IT'S ALMOST OVER!
We mean the election. We mean Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton vs. Your Sanity. That's almost over. But in the final weeks of this fucked-up, race-baiting, Muslim-smearing, face-punching, pussy-grabbing presidential election season, it feels like our democracy could be coming to an end, too. Donald Trump is ramping up the apocalyptic rhetoric, promising to jail his opponent (if he wins) and calling the election rigged (if he loses), and encouraging his deranged supporters to show up at polling places "you know where" and to hunt down, as one of his supporters put it, "anyone who doesn't speak American." (Dear Deplorables: American is not a language. It's not a traumatic brain injury, either, but anyone who's seen video of a Trump rally would be forgiven for thinking otherwise.)
We're only going to say this once: You gotta vote. Because the rest of the country is relying on solid blue states like Washington, Oregon, and California, and because if Donald Trump somehow does manage to win—God fucking forbid—this could be your last chance to vote. So treat yourself to an alcohol-and-THC-based tincture flavored with Trump-disavowing Tic Tacs and Trump-trashing Skittles and then go find a black pen. Because you gotta vote. (We lied about only saying that once. We're going to say it over and over and over. So sue us.) And here's something you can discuss with your friends after your post-voting high kicks into gear: How did our political dialogue go from "We hold these truths to be self-evident" to a GOP nominee bragging about the size of his cock, a Democratic nominee being physically menaced during a presidential debate, and two candy companies being forced to make their positions on racism and sexual assault clear? (You didn't imagine any of that, stoner, all of that actually happened.)
Your ballot is in your mailbox. Open it now, fill it out, mail it in. People died to win the right to vote, so don't fucking whine at us about having to buy a stamp. (Yes, it's stupid that you have to buy a stamp; yes, it's an itsy-bitsy poll tax. So vote for the secretary of state candidate who's promising to do something about it.) And don't fucking whine to us about how you're not feeling sufficiently "inspired" to vote. The Democratic nominee for president wouldn't have been able to vote, much less run for president, before 1920—just like the current president wouldn't have been able to vote in much of the country before 1965 and definitely would've been someone's property before 1865. So there's some historic shit going down this year, ladies and gentlemen and nonbinarians, and if that's not enough to inspire you to vote, then you're dead inside.
The choice for president isn't the only thing on your ballot. (Orange Rapist* or Cautious Centrist? So hard to choose!) Depending on where you live—and whether we can count good—you'll find nearly 40 other races and initiatives and amendments on this year's ballot. Some of those other contests are quite inspiring themselves: You'll be voting on raising the minimum wage, fighting climate change, and ending Citizens United; you'll be voting on a proposed change to the motherfucking state motherfucking constitution; you'll be voting for the best person for governor; you'll be voting for the best replacement for antediluvian Seattle congressman Jim McDermott; you'll be voting for a whole bunch of judges, a number of wannabe state legislators, and then, way at the bottom of your ballot, a very important proposal to expand light rail to King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties!
Your ballot is long, complicated, consequential, and confusing. But do not despair! The Stranger Election Control Board is here to help. We sat through meetings with the people involved in every single goddamn one of these goddamn contests. We opened meetings by banging a pink gavel gifted to us by a superior court candidate, we ate scary cookies presented to us by another suck-up candidate, and we sipped warm bribe beers as we sat through boring and/or uplifting and/or appalling presentations—pausing now and then to wonder if the walls of The Stranger's conference room are carpeted and cornerless to keep us from harming ourselves. We did your homework for you—you're welcome—because we love you and we want you to be happy and we don't want Donald Trump to be president and we do want Bill Bryant to spend November 9 sobbing in the fetal position on his bathroom floor. (Full disclosure: We did it because we get paid to do it. But no amount of money can compensate for having to listen to a smug libertarian with an Australian accent arguing with a goateed, half-hearted Bernie-or-Buster.)
So put the beer down, set the edibles aside, and put your vibrator back in the drawer. Because it's time to vote. Wanna keep nukes out of the hands of an orange fascist? You gotta vote. Wanna reshape Congress? You gotta vote. Wanna combat global warming? You gotta vote. Wanna get the voting you gotta do over with quickly? Then skip right to the cheat sheet. But if you wanna know why you're gonna be voting the way we tell you to—and you will be voting the way we tell you to because SECB endorsements are legally binding—then keep reading.
The Stranger Election Control Board is Sydney Brownstone, Heidi Groover, Ansel Herz, Tim Keck, Ana Sofia Knauf, Tricia Romano, Eli Sanders, Dan Savage, Alicia Machado, Marla Maples, and Arianne Zucker. The Stranger does not endorse in uncontested races or in races we forgot.
INITIATIVES TO THE PEOPLE
Initiative Measure No. 1433
Ha ha ha. HA HA HA. You thought the first item on your ballot was going to be the presidential race? HAHAHAHAHA. No. You're gonna have to wade through nearly a dozen other items first. And you can't skip this shit, because—with the exception of two worthless "advisory votes" you're being forced to cast thanks to that worthless shitstain Tim Eyman—these things have the potential to make our state a better or worse place.
Take Initiative No. 1433. Thanks to Republicans, all recent attempts to raise the state minimum wage above the current $9.47 via legislative action have failed. I-1433 gives we, the people, the power to raise the minimum wage to $13.50 over four years—$13.50 because that's the hourly wage one needs to earn to afford rent and bare necessities, even in shitty little towns like Cle Elum and Everett and Moses Lake. (The shitty little towns we'll all be living in after everyone but Savage is finally priced out of Seattle.) This measure would also mandate that employers provide one hour of paid sick and safe time for every 40 hours worked. This is especially critical for food-service workers, who are often pushed to work while sick. (Don't want someone with walking Ebola making your burrito? You gotta vote yes on I-1433.)
Republicans are trotting out all the usual reasons to oppose this, reasons that track back to long-since-disproved Reaganomic theories that promise the sky will fall if society pays low-income workers a living wage. (Reagan was the president who kicked off the Republican Party's long war on reality—slashing taxes increases government revenues, pot smoke is more dangerous than nuclear fallout, trees cause more pollution than cars, ketchup is a vegetable, homos deserve to die—that ultimately brought us Donald Trump. #TheMoreYouKnow.) Wages for low-income workers have been stagnant for decades. This initiative would put an extra $600 a month in an estimated 730,000 people's pockets. Yes, we're already headed toward a higher minimum wage here in Seattle ($15 an hour) because we're awesome and ahead of the curve. Give a raise to the rest of the state. Vote yes on Initiative 1433.
Initiative Measure No. 1464
Remember the "Honest Elections" initiative that Seattle passed into law last year? We don't either. We endorsed the thing, but we still had to look it up in our archives. Turns out it's the one that gave everyone in the city "democracy vouchers" that they could donate to candidates they like. Think food stamps but for elections—a baby step toward public funding of campaigns and a good way to make politicians pay attention to poors.
I-1464 takes that model and applies it to the entire state.
We're usually pretty hesitant about initiatives that change the electoral system, but this one's solid—endorsed by the League of Women Voters, the Sightline Institute, and others. This initiative would also require more disclosure about who pays for political ads, prevent lobbyists and contractors from contributing to politicians, stop public officials from working as lobbyists once their terms end, and some other stuff. Finally, it closes a sales-tax exemption for out-of-state shoppers in order to fund those $150 democracy vouchers. ALL GOOD SHIT.
Surprisingly, there's not much of an anti-1464 campaign—just a rarely updated Facebook page, and whoever's running that blew off the SECB. But we did get Paul Guppy, from the conservative Washington Policy Center, to come in and make the "no" case. His argument: Don't tread on me! Also, that the initiative represents an unfair tax imposed on voters. Nobody is treading on anyone here, and this only represents a moderate tax hike on voters who live in other states, and fuck them. If you think more public financing and less big money in elections is a good thing—and you think that because we're telling you to think that and our endorsements are legally binding in thought, vote, and deed—then vote yes on I-1464.
Initiative Measure No. 1491
It's painfully obvious that our elected officials need to tighten our gun laws. It's equally obvious that they're not going to do anything about it. So the Alliance for Gun Responsibility is addressing this problem by putting Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs) on the ballot. Essentially, these are gun-violence restraining orders that could better protect victims of domestic violence and help prevent suicide.
An ERPO would allow law enforcement and the families, friends, intimate partners, and housemates of people in serious crisis to obtain a court order temporarily preventing someone from owning or buying guns for up to a year. In cases of domestic violence, police and people close to the victim could describe specific threatening behaviors as reason to temporarily remove someone's guns. In all cases, a judge would make the final decision on whether to temporarily restrict a person's gun rights.
I-1491's lone opponent, David Combs, raises concerns about vague language within the bill that he believes could lead to further stigmatization of mental illness, and he may have a point. But the SECB believes we cannot wait to take a critical step forward in protecting people from gun violence, particularly victims of domestic violence. Vote yes.
Initiative Measure No. 1501
Proponents of this initiative want you to think it's about keeping old people safe. We're not sure how the SECB would have voted if the measure were really about protecting the elderly, given that the SECB is now dominated by a millennial majority ready to burn the elderly for warmth as they huddle together in the cold, dim light of their fucked futures. But luckily we didn't have to find out! That's because this thing is really about something other than keeping old people safe: an endless grudge match between two crazed interest groups, the Service Employees International Union (usually good cray) and the anti-union wankers at the Freedom Foundation (usually bad cray).
The Freedom Foundation has been trying to contact Washington health care workers to tell them about a court ruling that said Medicaid-funded health aides don't have to pay their union dues. To do that, they want the state to give them a list of those aides. SEIU, unsurprisingly, wants to stop the Freedom Foundation from contacting its members. So the union has tried to get this information exempted from state public-disclosure rules. They've lost in court and in the state legislature, and now they're taking it to the ballot under the guise of protecting the elderly. To that alleged end, I-1501 would prohibit the release of the names of home-health-care workers—workers who, by the way, are paid with public dollars. (It would also increase the punishment for identity theft against seniors, but, again, that's not really the point of this thing.)
The SEIU are good guys and the Freedom Foundation—a bunch of free-market-fellating Republicans—are bad guys. But I-1501 is a bad idea. This initiative would chip away at our state's strong public-disclosure laws and lock information about publicly funded employees out of public view. While it includes some limited exemptions, like one for "a bona fide news organization that requests such information to conduct an investigation into, or report upon, the actions of such specific public employee(s)," that's simply not good enough. (And we're not sure "bona fide news organization" applies to The Stranger, so there's that, too.)
SEIU's initiative is a bad idea masquerading as concern for your grandma—who is a lovely person, of course, and she deserves more than the $9.47 an hour she's getting paid to work at that porn shop in Everett. (So be sure to vote yes on I-1433!) Also, this exact same fight between SEIU and the Freedom Foundation is playing out before the state supreme court as we type. Let the high court figure this one out and use the time you save to drive up to the Porn Barn in Everett to say hi to your grandma. Vote no.
INITIATIVES TO THE LEGISLATURE
Initiative Measure No. 732
If you could do something right now to fight climate change, and that something was endorsed by more than 50 climate scientists at the University of Washington, you'd do it, right? Of course you would.
You'd also do it because we told you to. But mainly, you'd do it because filling in the "yes" oval for Initiative 732 is one thing—not everything, but one important thing—that we all can do right now to keep this planet livable. This measure will levy a carbon tax on Washington's major producers of planet-warming emissions, making our state a leader in grassroots-driven efforts to combat global warming. It also will cut our regressive sales tax by 1 percent and offer up to 400,000 low-income working families a rebate of up to $1,500 a year. (The tax cutting is part of an effort to make this initiative "revenue neutral"—something we don't really give a shit about. Bring on the carbon-killing taxes, we say, no compensatory tax cuts required. But if the "revenue neutral" tag ends up helping conservative knuckle-draggers get on board with this thing, great. Also, we do love this initiative's way of getting to revenue neutrality: slicing a bit off our stupid fucking regressive sales tax, which should have been sliced away at a long time ago.)
We'll admit: Like a number of the measures we've endorsed above and below and in our past, this one is not perfect. Talk to anyone in the local environmentalist community, or to a certain four members of the SECB, and you'll hear all about the imperfections. But their opposition to this initiative basically boils down to an argument that we should wait years more to run a different sort of carbon-tax measure—one that tries to actually raise revenue so it can do more to help disadvantaged communities mitigate the effects of climate change.
Helping disadvantaged communities mitigate the effects of climate change is a worthy goal, but the idea that the only way to achieve that goal is by killing this initiative—that's bullshit, and, as alluded to above, it ends up making the perfect the enemy of the good. We don't have time to make the perfect the enemy of the good when it comes to fighting climate change, and in any case, we can come back next year, and the year after, and all the years after that and work on improving our state's funding for mitigation of climate change's ill effects (as well as funding for green energy transitions and more). For perspective on this, think of four years ago, when the liberal-slanted electorate of a presidential election year (Obama's run for his second term) helped us pass Initiative 502, our landmark, nation-leading pot legalization measure. It wasn't a perfect measure, and we've come back every year since to make it work better, but it was definitely worth acting in 2012 when the time—and the electorate—was right. The electorate is not going to be right again for acting on climate change via initiative until 2020—four years from now.
The SECB's conversations about this one weren't pretty, just like legislating by initiative isn't pretty. But sometimes you gotta stop hand-wringing, grab incremental change when you can get it, and then keep right on pushing toward perfect. Vote yes.
Initiative Measure No. 735
So many fucking initiatives.
Anyway, this one is aimed at getting the state's congressional delegation to go on record supporting a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, the infamous United States Supreme Court ruling from 2010 that opened the floodgates for unlimited, untraceable "dark money." Citizens United is one of the two most destructive Supreme Court rulings in modern history. (Shelby County v. Holder, the 2013 decision gutting the Voting Rights Act, was the other.)
It's hard to pass a federal constitutional amendment on anything. (Remember when right-wingers proposed the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would've banned same-sex marriage? Legally married same-sex couples like to use old copies of that one as cum rags on their wedding nights.) But the idea here is to get more and more lawmakers to promise to support the amendment until you hit the magic number you need. (By the way: Hillary Clinton has promised to introduce an amendment overturning Citizens United.) The debate on this initiative took place in the sweaty SECB conference room. A man wearing a purple headband brought us cookies and argued for the initiative, and Paul Guppy of the conservative Washington Policy Center was there once again to argue the socially conservative/morally bankrupt/whatever the fuck position.
Here's a fun fact about endorsement meetings: Members of the SECB get to keep their laptops open during endorsement interviews, but the people we're interviewing don't get to use devices—no phones, no computers. We tell them the SECB needs computers to take notes, and sometimes we do take notes. But just as often members of the SECB are looking at porn (Savage), looking at Snaps (millennials), or conversing with each other on Slack. Here's a partial transcript of the convo we had on Slack during this interview:
Sydney, 3:17 pm: please dear god @ansel keep this short. i cannot stand headband nor paul guppy.
Sydney, 3:18 pm: WARNING. THESE COOKIES ARE WEIRD.
Ansel, 3:19 pm: yea.
Eli, 3:19 pm: They are WEIRD. Pepper? They are spicy.
Sydney, 3:20 pm: yeah. spicy plus something else kind of savory...? am i going to die now?
Eli, 3:20 pm: GINGER. That's what's going on I think.
Sydney, 3:21 pm: too much
Eli, 3:22 pm: I am completely lost. Why are we talking about banning movies?
Sydney, 3:22 pm: paul guppy doesn't think citizens united was that bad, headband thinks it's real bad.
Eli, 3:22 pm: that I got, but how did we get to the movies???
Sydney, 3:22 pm: paul guppy likes being smarter than everyone else. and delivering lessons. on the history of things.
Eli, 3:22 pm: are the cookies giving me auditory hallucinations?
Sydney, 3:22 pm: it's possible. i think i'm seeing chemtrails
Marla, 3:23 pm: Dan, can I have my OBCR of Will Rogers Follies back, please?
Ansel, 3:24 pm: headband. so. earnest.
Sydney, 3:25 pm: TELL IT TO YOUR FRIENDS AT BURNING MAN, HEADBAND.
Eli, 3:25 pm: so much headband
Ana Sofia, 3:26 pm: i am throwing myself through the sliding door in my mind
Advisory Vote No. 14
Advisory votes don't matter. We say this to you every year, and it's true every year. Annoyed by having to cast advisory votes before you can cast the vote you're itching to cast? Blame shitstain Tim Eyman, who decided the people of this state should weigh in (in a money-wasting, nonbinding way) every time our democratically elected state representatives do something that might affect revenues for our broke-ass state—a state starved for revenue by... you guessed it... ol' shitstain himself, Tim Eyman! This particular advisory vote concerns a bill allowing Washington's health benefit exchange, commonly called Washington Healthplanfinder, to impose an assessment on family dental planszzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Again, it doesn't matter which way you vote on this. But voting "Maintained" says "fuck you" to Shitstain, so vote "Maintained."
Advisory Vote No. 15
Some more antimatter for you, courtesy of Shitstain. This is about a tax exemption for folks who buy electric cars. It was passed overwhelmingly by the state legislature. More electric cars are a good thing for our state, nation, hemisphere, and planet. Once again: Fuck Shitstain, who is a bad thing for our state. Vote maintained.
PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO THE STATE CONSTITUTION
Senate Joint Resolution No. 8210
It sounds like a bigly deal, but the only thing this amendment does is move the deadline for state legislative and congressional redistricting up by 46 days. That's it. The current redistricting deadline is January 1, a date when everyone is too hungover to pay attention to something so trivial as gerrymandering. This resolution would make the deadline November 15. Pay attention to redistricting! And to gerrymandering! Vote yes on Joint Resolution No. 8210!
King County Charter Amendments No. 1 and No. 2
We're almost there—we're almost to the races you care about. President. Governor. Congress. Light rail. But first we gotta vote on Thing 1 and Thing 2.
King County Charter Amendment No. 1 would change the charter in a way that removes partisan labels ("Democrat," "Republican," "Mars Colonial Administration Party," etc.) from the office of King County prosecutor. Our current King County prosecutor, Dan Satterberg, is pretty much a Republican in name only. (Show pitch: In Transprosecutor, Dan Satterberg plays an elected official who governs as a liberal D but identifies as an asshole R.) Removing the party labels from the office could lead Satterberg and his successors to be more independent and bold—for example, it could help them come out more strongly for stuff like Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion and safe consumption sites. Former US attorney for Western Washington and Democrat Jenny Durkan, and former King County prosecutor and Republican Christopher Bayley, author of the excellent book Seattle Justice, are not crazy people, and they're backing this thing. Vote yes.
As for Charter Amendment 2, it would make the language of the county's foundational document gender-neutral, changing markers of historic patriarchy like "councilmen" to "council member." It's 2016, guys. Vote yes.
President and Vice President of the United States
Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine
Jesus H. Christ. FINALLY. Vote for Hillary because she's not a crazy fascist racist rapist* sexist pile of orangutan shit threatening to destroy our democracy.
We suspect that's not good enough for some of our readers. So we're going to lay it out for you, Ken Bone.
First, here is a noncomprehensive list of things that Hillary Clinton supports that both Donald Trump and Gary Johnson oppose. (Don't even talk to us about Jill Stein.) Here we go: Expanding Obamacare so you don't fucking die for lack of health insurance; raising the federal minimum wage so you can afford to pay your rent after you move to Cle Elum; cutting taxes for the middle class so you can maybe afford to have a family someday; regulating Wall Street so those assholes don't wreck the US economy again; passing gun control laws so maybe you don't die in a hail of stupid bullets; using government regulation to combat climate change so that maybe you don't die in a flood or mega-hurricane; using government funding to support women's reproductive rights so that women don't have to go through crazy and dangerous hassles in order to make decisions about what goes on in their own uteruses; spending tax dollars to support green energy so that maybe we all actually have a breathable future; enforcing net neutrality so that you can stream your porn quickly and efficiently; and repealing Citizens United so that maybe we can start getting big money out of our messed-up democratic process. (Don't believe our list because we're "the media"? Well, it's not our list, asshole. We found it on Facebook, in one amazing and shareable chart, and—checkmate, motherfuckers—it's all fucking true. We checked.**) TO REPEAT: Hillary Clinton supports all of the above. Donald Trump and Gary Johnson oppose all of the above. (**With one minor, non-excusing wrinkle related to Donald Trump's position on Citizens United. Trump has never actually taken a firm position on repealing Citizens United—you're a real brave guy, Donald!—but he has hired the president of Citizens United as his deputy campaign manager. So you do the math on that one.)
Second, let's talk about character: Hillary Clinton is a liberal workaholic who lives in the fact-based universe and has a decades-long track record of getting shit done—shit that has had real, tangible benefits for working families, children, and disadvantaged communities. Gary Johnson is a gun-humping moron who believes we can solve the climate crisis by leaving planet Earth (after you, Gary), and Donald Trump is a lying, racist, women-hating sexual predator. He's also an unstable narcissist; a proto-fascist who wants to ban Muslims; a xenophobe who called Mexicans rapists; a sleazy-ass creep who brags that being a "star" allows him to "do anything" to women without their consent, including "grab them by the pussy" (which, to be clear, is sexual assault); an insecure dictator-in-waiting who recently threatened to "jail" Clinton if he wins (which, to be clear, is how people like Stalin and Mussolini and Putin have rolled); and a man so obsessed with petty grudges that he attacked Rosie O'Donnell in A FUCKING PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE. Oh, and he has a fake tan and fake hair and short, stubby fingers.
Third, in case you forgot amid all the disgusting nonsense that's become our American political discourse: Hillary Clinton would be the first woman to EVER become president of the United States. This country has been around for 240 goddamn years. It's about time, people.
Honestly, we can't really believe we're having this nightmarish conversation. A totally unqualified reality television star/unhinged bigot/admitted sexual predator has somehow managed to take over one of America's two major political parties and we don't know how this happened. Wait a second. Ha! Ha! HA! We know exactly how Donald Trump took over the Republican Party. President Obama said it best in a speech last week: "[The GOP has] been feeding their base all kinds of crazy for years... If your only agenda is either negative—negative is a euphemism, crazy—based on lies, based on hoaxes, this is the nominee you get... Don't act like this started with Donald Trump. He did take it to a whole new level. I got to give him credit. But he didn't come out of nowhere."
If you need a moment to breathe, take it now. If you need an even longer moment to climb atop your signaling soapbox and let everyone know you're extra righteous by ranting about all the mistakes Clinton's made over her decades of public service, take it now. Have at it. Get it out of your system. We'll wait right here.
Are you done?
Do you feel better?
Do you feel superior?
Good. Great. You're awesome. You're perfect. You've never made a mistake, you're always at least a decade ahead of the historical moment in which you're living, politics is easy, if you were running the world and/or the Democratic party everything would be super, and if you were the Democratic nominee you would be up by 50 points in the polls and victory would be assured. But you know what? Once you crawl back out of your own ass, you'll find that politics is super hard, you aren't running the world, and you're not the Democratic nominee. Now do the right, rational, and politically mature thing and vote Hillary Fucking Clinton.
LOL. According to a recent poll, Senator Patty Murray is up by twenty-one (count 'em!) percentage points over Chris Vance, her Republican challenger, a man very few people have heard of. This one's in the bag. Washington is as blue and awesome as Texas is red and stupid. Suck on it, Washington Republicans.
Murray is going back to DC, where she will continue to push for common-sense gun control (fuck the NRA), where she will fight to pass legislation she introduced to protect workers from wage theft (fuck wage thieves), and where she will continue to defend Planned Parenthood against right-wing efforts to defund it (fuck you, Chris Vance, for bringing Carly "Blood on Her Hands" Fiorina to Washington to campaign for you). Murray has negotiated with Senate Republicans to fund anti-Zika-virus public health efforts and wants to roll the visionary and locally successful Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program, which diverts nonviolent drug offenders into treatment, out across the country. She wants the Drug Enforcement Administration to actually study the effects of medical cannabis—which is just so cute, considering that Murray's constituents spend most of their weekends "studying" recreational cannabis.
We're excited to see what Murray can accomplish over the next four years WITH HILLARY FUCKING CLINTON in the White House. Vote Murray.
US Representative Congressional District No. 1
Suzan DelBene gave some of the snooziest testimony during our endorsement meetings, but what choice do we have? Her Republican opponent, Robert J. Sutherland, didn't show at the SECB's endorsement meeting, has never held public office, and already lost to DelBene once before, in 2014.
While we're not letting DelBene off the hook for the wishy-washy answers she gave us on taxing carbon, federal recognition for the Duwamish tribe, and drug decriminalization, we need to give some credit where credit is due. DelBene, who has a strong pro-choice voting record, sat on the Republican-organized House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives. She spent months rolling her eyes at her conservative peers and telling them to sit the fuck down when they panicked over the fake "sting" videos that supposedly showed Texas Planned Parenthood officials trying to sell "baby parts." (Carly Fiorina talked up those fake videos during Republican primary debates, insisting that they showed Planned Parenthood employees trying to sell "baby parts," and a deranged lunatic quoted Fiorina talking points after shooting up a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado, killing three and wounding nine—so fuck you again, Chris Vance, for sharing a stage with Fiorina.) We like DelBene's willingness to take on conservative fuckwits on choice and want to see less wishy-washiness from her on other issues dear to our progressive hearts. Vote DelBene.
This endorsement has been updated with—d'oh—the correct name of DelBene's general election opponent.
US Representative Congressional District No. 7
Pramila Jayapal is a grassroots organizer, and grassroots organizing is what's going to power the future of the progressive left in this country and the people united can never be defeated and don't mourn, organize, and don't boo, vote, and god damn, America!
You still with us? Good. Jayapal isn't just running to replace "liberal lion" Jim McDermott, the man who has held this seat for 27,000 years. She's running to represent uber-left Seattle on the national stage. We don't want a timid, conventional pro-business policy wonk in this position. We want someone who will take Seattle's landmark progressive accomplishments—the $15 minimum wage, secure scheduling for workers, paid sick leave, and more—and use her new national platform to push them into the political mainstream. We want someone who centers racial justice because she recognizes that a demographic revolution is taking place—it won't be long before we're a majority-minority country—and minority voters were key to the election of Barack Obama and they will be key to winning progressive majorities in political chambers large and small all across the country.
Jayapal already has a wealth of relevant experience: She spearheaded a voter registration drive for thousands of immigrants as the head of OneAmerica, getting them involved in the political process and building a multiracial Democratic coalition right here in Washington state. She's been called "the next Elizabeth Warren" because of her reputation as a fighter. She's even demonstrated the courage to take on her own party when it goes astray: As a state senator, she stood up to more senior Democrats in her chamber who tried to push through a destructive law backed by predatory payday lenders. Jayapal lost that fight; the bill passed the senate despite her opposition. (Though it went on to fail in the state house.) Still, we like Jayapal's willingness to buck her party when it's wrong, and we believe she can play a key role in holding Hillary Clinton's neoconservative tendencies and her closeness-to-Wall-Street in check.
Her rival, Brady Walkinshaw, is not a timid, conventional pro-business policy wonk. He is a passionately progressive Democrat who also looks like the future of the party. (Yo! Brady! Run for mayor!) We have him to thank for Seattle beat cops being able to use naloxone to stop heroin overdoses on Seattle streets. Walkinshaw has literally saved lives. And there are some issues on which you—like a number of SECB members—might prefer Walkinshaw to Jayapal. For example, while speaking about the controversial plan to build a new juvenile detention center in Seattle, Walkinshaw told the SECB that we should immediately implement a "zero juvenile incarceration" policy and do nothing to improve this city's current, dilapidated juvie. “By building it we continue to facilitate it," Walkinshaw told us. While Jayapal strongly supports the long-term aim of zero juvenile incarceration and opposes a new juvie, she says the "horrible" conditions in the current juvie necessitate improvements to the structure. "I’m for revamping whatever existing thing we have to make those spaces better,” she told us. Also: Walkinshaw is for I-732, the measure to implement a carbon tax in Washington State; Jayapal is opposed to I-732.
But Walkinshaw doesn't have the potential we see in Jayapal. And as Capitol Hill's state representative, Walkinshaw endorsed Pamela Banks, the challenger trying to unseat the popular, indispensable Kshama Sawant from the Seattle City Council (Jayapal endorsed Sawant in that race). In addition, when Walkinshaw visited the SECB, he was clearly repeating some pretty-sounding things he'd been told to say by his consultants—stuff about urbanism and mass transit—and while that was stuff we wanted to hear, Walkinshaw just wasn't as on-point when asked about other issues.
This endorsement has been updated to 1) more accurately reflect the candidates' positions on the juvie and 2) correct an error in our description of Jayapal's state senate record. We initially wrote that Jayapal "won" a fight in the state senate against a bad payday lending bill. In fact, she lost that particular fight.
US Representative Congressional District No. 8
Weirdest. Race. Ever. Democrat Tony Ventrella, the former KING 5 TV sportscaster, jumped into this race to take down Eastside Republican congressman/empty suit/empty head Dave Reichert until, not too long before the primary election, Ventrella dropped out for "personal reasons." But it was too late to take Ventrella's name off the primary ballot. He received more than 22,000 votes—the most of any Reichert challenger—and Ventrella's zombie candidacy lumbered on to November. Ventrella told people he wasn't running and asked anyone thinking about making a donation to him to send their money to charities instead. Then Ventrella apparently figured that taking the 8th Congressional District seat away from an anti-choice, pro-gun moron would be a charitable act. So, as of this writing, Ventrella is on the ballot (still) and actually running for Congress (again). A giant anti-Trump wave could help this zombie candidate oust Reichert in November. Pop some popcorn and vote Ventrella.
US Congressional District No. 9
WE KNOW! We're endorsing an incumbent, lily-white government official to represent the most diverse district in the state. While we're not super stoked about that—#CongressSoWhite—we didn’t really have an option. Smith’s challenger, Doug Basler, a Christian radio talk show host who ran and lost against Smith in 2014, didn’t come in to make his case. (To make up for it, we're endorsing Pramila Jayapal in the 7th, a lily-white-ish district that Jayapal, a person of color, doesn't actually live in. So cut us some slack, okay?) Smith isn't perfect. He gave us a bullshit excuse for his "no" vote on a weapons amendment that would have blocked transferring devastating cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia. But aside from that major fuck-up, Smith has actively worked to build up communities of color during his 19 years in Congress. He's introduced legislation to improve conditions for detainees at the Northwest Detention Center, ensured local Somalis could send remittances to their families back home, and supports an initiative to make it easier to prosecute police for unjustified use of deadly force. Reelect Smith.
This endorsement has been updated with—double d'oh—the correct name of Smith's general election opponent.
Jay Inslee isn't exactly a rock-throwing, kayak-paddling, oligarchy-smashing progressive radical. But he is a solid Democrat who does his best to make change. And his Republican opponent, Bill Bryant, is a fucking moron.
Bryant, who previously held a position as Seattle port commissioner, only decided to say he wouldn't be voting for Donald Trump a year into the brazenly racist, sexist, and Islamophobic candidate's campaign—long after Trump had reenergized America's dormant white supremacist right with a number of positions and statements that should have disqualified him at the outset.
Bryant says he cares about protecting Puget Sound, but his record shows that he's championed companies and causes that do anything but. One of his biggest financial backers is SSA Marine, the same company that tried to build the biggest coal export terminal in North America at Cherry Point, near Bellingham. (Thanks, Lummi Nation, for saving our asses on that one.) Other notable problems: As port commissioner, Bill led the effort to strip artifacts from the Duwamish Tribe that the port had been holding in trust. Not okay. The guy is also against the minimum wage initiative and against the Sound Transit 3 expansion, and he's been making unrealistic promises to suburban Republicans about how he's going to magically dissolve traffic.
In contrast, Jay Inslee managed to pass a $16.1 billion transportation package through our notoriously gridlocked state legislature, and he has legitimately good ideas regarding climate policy. His plan to funnel money from the state's biggest carbon polluters to our underfunded education system failed because of idiot senate Republicans who don't believe that climate change is real, but Inslee didn't give up: He boldly used his executive authority—like Obama did!—to create a regulatory cap on carbon emissions that takes effect in 2017. Meanwhile, Bill Bryant is a lying shit who's happy to toss the state Republican Party's salad while simultaneously pretending he doesn't endorse his party's toxic values.
Inslee is a solid progressive hamstrung by a Republican-dominated state senate. We're rooting for a different senate after November 8, and we're looking forward to what Inslee does next. Vote Inslee.
According to The Google—ALL HAIL—our lieutenant governor is a freaky mash-up of a public office. It's a legislative-executive hybrid who presides over the state senate, figures out which bills move forward, heads up a committee on economic development and international relations, and fills in for our governor when they're out of state. State senator Cyrus Habib wants to use the office to advocate for causes he's passionate about, such as getting K–12 public schools fully funded, per the state supreme court's McCleary ruling. One of the best parts of the gig is that the LG has a bully pulpit—which could be used to put a check on Republicans, Habib told the SECB. Sitting lieutenant governor Brad Owen, who has publicly stated he's no fan of Habib's activist intentions, is not running for reelection. (THANK GOD—Owen's a tool.) Instead, Habib is running against Marty McClendon, a pastor, a conservative talk-show host, and—surprise!—a Donald Trump supporter. (Whose Pussy Would Jesus Grope, Pastor Marty?) Habib, who is blind, is the son of Iranian immigrants and he isn't voting for Donald Fucking Trump. In his two years in the state senate, Habib made waves with his support for improved political representation for minorities, improving education access for students with disabilities, and paid sick leave. Habib belongs in the LG's bully pulpit and McClendon isn't fit to occupy the pulpit he already has. Vote Habib.
Secretary of State
Since we first endorsed Tina Podlodowski in the August primary election, her opponent, Republican Kim Wyman, has started to look even sketchier. In addition to aligning herself with the same party being helmed by Racist Rapist* Cheeto Jesus, state attorney general Bob Ferguson's office has received complaints that Wyman's campaign may have violated state campaign-finance laws by repeatedly submitting disclosure reports past their due dates. Another strike against Wyman, who happens to be the only Republican currently holding statewide office: She opposed the Washington Voting Rights Act in 2012 and, according to the Seattle Times, did not weigh in on the bill in 2016, deciding to leave it up to the legislature instead. The bill, which would've repaired voting systems that don't provide fair representation to minorities, failed for the fourth year in a row this year. Fuuuuuuck that. The Secretary of State's primary job is to oversee elections, and Podlodowski, a former Seattle City Council member, says she would fight for postage-free ballots (YES!), same-day registration, and work to make sure the voices of people of color are heard through the electoral process. "If [supporting] the Voting Rights Act is not the job of the secretary of state," asks Podlodowski, "then what the heck is?" Damn right. Vote Podlodowski.
SHOCKER, SIREN, MUST CREDIT DRUDGE: LIBTARD SEATTLE PAPER WRITTEN BY DEGENERATE CUCKS ENDORSES REPUBLICAN!
We didn't have a choice. Two Republicans made it through the primary in this race, and we didn't find the write-in candidate, who at the time was a Bernie-or-Buster, to be a credible candidate for this office. So we settled on the Republican who sucked less: soft-spoken, mild-mannered Duane Davidson, who has served as Benton County treasurer for nearly two decades. In truth, he's a bit of a conundrum. While he has the relevant experience and the willingness to make the state treasurer's office an Agenda-Free Instrument of the People, Davidson doesn't just align himself with the political party being led (hopefully off a cliff) by Donald "Embodiment of Rape Culture" Trump. He actually told the SECB he plans to vote for Trump, too.
That admission brought our meeting to a screeching halt. Everyone—including his opponents—began trying to persuade the otherwise seemingly reasonable Davidson that voting for Trump was the worst idea ever.
Eric Miller, the write-in Berniecrat candidate (who we encourage to run again for some other public office), looked heartbroken by Davidson's confession. His young son, he explained in a choked-up voice, is interracial—African American, Pacific Islander, and white. "When Trump got into the race, he came home from school [and said] he started having students ask him if he was going to get deported," Miller said. Later, his son showed him his pale belly to prove he really was part white. That moment, Miller said, changed him, and "is definitely the reason I'll end up voting for Hillary Clinton."
Even Republican Michael Waite, an Australian immigrant who is the only other viable candidate in this race, said that although he's not a GOP voter's idea of an immigrant, he can't tolerate Trump's blatant xenophobia. "I'm an immigrant, so I take offense to that shit, too," he said. "[Trump's] language can't be interpreted in any other way."
For an SECB meeting—meetings that are held in a windowless, wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling carpeted hellhole—this was an incredibly human and uplifting moment.
Davidson's reaction after more heckling from SECB members? He relented a bit: "You got me thinking," he said to the SECB and his opponents. "You've given me a lot of food for thought, okay?" He even admitted that, while sitting in The Stranger's lobby before our meeting, his father called, trying to persuade him to vote for Clinton. "I have to do more research," he told us.
So where is he a month later? When we followed up with Davidson in early October, after Trump's groper tape came out, Davidson wouldn't talk on the record about the presidential race. Afraid to piss us off by telling us he's still voting for Trump? Or afraid to piss Republican voters off by telling us he's voting for Clinton? We can't say. We can say Davidson is still a better choice for state treasurer than his only credible opponent, who happens to be an investment-firm vice president who opposes a capital gains tax on multimillion-dollar corporations. After we called Waite "the evil human version of the Geico Gecko," Waite thought it would be cute to gift the SECB with a bobblehead of the little green fella. (And it was! Thanks, Mike!) But bribes don't always work on us, Waite, particularly inedible ones. Hold your nose and vote Davidson.
Pat (Patrice) McCarthy
Democrat Troy Kelley left the State Auditor's office a smoldering ruin when he was booted after being federally indicted for possessing stolen property, money laundering, and perjuring himself in connection with his real-estate business earlier this year. Democrat Pat McCarthy is the woman to restore integrity to the office, which investigates the state government for fraud and waste of public resources. As a Pierce County executive, McCarthy has managed a larger staff and exponentially larger budget than what she'd deal with in the state auditor's office. Her opponent is Republican senator Mark Miloscia, who has voted against plans to expand light rail across Seattle and sponsored the failed anti-trans "bathroom bill," which would have barred transgender people from using restrooms that correspond with their gender. Fuck. That. Dude.
While McCarthy might not have the same passion for whistle-blowing as good ol' Jeff Sprung (who we endorsed in the primary election, to no avail—ARE YOU NOT LISTENING TO US, EVERYONE EVERYWHERE IN THE STATE???), she is committed to restoring order to the besmirched auditor's office in Kelley's wake. And, while she may not have been the most exciting person to interview, at least she thought to bribe us with—local!—Almond Roca. Yes, they look like little foil-wrapped cat turds, but they're pretty yummy for something that so closely resembles little foil-wrapped cat turds. Vote McCarthy.
Bob Ferguson is the nicest, friendliest top prosecutor anywhere. He's like the neighborhood dad at the end of the suburban cul-de-sac who wears a sweater vest and always offers to mow your lawn when you're going on vacation—he's like Ned Flanders from the Simpsons, minus the glasses and the Christian bent, or the nice guy no one in the neighborhood suspected of being a serial killer. But whether he's Flanders or the BTK Killer, as Washington attorney general this dude is bringing the force of the law down hard on the state's most powerful entities, including Comcast, which he sued in August for $100 million over deceptive business practices. (For the record: We don't get a serial-killer vibe from Ferguson at all. But that's kind of serial-killer-vibey itself, right?) Ferguson has also spearheaded the push for an assault-weapons ban in Washington State because, as he told the SECB, "no one else was doing it." Ferguson is willing to take on the cops, too—he told the SECB he favors changing the state's extreme law on deadly force, which currently makes it virtually impossible to hold cops accountable when they kill people without proper justification.
A former King County Council member, Ferguson is endorsed by NARAL, Planned Parenthood, the Sierra Club, and lots of unions. He's also an internationally rated chess master. His opponent is Josh Turnbull, a Libertarian with "absolutely no political experience," according to Turnbull's own candidate filing. Vote Ferguson.
Commissioner of Public Lands
Hilary Franz may seem normal at first, but if you get her talking about public lands, sustainability, urban sprawl, and climate change, she turns into ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE HULK. In a good way. A great way. Franz is the executive director of statewide environmental group Futurewise, wants to invest in clean-energy jobs, and opposes dangerous crude-by-rail transport. She fucking gets it. Her opponent, Steve McLaughlin, on the other hand, supported the Bundy ranchers' armed standoff with the federal government, is listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an extremist, and believes in the Tea Party's wacky conspiracy theory that the UN is trying to take over America with mass transit and bike lanes. (Seriously, just Google "Agenda 21.") This dude is terrifying AND he wants to "reopen" the shuttered Gateway Pacific Terminal coal export project out of Bellingham—the same project that the Army Corps of Engineers shut down over Lummi treaty rights. This guy is nuts. In a bad way. You must vote for Hilary Franz.
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Do you want an evangelical Christian running the state's school system? Of course not. But that's what we'll be getting if Erin Jones wins this race.
We initially endorsed Jones for the August 2 primary because she's a career educator who has worked for the state school system, and because she seemed like the right person to lead on racial equity for students. But by the end of August, we'd learned about an obscure questionnaire on a right-wing blog in which Jones made alarming comments about new educational standards related to vulnerable LGBTQ youth—progressive curriculums designed to teach all kids about gender and sexuality. (In another questionnaire, Jones put "God" first, ahead of the Constitution and the Supreme Court and Congress, in a ranking of whose authority is highest.) In an August 25 interview with The Stranger, Jones refused to answer the question of whether being gay is a sin. In another interview later that day, this one with Equal Rights Washington (ERW), she described having an LGBTQ identity as a "lifestyle." ERW announced five days later it couldn't support Jones. "The future of our kids is too important," said Monisha Harrell, the group's board chair.
Then came a pattern of dissembling: Jones apologized and said on her Facebook page being gay isn't a sin, but simultaneously sent another message to donors, taking no responsibility and accusing the SECB of twisting her words. She blamed our reporting on her opponent, Chris Reykdal—he had nothing to do with it—and went on a right-wing radio show to accuse us of tokenizing her. Her proof? We'd mentioned the historical significance of her candidacy: Jones, if she won, would be the first African American woman elected to statewide office. But Jones herself made this one of the central themes of her campaign. She made it the focal point of her closing statement to the SECB, which we have on tape.
While we understand the case Jones makes for representation in education leadership, we can't support electing someone with views so dangerous to LGBTQ students to the highest position in the state school system.
Chris Reykdal, is a state representative, former history teacher, and Tumwater school board member who grew up in poverty and attended Washington public schools (unlike Jones). Reykdal also filled out that right-wing questionnaire, and his answer was definitive: "The standards do not promote cross-dressing and other fabrications of the extreme right," he wrote. "They teach gender identity and self awareness. These are good things not to be vilified."
There are other good reasons to vote for Reykdal: He's strongly opposed to charter schools (i.e., attempts to divert resources away from our badly underfunded public schools and into privatized schools backed by billionaires), he's supported by the unions representing Washington's teachers, he's promised to defend the right of parents to opt their kids out of excessive standardized testing, and he's promised to run every school policy he promulgates through a racial-equity analysis. "Embracing diversity is not an exercise in being color blind," he says. "Quite the opposite; it is absolutely about seeing color, seeing diversity, seeing barriers."
Vote for the progressive educator without any anti-gay/anti-trans fundamentalist Christian baggage in this race. Vote for Reykdal.
Democrat Mike Kreidler has spent the last 16 years in the insurance commissioner's office—which has gotta make him eligible for some wonk medal of valor—and he's been using the time to get shit done to protect Washingtonians from getting screwed by faceless health-insurance corporations. In the early aughts, Kreidler mandated that insurance companies cover women's contraceptives along with other prescription drugs. Then, in 2014, he laughed in the faces of bigoted insurers and banned them from refusing health-care coverage to transgender people, which was critical for those seeking transition-related medical treatment as well as mental-health services. Hell. Fucking. Yes. Kreidler's opponent is Republican Snohomish County fire commissioner Richard Schrock. He's running as a "progressive" Republican, but we already have an actual progressive in this office. Reelect Kreidler.
Legislative District No. 11, State Senator
In 2013, during his very first state senate term, Hasegawa, a longtime labor organizer and social justice advocate, voted against $8.7 billion in tax breaks for Boeing. He was one of only two state senators who voted against the gargantuan tax break, which was the largest tax break given to any private company by any state in American history. Hasegawa supports a capital gains tax, has been an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ Washingtonians, and successfully pushed for the legislature to figure out a way to add racial impact statements to proposed bills. He also supports the signature-gathering campaign for I-873, the ballot initiative that would make it easier to hold cops accountable for unjustified homicides.
His opponent, Dennis Price, is a libertarian who believes the "government is a major contributor to the pollution of our environment." Not the energy corporations that handed us an unprecedented social and ecological disaster of global scale,
Dennis? Not the energy corporations that only GOVERNMENT has the ability to regulate, Dennis? Bye, Dennis. Vote Hasegawa.
Legislative District No. 11, Representative Position No. 1
It's hard to get excited about State Representative Zack Hudgins, a solid Democrat who's been pushing for good stuff like automatic voter registration and breakfast for low-income students, only to get most of it blocked by Republicans. But Hudgins's challenger is a no-name Republican who wouldn't talk to the SECB, took campaign cash from the Gun Owners Action League of Washington, backs Bill Bryant for governor, and opposes income and capital gains taxes. Fuck you, No Name Republican. We're voting Hudgins.
Flip the State Senate!
Legislative District No. 17, State Senator: Tim Probst
Legislative District No. 25, State Senator: Karl Mecklenburg
Legislative District No. 28, State Senator: Marisa Peloquin
Legislative District No. 41, State Senator: Lisa Wellman
You're voting the straight Stranger ticket, you're sending hardcore progressives to Olympia, and you're feeling pretty good about yourself. Sorry, but not enough. The state senate is controlled right now by a bunch of Republican dickheads. Some of them claim to be "moderates," but they all caucus together—so these so-called "moderates" are helping to block good stuff (voting rights) while giving a platform to bad stuff (anti-trans bathroom bullshit). We've got to do what we can to turn these assholes out of office. Even if you aren't voting in their districts, you can volunteer, phone-bank, send money, and—most importantly—harass friends and family who do live in their districts. If we elect Democrats in these four state senate races, we'll have a Dem-controlled senate that will actually be receptive to things like voting rights, doing something about climate change, and raising needed revenue to fix our criminally underfunded public schools. Vote Probst, Mecklenburg, Peloquin, and Wellman—and, like we said, if you can't vote in their districts, then phone-bank, send money, or harass your friends and family.
Legislative District No. 32, Representative Position No. 1
State representative Cindy Ryu supports safe consumption sites for drug users, upzoning in urban areas to create more dense, affordable housing, and a capital gains tax to fund education. She strongly opposes charter schools. To boot, she was the first Korean American female mayor in the country, and she made that history after immigrating to the United States as a child. Her opponent in this race is a Republican who so seriously lacks credibility that we're not even gonna type his name. Vote Ryu.
Legislative District No. 32, Representative Position No. 2
Ruth Kagi is an establishment Democrat who has served in the state house, representing Shoreline's 32nd District, for 18 years. Based on the 65 percent of the vote she won in the primary, we assume she's going to be reelected. There's really no other choice. Her opponent, Republican David Schirle, texted his platform to the SECB instead of e-mailing like a respectable human being. That platform went like this: "Individual freedom and limited government." Later, also via text, he added: "So no grand platform with 'new' laws. Nor the lie about how I will change 'things.'" You can suck our "things," Schirle, because we're voting Kagi.
Legislative District No. 34, Representative Position No. 1
Eileen L. Cody
Eileen Cody is a Group Health nurse and a solid progressive. She's represented West Seattle in the state house for more than two decades and—bonus—she actually has an idea about how to fund public education: a capital gains tax! She's also fought against funding charter schools, has supported compensation for the wrongfully incarcerated, and has successfully changed the law to treat substance-abuse disorders like mental-health problems. Cody's opponent is a 19-year-old Republican whose main preoccupation is reducing the deficit in a state that already criminally underfunds education. He seems sweet. And clueless. And misguided. Vote Cody.
Legislative District No. 34, Representative Position No. 2
We've said it before and we'll say it again, Joe: Call us. Let's get together, dive into some state budget docs. Maybe on a late night when you're feeling particularly tense? When a back rub might make you feel better?
Bow chikka wow wow.
The SECB's crush on Fitzgibbon has endured even as new SECB members have come and gone. But all SECB members past and present agree that Joe Fitzgibbon is the dreamiest lawmaker in Olympia. Like hot people everywhere, he has disappointed us sometimes—in his first state house term, Fitz voted for the Boeing tax breaks and doesn't seem to regret it—but he has spent most of his time doing good stuff, like sponsoring legislation limiting carbon emissions, trying to require insurers to cover abortion, and being super hot. His opponent is a moron who wore a "Make America Great Again" hat into our office and actually said "all guns matter." Out loud. Vote Fitzgibbon.
Legislative District No. 37, Representative Position No. 1
Sharon Tomiko Santos
We love Sharon. Her husband, revered International District community leader "Uncle" Bob Santos, recently passed away, but in the midst of mourning, Tomiko Santos still met with the SECB. Her record? Thoroughly progressive. She refused vote for the big Boeing tax break, helped create the task force that's supposed to recommend a path to reforming our state's extreme law on unjustified police killings, and sponsored bills to help ex-cons reintegrate into society. Her opponent, a "nonpartisan" named John Dickinson, came into the SECB meeting and passed out shrooms and pamphlets full of sexually explicit cartoons. Vote Tomiko Santos.
Legislative District No. 37, Representative Position No. 2
Eric Pettigrew did not come to our SECB interview. Perplexed, the SECB flipped back to our endorsements issue from 2014, in which we called Representative Eric Pettigrew, who has been in the legislature for 14 years, a "turd that swirls around in your toilet." Maybe that was it?
Representative Pettigrew, if you're reading, we're sorry. Not okay. Come sit down with us and we'll talk issues! (You can talk to us about our issues, too!) Because we still do have quite a few issues with your actions in Olympia. You tried to loosen payday-lending regulations, you've been a champion for unconstitutional charter schools, and you've consistently catered to the rightist left. While we don't consider your challenger credible enough to endorse, we'd really, really, really like it if someone else from the Rainier Valley, which is full of political talent, ran against you next time. Somebody, maybe, with politics that better reflect the values of this district. But until something better comes along: Vote Pettigrew.
Legislative District No. 43, Representative Position No. 1
This is an easy one. You live on Capitol Hill. You want a fearless progressive representing you in Olympia. You want someone who understands this state's homelessness crisis, someone who supports increased density and transit, someone who will be a passionate voice on the left. (Maybe you even want to send a woman to the state legislature, where only 34 percent of lawmakers are women.) Macri, deputy director of the Downtown Emergency Services Center, is your pick. Her opponent, lawyer Dan Shih, has a solid résumé and agrees with Macri on many of the big issues. But he doesn't have the same grasp on the state's homelessness crisis or the same strong record of fearlessly fighting on behalf of vulnerable people in the public arena and winning. Vote Macri.
Legislative District No. 46, Representative Position No. 1
Gerry Pollet is a principled Democrat who we once called an "abrasive liberal dickhead." That remains true. In the state house, Pollet has courageously led opposition within the Democratic Party to charter schools—calling out his own colleagues for their spinelessness. He's also sponsored bills to strengthen mental-health and chemical-dependency programs, and he's challenged Seattle mayor Ed Murray to push for real transparency and openness in how police body-camera footage is used. His opponent, libertarian hottie Stephanie Heart Viskovich, did not respond to the SECB's invitation, has no political experience, and offers no discernible platform on her Facebook page. Vote Pollet.
STATE SUPREME COURT
Justice Position No. 1
Bored? We were too, and then we sat down with supreme court justice Mary Yu and got a desperately needed jump-start to SECB members' hearts, which, after so many candidate interviews, had slowed to near-death rates.
No, it wasn't just because we didn't have to spend an hour listening to her opponent David DeWolf, a retired Gonzaga University law professor, blather on about why public school teachers should be able to teach the theory of "intelligent design" instead of evolution. (DeWolf failed to show.) It's because Yu, the first openly gay person and first woman of color to serve on the state supreme court, is a total badass.
Since joining the court in 2014, Yu has been vocal about the need for diverse judges and jurors and has been steadfast in her support for her colleagues' much-criticized 2012 McCleary ruling—the one about our criminal underfunding of public education. Yu floored us when she talked about reforming our juvenile detention system. "When you start to dream and have a vision, it ought to be big and ought to be broad," she told us. SECB members nearly swooned when she suggested that the state should approach reform with the goal of zero incarceration. Rather than putting nonviolent kids behind bars, Yu said legislators should focus on giving misdemeanants access to crisis and mental-health-care intervention. Are you swooning yet? Retain Justice Yu.
Justice Position No. 5
Back during the primary, we wrote two things about Barbara Madsen: "Fuck Madsen" and "Vote Madsen." We stand by both. In 2006, Madsen defended the state's anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act, arguing the state was entitled to believe limiting marriage to straight couples was "essential to the survival of the human race and furthers the well-being of children." For that, fuck her. Fuck her forever. But you still have to vote for her. That's because conservative initiative swindler Tim Shitstain Eyman is on a mission to unseat judges like Madsen and stack the Washington State supreme court with his friends. Madsen's opponent is Greg Zempel, a Shitstain-backed prosecutor who claims the court is too "political" and "unpredictable." Madsen, meanwhile, is part of a bench that has ruled the state is criminally underfunding basic education and has repeatedly struck down Eyman's unconstitutional anti-tax initiatives. Vote Madsen.
Justice Position No. 6
Charles (Charlie) Wiggins
Justice Charles Wiggins isn't just passionate about colorful bow ties. He's also dedicated his life to the law, serving on the state supreme court for almost six years and spending more than two decades working at nearly every level of the court system. His passion for justice is especially clear in State v. Saintcalle, a 2013 case in which Wiggins stated the court's support for reforming the jury-selection process after a black juror was struck from the jury pool that was overseeing a black defendant's murder trial. "It is crucial that we have meaningful and effective procedures for identifying racially motivated juror challenges," Wiggins wrote. "Racial discrimination in the qualification or selection of jurors offends the dignity of persons and the integrity of the courts." Standing ovation, anyone? Wiggins's opponent is Judge Dave Larson, who presides over the Federal Way municipal court. Although there's nothing inherently bad about Larson, he lacks Wiggins's decades of legal experience and didn't show up to offer the SECB any reasons why Wiggins needs to be replaced. Vote Wiggins.
Judge Position No. 14
Nicole Gaines Phelps
Judge Nicole Gaines Phelps is an administrative law judge with a 20-year record of kicking ass and taking names. At the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, where she worked for nine years, Gaines Phelps won a landmark domestic violence decision that was later upheld by the US Supreme Court. Gaines Phelps is also a longtime civil rights leader, and helped create the state Task Force on Race and Washington's Criminal Justice System. As former president of the Loren Miller Bar Association, a civil rights law group, Gaines Phelps even took the rare and bold step of publicly challenging the statements of two sitting Washington State supreme court justices who said that African Americans are incarcerated at higher rates simply because they commit more crimes. We need Gaines Phelps to continue to kick ass on the King County superior court, where her passion for racial and restorative justice will have especially profound impacts. GO GAINES PHELPS!
Judge Position No. 26
David Keenan's résumé is so deep, it'll make your head spin. He's an attorney at a high-powered law firm called Orrick, he's been in the trenches on police reform as a Seattle Community Police Commission member, and he's the board president for the Northwest Justice Project, which represents indigent clients. Oh, and he's been endorsed by the entire Washington State supreme court. As a child whose parents struggled with poverty and crime, Keenan and his family experienced King County's justice system firsthand. He knows from personal experience that the system could work better and he plans to use his position as judge to advocate for these fixes: cutting down on the use of cash bail so that people aren't incarcerated for being poor, eliminating most onerous monetary penalties on defendants, known as "legal financial obligations," and diverting more juvenile offenders away from jail. "My family has a tortured history with King County superior court," he told the SECB, "[even if] I know as a white male, I had plenty of unearned advantages and second chances." (ALSO! He once dressed up as Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg for Halloween. We have the pictures, and he totally pulled it off.) His opponent is attorney John O'Rourke, a feisty small-town lawyer who should stay in his small town and keep being feisty. Vote Keenan.
Judge Position No. 31
Helen Halpert has been a judge on the King County superior court for 17 years. This year, bankruptcy lawyer Marc Stern decided to run against her because he disagreed with a decision she made on one of his cases. Stern tried to explain why he was so passionate about this one case to the SECB multiple times, but his explanation was so boring and the issue so trivial that the entire SECB started discussing our lunch options on Slack. Halpert's received enough positive ratings from local bar associations to assure us she's not terrible, but Stern, when asked about whether he thought Washington should have an affirmative-consent law, told us about one experience he had with an ex-girlfriend where she said "no" but then explained she meant "maybe," causing the SECB to lose its collective appetite. Vote Halpert.
Judge Position No. 44
The racial inequities in our criminal justice system have been well documented, and man oh man are things fucked. Take one small step toward un-fucking them by electing Cathy Moore to the King County superior court. Moore is devoted to increasing equity in the courtroom. As a judge, she says she would set a "no tolerance policy" for the "dog whistle" language used by some prosecutors, and she believes judges and juries should go through implicit bias training. On the superior court—which handles family law, juvenile justice, and mental health cases along with violent felonies—those are key values. Moore's opponent, Eric Newman, is an impressive lawyer with judicial experience but didn't offer many new ideas. Vote Moore.
Judge Position No. 52
Anthony Gipe almost lost the SECB's endorsement when we noticed on his campaign website that he identifies as "a self-described 'foodie.'" But the self-described assholes on the SECB are gonna let that slide. While both candidates in this race are qualified for the job—both are rated "well qualified" or "exceptionally well qualified" by multiple bar associations in the state—Gipe stands out over his opponent, Kristin Richardson, thanks to his experience in civil practice and his willingness to be skeptical of law enforcement. Richardson is a county prosecutor who too eagerly defended law enforcement and the prosecutor's office, including on their handling of sexual assault. A practicing lawyer who helped found QLAW, the LGBT bar association of Washington, Gipe has the right experience and perspective for the job. Vote Gipe.
Judge Position No. 53
Kudos to Judge Mariane Spearman for not becoming a jaded asshole despite serving eight years on the King County superior court—and 13 years in county district courts and Kirkland municipal courts before that. Spearman's earned her stripes overseeing cases ranging from child custody hearings to big murder trials. Last year, she won environmentalists' hearts by allowing their case against the Port of Seattle for hosting Shell Oil's Arctic drilling fleet to proceed.
Her opponent is Thomas Cline, an infuriatingly long-winded lawyer whom the King County Bar Association rated as "not qualified." Cline, it appears, got into the race because he's bitter about Spearman ordering him to pay $2,200 in legal fees in a past case. (Dude. Get over it.)
Aside from having the saintlike patience to deal with Cline during our meeting, Spearman is the only Asian woman on the bench and she's passionate about creating a diverse judiciary and juries that reflect the communities the courts serve. As a member of the Judicial Institute, she works to mentor and train attorneys of color interested in serving on the bench. "Hardly ever, I'll see a black [juror]. I can't imagine how disheartening that must feel for a black defendant," she told the SECB. We couldn't agree more. Vote Spearman.
Southwest Electoral District, Judge Position No. 3
Both of the candidates in this race are well qualified and have good intentions, but the incumbent, Laurel Gibson, deserves to keep her seat. Appointed to the court this spring, Gibson has been rated "well qualified" or "exceptionally well qualified" by six legal groups across the state. She's worked as a public defender, administrative law judge, and advocate for people with disabilities, and she's racked up endorsements from district court, municipal court, and superior court judges. She's promising to use her knowledge and connections in the social-service world to help defendants get access to treatment and other needed services. Gibson's opponent, Brian Todd, calls her a "public safety disaster," but can't back up that claim. He has less relevant experience, fewer endorsements, and no campaign contributions. Vote Gibson.
City of Seattle, Initiative No. 124
Half of all Seattle hotel workers surveyed report experiencing sexual harassment or assault on the job. Fifty-two housekeepers reported 262 total incidents, including being flashed, groped, and asked for sexual favors. That harassment disproportionately hits women and people of color. Of non-management hotel workers, a majority are immigrants and people of color, according to Puget Sound Sage. More than 80 percent of housekeepers are women.
Hotel work requires being alone in confined spaces doing the backbreaking work of cleaning rooms or the potentially creepy work of serving people in their rooms. Initiative 124 would help mitigate those risks. The measure would require hotels with 60 or more rooms to offer workers panic buttons, ban guests whom employees accuse of sexual harassment or assault, and protect workers' jobs if the hotel transfers ownership. Hotels with 100 or more rooms would have to follow those rules as well as limit the amount of floor space housekeepers must clean and pay low-wage employees an insurance stipend.
The opposition claims the initiative is an effort to achieve unionization of Seattle hotels (sounds great to us!) and would be a burden for management. We're not buying it. We will say that there's a lot going on here for one initiative, we're concerned that guests accused of harassment don't have a path for appeal, and there's the possibility this could get picked apart by the courts. But the benefits here far outweigh the risks and hotel workers deserve these protections. Vote yes.
Sound Transit, Proposition No. 1
LAST ONE and then you're done! And holy fuck is this one important. If passed, this package (known as ST3 because it's the third—and biggest, and best—of its kind) will massively expand our current light rail system, sending lines to Ballard, West Seattle, Everett, Issaquah, Redmond, and Tacoma. It will also expand Sounder commuter rail service and extend bus service to Renton and Kirkland. The average adult in the region will pay $169 more per year in new property, sales, and car-tab taxes than they're paying now. That's just $14 a month or $28 for a two-person household for an awful lot of mass transit awesomeness.
This must happen. You gotta vote for this one. Gotta. And you know the reasons for this already, right? More light rail will help us fight climate change. It will encourage density near transit. It will give those who do have cars an alternative to sitting in traffic. It will make the region more accessible for low-income people. As the city of Seattle gets more expensive, giving people who live on the outskirts of town, where rents are lower, a decent way to get around will help stop the region from becoming a place where only rich techies and trust-fund baristas can live.
You will hear a lot of bullshit from the opposition. We don't have the space for it all here, but trust us that it's all complete fucking bullshit.
They say buses can do the same thing light rail can do. Buses are cheaper than trains, sure, but they'll be stuck in traffic until we take lanes away from cars—something that has never proven politically feasible. So: Bullshit.
They say ST3 will take too long. More bullshit. The long timelines are conservative estimates from Sound Transit and can be sped up with federal money and cooperation from city government. Sound Transit is doing the admirable if politically risky thing here: under-promising with the expectation of over-delivering.
They say it's not worth doing because it won't fix congestion. Bullshit. Not everyone driving cars today will switch to light rail, but if you think the Puget Sound region is a clusterfuck of traffic now, imagine adding 800,000 new people—the number local economists expect by 2040—to our choked roads without providing an alternative to driving. And, we're sorry, but this is a city. The days when you could drive through the center of Seattle at 50 miles an hour are over and they're never coming back.
Expecting this region to meet its transportation needs without expanding light rail is fucking idiocy. And you're not an idiot, are you? That's why you're voting yes.
Remember, Ballots Are Due