From the Political Junkie: Riley’s Voting Recommendations

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Hello Loyal Readers,

Since ballots are going out, and I know you are all chomping at the bit to get them filled out, here is Riley's guide to how he is voting this year. None of this should come as much of a surprise, but I'm compiling it all in one place so you can share it with your friends. As always, thank you for reading even when you don't agree.

Initiative 1125: Vote No
This is Tim Eyman's latest efforts to gut revenue funding for our state, this time aimed at transportation. As I've blogged before,investing in our infrastructure is absolutely essential, and cutting funds to our roads, bridges and buses right now is just plain foolish. Vote no.

Initiative 1163: Vote Yes
This is a measure that ensures that the most vulnerable, our aging seniors and those on disability, are treated by ethical and well-trained people. A simple measure that deserves passing.

Initiative 1183: Vote No
This is Costco's latest attempt to shut down our state-run liquor stores and sell hard alcohol privately. I oppose this for three reasons. First, it would put hundreds of hard-working, unionized employees out of work (think about it, state run liquor stores close but would Costco hire more than a few people to add an extra shelf to sell booze?) Second, it would not affect the price of liquor very much (we already get a good bargain.) And finally, because we need those state run liquor stores open and running to be used as distribution points when we finallylegalize marijuana.

Whatcom County Charter Amendment No. 1: Vote No
This is the proposed Salary Commission. While it seems like a good idea at first, (who doesn't think we need a little oversight?) the details quickly make me queasy. It is poorly designed, with the County Executive easily able to stack the deck so they will raise his salary. Shane Roth has more over on his blog, Latte Republic.

Whatcom County Executive: Jack Louws
Jack Louws is definitely a conservative, but his considerate, reasonable, and open-minded attitude toward our county won my vote. Also, he is running against Doug Ericksen. The same Doug Ericksen who wages war on the working people of Whatcom, who hasthreatened to dismantle our county unions, and who tried to have my friend arrested for videotaping a public meeting. Vote Jack Louws and don't look back.

Whatcom County Council, Position 1: Pete Kremen
Though I no longer work for Pete Kremen, I still am supporting him. He has been stalwart in his efforts to protect the Lake Whatcom Forest Preserve, and brings his years of trusted leadership to the council. Also, his opponent, Tony Larson, wants to "revitalize the timber industry around Lake Whatcom." I'll take Pete Kremen over clearcutting Tony any day.

Whatcom County Council, Position 2: Christina Maginnis
When I met Christina for our interview back in the spring, I was struck by her methodical and thoughtful perspective. Here is a woman committed to clean drinking water, good jobs in our community, and ensuring our first-responders have the resources they need to keep us safe. Her opponent, Sam Crawford, has been conducting unethical business dealings for quite sometime, and only recently has some of it come to light here on this blog. Vote Maginnis.

Whatcom County Council, Position 3: Alan Black
Alan Black, former pilot and veteran, is running against Barbara Brenner, and Alan will be a calming force for our county council. However, his election would reduce some of the entertainment value of county council meetings. Barbara Brenner considers herself an independent, and rightly so. She is independent of a great many things, and her sometimes erratic, sometimes amusing, always lively involvement in our county council has often been more of a hindrance than a help. Vote for the steady hand on the tiller. Vote Alan Black.

Whatcom County Auditor: J. Lynne Walker
To know J. Lynne Walker professionally, is to adore her work. As current Clerk for the City Council, J. Lynne is a dedicated and efficient public servant. Now, she is stepping up to be head vote counter for Whatcom. Her tech savvy will serve her well, considering the poorly constructed Auditor's website desperately needs a fresh coat of paint, and a more reasonable reorganization. Her opponent, Debbie Adelstein, is the number two at the auditor's office right now and will provide more of the same. Being adequate is not enough, our auditor's office can truly expand its outreach and J. Lynne Walker is the woman to make that happen.

Whatcom County Sheriff: Steve Harris
In case you missed it yesterday, or you are reading this somewhere else, I laid out all the reasons I am proud to vote for Steve Harris here in my blog post titled "The Case for Detective Steve Harris"

Whatcom County Treasurer: Steve Oliver
Steve Oliver has done a fantastic job managing our finances over the last four years, sheltering Whatcom from the worst of the financial storms. Cautious, capable, ethical, everything you could want in a county treasurer.

City of Bellingham Initiative 2011-11: Vote Yes
This is the anti-red light cameras measure, and I agree whole-heartedly. We need to make sure these cameras are not installed in our city. I am not opposed to them because of privacy concerns, but rather economic ones. These tickets pump 40% of each fine out of our economy and into the pockets of an Arizona-based corporation owned by Goldman Sachs. Bellingham dollars should stay in Bellingham. Vote Yes on this measure.

Mayor of Bellingham: Vote Kelli Linville
Obviously, Dan Pike and I have had our disagreements, whether it is over the focus of his campaign, his efforts to install red light cameras (see above) or his deceptive campaign materials. So clearly, I will not be voting for him. On the other hand, I am very excited to support Kelli Linville for mayor. For many years I have admired her unqualified support for openness and transparency in public process. She embodies the idea of disagreeing without being disagreeable, and is exactly the sort of coalition builder we need in the mayoral office. Vote Kelli.

City Council, Position 3: Cathy Lehman
I endorsed Cathy early and with good reason. She is going to be a fantastic city councilwoman, and while I am fond of Barry, I'm vote for Cathy this year. Read my full write-up here.

City Council, At-Large: Seth Fleetwood
I have to admit, it is hard not to like Seth. He is funny, sharp, and engaging. He was the sole vote against red light cameras when Dan Pike pushed them through the city council, and he is not afraid to change his mind when new facts emerge. While I like Larry Farr (who reads this blog, so sorry about this Larry,) and I appreciate his focus on downtown business, I'm going to stick with Seth this time around.

About Riley Sweeney

Citizen Journalist • Member since Aug 10, 2009

Riley Sweeney, raised in the Pacific Northwest, moved to Bellingham during the Bush years, worked on a cross-section of political campaigns during the Obama years, and then fled to the [...]

Comments by Readers

Hue Beattie

Oct 21, 2011

the council discussed the cameras and voted to try some for 1 year they were not pushed. Seth took his time ; dicussed his thoughts about it pro and con, then on balance voted no.


Ham Hayes

Oct 22, 2011

“..clearcutting Tony..”.  Riley, do you have statements from Tony or other hard evidence that he supports clearcutting?  If so, I’d like to hear more about that as it might affect my vote.  If not, c’mon, don’t stoop to calling people names.


Riley Sweeney

Oct 22, 2011

Tony has said at multiple forums that he wants to “revitalize timber clearing around Lake Whatcom.” (A quick google search later) Here he is saying it in his Q and A on the Herald’s website.


Ham Hayes

Oct 22, 2011

I read the Herald article.  Tony had two references to timber in his response about the proposed 9,000 acre DNR land conveyance.  In his timber references, he points out the conveyance would eliminate timber harvest revenue to school districts and also cause some loss of timber industry jobs.  He does not mention clearcutting. 

So I think the real issue is his opposition to the conveyance and not about timber harvesting practices. Looks to me like a red herring being dragged across the path of the real issue.  I think he addressed all the major points of the conveyance issue and I agree him by the way.



Oct 22, 2011

“She [Linville] embodies the idea of disagreeing without being disagreeable.”  In some quarters, Riley, this is known as duplicity. 

Many prefer just coming right out and telling it like it is.  Like your mentor, John Servais, who wrote:

“Shame on you, Kelli Linville. Shame.? when she put a bill together in secret with GP and the Port, purposely not letting citizens know what was afoot, that would have permanently polluted Bellingham Bay with mercury laden dredge.

Is that the “unqualified support for openness and transparency” you so admire?


Riley Sweeney

Oct 22, 2011

You guys are right, here is a better answer to that question.

Tony Larson was asked by the Whatcom Watch “Do you support clearcutting in the Lake Whatcom Watershed?” Here was his response, verbatim:
    I support maintaining working forests in the Lake Whatcom watershed, which includes timber harvesting where appropriate. Fortunately, this watershed has some of the most protective rules in the country.
Working forests not only provide revenues, jobs and recreation opportunities, but also provide diverse wildlife habitat, clean air and watershed
    Timber harvesting should be done under the Washington State Forest Practice Regulations, Lake Whatcom Watershed Analysis and county development ordinances. The Department of Natural Resources managed trust lands have additional resource protection from their Habitat Conservation Plan and the citizen developed Lake Whatcom Landscape Plan, all of which I support.

Seems like pretty clear support for logging around Lake Whatcom to me. Here’s the link