And the corner at 40th and Island Crest Way is busy:
So vote if you haven’t! Here’s our Election 2010 Crib Sheet for State Senator and then for Senator and US Representative.
Steve Litzow and friends campaigning at rush hour today:
Don’t worry, the light was red when I took this photo.
Continuing our crib sheet on the election, here’s what new since the primaries.
Rossi has seemed a bit disingenuous lately. He called Murray out on pork but as a State Senator was very fond of “locally targeted investments.” Hmmm… And is getting $3 million from undisclosed donors for attack ads but would vote against the DISCLOSE act on campaign finance.
It’s the go-go years of campaign finance, with heavily funded groups pouring money into elections all over the country. Why let them be secret?
Anyway, if you want to learn more, the Seattle Times recorded an interview with the two candidates.
US REP DISTRICT 8
The most local election on the ballot this fall is for Representative, US Congressional District 8 between Dave Reichart and Suzan DelBene. The Seattle Times endorsed DelBene, calling her “a smart moderate.”
A Bunch of Initiatives
Re: the debate over the Washington State income tax, I’ve been split on it. I’m not against an income tax forever in Washington but I do think a proposal that puts such a broad tax on some and not others is not in the spirit of the republic. The wealthy should pay more but they should not pay alone. And no, my family wouldn’t qualify for the tax if it were passed.
As for the rest of all those initiatives, you’re on your own. I’ll just remind you that Tim Eyeman is crazy.
If you’re like me and waited until election night to do your civic homework, here’s a crib sheet for tomorrow’s Primary and Special Election.
There’s quite a list of candidates:
- Patty Murray’s the incumbent Democrat. She’s a senior senator who recently received kudos for closing tax loopholes and bringing tasty pork home to Washington.
- Dino Rossi, a Republican, is the conservative in the mix, running on an economic platform. From his profile in The Seattle Times: “With a small-government platform, he champions tax cuts and less regulation, calling for the repeal of both the new federal health-care law and the financial-overhaul law.”
- Clint Didier is our very own Tea Party candidate, an ex-NFL player proudly sporting no elected experience. He did get the endorsement of Sarah Palin, as well as a bonus robocall recording.
- Would it be a Washington Senate race without goodspaceguy?
U.S. Congressional District 8
Publicola has a good editorial on this one. Dave Reichart, the incumbent, is unfortunately just acting as part of the Republican Block Voting Machine. Suzan Delbene, on the other hand, is a successful entrepreneur who knows how to grow business (which I hope means fiscal sense) and has a liberal social agenda.
I admit it, I haven’t done my homework on the other races. But if you want to, here are three good places to start:
Mail those ballots by end of day!
The Mercer Island City Council wisely broke away from an ordinance that would have required bikers in groups of 2 or more to pull over for cars. The MI Reporter is right on the wheel of the story, giving a stroke by stroke account of the meeting.
From the P-I Velocity blog.
Cyclists drafted a variety of protests at the meeting. Skinny people in spandex may not look too tough but they can get cranky (especially when they haven’t eaten an hour into a long ride). Mercer Island is one of the premier cycling destinations in the area for our winding, hilly and stoplight-free route from East Mercer to West Mercer to bike path. Team Luna rides it for training, commuters cross the Island to link the East Side and Seattle, and there’s even a Waffle Ride.
The cyclists attack:
- criminale.com posted an account of the council meeting. He spoke of this highlight: “The MI police testified that they receive more complaints from cyclists about cars than they do from automobile drivers about cyclists.”
- mattridsesfar sprinted to comment on Bike Snob NY, saying “The council is trying to pass an ordinance that will require cyclists to stop and pull over if (even a single) car is behind them. This is the same place where, 2 years ago, I was given a $248 ticket for “failing to stop” at 2 stop signs.”
These aren’t really attacks, but I’ve got a metaphor to maintain.
It’s great to keep East and West Mercer bike friendly. Many Islanders are cyclists or commuters, and I for one don’t mind most of our spandex-coated visitors (though as a former competitive cyclist myself, and a bike commuter, I’m the first one to say that some cyclists have an attitude that is totally unwarranted.)
And by the way, May is Bike to Work month. Here’s a photo from last year’s:
Thanks again to Joshua Putnam and his great bike photos on Flickr.
Is what Publicola is calling Tuesday’s vote on the King Conservation District. According to the Seattle Times, “Last year, 2,757 people voted — fewer than one-third of 1 percent of eligible voters. That was a lot better than in 2008, when 198 people voted, or 1988, when 14 voters showed up.”
Take it away, Publicola:
“The most important election you’ve never heard of, for a seat on the five-member King Conservation District board, is happening next Tuesday, March 16, at seven libraries around King County. The district gives out conservation grants and oversees land use in rural King County; the decisions it makes determine whether wetlands and habitat are protected or developed into suburban sprawl.”
You can read on for thier endorsements. Election info is on the KCCD website, but the short story is that you need to stop by one of seven libraries on Tuesday to vote. Closest to Mercer Island are the Seattle Central Library downtown and the Bellevue branch at 1111 110th Avenue NE. Polling hours are 10:30 am to 7:30 and 8 pm, respectively.
And for a story of back-room drama in this election two years ago, check out Blogging Georgetown.
Worth a stop at the library if you can make it.
UPDATE as of Wed March 17:
Max Prinsen, the Sierra Club favorite, won the election. And 4,232 people voted– almost twice as many as last year.
While you’re feeling civic-minded, take Social Capital Review’s survey on King Co Exec Dow Constantine’s plan for reform.
Yes Schools Yes
So say the signs in pink.
For greater elucidation on the schools levy, I turn to the Mercer Island Preschool Association:
Due to cuts in State funding, now more than ever our kids will depend on school levies. This February we will be voting on three levies. The General Levy pays for the salaries of 88 teachers among other things. The Capital and Transportation levies maintain and enhance our infrastructure. You can find more information at the CMIPS Yes campaign web site at www.misdschoollevyyes.org and the School District web site at www.misd.k12.wa.us.
A gift from Tim Eyman, approved by voters in 2001, was I-747 which limited property tax increases to 1%. This hatchet approach means that the King County Library system, which has seen usage increase by 43% since 2002 will have to cut its budget by 10-15%, as reported by the Seattle Times. During a recession, people have less money for books and technology and rely on the library even more– and may even need to use it for job search or a career change. And could one make the case that we don’t need more education right now?
I’m voting for this one because we need libraries. But I wish we weren’t handcuffing our legislators to legislate. Enough of these initiatives where voters micromanage public budgets. Most voters don’t have the time to do that, nor is it an effective way to run a government. See California.
Update: As of the evening of Nov 4, about 38% of Mercer Island ballots have been returned and counted and these results hold.
Dan Grausz is winning for City Council seat #2 with 56% of votes
Dave Myerson is winning for MISD Director Position #2 in a close race with about 52% of votes
I’ll let the Seattle Times update you on county & state elections:
Some interesting news from the mail. First, a Halloween update:
There were pumpkins. Photo: Armadilo60 on Flickr.
New MISD Blog
Don’t know how new this is, but it’s new to me: MISD has a blog called Spotlight on MISD. Nice blog, and a great way get to know district teachers and staff.
New Japanese Place in North Island
Thanks to Dave for this tip: “A new restaurant just opened up where the “Lil Tokyo” used to be, next to Alpenland. The new place is also Japanese, but higher class than the teriyaki joint that was there before. It’s either incredibly brave or crazy to open a restaurant in this economy. Since islanders universally ask for more restaurants, it would be nice to support this new addition to our community. We stumbled upon it Monday, the day it opened, and our dinners were great!
Island Kids Onstage with the Nutcracker
The Pacific Northwest Ballet writes to say that six Island kids are performing in the Nutcracker this year. Congratulations to Jessica Li, Devon Munoz, Ana Ko Glass, Elisabeth Malanga, Jenna Permut, and Stevie Reiff. The show runs from November 27 to December 30– see the schedule for times & tickets.
Pacific Northwest Ballet School students and Company dancers in the Kent Stowell/Maurice Sendak Nutcracker. Photo © Angela Sterling.
Don’t Forget to Vote
According to King County, about 26% of Mercer Island has voted already. For the other 74%, here’s a reminder to mail your ballots today or tomorrow. If you need a cheat sheet on local races, check out
And there are two important initiatives on the ballot:
- Crazy Time Eyman’s “let’s make Washington broker than California” Initiative 1033, which most sane people are voting against, and
- R-71, which entitles same-sex couple to the same benefits (but not the actual institution of “marriage”) as married heterosexual couples, which most feeling people are voting for.
Before we get into the Assessor’s race, an update on the most contested race on the Island this election year: the race for City Council Position #2. No fewer than 6 former Mercer Island mayors (including Fred “loved by all” Jarrett) sent a letter endorsing Grausz as a good guy on the Council and Ira as a rabble-rouser who uses scare tactics.
Meanwhile, Ira has expanded his single-issue “No Road Diet” campaign to include opposition to any tolling on I-90. And he sent a letter too.
And Now, Assessing the Assessor
The King County Assessor race probably falls into the less interesting of the ballot items this November, but it’s important to homeowners. The Assessor is the one whose office tells you how much your property is worth in the eyes of the county and therefore, how much you’ll pay in taxes. This is an off-schedule election due to recent turmoil in the Assessor’s office.
I’ve narrowed down the candidates based on the Seattle Municipal League’s ratings because, frankly, it’s Sunday night and I’m tired. So here are the 3 rated “Good” or “Very Good” by the League:
- Lloyd Hara, Seattle Port Commissioner, who’s running on his management experience
- Bob Rosenberger, Retired Deputy Assessor who’s running on his experience as an Assessor and as part of the Assessor’s office
- Graham Albertini, Appraiser and teacher of Appraisers
All have some kind of fairness or current value language in their platforms, referring to assessing real values instead of the real estate peak. Rosenberger also talks about “reducing exemptions” that shift the burden to normal taxpayers. Based on the candidates’ statements and their experience, I’ll vote for Rosenberger though Lloyd Hara would probably be a good Assessor as well.
Aside: What the Assessor’s Taxes Pay For
The Assessor’s race is also important to anyone with kids in the local schools, because it was a fall in tax revenues that caused $2.4 million in cuts to Mercer Island schools this year. The Mercer Island Schools Foundation helped to partly address with $1 million in fundraising, about half of which went directly to saving 5.4 teaching positions. The organization doing a phone-a-thon Oct. 26th and 27th, so expect to hear from them.