners of the Pointe [sic] probably refer to as Madisounne Parke. Those of you looking for easy socialist jokes out of the SECB tonight are going to be disappointed. The room doesn't smell like body odor, nobody's sporting gauge-widened earlobe flaps or toe shoes, and the mood is positive and not at all angry.

Jess Spear just arrived, and it sounds to the SECB like she's being realistic about her chances. Spear tells us that no matter how the results land, she's proud that she's gotten Speaker Chopp on the record as wanting to lift the ban on rent control. She's pleased, too, that in her debate with him she managed to convince Chopp to admit that "taxing the super-wealthy" was probably a necessary step to "transfer the wealth from top to bottom." She's forced Chopp to sound more liberal, she suggests, and "now we can hold him to his word."

An industrious young girl in a blue plaid skirt is selling cookies as part of a fundraiser at the rally. One man said he would like to buy the chocolate chip cookies. She commended him for his choice. Who says these are enemies of capitalism? An overzealous older fellow chastises the SECB for typing on our laptop when there's free food sitting there, ready to eat. He coaxes us into trying some. Though the food looks a bit overdone, the stewed vegetables are happily still crisp, the rice is bland but cooked well, and the sausages are fucking delicious: Spicy, plump Polish-style pork tubes that crackle when you bite into the skin. Now that SECB has had a fat socialist sausage in our mouth, we may never turn back.


JUDICIAL CANDIDATE DAMON SHADID'S 2-YEAR-OLD BOY LEARNED HOW TO SAY "HAPPY ELECTION DAY" TODAY
7:47 PM

About a dozen people gathered at Union Bar in Hillman City for Municipal Court Judge candidate Damon Shadid, drinking beers and eating tater tots, as a confident Shadid greeted friends and his "diehard fans."

Asked how his day went, Shadid said he spent all day in court, went on a run, and hung out with his two-year-old son, who had been taught how to say "happy Election Day."

Shadid seemed incredibly relaxed. "I feel good about it," he said about the contest against incumbent Fred Bonner, who admitted to the SECB that he had probably taken his seat for granted. "I was shocked when he said that. It was probably the most intimate interview with him I had done." Regarding our endorsement for him, Shadid said, "I do agree with what The Stranger said: elected officials shouldn't feel too comfortable with their jobs...There's so much we can do...I feel like I will do that. That interview was very clear about what the alternative was."


AIN'T NO PARTY LIKE A PRESCHOOL PARTY 'CAUSE A PRESCHOOL PARTY DON'T STOP (THAT'S RIGHT)
7:42 PM

preK_partAY.png
  • The preschool party is off to a low-key start. Like a no-people kind of start.

Well, the preschool party got off to a pretty low-key start. Like, a no-people kind of start. We're at the Prop 1B party*, where it's beautifully appointed but there aren't a lot of humans around. But do you know what they do have at the preschool party? BOOZES, all the kinds! We're gonna drink some whiskey—for the kids! GO PRESCHOOL WOOHOO! Here's hoping Tim Burgess gets cruuuunk!

Wait, wait, a baby is walking in the door, ready for preschool! We will be interviewing the baby later, once we've had a bit more to drink. Ta-taa!

*And if you don't know what that is already, you can't possibly care.


WHAT WE'RE LOOKING FOR TONIGHT (ASIDE FROM FREE DINNER AND DRINKS)
7:15 PM

Jess Spear is throwing a sausage party.
  • Jess Spear is throwing a sausage party.

There are so many "Prop 1's" on this ballot you need a decoder ring to figure it all out—and we're watching all of them closely. Will Seattle Citizen Petition No. 1, which would create a committee to study new Monorial routes, fail? (As we hope, because its backers are too unreliable to be trusted with public money.) Will Seattle Transportation Benefit District Proposition No. 1 pass, as we hope, so that Seattle will have more money to fund Metro bus service and Danny Westneat won't feel like he's living in Calcutta anymore? Will Proposition 1B, a first step toward universal preschool in Seattle, beat Proposition 1A, a first step toward who knows what exactly?

Will we be able to keep all of these numbers straight as the parties go on?

And: Will Initiative 594, which would finally close Washington's stupid gun show loophole, pass? (As polls suggest it will.) Will Initiative 591, which would keep Washington's stupid gun show loophole open, pass too? (Because some voters are just that stupid, and also this ballot is kinda confusing.)

Also: Will the House Speaker Frank Chopp's margin of victory over Socialist challenger Jess Spear be large enough to justify his audacious, disrespectful-of-the-SECB's-needs decision not to even hold a victory party?

Time will tell. The first—and only—results of the night arrive in one hour. In the meantime, SECB is eating sausages at Jess Spear's party. Putting sausages in our mouth is something we're pretty good at.


TONIGHT'S ELECTION COVERAGE IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY HARD CIDER AND WHOEVER LOADS THE LYRICS INTO THE KARAOKE MACHINE AT ROCKBOX
6:47 PM

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The Stranger Election Control Board prepares for a night of election coverage the way any respectable news organization would: By guzzling hard cider at Rockbox while sing-shrieking "I Think We're Alone Now," "Don't Stop Believing," and "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You." ****IMPORTANT CIVIC ANNOUNCEMENT**** Get up from wherever you are, right now, this moment, go to Rockbox, and queue up the song "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You." You may think you know the words to the Frankie Valli song, but you do not. Not the way the song goes at Rockbox. Where the lyrics are supposed to say "don't bring me down, I pray," the lyrics at Rockbox say, "Don't bring me down on prick." Yes, that's right. Twice. Take a bunch of coworkers with you. Why not? ****END OF IMPORTANT CIVIC ANNOUNCEMENT****

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Slog Poll: When Did You Vote?

Posted by on Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 2:13 PM

ARE STRANGER-READING VOTERS late voters?
  • Alexandru Nika/Shutterstock
  • ARE STRANGER-READING VOTERS late voters?

Word in local political circles is that Stranger-reading voters are late voters. We're certainly seeing a lot of traffic to our election endorsements in these last days (and hours) of campaigning.

But if we really want an answer to the question of when Stranger readers vote, we should do something a little more scientific that just listening to chatter or reading traffic tea leaves. And what's more scientific than a Slog poll?

Tonight on Slog: Every Election Night Party! (That We Can Get to!) Plus All the Results!

Posted by on Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 12:58 PM

WELL BRAVE THE PLASTIC TRAY SPREADS so you dont have to. Wish us luck.
  • ANNA MINARD
  • We'll brave the plastic tray spreads so you don't have to. Wish us luck.

Sometime after sunset—which, good god, happens at 4:47 p.m. today—the Stranger Election Control Board will tuck the whiskey into our rain jackets, pull on our boots, and head off into the night to PAARRRRTY with local politicos and their (14) fans as the first election returns come in.

Who's skimping on the free booze this year? What are the latest trends in premade grocery store snacks? Will Mayor Ed Murray—whose official party-hopping schedule matches up neatly with ours—be in a shouty mood? Will Dave Meinert emerge from retirement? Will there be any clarity on the 1A vs. 1B preschool death-match in early returns? Will the people of Seattle vote (again) to give Metro more money? Will the terror of toe shoes make itself felt (again) in the Jess Spear vs. Frank Chopp contest?

Come on back to Slog to find out, and in the meantime: VOTE! (You have until the post office closes to get your ballot postmarked, or until 8 p.m. to get your ballot inside a drop box. [Not a euphemism.])

Slog Poll: What's Going to Happen Tonight in the Midterm Elections?

Posted by on Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 10:49 AM

Ever notice how the word vote looks really weird when you stare at it too long?
  • Vote Badge / / Shutterstock.com
  • Ever notice how the word "vote" looks really weird when you stare at it too long?
It's Election Day! This bears repeating. If you've already voted, please, please make sure your ballot has been counted. (Mine has.) If you haven't voted, mail your ballot in today. If you've decided you're not going to vote, I explained why you're wrong yesterday. If you're a registered voter and you've lost your ballot, you can visit this page to get your ballot online and then mail that ballot in. If you're not a registered voter, you need to register for next time.

Now that we've done everything we can locally, let's turn our eyes outward. So things don't look good for Democrats nationwide. We've got 36 governors and 36 senators on ballots across the US. Nate Silver is predicting doom for Democrats in the Senate, and the governor's races look like a mixed bag. The only question now, it seems to me, is how bad is the damage going to be? Are we expecting a bruising for Democrats, or are we looking at a deep red tsunami that will change the political shape of the country for the next few years? And if tonight is a huge win for conservative candidates, can we at least refer to it as a "Crimson Wave?"

We can take some consolation in this: Tacocat makes everything, even demoralizing electoral defeat, feel fun. So what's going to happen tonight, Slog?

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Another Satisfied Voter

Posted by on Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 9:57 AM


Just wanted to tell you what a wonderful resource The Stranger is. Once again The Stanger’s SECB has lifted my husband and me from election day dumps. Your hilarious comments on Judge Mark Chow and self-deprecating remarks about the undead Monorail issue made our day. On Fridays I listen to Eli Sanders et al on the best KUOW local talk. He is so sensible, fair and smart. Thanks for being.—Susan S.

The SECB's endorsements—and our handy cheat sheet—are here. Vote, motherfuckers!

Haven't Voted Yet? Here's How to Get Your Ballot in at the Last Minute

Posted by on Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 6:00 AM

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  • James Yamasaki
  • TODAY is Election Day.

First, vote. If you need some advice on this longest and most complicated ballot ever, we got you covered.

Next: Get yourself a 49-cent stamp and get that thing postmarked today, because today is the last day to mail in your ballot.

Don't want to spring for a stamp? You have until 8 p.m. to walk your ballot to a drop box or drop-off van.

Want or need to vote in person? Try one of these places.

Lost your ballot? Here.

Messed up your ballot-return envelope? Here.

VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Three Fears for Voters: Ebola, ISIS, and Jobs

Posted by on Mon, Nov 3, 2014 at 8:14 AM

Reporters do not fear Ebola..
  • CM
  • Reporters do not fear Ebola more than they fear not having a story about Ebola...

What is rattling the American voter? According to USA Today, it's the Ebola virus, the Islamic State, and jobs/economy. These, of course, are not real problems, substantial dangers. But one might agree that the first two fears have no basis in reality, but the third has. The economy hasn't recovered from the crash, the job market still sucks, and so on. But this last and seemingly rational fear does not fit with the fact that, post-crash, 93 percent of the additional wealth generated in this society, around $300 billion annually, is going up to the top 1 percent of tax payers. As Wolfgang Streeck points out in his book Buying Time: The Delayed Crisis of Democratic Capitalism, a book I read this weekend and I highly recommend as it clearly describes the major and complex social/political/economic changes that have occurred over the past 40 years in advanced capitalist societies (the transition from a postwar capitalism that was closely tied to democracy to one that is protected from the power of voters by a number of structural and institutional changes), market crashes have actually been a very good thing for the richest of the rich.

During the recovery in the early 1990s, the top 1 percent claimed 45 percent of all additional wealth. After the crash of 2000, that figure rose sharply to 65 percent. Now it stands at a dizzying 93 percent. If we have another crash, we can reasonably expect it to rise to the heaven of 100 percent. So, if crashes are benefiting the elites in a very big way, why should the rest of the society worry about them or recessions in the way that we do? Clearly, the market is not in bad shape. Clearly, the problem is not the economy but one of political economy—meaning, it's a classical matter of distribution.

The story that is not on the cover of USA Today? The recent Oxfam report that "the number of billionaires doubled between 2009 and 2014." This happened during a time when American voters were constantly worrying about their jobs. And more recently, worrying about Ebola, a problem that Nigeria, a very poor black African country with a weak state, has successfully contained. (Ebola is really not an intelligent virus. All you need is some "aggressive tracing" and much of the problem is solved.)

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Vote Jim McDermott in Washington's 7th Congressional District

Posted by on Mon, Nov 3, 2014 at 6:00 AM

Yep, thats our Congressman.
  • Congressman McDermott
  • Yep, that's our congressman.

The dude running against congressman Jim McDermott is a Republican who's pissed about "the chaos of illegals marching for $15 wages" and "open disregard for our laws." Whatever. Google "McDermott Bruce Lee" and see who you think is really ready to enforce some laws. Yeah, that's a Vine of Seattle's Democratic congressman wearing a yellow jumpsuit inspired by Bruce Lee's Game of Death and doing some sort of martial arts move. At age 77. Even in the minority, ol' Jim is still fighting to boost clean energy production, speaking out on the violence in Gaza, and working to protect the health-care-reform effort, even though he'd rather have single-payer (us too!). Vote McDermott.

For The Stranger's full endorsements for the November 4 election, continue reading »

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Vote for Frank Chopp in Seattle's 43rd Legislative District

Posted by on Sun, Nov 2, 2014 at 11:30 AM

When a radical candidate has a chance to wreck shop and make a difference (as Kshama Sawant has done on the nine-member Seattle City Council) its worth sitting up and paying attention. When theres little chance of this happening (Spear would be just one voice in the 98-member state house), and when theres also real danger of progressive goals actually suffering, its worth being pragmatic. Thats a major reason Chopp beat Spear by 59 points in the primary.
  • DH/Chopp campaign
  • Challenger Jess Spear, left, and Washington State House Speaker Frank Chopp, right.

As close readers of our endorsements may have picked up, there's a lot the SECB can't stand about the way the Washington State Legislature's been (not) doing its job the last few years. But even as we rage-type our sweeping condemnations and demands for immediate jailing of every motherfucker down there (still a good idea!), we're not so anger-blinded that we can't see how some motherfuckers in Olympia are better than others. Take, for example, Frank Chopp, the motherfucker who happens to be the Democratic house speaker.

His incrementalism drives us insane, he voted for the Boeing deal, and his inability to loudly brag, or even humblebrag, about his many accomplishments has left a lot of room for his challenger, Socialist Jess Spear, to run with the critique that he's a corporate toadie. There are two big problems with this critique. One, it's too simplistic, even for us. Two, Spear hasn't followed her critique with a convincing case for how she'd do better.

Spear promises rent control, which is currently illegal under state law, but doesn't explain how unseating a powerful house speaker and replacing him with a newbie with no legislative experience or pull is gonna move that ball forward. Chopp supports removing the state's rent-control ban so that Seattle can decide what it wants to do on that question, and in the meantime, he's focused on things that can make life for Seattle renters better right now. "I'm the strongest leader on affordable housing," he says, and he's right. Before he was a legislator, he was a low-income housing activist, and he's since used his public office to grind the ugly legislative gears in the right direction for low-income Washingtonians, getting money appropriated to build affordable housing all over this state. In Seattle, there are 70 affordable housing buildings in the 43rd District—Chopp's district—that owe their existence to his efforts. If you start counting the rest of the city, there are even more.

Spear was a leader of Seattle's $15-minimum-wage movement, but Chopp was behind a $15 wage well before it got hot in Seattle, supporting SeaTac's earlier successful effort to win a wage hike. He's also been a major force in expanding health care for the state's most vulnerable citizens over the last 10 years. What Spear has failed to explain is how Chopp's style of hard work toward meaningful, incrementalist progress in Olympia—yes, we actually typed those words—wouldn't take a hit if he's kicked out and replaced as speaker. Because let's be real: The new speaker wouldn't be Jess Spear. More likely, it'd be a "moderate" Democrat like Pat Sullivan of Covington. (As you're trying to find Covington on a map, keep in mind that Sullivan doesn't even support closing the gun show loophole—one more reason we gotta vote for I-594, people.)

When a radical candidate has a chance to wreck shop and make a difference (as Kshama Sawant has done on the nine-member Seattle City Council) it's worth sitting up and paying attention. When there's little chance of this happening (Spear would be just one voice in the 98-member state house), and when there's also real danger of progressive goals actually suffering, it's worth being pragmatic. That's a major reason Chopp beat Spear by 59 points in the primary. Sometimes an imperfect candidate is the best person for an ugly job. Vote Chopp.

For The Stranger's full endorsements for the November 4 election, continue reading »

Guest Editorial: I Lost My 6-Year-Old Son at Sandy Hook. Do Something About Gun Violence by Voting "YES" on Initiative 594.

Posted by on Sun, Nov 2, 2014 at 6:00 AM

NICOLE HOCKLEY and her son, Dylan, who was killed at age 6 by gun violence during the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting nearly two years ago. Since then, Nicole writes, there have been 87 school shootings. That’s nearly one school shooting every week.
  • Courtesy Nicole Hockley
  • NICOLE HOCKLEY with her son, Dylan, who was killed at age 6 during the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting nearly two years ago. Since then, Nicole writes, "There have been 87 school shootings. That’s nearly one school shooting every week."

Last week, my friend Mark Barden and I traveled from Newtown, Connecticut, to Seattle, Washington, to talk to voters about the importance of passing Initiative 594.

Why? Because we understand—tragically, more than most—the urgent need to help keep families and communities safe from gun violence.

Mark and I both lost children—my 6-year-old son Dylan, and Mark’s 7-year-old son Daniel—in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting nearly two years ago. Since our sons, 18 of their first grade classmates, and six brave educators were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary, there have been 87 school shootings. That’s nearly one school shooting every week.

The most recent tragedy came just last week in Marysville. It took the lives of three innocent high school students and put two more in the hospital, struggling to survive. Like every instance of gun violence, last week’s left families and a whole community in shock and despair, searching for answers. Our hearts go out to everyone in Marysville.

These terrible attacks are stark reminders of just how much work still needs to be done to keep communities and kids safe from gun violence.

That’s why I was eager to lend my voice and perspective to passing Initiative 594.

Continue reading »

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Our CHEAT SHEET for the 2014 General Election!

Posted by on Sat, Nov 1, 2014 at 6:00 AM

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You want just the cheat sheet and not our very insightful, totally level-headed reasons why?

Okay.

Here's JUST THE CHEAT SHEET!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Guest Editorial: How Metro-Funding Prop 1 Moves Us Toward the Bus System We Deserve

Posted by on Fri, Oct 31, 2014 at 6:00 AM

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  • Levi Hastings

Before we fully kick this editorial off, I want to get a few things straight: I don’t own a car. I use the bus nearly every day. At the Washington Bus, where I work, most of my coworkers aren’t car owners, either. Metro buses are how we get to the office, to friend’s houses, and everywhere in between.

And that’s why I’m supporting Seattle Transportation Benefit District Proposition 1—because expanding Metro bus service in Seattle isn’t some hypothetical idea, it’s personal.

It’s painfully obvious that Seattle needs more transit, and that starts with bus service. Metro is the backbone of our transit system, and those of us who ride every day know that too many Metro routes in the city of Seattle are increasingly overcrowded, are too often unreliable, or simply don’t come often enough.

Luckily, we have an opportunity to make things better, and to improve our beloved Joe Metro. We can do that by passing Transportation Prop 1.

All you have to do is look around at those cranes looming above your head and the reflective vest-bedecked construction workers on every corner to see that Seattle is growing at a breakneck speed. Bus service levels in Seattle have been stagnant since 2007, and without expanding, the transit deficit will only get worse.

Continue reading »

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Judicial Candidate Sarah Hayne Admonished by Bar Association for "Misleading Statements" About Her Experience

Posted by on Thu, Oct 30, 2014 at 2:00 PM

INCUMBENT JUDGE KETU SHAH is being challenged by Sarah Hayne, whom the King County Bar Association has just admonished for publishing misleading statements about her years of experience.
  • Courtesy Ketu Shah
  • INCUMBENT JUDGE KETU SHAH is being challenged by Sarah Hayne, whom the King County Bar Association just admonished for "publishing misleading statements about her years of experience."

This race for King County District Court just got even more interesting. Already, there were concerns about candidate Sarah Hayne receiving serious financial backing from a group called "Citizens for Judicial Excellence." As Lael Henterly writes in this week's Stranger, "Her husband, Stephen Hayne, was one of CJE's founding members, a fact that has fueled speculation that something scandalous is afoot." When CJE announced earlier this year that it would be putting its resources behind Hayne, several members up and quit. Since then, claims of "nepotism" have been flying.

Now the King County Bar Association has admonished Hayne for "publishing misleading statements about her years of experience." As KCBA President Steven R. Rovig said in a statement e-mailed to reporters: "She states in her campaign materials that for the past 22 years she has worked as a pro tem judge, a prosecutor, and a defense attorney, yet she told KCBA that she worked on a limited or part-time basis during the bulk of that period. As a result, KCBA finds those written statements to be misleading."

As with the charges of nepotism, Hayne's level of experience—and her claims about her experience—have long been an issue in this campaign. In Henterly's article, a CJE spokesperson suggests sexism is behind the experience concerns. Others say the concerns are totally legit. One fact not in dispute: Hayne refused to be rated by local bar associations, while Judge Shah has received a bunch of "exceptionally well qualified" ratings, including from the KCBA.

"It bothers me if someone is afraid to appear and be evaluated by these groups," University of Washington law professor Hugh Spitzer told Henterly. The CJE, which just spent $18,000 on mailers for Hayne, claims the KCBA is biased in favor of incumbents so it's no big deal that Hayne refused to be rated.

Vote for Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, Even Though He Voted for the Boeing Deal

Posted by on Thu, Oct 30, 2014 at 6:00 AM

JOE FITZGIBBON, the golden years.
  • JENNIFER RICHARD
  • JOE FITZGIBBON, in the golden years.

We gave Joe Fitzgibbon, the Democrat from Seattle's 34th District, an adoring endorsement when he ran as a 23-year-old four years ago. But Olympia seems to have sucked the life out of him. It definitely sucked the spine out of him. (Let's not mention what the SECB wanted to suck out of him four years ago.) He admits that voting for Boeing's $9 billion tax break felt "shitty," but he did it anyway. FFS, Joe. His opponent, Brendan Kolding, is running on one idea that makes no sense: Fund private schools with public money in order to save public education. That idea sucks ass. Vote Fitzgibbon.

For The Stranger's full endorsements for the November election, continue reading »

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Vote "Maintained" (Or Whatever the Hell You Want) on Tim Eyman's Waste-of-Space Advisory Votes

Posted by on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 6:00 AM

WASTE. OF. SPACE.
  • ES
  • WASTE. OF. SPACE.

This shit again. The state offers a little explainer note about advisory votes: "Advisory votes are non-binding. The results will not change the law." Wait, what? Why do we vote on them, then? Two words: Tim Eyman. The ghost of one of his shitty initiatives forces shit like this onto your ballot. Number 8 says pot doesn't get special agricultural tax breaks and number 9 gives tribes the same tax status as any other government when they want to buy property. Okay. Vote maintained (or whatever the hell you want, doesn't matter) on both, go eat some spicy Thai food, and pick up a fresh roll of Tim Eyman toilet paper on the way home.

For The Stranger's full endorsements for the November election, continue reading »

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Guest Editorial: Prop 1A Is Not About Kids, It's About Unions and Money

Posted by on Tue, Oct 28, 2014 at 6:00 AM

THIS IS WHAT IT SHOULD BE ABOUT: Kids.
  • Olesya Feketa/Shutterstock
  • This is what it should be about: kids.

No, I’m not back on staff at The Stranger, and they couldn’t possibly pay me enough to freelance. (I've got a new price; they can’t afford me now.) But I’ve been championing universal preschool for years, so when the Yes on Prop 1B campaign offered to pay me absolutely nothing to write their official rebuttal to Sally Soriano’s ridiculous October 28 Guest Editorial ("Send Prop 1B, and Its Conservative Funders, Back to the Drawing Board"), I said, “Hell yes!”

You know, for the kids.

And what better way to make my triumphant return to Slog than with a good old-fashioned fisking? It’ll be long and loud—as is my wont—but it'll be well worth the read because it ends with me being totally right, and you the wiser for it. You’re welcome!

Here we go:

The Seattle League of Women Voters, the NAACP of Seattle/King County, Working Washington, and the Economic Opportunity Institute say we should vote for Prop 1A and send Prop 1B's plan for universal preschool back to the drawing board.


Yawn. And you know who endorses Prop 1B? Just about everybody else, including the Washington State Association of Head Start & ECEAP, the Childcare Directors Association of Greater Seattle, the Community Day School Association, the Seattle Human Services Coalition, El Centro De La Raza, the Boys and Girls Clubs of King County, Solid Ground, the Martin Luther King County Labor Council, and a who's who of educational, labor, community, civic, and political organizations. Not to mention the four most influential editorial boards in Seattle: the SECB, the Seattle Times, PubliCola, and me (not necessarily ranked in order of influence).

Only a conspiracy theorist could see something nefarious in that kind of broad bipartisan support.

The Prop 1B campaign is paid for by wealthy conservative donors who have funded efforts to bring publicly funded, for-profit charter schools to our community.

More than 70 percent of Prop 1B’s campaign coffers are from ultra-rich backers who also fund Republicans and conservative initiatives. Prop 1B’s funder list include names like Bezos, Nordstrom, Ballmer, Griffin, Larson, Gates—the same folks who paid for I-1240, the state’s charter school initiative, and helped defeat I-1098, the high earner income tax.

Yeah. Sure. Some of Prop 1B's funders also backed charter schools. But Ballmer, Griffin, Larson, and Gates were also big contributors to the campaign for Seattle's 2011 Families and Education Levy, and I didn't see Soriano getting all batshit crazy over that. Also, the specifics of this accusation are intentionally misleading. For example, Bill Gates Jr. hasn't given a dime to Prop 1B, and he certainly didn't oppose I-1098. His father, Bill Gates Sr., has given $5,000 to 1B. But at $600,000, Gates Sr. was also I-1098's most generous backer!

Continue reading »

Monday, October 27, 2014

Spotted in Ballard

Posted by on Mon, Oct 27, 2014 at 3:01 PM

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This bullshit astroturf campaign was brought to you by the NRA*, which works for gun manufacturers, the millionaires who run them, and the billionaires who own them.

Vote YES on 594:

Continue reading »

Vote Jason Ritchie for Congress in Washington's 8th District

Posted by on Mon, Oct 27, 2014 at 6:00 AM

REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN DAVE REICHERT wasted time earlier this year trying to solve a pot-related problem that doesnt exist.
  • JARED BOGGESS
  • REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN DAVE REICHERT wasted time earlier this year trying to solve a pot-related problem that doesn't exist.

Republican Dave Reichert is a tool of the Tea Party. He voted to repeal Obamacare and supported the disastrous government shutdown stunt. Recently, he introduced conservative dog-whistle legislation to prohibit something that's already illegal: using welfare money to buy weed at a legal pot shop. Reichert must go. His Democratic challenger, badass do-gooder Jason Ritchie, works for a company that builds ramps for disabled people. He picked up a measly 29 percent of the vote in the August primary, but he's still hoping to flip this district—which isn't all insane right-wingers. Vote Ritchie!

For The Stranger's full endorsements for the November election, continue reading »

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Vote "NO" on Initiative 591, Because It Aims to Keep the Gun Show Loophole Wide Open

Posted by on Sat, Oct 25, 2014 at 6:00 AM

IN WASHINGTON STATE, criminals can avoid background checks by purchasing their weapons at gun shows.
  • carroteater/Shutterstock
  • IN WASHINGTON STATE, criminals can avoid background checks by purchasing their weapons at gun shows.

Initiative 591 is put forward by gun nuts and aims to preempt Initiative 594, which we've endorsed. It tries to do this by outlawing any expansion of background checks on gun sales in Washington State—in other words, by keeping the loopholes in current regulations wide open. The initiative's main backers are a handful of private arms dealers who refused to debate the merits of their proposal before the SECB, and so the question is: Do we want to trust a bunch of cowardly arms dealers to write our state's gun regulations? The answer's obvious. Vote no on I-591.

For The Stranger's full endorsements for the November election, continue reading »

Friday, October 24, 2014

In the Most Scandalous Municipal Court Race We Can Remember (Which Is Not Saying Much), Vote Damon Shadid

Posted by on Fri, Oct 24, 2014 at 6:00 AM

Challenger Damon Shadid, left, and Seattle Municipal Court Judge Fred Bonner.
  • Damon Shadid / Seattle Municipal Court
  • Challenger Damon Shadid, left, and Seattle Municipal Court Judge Fred Bonner.

Whoa, Damon Shadid is innnnnnnnntense. This guy is ready for whatever the municipal court can throw at him (including that ceramic mug Judge Chow hand-blocked awhile back), and our guess is we'll be interviewing him about a run for higher office someday soon. He has Hillary Clinton–style message discipline, a lawyerly thirst for argument, and a solid passion for initiatives that push toward greater social justice in the court system. His opponent, Judge Fred Bonner, was first elected to the court in 1989 and has also been a strong proponent of social justice programs. But he's been hit with the municipal-court equivalent of a scandal lately (apparently violating the rules of a city-subsidized carpool parking spot that saved the Corvette-driving judge $12,000 over the last 10 years, and also declining to attend municipal court judge meetings because he doesn't like his colleagues much). Given this, you'd expect Judge Bonner to be all over his reelection campaign, but he admitted to the SECB that he probably should have been paying more attention to this race much sooner, and that he'd probably gotten a little too relaxed over 24 years in this position. We don't think Shadid is capable of relaxing, and we don't think elected judges should ever get too comfortable with the people's trust. Vote Shadid.

For The Stranger's full endorsements for the November election, continue reading »

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Guest Editorial: Send Prop 1B, and Its Conservative Funders, Back to the Drawing Board

Posted by on Thu, Oct 23, 2014 at 10:45 AM

NOT SO FAST preschool lovers: An argument in favor of Prop 1A.
  • Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock
  • Not so fast, universal preschool pushers. Here's an argument in favor of Prop 1A.

The Seattle League of Women Voters, the NAACP of Seattle/King County, Working Washington, and the Economic Opportunity Institute say we should vote for Prop 1A and send Prop 1B's plan for universal preschool back to the drawing board. Here’s why:

The Prop 1B campaign is paid for by wealthy conservative donors who have funded efforts to bring publicly funded, for-profit charter schools to our community.

More than 70 percent of Prop 1B’s campaign coffers are from ultra-rich backers who also fund Republicans and conservative initiatives. Prop 1B’s funder list include names like Bezos, Nordstrom, Ballmer, Griffin, Larson, Gates—the same folks who paid for I-1240, the state’s charter school initiative, and helped defeat I-1098, the high earner income tax.

With a funder list like this, it should be no surprise that the Prop 1B campaign is using scare tactics to pull voters from Prop 1A. Prop 1B’s attack ads use claims that reporters have called everything from speculation to obfuscation, threatening voters with cuts in police, fire, and transportation if the preschool-teacher-backed Prop 1A is approved.

The endorser list for Prop 1B is also worrisome, including corporations and businesses that oppose minimum wage hikes, like the Chamber of Commerce and Alaska Airlines. Sure, the YMCA and other nonprofits have endorsed 1B, but for many it’s a self-preservation strategy because they apply for existing and new levy funds. And yes, The Stranger endorsed Prop 1B on the premise that we should do something, anything, to help poor kids. But is that really what 1B does?

Prop 1B would cost Seattle taxpayers 58 million dollars over the next four years for an experimental pilot program that covers only 6.7 percent of Seattle's kids under 5.

Continue reading »

Sniff Your Urine Carefully, Then Vote Johnson for Justice

Posted by on Thu, Oct 23, 2014 at 6:00 AM

Washington State Supreme Court Justice Charles Johnson, left, and challenger Eddie Yoon, right.
  • ES
  • Washington State Supreme Court Justice Charles Johnson, left, and challenger Eddie Yoon, right. (Yoon had some interesting advice on healthy living for the SECB.)

The story of how Justice Charles Johnson landed on the Washington State Supreme Court is an odd one. Back when he was 39 years old and a little-known lawyer, Johnson put himself on the ballot and—surprise!—ended up unseating the high court's chief justice. What happened? His opponent's name was Keith Callow, and Johnson's name was, well, Johnson. Seems low-information voters were just picking the name they liked better that year. Talk to Johnson, now 63, about this and he sounds humbled by the fluke. He's worked hard, he says, to become a judge worthy of the people's trust and of the huge responsibility he's held for four terms now. Overall, he's doing pretty well. Johnson is considered a relatively liberal member of the court, and he was part of the unanimous 2012 McCleary decision that told our state to start living up to its constitutional duty to properly fund basic public education. His opponent, Eddie Yoon, is an entertaining trainwreck who told the SECB to smell our urine carefully to ensure better health. Yoon looks at the current court lineup and asks: "Do you really need nine cold cucumbers?" It's an interesting question, and if elected, Yoon promises to "put a fire on their balls." (That might make a good HUMP! film, but it's a lousy campaign promise.) Yoon also says he'd rather lose so that he can continue to spend a lot of time in sunny, vibrant South Korea (where he says he teaches law) rather than being trapped in dreary Olympia. Sniff your urine carefully, then vote Johnson for Justice Position No. 4.

For The Stranger's full endorsements for the November election, continue reading »

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Here's an Easy One: Vote for Justice Debra L. Stephens Instead of That Disbarred Guy!

Posted by on Wed, Oct 22, 2014 at 6:00 AM

DISBARRED LAWYER John Scannell, left, and Justice Debra L. Stephens, right.
  • ES
  • DISBARRED LAWYER John Scannell, left, and Justice Debra L. Stephens, right.

Jesus, this race. In one corner: a disbarred lawyer who used to drive a Zamboni machine at Seattle ice hockey games while pretending to bite the heads off raw fishes. Seriously. In the other corner: Washington State Supreme Court Justice Debra L. Stephens, who wrote the McCleary decision. Why is this really a race? Where to start... Well, one: It's a race because this Zamboni driver's disbarment was upheld by Justice Stephens and he's apparently not done fighting about it. Two, it's a race because our secretary of state's office doesn't bother to go online and make sure a candidate running for state supreme court is actually a lawyer in good standing before it puts that person on the ballot. This waste of time and ballot ink represents our system of electing judges at its absolute worst. Vote Stephens for Justice Position No. 7.

For The Stranger's full endorsements for the November election, continue reading »

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Vote "YES" for Smaller Class Sizes With Initiative 1351

Posted by on Tue, Oct 21, 2014 at 6:00 AM

MUST BE NICE to have reasonable class sizes. Washington State students wouldnt know about it, because we rank 47th in the nation when it comes to class size.
  • michaeljung/Shutterstock
  • MUST BE NICE to have reasonable class sizes. Washington State students wouldn't know about it, because we rank 47th in the nation when it comes to class size.

Assholes will tell you that Initiative 1351, which mandates smaller average class sizes in Washington State schools, costs too much—$1 billion a year for four years. The state legislature, these people say, will be forced to slash social services to pay for it, and hey, the legislature's already working to improve schools via the McCleary decision. NEWS FLASH: A functional education system does indeed cost more than we're spending (our class sizes are 47th in the nation), and Republicans are always going to be slashing at social services no matter what we vote on. We need to fight them and raise revenue instead of giving in and accepting a shittier state full of stupider children. Also, let's not forget that whole contempt thing. The legislature is such a failure at funding McCleary reforms that they've run afoul of the motherfucking state supreme court and should be in jail making prison bitches out of each other already. I-1351 would do one giant, tangible, McCleary-satisfying thing to improve education. Don't let stupid Republican threats trick you out of voting for something that is THE GODDAMN RIGHT THING TO DO. Vote yes.

For The Stranger's full endorsements for the November election, continue reading »

Monday, October 20, 2014

It's Time to Get Some Universal Preschool in Seattle! Vote "YES" on Proposition 1B.

Posted by on Mon, Oct 20, 2014 at 6:00 AM

Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess, left, says Proposition 1B is a carefully crafted plan, built on the science of what works to prepare kids for kindergarten and a life of learning. Mayor Ed Murray backs the measure, too.
  • Seattle City Council
  • Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess, left, says Proposition 1B is "a carefully crafted plan, built on the science of what works to prepare kids for kindergarten and a life of learning." Mayor Ed Murray backs the measure, too.

Look, if we had to make our endorsements based on how we felt about the political side of things—and there's been a total shitshow behind the scenes on this one—we'd have to endorse just scrawling a bunch of obscenities over this portion of your ballot and moving on.

But we don't. We have to look at what these two measures actually do, not at our belief that they should never have been pitted against each other on your ballot in the first place. (It's a long story, and the short of it is that everyone's terrible.) So, now we have to choose. Prop. 1A seeks to improve pay and centralize training for thousands of the city's child-care workers. Prop. 1B would create a pilot program for publicly funded free and reduced-cost preschool for thousands of the city's 3- and 4-year-olds. Picking neither would accomplish, well, nothing. And you know who doesn't deserve to be punished for grown-ups' stupid political mistakes? Low-income kids who don't have the chance to attend a high-quality preschool on their own. It's impossible to pass up the opportunity to finally vote for public preschool, because public pre-K is one of the few proven ways to give kids a fighting chance in this world. Tons of research shows that the benefits of early education stay with kids for life. Not everyone can afford to send their kid to early learning programs, and we have a chance to start a really solid program that could help thousands of children. Vote—and good god, we can't even believe these are the real instructions—"Yes" on question 1 and "Proposition 1B" on question 2.

For The Stranger's full endorsements for the November election, continue reading »

Friday, October 17, 2014

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

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Friday, October 10, 2014

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

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Monday, October 6, 2014

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

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