Here are Seattle Transit Blog’s 2013 General Election Endorsements. As always, these endorsements are meant to entirely depend on a candidate’s positions and record on transit and land use, and generally looks for a clear difference on these issues beyond the generic Democrat-over-Republican default preference on transit. We also only endorse in contested races. The current Editorial Board consists of Martin H. Duke and Matthew Johnson.
Today, we cover the statewide, King County, and Seattle races. Part II, with races in smaller cities, will come later this week.
King County Executive: Dow Constantine has been an excellent and uncontroversial Executive, the single most important office for transit. He has made a good start on steering the Metro battleship in a better direction.
King County Council District 1: Rod Dembowski has had a great start on the Council’s Regional Transit Committee and deserves another term.
King County Council District 5: Dave Upthegrove has been one of the more transit and environmentally minded members of the House. For a suburban politician, he is remarkably disinclined to pour more asphalt as a solution to transportation problems.
Seattle Mayor: Not much has changed since we endorsed Mike McGinn in the Primary Election. He still has a strong record of backing aggressive transit improvements and allowing more people to live here, even if he has a recent tendency to attach new conditions to development. Meanwhile, Senator Ed Murray’s record in Olympia doesn’t shed much light on Seattle issues, nor has the campaign produced detailed policy proposals. When he has done a deep dive, as with subarea equity and cycle tracks, the results have been mildly disconcerting. Under the circumstances, we see no reason to abandon an incumbent with whom we agree almost totally.
Seattle Council Position 2: We reiterate our support for incumbent Richard Conlin, who has been the strongest advocate for environmentally sustainable growth on the Council and the source of insightful critiques on the Sound Transit Board. Kshama Sawant is not particularly focused on these issues, and when she does address them slips all too easily into anti-developer rhetoric. She evidently views housing affordability as a problem of insufficient subsidy and regulation rather than insufficient supply. We recognize that some of you are going to vote for Sawant based on her social justice agenda — which is obviously your prerogative, and not something we’re considering here. Just be aware that you’ll be retiring the most unabashedly pro-density member of the Council.
Seattle Council Position 4: Sally Bagshaw is one of the better members of the Council on transit issues and is facing an unserious candidate.
Seattle Council Position 8: Mike O’Brien is solid on transit and not operating under the illusion that Seattle has to cater to cars at every opportunity.
Seattle Proposed Charter Amendment #19: NO. In principle, we believe that voters must evaluate too many elected officials, and moving to districts would help alleviate that. However, in a district-based scheme the power largely lies with whomever draws the districts. When the number of districts is also a variable, the potential for gerrymandering is immense. In this case, prominent figures on the YES campaign include anti-transit, anti-bike businesswoman Faye Garneau; and John Fox, a housing activist who opposes everything Seattle Transit Blog stands for. We can only assume that these figures are competent enough to back a measure whose district lines will advance their political interests, which is reason enough to vote no.
Initiative 517: NO. The latest Tim Eyman-related offering will continue to abuse the initiative process to thwart responsible budgeting. The initiative system is a tool to gut the transit system, not to build it, and we’d like to make it harder for that to happen in the future.
Advisory Vote No. 6: MAINTAIN. The Legislature repealed a special retail sales tax exemption for telecommunications services. Expanding the sales tax base is good economics and brings more revenue for transit. Another $2m per year, by our estimate, for Metro won’t solve everything but it helps. Vote to maintain, confusingly, in order to eliminate the tax break. This vote is advisory but a clear signal that the voters are behind the legislature will encourage more actions like this.