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Are you a fucking idiot? No, you're not.
Are you an idiot? Yes, but we all are now and then.
Are you fucking? We hope so—frequently, safely, and responsibly.
But you are not a fucking idiot. Which is why you're voting for Barack Obama—because only a fucking idiot would vote for Grandpa Munster.
This year's election is all about Obama. But some of us at the Stranger Election Control Board (SECB) believe that if you take the time to fill out your entire ballot, you'll cast votes that are just as important as the one you cast for president.
Hell, some members of the SECB (the glue sniffers, but still) are convinced that the most important vote you'll cast this year isn't for Obama, whom you'll find near the top of your ballot, but for mass transit, which you'll find at the bottom—along with a bunch of other unglamorous, little-known, unsexy stuff that you really ought to be paying attention to. Think people should be able to get around without having to rely on their cars? This year's ballot includes 36 new miles of light rail. Want to encourage people to live in dense, compact communities? A renewed parks levy will help keep people in the city. And Pike Place Market is looking for a little love.
And put this on your calendar: Because no one should be alone on election night, The Stranger is hosting a free election-night party at Showbox at the Market (First Avenue and Pike Street). No speeches, no DJs—just booze; big-screen TVs; excited, hopeful Democrats; and tons of joyous victory and/or tearful consolation sex.
The SECB is Erica C. Barnett, Dominic Holden, Tim Keck, Eli Sanders, Dan Savage, and Jonah Spangenthal-Lee. The Stranger does not endorse in uncontested races.
Barack Obama is awesome—we mean it. We're so fired up about this election that we'd just about eat the corn out of this man's shit right now. Seriously. Sometimes we nearly forget to put out the paper because we're all sitting on the floor in a circle passing the talking stick around—it's technically a "water pipe"—and gushing about how totally superwonderful Obama is and how he's going to transform our country, rescue the middle class, provide health care for (nearly) all, end the war in Iraq, rebuild our decaying infrastructure, protect a woman's right to choose, stop bums from taking leaks on buses, cure cancer, and give us all six-pack abs.
And we know you'd lap up every word of a long, rousing Obama endorsement—because all you commie pinko fags are in the bag for Obama, right? But we didn't write that endorsement because, frankly, we're a little worried that our terrorist-fist-jabbing readers might read our Obama endorsement and then skip the rest—just like nervous local campaigns are worried that you're going to vote for Obama and then skip the rest of the races on your long, confusing ballot.
So we'll get to our Obama endorsement in a second. But first, we want you to read our Proposition 1 endorsement, which we're sticking in the middle of our Obama endorsement because we're high and it's our newspaper and we'll do what we damn well please.
So: Vote yes on Proposition 1!
Last year, transit activists insisted we'd be giving up our only chance to build a real mass-transit system in Seattle if we said no to a bloated "roads and transit" package, which shackled light-rail expansion to an unpopular road-building agenda. We urged a "no" vote then and predicted that light rail would be back on the ballot this year—faster, cheaper, and smarter than before.
As much as the SECB hates saying we told you so—no, wait, the SECB loves saying we told you so. We LIVE to say we told you so. And we told you so, bitches! HA! Mass transit is BACK, and this year it includes 36 new miles of light rail to Redmond, Lynnwood, and Federal Way (they're real places, we checked); 100,000 hours of new express bus service; and a 65 percent expansion of Sounder commuter rail. It costs just $69 in sales tax per year, doesn't include a lick of new general-purpose pavement, and will be finished years before last year's proposal would have been.
But unlike Obama, mass transit IS at the bottom of your ballot—right after the parks levy and just before the big expanse of white space that indicates you're done voting and can get your ass down to The Stranger's election-night party at the Showbox. But we won't get mass transit if voters get discouraged by all those county charter amendments and obscure state officials and give up before they reach the bottoms of their ballots. So start at the bottom and work your way up: Vote "Yes" on Proposition 1 and then go back to the top of your ballot and vote for Obama.
This package, at $17.9 billion, isn't cheap. But we've got to get our region moving. If you think $69 is a lot to spend on transit in tough economic times, think about what you've been paying for gas lately. Prices are going to continue to rise—so the $69 you spend to build light rail today will be the thousands you save by not having to drive tomorrow.
If we build light rail now, you—and commuters all over King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties—will have the choice of hopping on a regional rapid-transit system that gets you where you want to go predictably and reliably, every time. And when you do need to drive, you'll be able to do it on roads that will be as much as 30 percent less congested—cutting greenhouse-gas emissions by nearly 180,000 tons a year. And you'll be able to start using the system right away, with increases in express bus service across the board—most of it on the highest-demand and most crowded routes. By 2020, you'll be able to take light rail from Bellevue to Seattle to Northgate and South Seattle—seven years sooner than in last year's roads and transit proposal.
Critics have claimed that if all the "true" costs were included, this ballot measure would cost $107 billion. They want you to believe that Sound Transit will continue taxing voters well into the 2050s. It's a lie: The plan we're voting on this November explicitly bars Sound Transit from taxing voters indefinitely by requiring a rollback of the taxes once the system is paid for.
Mass transit—specifically, fixed-rail rapid transit, the kind other North American cities have been working on since the last century—creates dense communities, raises (and protects) property values, and makes cities the kind of places people want to live. We've tried building our way out of sprawl and gridlock; it hasn't worked. It's time to give the alternative a try.
And now back to our Obama Endorsement.
McDermott totally supports Obama! Vote McDermott!
This may not be Darcy Burner's year—again. Recent polls have shown her down considerably in her rematch against Eastside Republican congressman/empty suit/great head of hair Dave Reichert. But just as in 2006, when she made her first run at the seat, Burner is the better choice. From the war, to women's rights, to the economy, to gay equality, Burner is on the right side of the issues—and right in tune with where the increasingly liberal 8th District is heading.
State of Washington
Governor Christine Gregoire endorsed Obama before endorsing Obama was cool. And if that isn't enough to make up for her less-than-stellar record on some issues important to Seattle voters—the viaduct, light rail, marriage equality—consider the alternative. Republican Dino Rossi opposes funding for women's health care so much that he once compared a requirement that pharmacies dispense emergency contraception to making stores carry "my favorite brand of sport drink." Rossi has promised to veto a gay-marriage bill. And Rossi has the backing of the powerful Building Industry Association of Washington—a sleazy PAC whose primary mission is to fight progressive legislation and push an antitax, anticonsumer, antienvironmental agenda.
Want some reasons to get fired up about Gregoire? Here are a few: She pushed through climate-change legislation, added tens of thousands of kids to the state's children's health-insurance program, increased the state housing trust fund by $50 million, and has consistently signed Democratic-agenda legislation that her opponent would have vetoed.
And you know what? No politician is perfect. Even President Obama—fingers crossed—is going to do things that disappoint you. And are you going to support President Obama—a president who's been less than perfect on your issues—when he runs for reelection in 2012? Or are you going to vote for a piece-of-shit Republican who sucks on all your issues? Of course you'll support Obama. Because, again, you are not a fucking idiot.
The same standard should apply in the race. The good-not-great-on-our-issues Democratic governor is running against a terrible-on-all-our-issues Republican. Gregoire deserves your vote, your support, and a second term—just like President Obama will in 2012.
Initiative Measure 985
There really isn't a single good thing you can say about the latest shit sandwich from Tim Eyman. It opens up carpool lanes to all drivers 18 hours a day; diverts local funding from red-light cameras and tolls into a statewide road-building fund; eliminates local control over local transportation dollars; siphons hundreds of millions away from public safety, health care, and education; and drastically limits the use of tolls—prohibiting, for example, tolling I-90 to pay for a new SR-520 bridge across Lake Washington.
Eyman claims his initiative would "reduce congestion"; as evidence, he cites his own irritation driving (alone) from Seattle to Renton and seeing an empty carpool lane. We say it won't do much except line Eyman's pockets—while robbing Washington State citizens of funding for critical needs when we need them the most.
And a note to our elected officials: Please stop shitting your pants every time this douchebag manages to get one of his idiotic initiatives passed. Every time one of his initiatives gets struck down as unconstitutional, you grumble that "the people have spoken" and enact it anyway. Hello? The people spoke when we elected your asses. Now do your jobs and stand up to Eyman already.
Initiative Measure 1000
We're all going to die. Some of us will die in our homes with a Labrador curled up by our feet while Mozart plays gently in the background—in person, if the drugs are really good. Some of us will be crushed by an express bus without warning or run over by a light-rail train full of pit bulls. But some of us will have to endure deaths that are gruesome and protracted and excruciating, deaths involving pain that cannot be managed, deaths that our caregivers and Labs can only stand helplessly by and witness.
Initiative 1000 would give people suffering unmanageable pain the right to decide—reasonably and rationally—that they would rather not spend the last few moments or hours or days of their life in pain. It gives terminally ill, mentally competent patients the ability to self-administer a lethal dose of medicine—after requesting it twice and having two doctors verify that it's what the patient wants. If I-1000 is approved, no one will be compelled to end his or her life. Anyone who wants to choose pain meds and the love of caregivers and a "natural" death can do so. But if I-1000 is rejected, those who want to end their lives won't have that choice. They'll be forced to suffer long after their pain has become too terrible to bear.
The passage of I-1000 doesn't impose anything on terminally ill people who reject physician-assisted suicide for religious or other reasons. But the rejection of I-1000 imposes the values of others on terminally ill people who would like to make that choice for themselves.
Initiative Measure 1029
This SEIU-backed initiative would increase the state training requirement for home health-care workers—the people who wipe old people's butts and take care of the disabled—from 34 hours to 75. The measure would cost about $30 million over the next two years and about $5 million each year thereafter. It's a noble idea—of course we don't want to be stuck wiping our own parents' butts—but as the state faces a budget deficit of $3.2 billion, it's hard to justify saddling taxpayers with yet another unfunded mandate.
In the primary election, we endorsed "anybody but Brad Owen," noting the incumbent lieutenant governor's ridiculous crusade against high-school potheads and his membership in a crappy-ass rock band. We described one of his challengers, Republican Marcia McCraw, as an "empty bag of chips."
In response, McCraw sent us several dozen bags of chips.
We had no choice. We convened an emergency SECB meeting, passed the talking stick around, dug into the chips, and reflected on our previous endorsement. We noted that McCraw is the kind of Republican who not only wants to legalize pot, but sends bags of chips to potheads. She's also pro-choice, and she served on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Council. In other words, she's very nearly a Democrat—which is more than you can say for Brad Owen.
Secretary of State
Another plot twist!
We endorsed Republican incumbent Sam Reed for secretary of state in the primary and described Democrat Jason Osgood as a "paranoid, sweaty, nervous wreck." We've changed our minds. We weren't wrong about Osgood—it's just that we fucked up when we backed that partisan sack of shit Sam Reed, who proclaimed himself "delighted" when a King County Superior Court judge ruled that Republican Dino Rossi could run under the bullshit label "GOP Party"—25 percent of state voters don't know what "GOP" stands for—instead of the more accurate label "Republican."
Call us partisan, but the SECB will take an honest Democratic nut over a dishonest Republican hack any day. Vote for Osgood—he may be a kook, but he's our kook.
Democratic state treasurer Mike Murphy is stepping down, and two capable candidates are seeking to take over his job, which involves managing and investing the state's tax revenues. We encourage you to vote for McIntire. And yes, this IS the dullest endorsement we've ever written. So let us make it up to you with this offensive Sarah Palin joke.
Q: What's the difference between Sarah Palin's mouth and her vagina?
A: Only some of the stuff that comes out of her vagina is retarded.
Since 1993, state auditor Brian Sonntag has pushed for performance audits and open government. Although Sonntag has won support from antitax, antigovernment activists like Tim Eyman—whose Initiative Measure 985 would endow Sonntag with all kinds of new powers (including flight!)—that's a matter to take up with Eyman, not hold against Sonntag himself.
Republican attorney general Rob (née "Robin") McKenna—Washington State's highest-ranking female-to-male transsexual—is an archconservative political climber whose sights are set on higher office. His opponent, Pierce County executive John Ladenburg, is a funny, smart, savvy politician with a strong environmental record. While the SECB commends current attorney general McKenna for suing the Building Industry Association of Washington, which skirted campaign finance laws in its effort to elect Republican Dino Rossi—and while we honor his trailblazing efforts on behalf of Washington State's FTM community—we will never forgive him for supporting Washington State's idiotic top-two primary. Plus, we don't want to propel a hardcore anti-abortion partisan like McKenna to higher office—a route he's certain to consider if both he and Dino Rossi win election in November.
Commissioner of Public Lands
Peter J. Goldmark
Peter Goldmark stole the SECB's heart earlier this year, and we still haven't figured out how to quit him. Heck, if the SECB could while away an afternoon snowballin' any of this year's candidates, doggone it, we'd snowball Goldmark. The charismatic cowboy—seriously, we just can't get over the fact that he's a gen-you-wine cattle rancher with a PhD in molecular biology—has promised to open up Washington's state-owned land to renewable-energy production and to closely regulate our state's timber industry. Promises like that haven't done much to win the favor of timber companies, which have put together a $600,000 fund to reelect Republican incumbent Doug Sutherland.
Vote Goldmark, because he'll protect our public lands. And unlike his opponent—who's best known for fighting sexual-harassment charges by an ex-employee—Goldmark won't touch you where your swimsuit covers.
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Incumbent schools superintendent Terry Bergeson's claim to a passing grade: pushing the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL), a standardized test that students must pass to graduate. But when we gave Bergeson a few WASL questions in August, she couldn't answer a single one. So we think Washington should hold her back.
Challenger Randy Dorn is the executive director of the Public School Employees of Washington, which recently issued a vote of no confidence in Bergeson. He wants to revamp the WASL and push the legislature to fully fund public education. We're into that. Plus, he looks dapper in a school-bus-print tie.
Like Obama, Democrat Kreidler has been an advocate for health-care reform, consumer protection, and the rights of malpractice victims. Those are good reasons to support him over his opponent, some Republican named John Adams. Stick it to one of our founding fathers. Vote for Kreidler.
Commissioner of Public Urination
Our previous candidate for this position, Kollin Min, failed to advance past the primary—leaving us no choice but to choose between his two primary-election opponents, former city council member Heidi Wills and the SECB's own Dan Savage. Obviously, we'd be accused of bias if we endorsed Savage. For the record: We are not endorsing Wills to avoid accusations of bias. We're endorsing Wills because we share an office bathroom with Savage, and he has demonstrated time and again that he is not qualified to hold this important office.
Legislative District 11
Incumbent Margarita Prentice, head of the state senate's powerful Ways and Means Committee, has been in the legislature for 20 years. Now some of her more controversial positions are starting to catch up to her. Senate leadership is reportedly considering ousting Prentice because of her ill-fated efforts to build a $500 million stadium for the Sonics in Renton; because she wants to tap the new state "rainy day fund"; and because she has supported controversial constituencies like payday lenders and casinos. In 2004, just four of Prentice's contributions were from residents of her district—just $175 out of the total $160,000 Prentice raised. It's time for new blood in the 11th. Vote Martinez.
State Representative Position 1
State Representative Position 2
Legislative District 36
State Representative Position 1
The race to replace 36-year veteran Helen Sommers features two qualified, energetic, liberal candidates: wireless entrepreneur Reuven Carlyle and tax-reform advocate John Burbank.
Burbank, author of the reviled "latte tax" for early-childhood education, has all but accused Carlyle of being a Republican and a shill for big corporations. Those claims have no basis in reality. Moreover, we worry that Burbank, with his party-activist background, will be locked into old ways of doing the people's business. Although both candidates would be capable leaders, we support Carlyle for his energy, his entrepreneurial background, and his enthusiasm for finding innovative solutions to entrenched government problems.
State Representative Position 2
Mary Lou Dickerson
Legislative District 37
State Representative Position 2
Legislative District 43
State Representative Position 2
Legislative District 46
State Representative Position 1
Democrats Scott White and Gerry Pollet are both running for the open seat being vacated by state treasurer candidate Jim McIntire. Although Pollet has flung buckets of mud in White's direction—suing him for changing his mind after trying to exit the race; implying he has Republican ties because he, like many Democratic candidates, took dirty money from the Building Industry Association of Washington; and accusing the former head of the 46th District Democrats, paradoxically, of being too much of a Democratic party insider—none of it has stuck. We believe White has the chops, connections, and political acumen to transcend his insider origins.
State Representative Position 2
Phyllis G. Kenney
And now for a pop quiz!
The city of Seattle considers $1,153 a month for a one-bedroom apartment "workforce" housing. Next year, the state minimum wage will increase to $8.55 an hour. How many hours a month would you have to work at minimum wage to pay "workforce" rent? The first to e-mail a correct answer to
email@example.com gets a $50 check and a large cardboard box. [Editor's note: Offer expired: We have a winner!]
Judges of the Superior Court Position 1
Bradshaw stands out for his long list of endorsements and 20 years of experience.
Judges of the Superior Court Position 22
This badass former federal civil-rights attorney is currently serving as a pro tem judge in King County District Court. She's more than qualified for a superior court position.
Judges of the Superior Court Position 37
Rietschel, a Seattle Municipal Court judge for the last 12 years, is exceptionally well qualified for this position.
Charter Amendment 1
Elected elections director
This measure, supported by a handful of wealthy Republicans, would make the county elections director an elected position. A politicized elections office would draw career politicians, not capable managers, to run for what's basically an administrative position. That hasn't worked out so well in Florida and Ohio. Vote no.
Charter Amendment 2
This no-brainer amendment expands county antidiscrimination protections to include disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
Charter Amendment 3
This is a mostly administrative measure that would reduce the number of county council members who serve on three regional committees from six to three, in keeping with recent cuts to the size of the council itself.
Charter Amendment 4
Additional qualifications for elected officials
This amendment gives the county council the right to increase the qualifications for certain elected county officials, including the elections director (if Amendment 1, above, is approved.) While we don't think the elections director should be elected, it's not the council's role to second-guess the voters' decisions by adding extra qualifications to elected positions.
Charter Amendment 5
Establishing Forecast Council
This gives the county council the same financial information as the county executive, giving county budget forecasts more credibility and improving communications between these two branches of county government.
Charter Amendment 6
This measure gives the county council more time to review the executive's budget proposals—a must as county budgets become longer and more complex.
Charter Amendment 7
Charter amendment by citizen initiative
This increases the signature threshold to change the King County Charter—a document that, like the U.S. and state constitutions, was designed to be difficult to amend. It also eliminates one of the two steps now required to amend the charter. Both are reasonable changes.
Charter Amendment 8
At a time when Republicans are getting slaughtered electorally around the nation, it's no wonder Republicans are supporting a measure that allows them to run with no party affiliation. This measure is just partisanship in good- government clothing.City of Seattle
Pike Place Market levy
This six-year, $73 million proposal has been in the works for years. If it's passed, the levy will pay for deferred maintenance and critical safety improvements at the market—a historic downtown landmark that brings millions of visitors to the city every year. If you support density or like buying local produce or just want to preserve one of the things that makes people visit (and spend money in) Seattle, then vote for this smart, one-time investment in our city.
Proposition 2 Parks levy
The SECB wants you to know that the parks levy is totally worth voting for, if you can afford it.
That said, there are a lot of different groups asking for a handout this year. Times are tough, and when you're eating pork Top Ramen for the sixth night in a row, you probably aren't going to give a shit whether or not your neighborhood park is getting a new swing set anytime soon.
Yes, the parks levy will fund some cool projects—including a new, ginormous park in Northgate, expanded athletic fields at Jefferson Park in South Seattle, and safety improvements at a number of older Seattle parks such as Green Lake—but if you really don't think you can spare a measly $81 this year for the levy, the SECB won't hold it against you.