Larry Phillips
Larry Phillips

Unlike most elections, we have an excellent choice of candidates in the King County Executive race.  A strongly pro-transit voter could feel good about supporting a few different candidates if the voter felt strongly about some other aspect of the candidate’s platform or personality.

Nevertheless, we’ve chartered ourselves to consider the transit and land use portfolio of the candidates, and in our judgment Dow Constantine and Larry Phillips are the best of the group. Each candidate deserves your consideration.

Dow Constantine (Seattle Weekly)
Dow Constantine (Seattle Weekly)

Phillips and Constantine have been steadfast supporters of Sound Transit.  Although there’s no immediate political action on Sound Transit on the horizon, we should see the groundwork for the Sound Transit 3 package form over the coming years.  Further, it’s reasonable to expect some sort of crisis in the next few.  In that event, we want an uncompromising friend of ST in the critical County Executive spot.

On Metro, Phillips has presented the most detailed plan to address Metro’s funding gap, though it is much the same as every credible plan to fix Metro’s problems. Constantine is deeply involved in addressing the Metro crisis through his chairmanship of the Regional Transit Committee. Constantine and Phillips have equally good judgment and candor to address Metro’s budget.

Both candidates represent Seattle on the King County Council and understand that cutting the highest demand routes makes no sense. Constantine received a degree in Urban Planning from UW and shows unique honesty when he says that Eastside commuter rail along the BNSF corridor is not going to happen. Phillips has a well-organized, strong campaign and when he met with us it became clear that he’s a true transit wonk.

Though he doesn’t haven’t as solid of a pro-Sound Transit record as his peers, Ross Hunter has very interesting ideas about tying bus service to density and has been critical in getting more funding authority for Metro in the legislature.

Nevertheless, we’re more impressed by Constantine and Phillips’s credentials than the others. Vote Dow Constantine or Larry Phillips for King County Executive.  We hoped to endorse a single candidate, but the differences on transit between the two are simply too insignificant to make a meaningful distinction.

Our editorial board is Martin H. Duke, Ben Schiendelman, and John Jensen, with valued input from the rest of the staff. Read our Seattle City Council endorsements.

13 Replies to “Constantine or Phillips for County Executive”

  1. I would suggest limiting your endorsement to Constantine only if you insist on preserving the old guard. I’ll be generous and not give any candid assessment of Phillips’ demeanor or aptitude as it relates to government generally and public transport in particular.

    1. Good heavens! You think it’s ‘generous’ to throw vague hints about without any sort of support or clarification? If you’ve got something to say, just say it. Those of us still making up our minds would prefer well-argued opinions to gossip.

      1. Nice! Someone that supports transit and the bored tunnel? Now that’s someone I can get on-board with! :) And no, I’m not being sarcastic.

  2. I met Larry and Dow on the inaugural Link ride and Larry seemed much more comfortable talking transit than Dow. They both seemed like great guys, but Larry had a little more cool factor than Dow – just saying….

    1. no question that Dow is more reserved in public settings than Larry, but I swear to god this is the first time I’ve ever heard of Larry being described as having a “cool factor.”

      I’m supporting Dow because he sticks by his guns even when his position isn’t necessarily popular, both in the Legislature and on the Council. He took on the incredibly challenging task of writing the 2004 Critical Areas Ordinance and got death threats and police protection as a result, but it was absolutely the right thing to do from a growth management and habitat protection perspective. I don’t mean this as an attack on Larry, but he has never really been known as a go-to-guy on issues that he doesn’t see as surefire political winners. Between these two guys for executive, I’m more confident that Dow, once in office, will be a vocal public advocate for transit and will fill the ST board with known supporters.

      1. Also, I meant to refer to the BNSF corridor as an example of the difference between their two approaches. Anyone who is well-familiar with the issue knows that the corridor is not going to be cost-effective for rail any time soon (hopefully some day!) and should be railbanked until then. Larry took the politically easy road in saying that we should keep rails in the ground and work towards commuter rail. Dow took the politically honest road and said that a bike trail will carry more riders. I think it’s a great example of the differences between their respective approaches.

  3. I am going the opposite. Anyone but Constantine or Phillips. With those two we will have another Executive like Ron Sims. One who only cares about the part of King County that is within the Seattle city limits. Either one will be more A second Seattle Mayor than County Executive. As a South Ender that is not good. It is time to reduce Seattle’s infulance on county goverment. The area that are suppost to havr the most infulance is the unincorporated areas. They need the most infulance because the County is supposed to be there “city” goverment. Instead of looking out for them they are bullied in to being annexed even if they do not want to. Constantine and Phillips will just continue these policies.

    1. If the unincorporated areas paid their own way, if they brought in sufficient revenue to pay for the services they use, nobody would be pressuring them to go anywhere. But as it is, the county loses tens of millions of dollars every year providing services to these areas because it doesn’t have the authority to levy the taxes that the cities can (specifically a utility tax and a B&O tax).

      But if you’re looking for a candidate who is going to try even harder to force annexations of unincorporated areas, look no further than Ross Hunter, who pushed bills in Olympia that would have denied all state transportation grants to any city that didn’t annex adjacent unincorporated areas (unsuccessfully) and that established a new annexation procedure that eliminates the right of the residents of that area to vote on the annexation (successfully). That goes too far in my opinion.

  4. I did not know that lorax. OK then, I admit I am voting for Susan Hutchinson. I should have diged deeper about Ross Hunter. I admit that I liked him better when I found out that S.E.I.U. (the group that wants to unionize my company with horriable results) hates him.

    Also I do wish that someone was running who will finially admit that King County needs to be split into 4 or 5 new counties. We are too Seattle centered.

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