Election 2010: Follow the Money

By • on October 13, 2010 9:42 pm

Welcome to the Eat The State! endorsements for the 2010 Washington State, King County, and Seattle general elections. This year’s crop of ballot choices, while otherwise being among the most dreadfully dismal we’ve seen in the 14 years we’ve been picking endorsements, stands out for one crucial reason: Now, more than ever, “It’s all about The Benjamins.”

Rarely, indeed, has the influence of Big Money been so blatant as it is on this year’s Washington State ballot. That influence–and thus, this year’s most crucial ballot choices–can be seen most vividly in the initiatives. Remember when “citizens’ initiatives” were a genuinely grassroots means for genuinely “everyday people” to circumnavigate the influence of corporate power in electoral politics? Those days are evidently long gone, as evidenced by the influence that Costco, Coca-Cola, and the Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW), among others, have had upon our ballot choices here in the erstwhile Soviet of Washington.

Given how overwhelmingly Big Money has played a role in the creation of this year’s ballot choices, we’ve decided to make the running theme, as well as the title, of our endorsements for this year the trustworthy adage “follow the money.” It’s a well-weathered phrase that speaks to a healthy skepticism about the long-running antagonism between grassroots democracy and the feral predations of capitalism.

Examples abound: Ever wonder who’s pulling the puppet strings–and who stands to ultimately benefit–when a self-described “conservative” candidate for high public office claims that their political and legislative agenda is simply “lower taxes and smaller government”? Follow the money.

How about when an elected official in Washington, DC claims that the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are all about “defending America’s freedoms” and/or “defeating the terrorists”? Follow the money.

When an elected official in Seattle’s city government claims that a proposed “public-private partnership” will serve the purpose of “making Seattle a world-class city”? Follow the money.

Our usual caveats, as always, apply: These endorsements represent our shamelessly biased–and inevitably subjective–collective opinion; do your own research; make up your own mind. And, if you still have any faith in the concept of genuine grassroots democracy, try to ignore the sad fact that both Tim Eyman (Prefers Astroturf Party) and Dino Rossi (Prefers BIAW Party) are still haunting our ballots after all these years. Democracy, to paraphrase a certain erstwhile Pentagon figurehead, is not always pretty.

Washington State Ballot Measures

Initiative Measure 1053: He’s baaaa-aaack! Tim Eyman, that is. You might have thought that, given the resounding defeat of his last astroturf “citizens’” initiative in 2009, that he’d have given up that game for good and resigned his golden-years fate to the erstwhile-entrepreneur-turned-motivational-speaker circuit by now.

Eyman’s latest initiative would require the Washington State legislature to achieve a two-thirds supermajority to approve any new tax or fee increases. This might sound enticing to any given “Joe Six-Pack” struggling to make ends meet out there in the apocryphal heartland–but is that who Eyman’s really fighting for this time? Prolly not: I-1053′s passage would also, by serendipity or otherwise, require a two-thirds supermajority to impose new taxes that impact mega-corporations that do business in Washington State–such as, for example, the hazardous material tax levied on hazardous transported goods that the Democratic majority in Olympia has been trying to increase for years now in order to help pay for environmental cleanup in Puget Sound.

It just so happens that Eyman’s gotten serious donations in support of I-1053 from four Big Oil companies who would benefit greatly from further failures to pass such a tax in Olympia: $65,000 each from BP and Tesoro, and another $50,000 each from ConocoPhillips and Shell. Aside from Big Oil, Eyman’s also gotten donations from big banks who would benefit greatly from further failure by Olympia’s Democrats to close an existing tax loophole that primarily benefits out-of-state banks: $10,000 from Bank of America, $10,000 from Wells Fargo, and $7,500 from US Bank.

This is precisely the sort of disingenuousness that has led to the semantic expansion of the word “astroturf” to include the sorts of cynical political machinations that Eyman’s been engaging in for over a decade now. (In other words, “phony grassroots.”) Enough is enough. Vote No on I-1053.

Initiative Measure 1082: This initiative would open up workers’ compensation insurance in Washington State to private competition. Cui bono? The Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW) has donated at least a half-million dollars towards the passage of I-1082. The BIAW is a lobby group that serves mainly as an insurance pool for real-estate developers. The private business interests represented politically in Olympia by the BIAW would benefit greatly from the virtual destruction of Washington State’s workers’ comp system–which, all rhetoric from the more Machiavellian representatives of the Washington State business community aside, ain’t broke. So let’s not “fix” it with this transparently pro-profit, anti-social-safety-net measure. No on I-1082.

Initiative Measure 1098: I-1098 would establish a long-needed state income tax on high-income earners and would reduce certain other taxes for small businesses and the middle class in Washington State. It’s the only ballot measure this year not backed by major corporate donors, and, even granted the early role of Famous Rich Guy Bill Gates, Sr., in crafting and funding the measure, it made it onto the ballot by means of months of genuinely grassroots campaigning and lots of small donations.

Certain wealthy interests in Washington State are naturally hostile to I-1098, including and especially the Blethen family, publishers of the Seattle Times. So it’s no surprise that the Times editorial board has been bashing I-1098 incessantly in its opinion pages for weeks now–most recently, as of this writing, in an October 7 op-ed titled “Follow the Money” (well, fancy that!), in which they sloppily insinuated that, because “the unions” (specifically, the Service Employees International Union) are one of the major forces behind I-1098, the measure is as equally compromised by “self-interest” as the other measures on this year’s ballot.

To which we say: Horseflop. I-1098 has been driven mainly by many volunteers (including, yes, rank-and-file members of SEIU and other progressive unions) who gathered signatures over the summer to get the measure on the ballot and who have been campaigning heavily for its passage in recent weeks. It’s not a perfect solution to Washington State’s venal tax system–long infamous for being one of the most regressive in the nation–but it’s the best solution ever to arrive on a general-election ballot here. It’s been nearly a decade in the making, and it may be the last chance we’ll have in a truly long, long time to make our state’s tax system more fair and equitable.

Our recommendation here, in positive contrast to this year’s other initiatives, is a very emphatic Yes on I-1098.

Initiative Measure 1100: Speaking of Tim Eyman, remember I-695? That was the initiative that first put Eyman on Washington State’s political radar back in 1999, with its proposal to level the cost of all privately-owned vehicle license tabs to a flat $30 fee. That measure won handily thanks to its cynical appeal to voters’ short-sighted self-interest (“Dude! Wouldn’t it be totally awesome to only pay $30 for the tabs for your brand-new Hummer, dude?”).

I-1100, the Costco-backed measure to privatize and deregulate the sale of hard liquor statewide, reminds us uncannily of I-695 in its equally cynical appeal to voters’ short-sighted self-interest (“Dude! Wouldn’t it be totally awesome to be able to buy Jack Daniels at a 7-Eleven? Even when you’re already loaded at 1:45 in the morning? Party hearty, dude!”). It’s also cleverly designed to favor big breweries and wineries over smaller, more local craft operations in terms of shelf space in private retail outlets.

Lest our opposition to I-1100 seem prudish, make no mistake: The ETS! kitchen crew has its fair share of folks who, shall we discreetly say, can relate to Alexander Cockburn in more ways than the ideological. But we all–teetotalers and bon vivants alike–generally prefer to vote with our brains, rather than with our livers. I-1100, like I-695 before it, would very likely result in diminished state revenue, and, thus, diminished funding for schools, social services, infrastructure repairs, and more. And, really: If you know (in and/or out of advance warning) that you and/or your friends and/or restaurant customers will likely be craving a heaping helping of hooch sometime soon, you can always stock up early. And if you consider running out of the hard stuff at 2:01 a.m. a fate worse than death, you probably need to dry out sometime soon. Seriously. No on I-1100.

Initiative Measure 1105: This measure, an intra-booze-industrial riposte of sorts to I-1100, would also close down all Washington State liquor stores and privatize the hard stuff, with the subtle distinction that it’s not as blatantly biased in favor of big-box retailers and mega-breweries as I-1100. Same difference: Short-sighted self-interest sucks–and so do “citizens’” initiatives that cynically appeal to it. (And, lest we forget: Even David “Drinking Liberally” Goldstein of Horsesass.org fame is on record as opposing these two measures.) No on I-1105.

Initiative Measure 1107: This measure would repeal the state sales tax increases on candy, bottled water, and soda pop that were passed last year by the state legislature as an emergency means of raising badly-needed revenue. Its proponents and supporters have raised over $14 million. Over 99 percent of that funding has come from the American Beverage Association, whose members include the Coca-Cola and Pepsi corporations. It’s been disingenuously promoted as a repeal of “taxes on food,” based on a clever culinary loophole buried in its language. More horseflop: What I-1107 cynically aims to repeal, plain and simple, are taxes on luxury items that are a public health menace and that nobody really needs anyway. No on I-1107.

Referendum Bill 52: If approved, R-52 would require Washington State to issue $505 million in bonds to school districts across the state to fund construction renovations in school buildings. These bonds would be issued through a competitive grants process that would hinge on the sustainability and energy efficiency of the resulting renovations. In other words, “money for green schools.” To pay back the bonds, R-52 would also make permanent the aforementioned sales tax on bottled water, which is set to expire on July 1, 2013. If there are any potential drawbacks to such an obviously progressive endeavor, we’ve searched and found nothing. Plus, it would (at least according to PubliCola.net) potentially create up to 30,000 new jobs in the state. What’s not to like? Yes on R-52.

Federal Elected Offices

U.S. Senator: “Hello, my name is Dino Rossi! I’ve got the hand of the Building Industry Association of Washington up my ass, and I vote you’ll hope for me!”

Yep, Dino’s back–this time running for Patty Murray’s U.S. Senate seat and, unfortunately, apparently making a credible effort, in the polls if not in his laughable answers to questions posed by the Seattle Times editorial board in the recent locally-televised debates sponsored by that paper.

This development, despite our inclinations towards automatic rhetorical snark in response to the very phrase “Dino Rossi” (Prefers BIAW Party!), puts the ETS! kitchen crew in a bit of a quandary. Here’s the thing: Shameless lefties that we may be, mixed emotions abound among us about Patty Murray–enough to have led us to endorse the nationally-obscure fringe-lefty Bob Burr in our primary endorsements issue. Among her other faults as a legislator, Murray voted for the Puritan-pandering Defense Of Marriage Act. Hence, our ambivalence about the prospect of endorsing her.

But then again, among her other redeeming virtues, she has, on behalf of We Her Constituency: voted against the Iraq War; fought for veterans’ benefits in Washington State; avidly supported the public option during last year’s health-insurance-reform debate; and, most recently, voted to further extend unemployment benefits during this past summer’s near-deadlock in Congress on that crucial economic-justice issue. So she’s shown she’s capable of confronting Repugnican intransigence on some, if not all, of the issues that matter most to the ETS! faithful.

And, last but not least, lest we forget, as of this writing, the race between Patty Murray and Dino Rossi (Prefers BIAW Party!) remains–at least according to certain polls–too close to risk a snarky protest vote.

Okay, okay, okay. We give up. Patty Murray.

Congressional District 7; U.S. Representative: Sigh.

Okay, okay, okay. We, the ETS! kitchen crew, at the end of the day, do very sincerely admire Congressman-For-Life Jim McDermott (Prefers Dorian Grey Party). Principle-wise, he’s always been made of the ideological stuff that has long rocked the world of both the ETS! kitchen crew and the ETS! faithful–especially his early and bravely-vocal opposition to the so-called Global War On Terror back in the President Dubya day. But–here’s the thing–it’s been such a long time, indeed, since he’s actually accomplished anything legislatively that would accurately represent the hopes, wishes, dreams, et cetera, of his chosen constituency here in the thick of incurably liberal (and then some) Seattle.

To be perfectly blunt: Jim, dude, we love ya, but it’s honestly time for you to retire. Who, then, to replace you in Washington State’s ideologically crucial Seventh District? We here at ETS! have a long list, indeed, of potential successors. Tough decision, yes, but, after many long hours of thoughtful haggling, cursing, and/or chair-across-room-throwing in the politically-seething bowels of the apocryphally-luxurious ETS! corporate headquarters in Seattle’s forever-potentially-upscale University District, we finally arrived at a suggested protest vote we could all agree upon: Erstwhile Seattle City Councilmember (and progeny of Seattle’s staunchly-leftist, and deservingly-influential, political dynasty) Peter Steinbrueck. Need we say more?

Congressional District 8; U.S. Representative: Career-politico Repugnican Dave Reichert (Prefers Aqua-Net Party) has, like, totally awesome hair, dude. (Dude!) He’s also politically aligned with the Eastside–circa 1980. The thing is, it’s 2010, and the Eastside has been slowly-but-surely shifting leftward ever since Congresscritter Hairspray was elected to the Eighth District on the basis of his erstwhile exploits as King County Sheriff back in the Green River Killer day. Darcy Burner (she of the heartily-ETS!-approved, photojournalistically-documented, HTML-coded “Stop War” t-shirt) almost–and, in our not-so-humble collective opinion, should have–defeated Reichert in 2008. Now, as yet another November approaches, there’s a brand-new genuinely liberal woman Eastside Democrat angling to send Reichert to the motivational-speaker limbo he so richly deserves.

Long story short, we, the ETS! kitchen crew, admire Suzan DelBene–a lot. We’re also genuinely excited that there’s a new candidate with the potential to politically represent the Eastside of 2010 (as opposed to, say, the Eastside of 1980) in The Other Washington. Eastside lefties, please take our humble advice and enthusiastically fill in that crucial ballot bubble for Suzan DelBene.

Washington State Legislature

Legislative District 11; State Representative, Position 1: Zack Hudgins; State Representative, Position 2: Bob Hasegawa

Legislative District 32; State Senator: Maralyn Chase

Legislative District 36; State Senator: Jeanne Kohl-Welles

Legislative District 37; State Senator: Adam Kline; State Representative, Position 2: Eric Pettigrew

Legislative District 46; State Representative, Position 2: Phyllis Kenney

Washington State Supreme Court: Justice Position 6: Here’s another comment-worthy case where we’ve changed our minds between the August primary election and the November general: In August, we endorsed the conservative incumbent Richard B. Sanders on the basis of his libertarian judicial record–in spite of his noteworthy reactionary tendencies. Since then, enough has come to light concerning the depth of his ideological creepiness (he’s anti-gay-marriage, among other minuses) that we’re now endorsing his opponent, Charlie Wiggins.

King County Council, District No. 8: Joe McDermott

Seattle Municipal Court; Judge Position No. 1: Edsonya Charles; Judge Position No. 6: Michael Salvador Hurtado.

Charter Amendments Nos. 1-3: Yes on all three.

King County Proposition No. 1: This proposition would increase King County sales taxes by 0.2 percent to pay for certain basic criminal justice and law programs that would otherwise likely be cut to make up for a $60 million shortfall in next year’s King County budget. What’s at stake here is public safety, especially for low-income residents in the county’s unincorporated areas: The proposed cuts would reduce the capacity of King County police to thoroughly investigate crimes, and would limit their response to merely taking reports, with no further action. Yes on Prop. 1.

Seattle School District No. 1; Proposition No. 1: We generally have always been suspicious of candidates and ballot measures that claim to be “doing it for the children.” But we’ve always made an exception for the school levies, and this year, it’s the same difference: Yes to further funding for public schools in Seattle. Oh, and, by the way: How’s that Pentagon fund-raising bake sale going? –Jeff Stevens

UPDATE from Geov Parrish

In our rush to get the print edition out ahead of the mailed ballots, it looks like Jeff omitted recommendations on several minor ballot items, and none of us caught it. In no particular order:

Senate Joint Resolution No. 8225: This is, quite simply, an accounting trick. It would “reduce” the state debt (or at least the estimates of it used for political purpose) by allowing state beancounters to not include the amount expected to be offset by federal funds received for that purpose. Thing is, you could do the same thing with any state revenue set to go into the general fund. All you’d have to do is claim the legislature will appropriate it that way. It’s the same sort of accounting trick Enron et al. used to hide their losses in dummy corporations, and major accounting firms have perfected over the past couple of decades. It obscures rather than clarifies in those situations–that’s the whole point–and would do the same in state politics. No.

Engrossed Substitute House Joint Resolution No. 4220: (No, really. That’s what they call it. “Engrossed.”) Enables judges to refuse bail for accused very violent offenders. Yes.

King County Charter Amendment No. 2: Campaign finance housekeeping. Yes.

Sorry for the mixup! –Geov Parrish

Comments

By jacksmith on October 14th, 2010 at 3:42 am

I’M PROUD OF YOU LABOR!. Keep standing up. The lives and health of all the American people and the World are in serious jeopardy.

Further, unemployment healthcare benefits are critically needed. But they should be provided through the Medicare program at cost, less the 65% government premium subsidy provided now to private for profit health insurance.

Congress should stop wasting hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money on private for profit health insurance subsidies. Subsidies that cost the taxpayer 10x as much or more than Medicare does. Private for profit health insurance plans cost more. But provide dangerous and poorer quality patient care.

It’s over. Tell congress to get the healthcare Merchants of death and injury out of the American peoples lives for good. 2010 is about THE PUBLIC OPTION!

And that CORRUPT! UNDEMOCRATIC! filibuster must GO! NOW!

Alan Grayson Honors The Dead http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TV9TRoYMtjs&feature=player_embedded

Alan Grayson on Healthcare http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPpQ2MNaSDo&feature=player_embedded

Ron Sparks HealthCareReform http://youtu.be/kqlBFRJh4Cw

John Garamendi – The Public Option http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyBTEke68aQ&feature=player_embedded

I want to commend all of you for working so hard and being so strong at helping the whitehouse and congress begin to address our U.S. and Global healthcare crisis. You have been AWESOME! my fellow Americans and peoples of the World. America and the World is better and safer for it. My greatest pride is the knowledge that I am one of you. And that you really get it. You really understand the importance of it all.

There are some potentially very good things in the healthcare legislation. Especially with the reconciliation fix’s. The Democrats, Bernie Sanders and the Whitehouse did a GREAT! job of fighting to produce the best healthcare legislation that they could. They have earned all our strong support. And we should give it to them.

But it was your relentless pressure and hard work that made the difference. Whatever good comes from this healthcare legislation, America and the peoples of the World will have each of you to thank. You were smart, creative, courageous and relentless. You fought together for the best legislation possible. And when you had to, you fought alone. No matter who stumbled and fell you continued to push and forge ahead. Fighting for the lives and health of the American people and the World. YOU SHOULD BE PROUD OF YOUR-SELVES :-)

It may come to pass that future generations will look back on us and say that we were ALL Americas Greatest Generations. And that healthcare reform was our finest hour. You should be proud of our leaders President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid and the many other Democratic and independent fighters for the people in congress. They proved them-self worthy of the leadership of a GREAT! PEOPLE.

But we are not done yet. This was just the beginning of healthcare reform, not the end. WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES, ARE NOT! divided on healthcare legislation. The vast majority of you have been consistently crystal clear that this legislation does not go far enough. You want a strong Government-run Public Option CHOICE!! available to everyone on day one. And you want it NOW!

YOU MUST NOT ALLOW AN INDIVIDUAL MANDATE TO STAND WITHOUT A STRONG GOVERNMENT-RUN PUBLIC OPTION CHOICE! AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE.

WE THE PEOPLE have been crystal clear that we want an end to dependence on for-profit healthcare and the for-profit proxies called private for non-profit healthcare. The American people want the CHOICE! of a strong Government-run Public Option to replace their need or dependence on healthcare providers whose primary motivation is profit. Rather than providing the highest quality, easiest accessible and most affordable medically necessary healthcare possible. This is what the rest of the developed World has. And the American people want it too. They want healthcare ASSURANCE! Not, for-profit health insurance. And they want it NOW!

Now is the time to continue the push for a strong Government-run Public Option CHOICE! available to everyone that wants it on day one. Rationally it’s clear what we have to do to get this done. SUPPORT THE DEMOCRATS that supported you with a Public Option choice, and REMOVE as many republicans as you can. Not one republican in congress was willing to step across the isle to support a strong Government-run Public Option CHOICE!! available to everyone on day one. NOT ONE! Let no candidate prevail this November that does not support a Strong Government-run Public Option.

47,000 AMERICANS die each year from lack of healthcare. 120,000 die from treatable illness that don’t die in other developed countries. Hundreds of thousands of you are dieing from medical accidents in a rush to profit. And Millions of you are injured. Millions more are driven into bankruptcy. All for the privilege of paying two to three times as much as any other people in the developed world for healthcare. HOGWASH!

Additionally, tens of thousands of you and your children were killed and millions sickened and injured from a terror attack with H1N1 (swine flu). Released on the American people and the World by the for-profit healthcare industry. All in an attempt to panic and frighten you into accepting the oxymoronic criminal enterprise of private for-profit healthcare (The most costly, deadly, dangerous, and disgraceful product sold in America). H1N1 is still sickening people and killing them. Especially children, the young and the middle aged. And there will be a third wave. These are the terrorist you need to worry about the most. Even the so-called international terrorist would not do something so INSANE! But greed driven medical profiteers would and did.

Apparently as far as republicans in GOVERNMENT are concerned, YOU! my fellow Americans – CAN JUST DROP DEAD! Including their own family members. Fools!… Hundreds of thousands of you, and possibly millions of you will die from the long-term effects of your infection and poisoning with H1N1.

So my fellow Human Beings. Rest-up, Take good care of the basics (Balanced nutrition, hydration, exercise, rest and POSITIVE emotional supports). Then wade back into the FIGHT! for a strong Government-run Public Option CHOICE! available to everyone on day one. Drug re-importation, Abolishment or strong restrictions on patents for biologic and prescription drugs. And government controlled and negotiated drug and medical cost. You must take back control of your healthcare system from the Medical Industrial Complex. You MUST do it NOW! This is a matter of National and Global security. There can be NO MORE EXCUSES.

God Bless You My Fellow Human Beings. I’m glad to know of you. And proud to be one of you.

See you on the battle field.

Sincerely

jacksmith – WorkingClass :-)

By harry fox on October 14th, 2010 at 11:08 am

I like free enterprise and convenience. I urge all readers of this site to vote for 1100 as well as no the income tax!!

By Vashon Votes on October 14th, 2010 at 3:01 pm

I’m sorry I just have to shout DIANA TOLEDO FOR KING COUNTY COUNCIL!

Some of your endorsements I agree with, some I don’t, but there is one that is just flat-out making me scratch my head. How anyone could support Joe McDermott for King County Council. Watching the forums and debates over the last few months (currently available on YouTube) he has no answers to our County’s problems of unemployment, economy, and transportation. He continues to say “raise taxes AND slash services”.

Meanwhile, Diana Toledo has been coming out with real, solid, alternatives to raising taxes and slashing front line staff. She has 15 years INTERNAL King County Experience. She has real answers to getting the County on track, and she’s a true non-partisan who will work with both sides to find solutions. That’s why prominent Republican’s and Democrats are backing her.

I’m encouraging everyone to find search “Diana Toledo King County Council” on YouTube and watch some of the debate footage. Watch the videos, share the videos, and vote Diana Toledo for King County Council.

By Valerie Rose on October 15th, 2010 at 3:12 pm

What about WA State Senate Join Resolution # 8225, a proposed constitutional amendment requiring WA “state to reduce the interest accounted for in calculating the constitutional debit limit, by the amount of federal payments scheduled to be received to offset that interest.” Huh??? I don’t even understand the damned description! Help, Maria, you’re an expert at translating economic gibberish into words I can understand!

By geov on October 15th, 2010 at 7:04 pm

Valerie – see the update I’ve added to the article. Jeff missed three minor ballot measures; that was one of them.

By JackR on October 16th, 2010 at 11:26 am

Initiative Measure 1098 I have to disagree with the short sighted approach on taxing the rich. All your doing is opening the door for a future “every citizen” tax. Give them more money to spend and they will spend it.

Agree with all your other recommendations.

Regards,
Jack

By Jeff Stevens on October 16th, 2010 at 11:53 am

Valerie and Geov: The ballot measures I didn’t cover were ones where, as of press time, there was not enough information available for an informed decision–at least to my knowledge. The full version of the Washington State Voters’ Guide didn’t even come out until this morning! Win some, lose some.

Jeff

By C. on October 17th, 2010 at 3:39 pm

What about Mary Martin for U.S. Congressional District Number Seven?And John Naubett for U.S. Senate (Class Number Three)? They are write-in candidates who were nominated by the Socialist Workers Party!!!

By C. on October 17th, 2010 at 3:40 pm

Oops!I mean “John Naubert”,is the Socialist Workers Party candidate running for United States Senate!!!

By Austin King on October 19th, 2010 at 9:31 am

I’m a huge ETS,but as a non-WA native… I-1105 just makes sense. Your arguments are based in fear. Why wouldn’t a drunk person just buy more beer or wine at 2am? How does liquor change this hypothetical event?

Revenue for the state is a valid argument, but looking holistically how does free market sales taxes vs proprietary liquor sales shake out dollar for dollar? These would have been interesting facts to base you recommendation on, over the fear mongering that ads are using, something like: “They will force feed your children moonshine if I-1100 or I-1105 pass…”

By Darrell on October 19th, 2010 at 11:09 am

Sheesh. I just hope this is the last we see of Rossi. There isn’t a rock big enough for him and Eyeman to crawl back under.

By Phil on October 20th, 2010 at 11:47 am

I just want to thank you guys, for the concisely informative opinion. It makes getting through the sales pitches much easier, thanks! Now, could you please do the same with the rest of the state?

By kirk91 on October 21st, 2010 at 5:11 pm

DelBene “genuinely liberal”? Really? Her economic ideas run from the Hooverism of balancing the Federal budget during a Depression to giving more tax breaks to Microsoft.
Not sure what’s to admire about her politically other than that she’s spending a lot of her own money to run for office. She has a terrible voting record and her first political awakening was Obama winning. She seems middle aged so, Watergate, Nixon resigning, Ford’s pardon, Reagan winning, October surprise, Iran Contra, WTO, Bush stealing the election…none of those things interested her politically? Or Women’s Rights, gay rights, farm workers unions, no nukes, hundreds of thousands marching against both Iraq wars….
I mean she seems less annoying that Darcy ‘the best way to get a public option passed is to never mention it’ Burner and I guess she’ll be marginally better than the Sheriff….but really a ‘liberal’?

By Mike on October 22nd, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Regarding your stance on Seattle School District Prop 1, please do some research before recommending anything to the general public. If you were familiar with the recent state audits and legal cases involving SPS, you would know that there is negligible public engagement by the board and SPS.

Even the League of Women Voters is not supporting this levy. Clearly, they put more thought into their position than you did…

“The League of Women Voters decided to take “no position” on the Seattle Public School Proposition was approved. The League of Women Voters of Seattle endorsed the February 2010 Seattle Public Schools Levies but at the time expressed concerns about authentic engagement with the community and the continuing lack of adequate state funding. With the 2010 audit results this summer, we are additionally concerned about responsible, transparent use of the Seattle Public School’s resources for the benefit of children in the classroom and accountability to the voters. While our positions state that “all levels of government are responsible for schools” we also “oppose the use of special levies and private funding for basic services, operation and maintenance.” It is for these reasons that we are taking no position on the current levy.”

As you admitted, you were in a “rush to get the print edition out ahead of the mailed ballots.” You provide a valuable community service – please be more careful next time and take the time to actually research your endorsements.

By Charlie Mas on October 22nd, 2010 at 1:19 pm

Eat the State really blew it with the Seattle School Supplemental Levy endorsement. You didn’t think about it, just presumed it was “for the kids” and endorsed it. Really a bad move from a group of people who claim to be anti-authoritarian.

“But we’ve always made an exception for the school levies, and this year, it’s the same difference”

You admit that you didn’t even think about it. For shame. The idea of giving blind support is out of character and ill-advised.

By Jeff Stevens on October 22nd, 2010 at 5:28 pm

Charlie (and Mike),

Why the assumption that we “didn’t even think about it” when we chose to endorse the levy? We are very aware of the current controversies surrounding Seattle Public Schools involving accountability issues. We agree that SPS could likely benefit from “reorganization” (to put it politely) in its current leadership. Unlike the League of Women Voters, we don’t feel that denying the funding provided by this (or any) school levy will solve the accountability problems SPS is currently facing. And discussion of those problems would have demanded far more space beyond the 2,500 words or so we typically allow for our endorsements articles.

Please feel free to submit a suitably-sized essay to ETS! detailing your objections to our endorsement, but please don’t assume that our choice was as “blind” as you make it sound.

By Sean on October 22nd, 2010 at 7:47 pm

1098 will reduce other taxes on small business? If you honestly believe that, it’s time to put down the pipe. You’ve had enough.

By maggie on October 23rd, 2010 at 9:12 am

I find it disturbing that you endorsed both Edsonya Charles and Michael Hurtado for Municipal Court. Also it bothers me that you did not provide a rationale for your choice, considering that they each have VERY viable challengers this year.

Karen Donohue and Ed McKenna have both been rated Exceptionally Well Qualified, the highest rating by a judicial evaluation committee, while Edsonya Charles and Michael Hurtado have received ratings of Adequate/Qualified, the next to lowest rating.

You should visit the website votingforjudges.org which is an impartial, non-partisan information resource for voters. The Voting For Judges website took the trouble to compile information on candidates for judicial office across the state by various evaluation committees. If you want additional impartial information, try visiting the King County Bar Association. Finally, why don’t you try visiting the candidate websites and see which organizations are endorsing them.

I think you owe the candidates at least a little research into their performance instead writing an endorsement without any rationale.

By Tom Larsen on October 29th, 2010 at 11:57 pm

I-1098 as a Trojan horse is a red herring

There is much talk that I-1098 is a Trojan horse initiative (or stealth method to increase taxes on all of us); that the legislature will lower the income threshold from $200 k personal yearly income to $50 k in a couple of years. The text of 1098 specifically requires that it be returned to a public vote should lawmakers attempt that. Now, ANY LAW, including this one, can be changed by the legislature. So, in the first two years a law can be changed with a 2/3-majority vote – very difficult to get. After two years any law can be changed with a simple majority. The authors of 1098 protected the initiative as well as they could. If the legislature should try to change the text, Bill Gates Sr. and the backers of I-1098 (like working class people like myself) have pledged to fight it. Opponents of 1098 making this claim are banking on voters’ ignorance of how the legislature works. If we take the Trojan horse reasoning to its logical conclusion, then there is no point voting for any legislation, as any legislation could be altered later. The criticism that the initiative could be changed is a red herring because it is also true of any law we should choose to vote for. If you don’t think that voting is a complete waste of time, then, you should vote for I-1098.

Thanks again to ETS for your election endorsements!

By Lily on November 2nd, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Hello ETS!

I am concerned about the Seattle School District No. 1, Proposition No. 1 , Supplemental Operations Levy and surprised(saddened? confused?) by your endorsement of it. The Levy appears on the surface to be much needed funding for public schools but it seems that beneath this, the funding may be primarily used for merit pay of teachers who “raise test scores” or to support a teacher evaluation system replete with coaches, which will link student test scores to teachers’ jobs. Those types of initiatives appear to be undermining teacher attempts to create true learning environments which are based on whole people and not on external evaluations of what learning would look like were people machines, rather than people.

Of course Seattle Public Schools need money! Yet, if the money is spent limiting teacher ability to teach through increasing the emphasis on standardized testing or in creating bureaucratic proof/systems to verify that teachers are teaching or merit pay to divide teachers further from the capacity to cooperate and challenge each other as professionals and from the real goals of education which are not in fact entrepreneurial(are test scores = car sales, or something? and true learning…is that = test scores, really?), then I’d prefer not to allocate funds for those purposes.

Honestly, it’s kind of a bind. If everyone voted no on this proposition, would it mean that Seattle Public Schools wouldn’t have the money that they need? The language of the ballot hardly helps. It merely defines the levy as a replacement of reduced state funding to “improve” education throughout Seattle Public Schools. I really wish that whoever wrote this thing would have better defined what they believe to be an “improvement”. I was hoping that you could help me navigate the morass of this small mark that I need to make on a piece of paper today but I have to admit that I don’t find any further clarity through your words or any of the other statements that I’ve read.

So I’m going with my gut. My gut tells me that this levy is being used to limit teachers and to obstruct their teaching, not to help them to become better teachers, nor to support them in their efforts to give kids a chance to think for themselves, to inquire, to explore the world, to be critically engaged with society, to reflect upon what they experience and witness, to imagine possibilities for social, environmental and economic justice and to help to create the world and cultures in which they live.

My tiny vote will be a vote against this levy and I will try to find a better way to support Seattle Public School teachers, unless anyone who reads these words can give me a better understanding of the issues involved in the levy than my gut feeling before 8 pm tonight! I’d be sooooo happy to hear more discussion on this issue!

Thank you!

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