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Monday, March 31, 2008

Nonpartisan, My Ass

posted by on March 31 at 13:53 PM

Republican KC Council member Pete Von Reichbauer is pushing an initiative to the county charter that would make the positions of County Council members and County Executive nonpartisan.

It’s no wonder a Republican would push an initiative to hide a candidate’s Republican status in heavily Democratic King County. That R next to GOP candidates’ name isn’t much of a plus—especially in this anti-George Bush era. (The County Council is currently 5-4 Democratic, and King County Executive Ron Sims is also a Democrat.)

But the GOP just might get away with it. King County (and particularly Seattle) voters fancy themselves “independents” and may go for the initiative—which needs a little over 50,000 signatures to get on the ballot.

Proof that the idea is a GOP ploy: Citizens for Independent Government (the group pushing the initiative) has collected $145,000 and, according to finance records, more than 90 percent of the money comes from three donors: George Rowley, John Stanton, and John Hennessy.

Rowley, CEO of Rowley Properties, is one of the biggest supporters of Republican candidates and issues in this state. Dating back to 2002, his donations have included: $8,000 to Dino Rossi; $95,000 to the $172,250 to the Washington State Republican Party; $60,000 to the Senate Republican Campaign Committee; $28,000 to the King County Republican Central Committee, General; $125,850 to the King County Republican Central Committee; and $6,000 to John Carlson in 2000.

Telecom mogul Stanton has an equally impressive list of contributions to conservative recipients: $5,300 to Rossi; $255,500 to the Washington State Republican Party; $100,000 to the Senate Republican Campaign Committee; $30,750 to the King County Republican Central Comm Non-exempt; $25,000 to the BIAW’s PAC, ChangePAC; and $4,800 to John Carlson in 2000.

Nuprecon CEO Hennessy: $6,100 to Dino Rossi; $115,000 to ChangePAC (and ChangePAC 2004); $5,000 to the Washington State Republican Party; $10,000 to the King County Repub; and $3,400 to Carlson in 2000.

Given all the money they’ve thrown away trying to elect Republicans (the Democrat-to-Republican spread in Olympia is 32-17 in the Senate and 63-34 in the House), this seems like a better use of their money.

RSS icon Comments


I was asked to sign a petition to get this on the ballot and I declined because I had precisely these suspicions. I was thinking about the non-partisan school board members who at their first meeting start pushing creationist agendas and I just saw red. Nah, if I want to lie with dogs, I want to know where the fleas are from.

Posted by WonderWilla | March 31, 2008 2:00 PM

Thanks for the info. I was also asked to sign a petition, and declined because I didn't feel I knew enough to be sure how to vote. This is a convincing argument against it.

Posted by Levislade | March 31, 2008 2:03 PM

Non-partisan is the only way a Red Bushie has a chance at being elected around here, where they can pretend they aren't Bush comrades and then, once elected, run as GOP for a further seat.

Just look at the two King County Sherrifs we had last ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | March 31, 2008 2:07 PM

Getting away from the GOP!!?? Those AMERICA HATERS!!!! The Republicans on the KCC are AMERICA HATERS!!!!!!!

Posted by Andrew | March 31, 2008 2:13 PM

This isn't a new idea from PvB -- he's been suggesting it for years. And considering the Council hardly ever votes along party lines and strives for unanimous votes anyway, I'm reluctant to read any nefarious intent into this proposal.

Posted by joykiller | March 31, 2008 2:17 PM

This is a very smart strategy by the GOP and is certain to win with "independently" thinking voters. As if not naming their party makes candidates more independent.
Even in Seattle, conservatives were able to slide stealth candidate Tim Burgess in the City Council. Having been very involved in politics back in the 90's I can assure you that the Republican voters know exactly which Judges are their friends and which ones are not and they don't advertise to the whole county like the Democrats do.

Posted by Gay Seattle | March 31, 2008 2:21 PM

Good work shining the light on this, Josh.

Posted by ivan | March 31, 2008 2:46 PM

On Broadway a couple of weeks ago - a woman was getting signatures.

She would not let me read the petition, her thing was it is about good govt.

Funny, how hostile she got when I politely declined to sign without knowing the content.

Dogs, all R's - remember no gay rights protections were passed at the county level until the Dems took control with Gary Grant and Cynthia Sullivan. R's talk nice, some of them, but it is always the same old dreary shit.

Think more Kathy Lambert clones ... horror that might be.

Posted by Jack | March 31, 2008 3:04 PM

Will miss you're work after next month, Josh.

Wish it were Eli and not you. Good luck on endeavors and what not.

Posted by Non | March 31, 2008 3:10 PM

I believe that the House spread is 63-35, actually....

Posted by Fonky | March 31, 2008 3:21 PM

We will miss you Josh! No chance Erica could leave and you stay?

Posted by Andrew | March 31, 2008 3:21 PM


wtf, my mistake @9

Posted by Non | March 31, 2008 3:35 PM


it'll be sad not to see your bylines in ye olde stranger. surely, you'll be missed.

if you're coming to the east coast, you'd do a disservice not to get in touch. xox

Posted by phillyjen | March 31, 2008 3:52 PM

I have truly enjoyed your work and will miss you. Good Luck in the next chapter.

Posted by StrangerDanger | March 31, 2008 4:11 PM

Seattle elections are also "non-partisan" and almost always result in two Democrats competing in the November run-off, at least in the contested races. Seattle voters KNOW who the candidates are. It's been over 20 years since they elected the last bona-fide Republican, Paul Kraabel, to council, and he was what the current GOP would call a RINO -- with little or nothing in common with the right wingnuts in charge these days.

Non-partisan elections also work the other way, allowing stealth Democrats to run in suburban county council districts.

Out of curiosity, I wonder how the initiative handles redistricting. The current county charter gives it to a partisan commission who basically divide the spoils between Democrats and Republicans. The only significant criterion in line drawing is partisan voting history; that and the wishes of the incumbents who pull the commissioners' strings. A truly non-partisan charter would have to give redistricting to a more independent body, if it is to make any sense at all.

Posted by Perfect Voter | March 31, 2008 5:01 PM

Yeah, because the Republicans have totally used that camouflage to take over the City of Seattle- oh wait.

Posted by Gomez | March 31, 2008 7:18 PM

i noticed in 2006 the definite lack of defining Republican characteristics on their word, no elephant, like they weren't proud of it or something...i've pondered the whether they might need a little help this season...the scarlet R attached to their signs so everyone will know their shame

Posted by nottoscale | March 31, 2008 9:58 PM

Sad to see ya go Josh. It's been a good ride and you've done a great job.

Posted by gnossos | March 31, 2008 10:51 PM

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