October 2020 Endorsements for Washington state elections

The ballots have arrived here in King County. Sonja’s running our completed ballots down to the drop box now.

Don’t be intimidated by how long the ballot is. Take a deep breath. Get a cup of tea or something stronger. Be glad you live in a state with mail-in voting where you can sit down and deal with this properly.

Fortunately, it’s mostly clear cut. I’ll walk through it, start to finish. This will obviously be my ballot here in Bellevue. If you want me to look at races elsewhere in the area for you, comment and I will be happy to do so.

Referendum Measure No.90: Congress passed legislation saying that all Washington state schools should teach good touch/bad touch to kindergarteners and explain to teenage girls that it’s not okay if they’re raped, no matter what anyone else says. This should be a no brainer. Rapists and child molesters vote “Rejected.” Humans vote “Approved.”

Then we have advisory votes. If you’ve been here for a while, you know the drill: vote “Maintained” on them all while chanting, “Fuck Tim Eyman.” If you’re new, welcome to Washington. We have this slug named Tim Eyman who makes his living campaigning against taxes and skimming off the contributions he receives.

Engrossed Senate Joint Resolution No.8212: Approved. This is basically bookkeeping. Right now the state investment board handles the investment of public workers’ pensions (no surprise there). The state congress established a fund to provide for long term care of elderly who aren’t insured for it (the other option is they become homeless and we pay exorbitantly more for the same thing). Congress said they want the state investment board to handle the funds for that like the pensions. This is a procedural detail to allow that to happen.

King County charter amendments. Vote yes to all of them.

No.1 says that when someone dies because of a law enforcement officer’s actions or decisions, there must be an inquest, and the family of the deceased will be provided counsel for that inquest. This falls under the category of, “I thought we were civilized. We weren’t doing this already?”

No.2 says that the county can set up affordable housing without having to pay attention to the market price of the land involved. Now if they want to work with a non-profit on an affordable housing project, they don’t have to fund a large grant to the non-profit for the market value of the property that the non-profit promptly pays back to King County. Like the long term care for the elderly thing above, this is just fixing procedural nonsense.

No.3 clarifies that the King Counter charter and its protections, where they do not involve voting or holding office, apply to all residents, not just citizens. Precise language is important, and this should have been the case already. Sloppy drafting of the original.

No.4 is another “Wait, it’s not already the case?” vote. The office of law enforcement oversight can’t already issue subpoenas? Absurd.

No.5 and No.6 are actually important. Currently the King County Sheriff is elected. No.5 would make the office appointed. That means that any sheriff we get is going to be 1) in King County, and 2) a good enough, well connected enough politician to get elected. Compared to the pool of qualified senior law enforcement in the whole country who are focused on their jobs and not politics, that seems like a pretty crappy pool to be fishing from. No.6 restores the power of the county government to reorganize public safety. It basically makes the sheriff’s office part of the rest of the government, the way it was until 1996, instead of the sheriff’s personal fief.

No.7 is another case of, “Wait, we don’t already have that?”

Proposition No.1: Approved. Harborview Medical Center is part of the University of Washington System, that is, it’s a public hospital. It’s also one of the key medical assets of not only Washington, but Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Alaska, and parts of Montana. It has the high level burn and trauma wards for that entire area. And it’s aging and stressed and essential. This is an important one.

Having gone through all of that, your reward:

President and Vice President of the United States: Biden/Harris. Due to our current voting algorithm, if you don’t vote for Biden/Harris or Trump/Pence, you don’t count. You know who loves protest votes? The two big parties. That’s one less vote they have to worry about. So you’re voting for one of the two. Again, the choice is simple. White supremacist terrorists vote for Trump/Pence. Humans vote for Biden/Harris.

But don’t you dare stop there. There’s another page. This one’s pretty easy, trust me.

We don’t have a federal senator running in this election, so let’s look at congresscritters. This is a super easy set of choices. Look for which of the following you get to vote for: Pramila Jayapal, Kim Schreir, Adam Smith, Beth Doglio, Suzan DelBene. This is easy because no one running against them has any business near elected office. This is the story of most of the state-wide offices this time around. The Democrats have run competent, intelligent candidate who will be good at the job, and the Republicans have run someone grossly unqualified.

Next, governor: Jay Inslee. Inslee has been far too gentle with lockdowns and enforcement of quarantine. He tries to balance civil liberties with public health, unlike his opponent, who is a high school drop-out that couldn’t hold a job and so got appointed as the policeman in a one horse town in eastern Washington and who believes that he, the local sheriff, is the final arbiter of the constituion and the liberties granted therein.

Lt. Governor has two acceptable candidates. I chose Liias, as I did in the primary, because I find Heck’s focus on civility as opposed to rigor distasteful, and I’d rather have someone on their way up in the office as opposed to someone using it as a retirement position.

Secretary of State: Gael Tarleton. During the primary I didn’t have much to say against Kim Wyman other than she had botched the rollout of voter registration software, when she could easily have gotten expert advice from the thousands of people in the Seattle area who role out software to literally billions of people every day. But since then she rolled over when the Post Office was being gutted. That and I would really like to Gael Tarleton’s background in intelligence work in that office given the ongoing attacks on US elections.

State Treasurer: Mike Pellicciotti. Pellicciotti’s opponent is simple incompetent. I think Pellicciotti, who was on the finance committee in the state legislature, is running to replace him out of sheer frustration in dealing with them. As a plus, Pellicciotti is extremely qualified for the position. Easy choice.

State Auditor: Pat McCarthy. She’s been doing great work. Her opponent has no experience as an auditor. This isn’t an entry level job.

Attorney General: Bob Ferguson. I don’t even know where to start on this one. His opponent is expressly running to stop Ferguson from making people obey the law, even though that’s the job description.

Commissioner of Public Lands: Hillary Franz. The Stranger jokingly referred to her as “public justice hulk” when it comes to public lands some years ago. Competent administration of public lands is this lady’s passion. Her opponent was a UW fisheries biologist. You would think that would make someone qualified, but UW fisheries is a group of shills for fish farming. Think of them as scientists for hire and vote for Hillary Franz.

Superintendent of Public Instruction: Chris Reykdal. This is important. Reykdal has managed to get Washington schools through this pandemic with an astonishingly low degree of chaos compared to much of the rest of the country. His opponent is a crazy freak who thinks that the superintendent shouldn’t have to obey the laws governing schools and wants to make sure that no one reduces pedophiles’ and rapists’ access to victims.

Insurance Commissioner: Mike Kriedler. Kriedler is one of Washington’s most effective public servants, with a lot of irons in the fire. Don’t stop him now.

The state senate races are too many for me to list. I’ll just call out a few:

Here in Bellevue, Lisa Wellman is doing a good job, and the best that anyone could find to oppose her is someone whose sole issue appears to be that he doesn’t want the state government to spend money. My-Linh Thai I described during the primaries as, “Find the most energetic pitbull that shares your values and send them into the fray.” The woman gets shit done across the board. Her opponent appears to be mostly concerned with traffic on I-405 in Bellevue. And if you’re in District 1, Davina Duerr. She’s doing a good job, and her opponent, who I know personally, would absolutely suck as a congressman.

Now the judges. These get harder because these people are not primarily politicians. Though the first one’s easy:

State Supreme Court Justice Position 3: Raquel Montoya-Lewis. Hell yeah! ’Nuff said.

I’ll skip the uncontested judgeships. Read the statements, though. They would be solid candidates even if contested. I voted for them.

State Supreme Court Justice Position 6: G. Helen Whitener. Before you become a supreme court justice, I want to see experience as a judge. Or at least as a trial lawyer. Richard Serns has never been either. He’s an administrator and HR director. The incumbent, Whitener, is an experienced, highly qualified judge. Serns isn’t even evaluated by the various bar associations.

Superior Court, Judge Position No.13: I honestly could have gone either way on this. Robertson has more trial experience. I like Madsen’s contextual knowledge better. I ended up voting for Madsen, but I would probably have felt as content flipping a coin.

Superior Court, Judge Position No.30: Doug North. So North had a really unfortunate racist moment some years back. He claims to have realized that he was out of line up and tried to fix himself. Long term, I would like to see a much higher proportion of women on the bench, and I think Ladd would be a good choice for a judge. So why North? Because he’s already deep in the rules committee and I really like what he’s doing there, and because the case backlog during the pandemic is bad and only getting worse, which made me decide to value short term deep expertise over long term demographic shift.

If you’re in our part of King County, you will see some election for the Northeast Electoral District Court. If you finally manage to dig up these candidates’ statements, you will realize that these are not politicians. They’re professional judges. They were all pro tem judges (think substitute teacher judges) for decades, and were appointed to the bench permanently when sitting members were appointed to a higher court, leaving vacancies. Now they’re required to run for election. Toss ’em a vote.

There. We’re at the end. This was an epic ballot, over twice as long as some we’ve worked through in recent years. Seal it up and take it to the drop box.