Democrats in King County have been asleep at the wheel and are about to crash unless they snap awake. The Republicans under Peter Von Reichbauer and Republican dollars have been busy trying to change the electoral landscape in their favor by putting Initiative 26 before voters.
Financial backers of both Dino Rossi and the BIAW are behind this measure.
Initiative 26 would be passed by a 2 step process. It is both on the August 19, 2008 Primary and the November 4, 2008 General Election ballots. It would amend the King County Charter to make the offices of King County Executive, King County Assessor and King County Council members nonpartisan.
The sleeper in all this is that it would also make the selection of the re-redistricting committee members nonpartisan. That means you would no longer have a balance between the two major parties but would have no idea of where these members stood politically. These members would draw the boundaries of the council districts.
Looking at who funded this measure to get on the ballot tells you who thinks they would benefit. As Josh Feit wrote on the Slog in March in a post entitled “Nonpartisan My Ass”:
“Proof that the idea is a GOP ploy: Citizens for Independent Government (the group pushing the initiative) has collected $145,000 and, according to finance records, more than 90 percent of the money comes from three donors: George Rowley, John Stanton, and John Hennessy.
Rowley, CEO of Rowley Properties, is one of the biggest supporters of Republican candidates and issues in this state. Dating back to 2002, his donations have included: $8,000 to Dino Rossi; $95,000 to the $172,250 to the Washington State Republican Party; $60,000 to the Senate Republican Campaign Committee; $28,000 to the King County Republican Central Committee, General; $125,850 to the King County Republican Central Committee; and $6,000 to John Carlson in 2000.
Telecom mogul Stanton has an equally impressive list of contributions to conservative recipients: $5,300 to Rossi; $255,500 to the Washington State Republican Party; $100,000 to the Senate Republican Campaign Committee; $30,750 to the King County Republican Central Comm Non-exempt; $25,000 to the BIAW’s PAC, ChangePAC; and $4,800 to John Carlson in 2000.
Nuprecon CEO Hennessy: $6,100 to Dino Rossi; $115,000 to ChangePAC (and ChangePAC 2004); $5,000 to the Washington State Republican Party; $10,000 to the King County Repub; and $3,400 to Carlson in 2000.
So the backers of I-26 are major supporters of Dino Rossi , John Carlson and the state Republican Party as well as the BIAW – the Building Industry Association of Washington which is behind Change PAC.
The Republicans know that voters in King County reject the politics of George Bush and Karl Rove, the divisiveness of politics like those Newt Gingrich supported and the corruption of politicians like Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska. So they want to hide behind a nonpartisan label and not tell the voters what their political beliefs are.
Initiative 26 isn’t needed. Any politician can now run as an independent on the ballot, particularly under the Top 2 Primary System. Republicans do not need to declare they are Republicans if they are so afraid of the label and ashamed of their party.
But Initiative 26 wants to also prevent Democrats running as Democrats by prohibiting them from being identified as Democrats on the ballot. They want to deny voters the right to know when they vote which party best represents the views of the candidate. Voters will be less informed as to the political philosophy that a candidate supports. This will allow more Republicans an opportunity to hide their true political leanings behind a non-partisan label and sneak into office with a barrage of money from the BIAW or the Republican Party or Chamber of Commerce.
I-26 takes away voter choice and allows for big spending campaigns by special interests to mask a candidate’s true politics. We have a system that works. The voters have put Democrats in charge of the County Council and this is the Republicans campaign to try to regain control by not telling the voters the political party that the candidate belongs to.
Vote No on Initiative 26 Part 1 on August 19, and November 4, 2008! Part 1 asks”Should either of these proposed ordinances to place a charter amendment before the voters in November 2008 be adopted?”
In case question one wins you have a second chance If you want to retain some ability to id candidates by party. Vote for the King County Council’s alternative to I-26 in the second part of the ballot question.
Part 2 reads “Irregardless of whether you voted yes or no above, if one of the proposed ordinances is adopted, which one should it be?” Vote for the Council-proposed alternative.