Some issues and candidate races can be difficult to decipher. Who is really progressive and who is pretending? I’ve compared notes with some political junkie friends for this article, and thank them for their input. This brief, sort-of cheat sheet will hopefully provide a bit of perspective on some of the more confusing election choices as well as some very important ones on our ballots.
Yes on Proposition 2020-14 to approve continuation of this transportation improvement levy. I’m over 75 and while I do not ever ride a bike in the streets, with the increasing popularity of e-bikes, cycling is reaching a wider demographic and the number of riders is escalating. When driving, my major concern is the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians. This levy is for improving bike lanes and bicycle safety: The safer the lanes are, the more people will use bikes - and that is good for all our transportation challenges. It will also improve crosswalks, and gawd do we ever need help there. Our Public Works Department does a lousy job on pedestrian safety, but first we need the levy and then we need to make a political issue of getting the city to do better for pedestrians. We need this levy. Infrastructure is a basic job of local government and we need to fund it. Progressive or Conservative, this is a yes vote. We all benefit.
Christine Grant for PUD Commissioner District 1 as she is the real environmental candidate and the one who will work to ensure the PUD serves the people of our county and not just major corporations and financial interests. The incumbent commissioner, Jeff McClure, is a nice guy and has served for years - but was a big-time supporter of the effort to build the coal port at Cherry Point. We cannot trust him to protect us against the next big polluting pipe-dream that may come along. Christine Grant will help move the PUD out of the slow lane when it comes to doing more for water users, Internet service, and other rural county projects to benefit residents. Those endorsing Grant tend to be serious and involved environmentalists and progressives, while the endorsers of McClure are the old guard liberals and those involved with the reigning power structures in our community. Grant is the change we need.
James Erb for Superior Court Judge Position 2. As one friend put it so well: He is a passionate advocate for equality, and for using the power of the government to help right old wrongs. He has been hit for being political, but frankly, the judiciary could use some heart. Erb is a supporter of restorative justice, which not only costs less, but is a more effective method of dealing with non-violent offenders.
David Freeman for Superior Court Judge Position 4. Freeman was appointed by the governor to fill a vacancy and has been praised by liberals and conservatives alike. (Deletion, Tue, Oct 20: I have taken out an unnecessary and negative take on Jim Nelson, the opponent of David Freeman. Another political friend I respect pointed out my error. My apology to Mr. Nelson.) David Freeman is respected by all factions - and that is impressive.
Approve Referendum Measure No. 90 - Yes, the legislature passed, and governor approved, an age appropriate sex education bill that our schools really, really need. We can dramatically reduce unwed teenage pregnancies. We can also reduce sex and sexual assault among teens. Contrary to fearful conservative thinking, knowing and understanding sexual issues actually reduces teenage sex and the resulting sometimes tragic problems.
Reject the Engrossed Senate Joint Resolution No. 8212 - That is, reject allowing state bureaucrats to play the stock market with our public funds, and particularly the billions of dollars in our old-age, long-term care trust. Gawd. Reject this. The backers of this bill promise benefits they have zero ability to guarantee. It is pie in the sky and those who need long-term care could lose everything. Be prudent, whether you are conservative or liberal. Reject this resolution.
Mike Pellicciotti for State Treasurer - A NW Citizen outlines important reasons to elect him. He will bring more professional financial management to our state funds. And he may initiate a state public bank which would benefit taxpayers immensely. The current treasurer is totally against a state bank, or any new and better ways of managing our money.
Gael Tarleton for Secretary of State. She’s literally a national security expert who specializes in cyber security. She has also been a state representative, but I think having a national security expert in charge of our election security is even more important these days.
Alicia Rule for 42nd District State Representative - Rule is a reasonable person and well-qualified to represent the northern part of our county for liberals, moderates and even most conservatives. The incumbent, Luanne Van Werven, has lurched farther right and is becoming even less reflective of Whatcom County values. Van Werven wants to overturn same-sex marriage, and has flirted with COVID-19 denial by holding unmasked campaign events in a blatant disregard for the safety of people. Alicia Rule is a county native, Meridian High graduate, business woman, and currently serves on the Blaine City Council. Rule will be a reasonable representative for us in Olympia.
While these are only a few of the choices we face this election, they may be the most confusing for us locally. For the State Supreme Court, I’m voting for Raquel Montoya-Lewis and G. Helen Whitener as both are very qualified and on the court now. They are both women of color and we need more qualified diversity on all our courts.
There are four Advisory votes on the ballot and I just vote Maintain for all of them, as that is why we elect representatives. These Advisory votes are a relic of one of Tim Eyeman’s scatter blasts of initiatives and have no real impact - other than to make our elections more expensive and complicated.
I want to keep our state Attorney General Bob Ferguson as he has been fearless in the face of the Trump administration. I do not know enough about the other state government offices to have a strong recommendation and am not aware of anyone actually needing replacement other than Davidson as Treasurer. And no one reading this needs my opinion on Inslee vs Culp nor Trump vs Biden. I am not voting for Rick Larsen for Congress because he certainly does not represent me or any progressive values. He will win as the gerrymandered state district guarantees it. His opponent is just in the race to get name recognition for some future election campaign. This race is a charade.
One final thought. Place your ballot in a Ballot Drop Box, not the mail. The president is still trying to disrupt our mail system. We do not blame the U.S. Postal Service as they are trying their best to provide us great service. But the Ballot Drop Box is the safe place for our ballots. This and locations of drop boxes.