Much as we hate to say it: Doing nothing is better than doing the wrong thing. This year, both our state's political elite and a

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We Pick 'Em

Seattle Weekly's choices for the Nov. 5 general election ballot.

Much as we hate to say it: Doing nothing is better than doing the wrong thing. This year, both our state's political elite and a group of Seattle activists are presenting the voters with solutions to one of our region's most vexing problems—transportation. The former is touting Referendum 51, a $7.7 billion tax increase for new road construction. The latter wants to spend at least $1.7 billion on a monorail from Ballard to West Seattle. We say no and no again.

That gives us no pleasure. We want to move forward to real transportation solutions, but both of these plans simply head in the wrong direction. Referendum 51 ignores the state's real transportation needs and, instead, offers a package of road pork. The monorail shoves Seattle's collective head in the sand by pursuing a city-only solution when it couldn't be clearer that we need regional mass transit.

We also say no to Tim Eyman's latest lie, Initiative 776, and a money grab by some very worthy people—retired police officers and firefighters—through Initiative 790.

If anyone suggests that we are nattering nabobs of negativism, we must demure. We embrace the reform of the state's unemployment-insurance system, Referendum 53, which protects workers' benefits, and we pick the best candidates in important races for the state Supreme Court and the state Legislature.

Here is the complete, unexpurgated guide to the ballot, with Web links, as only Seattle Weekly can deliver it.

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

7TH DISTRICT

Our choice: Jim McDermott, D-Seattle, seems happier and more relaxed now that he has an administration and a war to oppose. It's as if he's found renewed vigor from the prospect of a good fight. Voters should stay in his corner.

Stan Lippmann, L-Seattle, is a perennial oddball candidate.

The only sign we've seen of Carol Cassady, R-Seattle, is her picture in the Voter's Pamphlet.

www.seattleweekly.com/features/0240/news-berger.shtml

WASHINGTON BALLOT MEASURES

INITIATIVE 776 ($30 VEHICLE TABS, CUT TRANSPORTATION MONEY)

Tim Eyman is a lawmaker— his chamber is the ballot box, and his initiatives are his legislation. The best way to eliminate Eyman from our political lives is simply to vote his measures down. I-776 certainly deserves that fate. It simply adds stupidity on top of the idiocy of Eyman's previous tax- cutting measures by trying to eliminate taxes on cars and trucks that pay for road repair and voter-approved funds for express buses, commuter rail, and light rail from Sound Transit. Not only is it a terrible idea, I-776 is probably unconstitutional to boot. Boot it: Vote No.

www.seattleweekly.com/features/0243/news-howland.shtml

INITIATIVE 790 (CHANGES TO THE POLICE AND FIRE PENSION SYSTEM)

Retired police and firefighters have a real problem: Payments from their retirement plans are inadequate and the plans don't include health insurance or disability. A lot of us share these problems, but few of us perform work that is as socially important and as dangerous as public-safety workers. Frustrated by years of failure at lobbying the Legislature, the public-safety forces have taken to the initiative process. Like so many others who have tried it, they have simply written a bad law—albeit for a good cause. I-790 gives public-safety employees control of their pensions, but it fails to identify any funding mechanism for the inevitable benefit improvements that will follow. State and local governments cannot afford to pay to improve benefits. Everybody is broke. If police and firefighters want better benefits, they need to figure out how to get the public to pay for them. Until they show us the money: Vote No.

www.seattleweekly.com/features/0239/news-howland.shtml

REFERENDUM 51 ($7.7 BILLION IN NEW GAS TAXES FOR TRANSPORTATION)

Seven billion dollars is chump change when it comes to our state's transportation needs. We need to raise taxes on gasoline a lot to pay for important improvements. Unfortunately, this package typifies everything that is wrong about the state's approach to transportation: Most of the money goes to increase general-purpose capacity for solo drivers. That's a recipe for more traffic, more pollution, and more sprawl—exactly what we don't need. We are more than willing to pay more taxes to invest in infrastructure around the state—whether in Kirkland or Kennewick, Spokane or Seattle—if it actually lessens congestion, addresses real safety issues, or encourages healthy transportation usage. The fact that the single largest item in this package is $1.7 billion for an expansion of Interstate 405 for single-occupancy vehicles typifies R-51's wrongheadedness. Vote No, but back it up by writing your legislator demanding real solutions.

www.seattleweekly.com/features/0241/news-barnett.shtml

REFERENDUM 53 (SUPPORT CHANGES TO THE EMPLOYMENT SECURITY SYSTEM)

Here's a law worth supporting. Employers who lay off a lot of workers should pay more into the state's unemployment system. That's the guiding principle behind the law that underlies R-53. For years, stable employers that don't toss workers off the job on a regular basis have been subsidizing bosses—like builders—who do. This year, stable employers cut a deal with labor unions to pass this sensible reform of funding within the unemployment- insurance system. The builders, naturally, went ballistic and are trying to block the law by putting it on the ballot. The builders hope instead to convince stable employers to ally with them and severely cut back the benefits that unemployed workers receive. Promote fair reform: Vote Yes.

www.seattleweekly.com/features/0243/news-howland2.shtml

HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION 4220 (MAKE FIRE DISTRICT LEVIES LONGER)

This constitutional amendment would allow fire districts to raise levies that last longer than one year. It's a no-brainer. Vote Yes.

WASHINGTON STATE SUPREME COURT

POSITION 3

Our choice: We wish we could wholeheartedly recommend a candidate to join the Supreme Court, but the most we can offer is a lukewarm endorsement of Mary Fairhurst. She is our choice because she is truly dedicated to access to justice and neutrality. We hope that once on the court, Fairhurst will become impassioned about the constitution and not become a knee-jerk vote for the government's position, whatever it might be. We have no doubts about her opponent's passion for individual liberty but fear it may blind Jim Johnson to the importance of legal social contracts and Native American treaty rights. Vote for Fairhurst.

www.seattleweekly.com/features/0242/news-howland2.shtml

POSITION 4

Our choice: This Supreme Court race is no contest. Charles W. Johnson is a fine, 12-year incumbent who has used his office not only to uphold constitutional rights but also to engage the citizenry through public service. Johnson's intellect and congeniality serve the court and the citizens on a variety of issues, from public disclosure by government agencies to the rights of the accused to reasonable environmental regulation. His challenger, death-penalty prosecutor Pamela Loginsky, exhibits the narrow mind of a zealot bent on personal revenge over cases she has lost. Return Johnson for another term.

www.seattleweekly.com/features/0240/news-howland2.shtml

WASHINGTON STATE LEGISLATURE

Seattle-area voters find themselves without real races for the state Legislature, even if there is more than one name on the ballot. Fortunately, most of our delegation works hard despite the lack of competition. Here's a thumbnail guide to these virtually uncontested races.

11TH DISTRICT (BEACON HILL, TUKWILA)

STATE REPRESENTATIVE, POSITION 1

Our choice: Zack Hudgins, D-Tukwila, is a hardworking, connected young pol who will be conscientious in serving his district. Ruth Gibbs, R-Renton, is just a placeholder.

www.seattleweekly.com/features/0233/news-howland.shtml

32ND DISTRICT (SHORELINE, EDMONDS)

STATE SENATOR

Our choice: Incumbent Darlene Fairley, D-Lake Forest Park, is having fun and doing good with the state's capital budget. Michael Plunkett, R-Edmonds, isn't much fun and isn't sure what he's doing running for this office.

www.seattleweekly.com/features/0242/news-howland.shtml

STATE REPRESENTATIVE, POSITION 1

Our choice: Maralyn Chase, D-Edmonds, deserves re-election for her admirable commitment to social justice, environmental stewardship, and small businesses. Bob Ransom, R-Shoreline, is a thoughtful candidate, but we disagree with his opposition to an income tax.

www.seattleweekly.com/features/0234/news-howland.shtml

STATE REPRESENTATIVE, POSITION 2

Our choice: Ruth Kagi, D-Lake Forest Park, is an advocate for families, children, and sensible drug reform. Those are the strongest reasons to return her to Olympia. Margaret R. Wiggins, R-Bothell, does not strike us as a credible alternative.

34TH DISTRICT (WEST SEATTLE, BURIEN)

STATE REPRESENTATIVE, POSITION 2

Our choice: It's great to have another out gay legislator, and it's terrific to find him in West Seattle Democrat Joe McDermott, who combines civil-rights guts with smarts about the educational system and initiatives. Cary Thomas, L-Seattle, doesn't seem terribly engaged in this race. Larry L. Gilbert, R-Burien, didn't respond to us at all.

www.seattleweekly.com/features/0226/news-howland.shtml

36TH DISTRICT (BALLARD, MAGNOLIA)

STATE REPRESENTATIVE, POSITION 1

Our choice: House appropriations chair Helen Sommers, D-Seattle, is a vital hand to have on deck during this state's latest economic storm. Angela Brink, R-Seattle, seems likely to fall overboard getting on the boat.

STATE REPRESENTATIVE, POSITION 2

Our choice: Voters should ask Mary Lou Dickerson, D-Seattle, to continue to translate her sincere caring for children and families into legislation. If Rudy McCoy-Pantoja Jr., R-Seattle, is having such a hard time with government regulation of his livelihood, why doesn't he focus on his business and quit running for office?

37TH DISTRICT (RAINIER VALLEY, SKYWAY)

STATE REPRESENTATIVE, POSITION 1

Our choice: In a state where voters have officially ended affirmative action, Sharon Tomiko Santos, D-Seattle, has done fine work ensuring that women- and minority-owned businesses get a hand up. John Stafford, independent-Seattle, means well but won't do well in this race.

STATE REPRESENTATIVE, POSITION 2

Our choice: If, as a legislator, Eric Pettigrew, D-Seattle, can produce the same success that he has had as an activist working in coalition with business, community, and labor, the 37th District will be very well served. Ruth Bennett, L-Seattle, has antipathy for government and will find little resonance in this district.

www.seattleweekly.com/features/0232/news-howland.shtml

43RD DISTRICT (WALLINGFORD, CAPITOL HILL)

STATE SENATOR

Our choice: Patricia Thibaudeau, D-Seattle, does not seem particularly energized about next year's session, but we hope she can reach across to the House and get sensible prescription-drug reform passed. Linde Knighton, Green-Seattle, has a lot of good ideas, but she needs to explain to voters why we should support her instead of her opponent.

METROPOLITAN KING COUNTY COUNCIL

DISTRICT 8

Our choice: Dow Constantine, D-Seattle, has the brains and the political instincts to tackle the sticky problem of labor costs in King County government. We are counting on him to also have the will. Oudom Danh, R-Burien, is an unknown quantity. Michael Nelson, L-Seattle, has unknowable ideas.

KING COUNTY DISTRICT COURT

JUDGE, POSITION 3

Our choice: Arthur Chapman will help improve district court with the knowledge and experience he gained in his previous jobs. From his stint running Seattle's mental-health court, he brings insight into the way to handle mental illness in the criminal-justice system. As a prosecutor, he learned close-up about the inequities of race and class that are exacerbated by the drug war. Chapman will make a fine district-court judge. His opponent, Susan Noonan, can't match Chapman's experience or innovative spirit.

CITY OF SEATTLE BALLOT MEASURES

SEATTLE CITIZEN PETITION NO. 1 (THE MONORAIL)

Elevate your life: Vote No. For a full discussion of our many reasons why see "Don't Let This Train Leave the Station."

www.seattleweekly.com/features/0239/news-barnett.shtml

SEATTLE CHARTER AMENDMENTS

CHARTER AMENDMENT NO. 1

Currently, the City Council must publish the full text of new laws in the city's "official newspaper"—the Daily Journal of Commerce. Charter Amendment No. 1 would allow the City Council instead to publish summaries in the newspaper, full text on the city's Web site, and mail the new law to voters on request. It's a reasonable change. Vote Yes.

CHARTER AMENDMENT NO. 2

This amendment goes too far on a similar subject. Currently, the City Council has to publish charter amendments in two daily newspapers for at least 30 days prior to the election. The council would prefer to publish the changes only four times in one newspaper. The citizens deserve more notice than that. Vote No.

CHARTER AMENDMENT NO. 3

This amendment tries to address the big mess that is the city's initiative process, but it fails to help. Now the Seattle City clerk has 20 days to decide whether an initiative has sufficient signatures to be put on the ballot. This is not enough time for a variety of reasons. The proposed fix is much worse than the problem, however. The council wants to let King County, which actually counts and verifies the signatures, do so with "reasonable promptness." There's work for plenty of lawyers in those words. Then the council wants to give the city clerk another 20 days after that to report on what the county had to say. That is outright obstruction of the initiative process. Vote No.

CHARTER AMENDMENT NO. 4

This amendment simply codifies reality. Once, the city clerk counted and verified the signatures on initiatives. Nowadays, the city clerk doesn't even have voter-registration lists—the state has transferred all that authority to King County. Recognize what is: Vote Yes.

politics@seattleweekly.com

Clip & Vote

The condensed guide to our political wisdom.

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

7th District: Jim McDermott (D)

WASHINGTON BALLOT MEASURES

Initiative 776 ($30 vehicle tabs, cut transportation money): No

Initiative 790 (changes to the police and fire pension system): No

Referendum 51 ($7.7 billion in new gas taxes for transportation): No

Referendum 53 (support changes to the employment security system): Yes

House Joint Resolution 4220 (make fire district levies longer): Yes

WASHINGTON STATE SUPREME COURT

Position 3: Mary Fairhurst

Position 4: Charles W. Johnson

WASHINGTON STATE LEGISLATURE

11th District, State Representative, Position 1: Zack Hudgins (D)

32nd District, State Senator: Darlene Fairley (D)

32nd District, State Representative, Position 1: Maralyn Chase (D)

32nd District, State Representative, Position 2: Ruth Kagi (D)

34th District, State Representative, Position 2: Joe McDermott (D)

36th District, State Representative, Position 1: Helen Sommers (D)

36th District, State Representative, Position 2: Mary Lou Dickerson (D)

37th District, State Representative, Position 1: Sharon Tomiko Santos (D)

37th District, State Representative, Position 2: Eric Pettigrew (D)

43rd District, State Senator: Patricia Thibaudeau (D)

METROPOLITAN KING COUNTY COUNCIL

District 8: Dow Constantine (D)

KING COUNTY DISTRICT COURT

Judge, Position 3: Arthur Chapman

CITY OF SEATTLE BALLOT MEASURES

Seattle Citizen Petition No. 1 (the monorail): No

SEATTLE CHARTER AMENDMENTS

Charter Amendment No. 1 (allow summary publication of new law): Yes

Charter Amendment No. 2 (allow fewer notices of charter change): No

Charter Amendment No. 3 (change initiative rules): No

Charter Amendment No. 4 (acknowledge that county counts initiative signatures): Yes

politics@seattleweekly.com

 
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