execsinnorthbend.jpg
From last night's forum in North Bend. If only we could smoosh them into one super candidate.
One thing politics watchers keep bringing up (there

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Lowsan Huntretdell for King County Executive

execsinnorthbend.jpg
From last night's forum in North Bend. If only we could smoosh them into one super candidate.
One thing politics watchers keep bringing up (there should really be a fantasy league for this) is how impressive the field of candidates for King County Executive is. All of the five major players have serious financial backing, appeal in their legislative districts, and in Susan Hutchison's case, actual fans. They are smart, articulate and for the most part have a solid handle on the ins and outs of the job (it's mostly things like sewers and courts--not really as glamorous as Ron Sims made it seem to be, which probably wasn't such a good thing in hindsight.) Even long-shot Alan Lobdell isn't your standard crazy fringe candidate--he currently works on contract with smaller cities managing major projects. That background seems especially important after this week's audit.

But each candidates' strengths are quite different from the others. If only we could hybridize them all--Larry Phillips, Dow Constantine, Susan Hutchison, Ross Hunter, Fred Jarrett and Alan Lobdell--into one mega-Exec: Lowsan Huntretdell!

At this point in the campaign, the subtle distinctions between the candidate are finally showing through. And last night in the Twin Falls Middle School cafeteria in North Bend, facing questions more specific to the largely rural Eastsiders, those differences became especially pronounced. Phillips is all about spending--he wants more projects and more taxing authority from the legislature to raise taxes for all that building. Constantine emphasized doing a better job of managing growth (though both he and Phillips basically blamed the legislature for the hated Critical Areas Ordinance, despite the fact that they supported an appeal to overturn the court ruling tossing the strict development limits.)

Hunter wants to overhaul and modernize the entire management process and with a background in business and a reputation as a financial whiz kid in Olympia, he's more than just talk. Jarrett is all about performance measures. The once-Republican, sounding very GOP, is all for seriously examining each county program, looking to see what works, and axing everything that doesn't. He's also very pro streamlining the process for things like business permits.

The two Republicans in this non-partisan race (really, who are we kidding) bring some much needed perspective in a county that's quick to vote for pretty much any tax hike on the ballot. Hutchison, for her part is actually the only candidate without any specific plan for the county--ill formed or otherwise. Beyond saying she would lobby the legislature to get rid of the B&O tax, she kept saying that she'll be unveiling initiatives in the weeks to come and working with people for solutions. What those solutions are is anyone's guess.

But having her and her clearly anti-tax perspective in the race will at least help force candidates in these forums who are pushing for more revenue streams (ahem, Phillips) justify calling for such things.

And Lobdell actually uses words like "bioswales" when talking about water management--a big issue for rural folk. He actually knows how water systems work because he's helped install them working with smaller cities around the state. He might at first seem a little out in left field, but evreyone else running should listen when he offers up specifics for such things.

Now if only we had a mad scientist to mush their brains together during the next thunderstorm.

 
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