Puzzlers at the polling booth

Four issues that almost had this writer flipping a coin before going with the flawed-but-tried over the better-but-ain't-gonna-happen.
Four issues that almost had this writer flipping a coin before going with the flawed-but-tried over the better-but-ain't-gonna-happen.

Did you, like me, have moments of hesitation while voting today (or earlier)? Here are the issues that gave me pause.

The Sound Transit 2 ballot measure, Proposition 1. The region needs to have a rail system, but this is not a very well designed one, being very Seattle-centric and reflecting our designs of decades ago, when we first tried to get one built. So we could do better, but would the bedeviled local politics actually produce a better system? Not likely, I fear, since there is so much local distrust on this issue, so I went with my nostalgia.

Seattle's parks levy. It's a similar story. Seattle needs more parks and open space, but this plan was cobbled together to try to find enough votes and in defiance of Mayor Greg Nickels, who didn't let his Parks Department participate in the planning. But again, if we wait and do it right, would the logrolling politics do it worse? Once again, I went for the bird in hand.

Making King County Council non-partisan; Charter amendment 8. We keep trying to find a way to make this body work, shrinking its size and now this reform. I suspect it's hopeless. This position is the ultimate political sinecure, designed to help ex-state legislators doze in tenured security as they fatten up their government pensions. No one can defeat you in the primary, so long as you've doled out enough goodies to your district, and the other party usually concedes the general race. Top-two elections (the top two vote getters, regardless of party, face off in the general) may do more than non-partisanship in making these seats slightly competitive, but top-two will probably be toppled. So, let's try non-partisan (even if nobody's fooled).

Gregoire vs. Rossi. The big question about Gregoire is whether she would shake up her staff of cautious Olympia insiders, bring in some Seattle sophistication, and regain her political courage. I tend to doubt it, given all the years she has been marinated in the Olympia bureaucracy. The puzzle about Rossi is who would be his "Cheney." His style is to be easily led by powerful interests, even if as out of date as the highway lobby and the suburban builders' lobby. But, given the desperate state of the "GOP Party," as he calls it, stuttering over p-party, it's likely that the smart guys who were once part of the Slade Gorton gang would take over operations. With Gregoire you get a smart woman with poor staff, while Dino might be the opposite. When in doubt, I go with the incumbent.


Please support independent local news for all.

We rely on donations from readers like you to sustain Crosscut's in-depth reporting on issues critical to the PNW.


About the Authors & Contributors