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I have filled in 29 bubbles out of 30 choices on my absentee ballot. The secret ballot is supposed be be a great tool of democracy, but I will share my selections with you, and my reasons behind them, in the off chance that somebody actually cares how I vote. I will also ask for your help on the bubble that remains unfilled.
I-872 – elections for partisan offices: I voted no. I want third-party choices on my general ballot. I-318, Instant Runoff Voting, is a better choice for creating real choice on election day, and would eliminate the need for unconstitutional primary elections.
I-884 – sales tax increase to raise money for education: I voted no. I will not support giving more money to failing schools until they have a plan that I think will work to make schools succeed, nor will I support a regressive tax to fund public universities that only the richer families in the state get to attend. An acceptable reform plan has to include forms of competition and vastly increased parent choice. I prefer vouchers, but there are other methods I can approve of. The teacher’s union’s opposition to charter schools while supporting this bill is very telling to where they stand on real education reform. More money will not fix our education system. Competition and choice will. More money in a better system can help. More money in a broken system cannot.
I-892 – slot machine legalization: I voted yes. Gambling is not a healthy activity, but this initiative is more symbolic than that to me. I feel that it is important to have consistent laws across the state for all people instead of giving special priviliges to only certain groups. I-892 makes it so that other established gambling lotions (where you can already gamble) can have slot machines, just like tribal casinos. The number of places where you can gamble in slot machines will increase, but the number of places where you can gamble overall will not. Where there are now only scratch tickets there may also appear slot machines. I don’t see how this is a big deal to the health of our famlies and communities. I do see how it is a big deal to the tribal monopoly over the activiy currently, which is why they have invested so heavily to defeat it. My only concern was raised in the statemetn against about the social problems gambling creates, but I don’t see how restricting these social problems to only reservations is a good choice either, and the need for consistent laws outweighs that in my consideration.
Referendum Measure 55 – Charter Public Schools: I voted yes. Charter schools are not the ideal solution to our public education woes, but they are better than having no choices at all. The International School was a charter school, and although it has become more institutionalized over time, it was once, and perhaps still is a bit, a shining example of how much a charter school can affect a school district. IS introduced block classes, half-day Wednesdays for increased extracurricular activity opportunities, and senior project to the Bellevue School District.
I-297 – Mixed Radioactive Material: I voted no. This sounds to me like an Initiative by the lawyers, for the lawyers. It doesn’t seem to actually change anything other than encourage lawsuits against government agencies. This is an issue that requires a more coherent strategy.
Advisory Measure 1 – Locally funded Transportation Plan: I voted yes. This doesn’t actually do anything other than ask for a vote on a plan at the next election. I hope this plan leans more toward fixing our roads than misadventures in public transportation (which I don’t like funding very much), but traffic is bad enough that we should be looking into more options than are currently being provided.
Advisory Measure 2 – Tax source for Locally funded Transportation Plan: I voted for a gas tax. A gas tax would put the cost burden on the people that create road maintenance needs – those that drive more, and those that drive larger vehicles. It seems to me the fairest way to divide this particular burden.
Position 42: Chris Washington. Not much to go on here, but I had a better feeling about Washington – he seemed less feely and more thinky, which I’m more comfortable with in a judge.
Position 23: Julia Garratt is the better choice. Andrea Darvis seems to have sold out to special interests and talks like as if she would play activist judge, which is dangerous considering the power they wield in our system.
Position 6: Richard Sanders. Excellent endorsements including the Libertarian Party, has good experience, and doesn’t seem to be playing to a political issue like his opponent.
Position 1: Jim Johnson: Has helped protect free speech, voting rights, and property rights, and his opponent’s endorsements are troubling.
State Legislative District 41
Representative Position 2: Fawn Spady, Republican: Brian Reilly, the Libertarian running for the spot, used China as an example of good government in his blurb. I don’t quite understand that… And I’m generally in favor of mixing things up by voting for the challenger to an incumbent if I have no other reason to vote for one or the other. Fawn and Judy could well be the same person, so it doesn’t really matter who you vote for.
Representative Position 1: George Holt, Libertarian. From his blurb: “They tell us government creates jobs, safety, and security. Right? Wrong! Government creates nothing!!!! It produces panels, commissions and studies. All paid for by us.” Fred Jarrett will probably win this election handily, but whatever.
Senator: Jim Horn, Republican. Nothing terribly exciting about Horn (sometimes this is a good thing), but his Democrat opponent, Brian Weinstein is a bad choice. Mass transit as presently constituted, for example, is not a viable option in suburbia, as Brian thinks. Jim Brown, the Libertarian, is a better choice, but the difference isn’t big enough to justify a possible spoiler vote in this one – I’ll wait for IRV in this case.
Insurance Commissioner: John Adams, Republican. Deborah Senn screwed over medical insurance carriers in the state of Washington, so almost all the providers of medical insurance pulled out, leaving Washingtonians with very little choice when it came to individual medical insurance. Her successor hasn’t reversed these policies, so carriers continue to avoid Washington State. Both the Republican, Adams, and the Libertarian, Steele, understands how and why the system is broken, and are better choices than Kreidler. To avoid splitting the vote, I suggest choosing Adams, who has nearly the same ideas as Steele anyway.
Superintendent of Public Instruction: Both candidates are blah enough that I wrote in myself.
Commissioner of Public Lands: Doug Sutherland, Republican. He has done a good job balancing the duties of his position, and will continue to do so if re-elected. Cooper (Democrat) wants to overstep his duties, and Layman (Libertarian) doesn’t have anything to offer.
Attorney General: Rob McKenna, Republican. McKenna is by far the best choice for Attorney General. He has done an excellent job on the King County Council, and will provide fair and extremely competent service as Attorney General. The Libertarian, Gibson, doesn’t have anywhere near the depth of experience of McKenna. Richmond, the Greenie, is a bit of a nutcase. But Deborah Senn is the worst possible choice. As insurance commissioner, she successfully drove most of the individual health insurance carriers out of the state or out of business with regulations that made profitable insurance plans almost impossible to underwrite. Then she called this “consumer advocacy.” She even goes so far as to praise Christine Gregoire, the current Attorney General, who cost the state millions by failing to meet filing deadlines and other gross displays of incompetence. McKenna is a far better choice.
State Auditor: Jason G. Bush, Libertarian. The Republican seems to be a bit loony, and the Democrat, Brian Sonntag, will probably win easily anyway (he has done a decent job), but Bush provides a clear and consistent message about what he will do, while Sonntag provides only endorsements.
State Treasurer: John Sample, Libertarian. All three candidates seem well qualified, and the incumbent Democrat, Mike Murphy, seems to have done a good job so far.
Secretary of State: Jacqueline Passey, Libertarian. All three candidates claim to want to provide you fair elections and choice, but only Passey supports I-318, the Instant Runoff Voting initiative. Ruderman, the Democrat, promises way too much and wants to pass a Voter’s Bill of Rights, a move that I feel cheapens the meaning of the real Bill of Rights. Sam Reed, the incumbent Republican, fought to maintain the blanket primary and support I-872. All three will probably provide fair elections, however.
Lieutenant Governor: Jocelyn A. Langlois, Libertarian. She wants to eliminate the mostly pointless and quite expensive office of Lieutenant Governor. What could be better than a politician that wants to eliminate her own office?
Governor: Dino Rossi, Republican. A responsible fiscal conservative, and an excellent legislator, Dino Rossi is the best choice to bring real leadership to Olympia for the first time in over 20 years. He shares all of the most important views with the Libertarian Candidate, Ruth Bennett, and although he personally is more socially conservative than Bennett, he isn’t making those personal beliefs a major part of his platform. Libertarian-minded people can feel quite good about a vote for Rossi. The Democrat nominee, Christine Gregoire, has shown incompetence as a leader in her failings as attorney general, which have cost the state millions of dollars. She even tried to make an employee, who was not responsible for the error, take the fall, putting her personal political advancement above the interests of the state she wants to hold the highest office in. Rossi, on the other hand, has proven his competence as a leader and a coalition builder – he was instrumental in creating a state budget that didn’t raise taxes, yet maintained services for the most needy in the state. He would also bring leadership to Olympia that has been missing for a long time. In a comparison of the candidates in the Seattle Times, Rossi provided clear answers – and the right answers to every question. Gregoire tried to dodge every question, providing no real position on most issues. Dino is the better choice, hands down.
US Representative, Congressional District No. 8: Dave Reichart, Republican. See this post for why.
US Senator: George R. Nethercutt, Jr., Republican. Murray is out of touch and offers uninspired leadership. Nethercutt has been involved less time, in the lesser of the two houses of congress, and is better recognized nationally, and represents Washington State better. King County Journal has a good article on an issue that shows just how out of touch Murray is. Libertarian J. Mills would be a good choice too, but I’ll wait for IRV to make him my first choice.
And that brings us to President of the United States of America. The only unfilled oval on my ballot. I think this officially puts me into that “undecided” category. But my indecision is not between Bush and Kerry, but rather between Badnarik, Libertarian for President and Bush. The biggest issue for me, as it is for many people, is the war in Iraq. I supported it initially, as I’ve stated before, and I’m still generally for it, although I’m not at all firm in that conviction. I do believe that the Libertarian stance of “Friendship and free trade with all nations; entangling alliances with none” is the best overall stance, but due to past actions of the United States, that ideal is a long way off, and there is always the very valid point that Hilters, Stalins, Mussolinis, and, yes, Saddams (even though we put him there in the first place) need to be stopped less they threaten the security of the whole world. So basically, I don’t agree with the Badnarik’s call to withdraw troops from Iraq in 90 days. With what we’ve invested so far, immediate withdrawl is the surest way to ensure there is no lasting positive effect of our actions. I don’t think there is any guarantee of a positive effect at this point even if we stay the course, but at least there’s a chance. We helped create the monster, now it seems to be our job to try to fix it. I don’t know, however, if that is possible. However, this is my only major issue with the Libertarian candidate, who won’t win anyway. On the rest of the issues, I agree with him. Bush is the second best of most of the economic issues, and worse somewhat than Kerry on the social issues, but for all the right reasons. And Bush’s fiscal policy has been disastrous. So if I vote Bush, which probably won’t make him win Washington anyway, I have to feel some more responsibility for anything he does, as I have up to this point for supporting him the first time, even though I couldn’t quite vote that time. So its a hard decision, and one that I would like your input on.
Thanks for tuning in.