Voter’s Guide

I miss going to the ballot box. Not voting, I still do that, but the ballot box: you know, when we used to troop over to the local elementary school basement, where we were greeted by elderly volunteers and butter cookies. I remember my father being scolded by a volunteer for taking me into the voting booth and showing me the levers (one person at a time!). There was a pleasure, a mechanical satisfaction in pushing down each of the levers, then giving the master switch a big tug, which would simultaneously commit your vote, reset the levers and open the curtain.

968px-Voting_machineThat was voting. It felt transcendently civic, like a democratic communion, a political bar mitzvah.

Now, it feels like a bubble test. Answer “D” if you’re not sure.

But, it’s still voting. We’ve already run a “pro” and “con” article on Prop 1 (a levy to continue funding Seattle Parks), but it turns out there are some other issues on the ballot, as well. For that, we offer you Doug’s Voter’s Guide.

Now, every time I publish a voter’s guide, or any political opinion, I get a few readers who complain that political statements on Wallyh0od are inappropriate and unwanted. I reject these objections on at least two grounds.

First, this is a privately owned and operated media outlet. I built it hoping it would create and encourage community, but it’s not taxpayer or church or any public institution supported and has no obligation or even reason to be impartial. I didn’t apply for this job. I created it. I am a member of this community, and I get to speak my mind alongside everyone else.

Second, the notion that politics don’t belong in certain spheres of public discussion is ludicrous. The absolute most important place for people to speak their minds about political issues is a community forum, where neighbors get to speak and be heard by each other. If there are people that don’t want to engage in political discussion, they are welcome to not read the relevant posts, or even not read the blog. This isn’t a public school that you’re required to attend.

I created this forum as a way to help neighbors communicate. I will resist all attempts that seek to shut down those channels of communication. That said, I welcome opposing viewpoints, and if there is someone of a less progressive nature than Doug that wants to offer a voter’s guide, I’m happy to lend that person the conch. It’s only neighborly.

  1. Abigail said,

    Go for it !

    Thu, July 31 at 12:16 pm
  2. Mike Ruby said,

    Not the best voting guide to use.
    I’d like to suggest the Fuse Progressive Voter’s Guide – http://progressivevotersguide.com/washington/2014/primary/ld/43rd
    Another good source of no nonsense info is the Stranger (believe it or not) – http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/endorsements-for-the-august-primary-election/Content?oid=20115881
    On the subject of Proposition 1 the right info on “is it a tax increase” is on this blog – http://horsesass.org/if-you-support-universal-preschool-vote-yes-on-prop-1/
    The other “big lie” on Prop 1 is that it will enable the City Council to sell park property. This is nonsense since the Park District won’t own any property, it doesn’t have anything to sell. The City will still own and operate the parks. The district is simply a mechanism to get around Tim Eyman. They should have done it years ago.

    Thu, July 31 at 1:04 pm
  3. DOUG. said,

    @Mike Ruby: A “Progressive Voter’s Guide” that endorses Dan Satterberg without acknowledging his position on the death penalty is not very progressive.

    And The Stranger’s endorsement of Frank Chopp was fairly weak. They simply repeat Chopp’s BS line about how he can’t get anything done in the House because of “the motherf**king Republican senate”, without noting that the Democrats held the Senate, House and Governor’s mansion from 2005 to 2012.

    Thu, July 31 at 3:59 pm
  4. donn said,

    I see this as a good chance drop Chopp. But i was hoping DOUG wouldn’t get taken in by Prop 1.

    Thu, July 31 at 9:27 pm
  5. GamerGirl said,

    One of the best experiences of my life was being a poll worker in the final election. That happened to be the first Obama election. The emotion expressed throughout the day was amazing. People crying. Many, many people asking if they could hug me. One man stopped, looked up, and said, “I never thought I’d see the day. Thank you.” tipped his hat, and walked out.

    It was a great way to say goodbye to going to the polls. And I do miss doing that – but I also appreciate that I can vote in the middle of the night at home if I so desire. Which reminds me, I have a ballot to fill out…

    Fri, August 1 at 7:01 pm
  6. Mike Ruby said,

    @Doug: Carrying on the conversation –
    As a member of Washington Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (http://abolishdeathpenalty.org/) I share your concern about the Prosecuting Attorney’s stance on the issue. But we have to acknowledge that his job is to enforce the law and the law is set by the legislature. We have to keep working to build up enough public support that we can get a bill passed by the legislature. It is not useful to insist on perfection in a public official (or anyone else for that matter). All in all, he’s done a fine job as a prosecutor.

    Likewise, we need to acknowledge that Frank Chopp has done an absolutely amazing job of building the Democratic majority we now have in the state House of Representatives. If we had had a Democratic leader in the Senate who was as talented (with apologies to Lisa Brown who was quite talented but not such a driven organizer) we would not now have the problems we have with the Senate. Frank has taken seriously his responsibility to herd cats. He does not try to force through an agenda of his that would break the back of the Democratic caucus. He is too smart for that. But just by his leadership he has moved the caucus considerably left of where it would naturally be (they don’t all come from Seattle). We have had representatives from our neighborhood who were ideologically pure – and they were uniformly acknowledged to be totally ineffectual. I know Frank Chopp genuinely regrets that he has not been able to accomplish many things you would urge him to do (or that I have lobbied him to do), but he understands he has to keep working on the Democratic caucus to finally get them to make those changes. We stand a much greater chance of getting progressive legislation done with Frank in the driver’s seat than with an ingenue, however smart, representing us.

    @donn: Taken in? I’m sorry but it is the No on Prop 1 folks who are outright lying to you about a perfectly innocent way to raise the money we need to operate our park system. The Parks District does not give the City Council any more powers than are already inherent in the authority of a charter city. There are restrictions in our City Charter and ordinances that restrict the Parks Department. But since the department and not the District will continue to own and operate the parks our parks will still be subject to all the restrictions that are currently in place. Being too suspicious is debilitating.

    Sat, August 2 at 2:14 pm
  7. donn said,

    I’d have been willing to take the parks district gimmick more seriously, if they hadn’t included the Zoo. This and the apparent emphasis on new projects before solving the maintenance backlog problem.

    Chopp may not be as bad as Conlin was, but hopefully the jolt he’s going to get in the primary will register with him and everyone else in the billions for Boeing crowd.

    Sun, August 3 at 9:23 am
  8. DOUG. said,

    @Mike Ruby: I think you overestimate Frank Chopp’s role in “building the Democratic majority we now have in the state House of Representatives.”

    The fact that the Democrats have held the House since 2002 has less to do with Speaker Chopp and his ability to recruit candidates than it does with the changing demographics of Washington state during his tenure, plus the terribleness of George W. Bush and the national trend against Republicans in the 2000s (the state House Democrats have lost 8 seats since Bush left office, by the way).

    Mon, August 4 at 9:30 pm
  9. donn said,

    Anyway, I’d trade your Democratic majority in the House, for a functional legislative branch that serves the people of this state. For the lack of which, I hold Democrats and Republicans about equally responsible.

    I’d love to see Washington become the second US state to adopt a non-partisan legislature. Partisan politics has become a disease in this country, and in this state, draining us of whatever potential we might have had to meet the challenges of our time. The parties will scoff at Nebraska’s non-partisan legislature and tell you that everyone knows who’s a Democrat and who’s a Republican, but they’re lying. You know that a very large fraction of the voters know next to nothing about the people they vote for – other than the D or R next to their names. A non-partisan ballot means the end of party ticket voting as the easy way to vote without knowing anything.

    Mon, August 4 at 11:52 pm

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