Everyone else in the King County Exec's race seems pretty content to let Dow Constantine and Susan Hutchison battle it out until they're both reduced to smoldering heaps of rubble. Of course, this is Seattle so the accusations hurtling around are about things like hidden conservative agendas and vague falsehoods.
Either way, there's no sign of this letting up. Within hours of Hutchison's campaign kickoff this morning outside Safeco (summed up by Chris Grygiel at seattlepi.com), where she promised to lobby Olympia for lower business taxes, Constantine was back in Belltown hosting a presser of his own.
Arguably, Constantine lost this round; unlike his last attack on Hutchison where every media outlet sent at least someone, the only journalists in attendance at this afternoon's rant were cameras from KOMO and KIRO (no reporters), Josh Feit of Publicola, and SW. (The Stranger's Dominic Holden arrived just as everyone was packing up.)
"You want to stand there, give him something to look at," the woman from KOMO said to Feit, only half-joking as she pointing to a spot near her camera.
Constantine's attack on Hutchison was actually a little less elegant than fellow competitor Ross Hunter's made via press release today. Hunter pointed out the obvious: King County doesn't set business tax policy, the state does. "There are taxes that King County has control over," Hunter's release stated. "The B&O tax is not one of them. If Hutchison wants to change the B&O threshold she should run for the Legislature, not King County Executive."
Constantine instead argued that he had real world business experience. He held his little impromptu presser at the corner of First and Battery in Belltown where Macrina Bakery and Lampreia are located. Constantine says he handled the incorporation paperwork for both as an attorney. But when asked exactly what King County should do to support small business development, Constantine is pretty vague.
He says the county must trim fat from its budget (though increasingly it's hard to tell where that is) in order to strengthen public safety and community health programs (both of which have been cut already and face further funding shortfalls next year). He also wants to revamp county buildings to be more environmentally friendly.
And like Hutchison, he falls into the trap of drifting from the actual responsibilities of the county when it comes to policies that directly impact businesses. During today's conference, he pointed to his time in the legislature where he created a commission to make recommendations on potential changes to the tax structure--changes that were never implemented. Still, that's a legislative issue, not a county one.
But what's more interesting than tax policy at the moment is the silence from fellow competitors Larry Phillips and Fred Jarrett. Constantine is launching the strongest attack on Hutchison and it may pay off. But he also risks it coming off as making too much hay over her party affiliations while Phillips and Jarrett take the high road.