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Levys should be for extra programs

Shame on the Bellingham Weekly. Page 3 of today’s paper has “The Slate” with photographs taken at Mark Asmundson’s victory party on Tuesday night. They asked Mark supporters what Brett would do

Shame on the Bellingham Weekly. Page 3 of today’s paper has “The Slate” with photographs taken at Mark Asmundson’s victory party on Tuesday night. They asked Mark supporters what Brett would do

• Topics: Bellingham, Elections, People,
Shame on the Bellingham Weekly. Page 3 of today's paper has "The Slate" with photographs taken at Mark Asmundson's victory party on Tuesday night. They asked Mark supporters what Brett would do next, and then printed the insulting answers. No class. And not worthy of our support. I could further identify some of those in the photos, but won't.

9:00 am
Should we who opposed the Levy for EMS feel good? It was soundly defeated. To that answer shortly, but first another question.

Why would the voters elect the officials who strongly supported the levy while those candidates who opposed the levy were mostly defeated? The answers are not found only in the final numbers, but also from talking to many citizens - both those involved in politics and those who pay little attention to campaigns but do vote. Incumbents win unless two conditions are present. The voters have to really feel the incumbent is not doing a good job and they have to be convinced the challenger will do better.

Voters were convinced Mayor Mark is doing a very bad job but Brett's lack of involvement in recent city issues - and his voting record - caused many swing voters to stick with Mark. Also Brett's on-air radio comments haunted his campaign. Mark's letter-writing committee focused on negative Brett letters rather than Mark's record. They knew voters did not like Mark. The Herald printed the letters while allowing Mark's record to go unchallenged. A majority of voters remained unconvinced that Brett would do better. The squeeze play worked.

On most other races, voters were not convinced the incumbents were doing that bad a job. Or approved of the incumbent's work.

Voters considered the levy by itself - separate from which politicians were endorsing it. The arguments against the levy made sense to the voters. With the Tim Eyeman initiatives limiting the ability of city and county government to raise taxes, they are trying fear-based schemes to raise more money. The potential loss of EMS seemed a sure-fire way to raise an extra few easy million a year.

It is thanks largely to former Bellingham Finance Director Lynn Carpenter that this tactic was revealed. She wrote several excellent commentaries - one of which was posted here. Voters do pay more attention to tax increases separate from candidates.

Vital programs - such as Emergency Medical Services - should be funded fully by our regular taxes. City and county councils should have the common sense and backbone to fund them. These very councils urged us to approve the levy, implying that while we voters should think the program important, they as council members might not think the program so important at budget time. How absurd.

Yes, we should feel good about the failure of the levy. The unneeded tax increase had nothing to do with EMS. It's purpose was to free up regular taxes for less-important projects. If the levy had passed then we could have expected another fear-based levy next year - using some other vital program as the bait.

Levys should be for extra programs - like Greenways. Programs that enhance our community but are not vital services.

So - do you think the councils will learn a lesson? Will they get the point?

Levys should be for extra programs

By John ServaisOn Nov 06, 2003

Shame on the Bellingham Weekly. Page 3 of today’s paper has “The Slate” with photographs taken at Mark Asmundson’s victory party on Tuesday night. They asked Mark supporters what Brett would do

It is really hard to replace an incumbent

By John ServaisOn Nov 05, 2003

Those not sure just vote for the person in office, preferring a sure thing to an unknown. I give my respect to those who took the challenge and ran against entrenched incumbents. Especially Brett Bonn

Day of our decision.

By John ServaisOn Nov 04, 2003

County Auditor Shirley Forslof will have the election results posted online as soon as or even before the printed copies are brought out her office door to those of us in the courthouse rotunda. First

You would never learn that from the Herald

By John ServaisOn Nov 03, 2003

Sunday’s Herald front page story on the mayor’s race again showed us how to skew reporting to favor your candidate. John Stark does this type of reporting on a regular basis. His story lists controver

For what it is worth,

By John ServaisOn Oct 31, 2003

here are my recommendations for the election.

The basic values that I apply are for elected officials to have honesty and provide open government that is accountable to the citizens. We can all

The huge gap for news in this community

By John ServaisOn Oct 30, 2003

Will be posting election recommendations today. Have not had time for some good posts the past week.

Reliable rumor has it that another weekly newspaper will start publishing in early November

No one in a position of responsibility will touch it

By John ServaisOn Oct 22, 2003

So the Public Disclosure Commission is investigating Foster without any complaint. Yet they pretend to not know of flagrant violations of the PDC laws being committed by Mark Asmundson as Mayor - to w

Another perspective on County elections

By John ServaisOn Oct 21, 2003

I’ve just posted up a commentary by Stephen Trinkaus on all the local elections. He gives the perspective of a liberal activist - one who has participated in the local process and knows what is happen

On the levy, low-cost rentals and the Mayor’s gag order.

By John ServaisOn Oct 19, 2003

Today’s Herald devoted much of the first section of the paper to promoting the levy tax for EMS services, under the guise of reporting the issues. They printed two big graphs showing increases of resp

What closed-door deal has Mark made with Foster?

By John ServaisOn Oct 17, 2003

That is the question making the political rounds this afternoon. Foster Rose, who came in third in the primary election for mayor, today endorsed Mayor Mark Asmundson for reelection. Foster’s voters h

This is the piece that this election deserves

By John ServaisOn Oct 16, 2003

Tip Johnson has written the best analysis of the mayor Mark’s record that will appear anywhere. Tip, a hero to local environmentalists and liberals, takes an honest and courageous look at Mark Asmunds

The Police Guild believes Terry did this

By John ServaisOn Oct 15, 2003

The Bellingham Police Guild will endorse Don Hansey today for city council. Their executive board voted 100% last night to endorse Hansey and not Bornemann. To most political observers this will be a

Attempted extortion by the Mayor

By John ServaisOn Oct 14, 2003

The City Council yesterday evening showed their disdain for public process and for state laws against using city facilities for promoting campaign issues. And in their afternoon session they bowed to

Very quietly, more and more liberals are

By John ServaisOn Oct 13, 2003

telling me they are voting for Brett Bonner for mayor. Some very prominent ones - but they are not going public. Why not? Fear of retaliation.

Why are they against Mark? Two reasons in general.

The political junkies around town

By John ServaisOn Oct 09, 2003

are abuzz about the trap Brett Bonner stepped into on Tuesday evening at the Labor Council. Dave Warren blindsided Brett without even allowing an introduction. They jammed questions at him, and baited

Mayoral Debate

By John ServaisOn Oct 08, 2003

The two differed strongly on several issues. The differences between them are becoming more apparent and this should continue for the next two weeks.

Brett continues to develop his Lake Whatcom

Election Commentary

By John ServaisOn Oct 06, 2003

Port Commissioner by Sheri Ward
So what happened to all the heat among contenders for this race? It was only a few short weeks ago… (<a href=”

Remember the ‘Truth Squad’?

By John ServaisOn Oct 05, 2003

We need one to follow Asmundson during the next three weeks - and to nudge the Herald to do minimal checking of facts before publishing. I’m referring to Friday’s post below, where it was noted how St

A far superior and more objective analysis

By John ServaisOn Oct 03, 2003

If you’re a liberal and just figure you’ll vote for Mark for mayor, then read Tip Johnson’s analysis of the two candidates. Compared to John Stark’s report in this morning’s Herald, Tip gives a far su

A “Cadillac” system

By John ServaisOn Oct 03, 2003

Mayor Mark is in trouble with young liberal activists - just the voters who normally would support a liberal mayor. But they are remembering his presiding over police and court abuses that targeted yo