What a difference an explanation makes. Last week, good government org the Municipal League offered its candidate ratings, inscrutable 1-2 word summaries that raised more questions than they answered. There was just a questionnaire and a rating--nothing to explain how one produced the other. As an overhyped annual occurrence, the ratings are comparable to the Ed Lover Dance--minus the fun.
Today, the greenies at Friends of Seattle put out their voter guide--and it's much more useful to voters, as the endorsements come with explanations.In a nutshell, the group advocates for more emphasis on transit, walking, and biking, and on development that facilitate the same. So it wasn't a surprise to see tunnel opponents Mike McGinn and Mike O'Brien get the group's nod. (Nickels did get some props for light rail and the SLUT, though.) The bag fee got endorsed as well. In fact, there was only endorsement that might have come as a bit of a surprise--that of Nick LIcata-challenger Jesse Israel. She had picked up the endorsement of the Washington Conservation Voters, but Licata got the Sierra Club's nod. FOS wasn't cool with Licata's comfort with a Viaduct rebuild, nor with the possibility that he might be able to push for one if the tunnel falls through.
Again, we know all this because the guide comes out and says it. FOS provides informative, concise summaries of the candidates' positions--covering all sorts of things, from the bag fee to parking policies to townhouse design to the expansion of streetcars. You can sift through the raw materials if you're wonkish, but you don't have to do so to get the gist of things. The Muni League should take note.