November 2018 Ballot Guide: Voter for Clean Air

Seattle folks (and some online folks) may have noticed I've been a bit absent from politics, especially cheerleading folks to get out and talk to voters and so forth. The reason is simple: health. I've had a progressive (and so far unknown) eye issue. At first it was just my left eye and I dealt with it, but I gave up driving early in the summer and gave up biking a few weeks ago as my right eye got worst. I have surgery coming up next week where maybe they figure out what it is (and repair some damage), but there are no guarantees. It's been very hard to keep up with very many things, both due to actual physical (and variable) disability, but also the emotional and mental load of it. I eventually was able to make myself give a bunch of things up, at least for a while. It was hard.

Anyway this ballot guide is going to be relatively short and lack detail. Some other endorsement lists you might read: The Stranger's (note I disagree with some!), The Urbanist's, Washington Conservation Voters. We're subscribers to the Seattle Times for their investigatie journalism, and while their endorsements this year don't suck as much, they did make a couple really bad ones, so I refuse to link them.

So let's get started! The most important thing on your ballot though is:

Vote Yes on I-1631 for Clean Air and Clean Energy

On your ballot is initiative 1631. I-1631 puts a carbon fee on major sources of carbon pollution so we can start paying down the massive debt we've borrowed against the future and which we compound daily. It's supported by a broad coalition of advocacy and environmental organizations,  as well as a number of major business organizations, so it of course has compromises and exemptions. But it's a start.

We have a lot more to do.

Vote yes on I-1631. Then go remind at least five people you know to vote. Ask them to vote for clean air and energy. Ask them how they plan to get their ballot in by election day. It's that important. If you stop filling out your ballot to go talk to voters about I-1631 (and you live in a Seattle legislative district with an essentially unopposed incumbent), then I'd not be upset with you for missing some bubbles to go ask folks to vote for I-1631. Despite my current health issues, I'm planning to walk my precinct (harder than it sounds for me now for various reasons) and am bringing along flyers for this initiative.

I repeat: vote for I-1631. Vote for clean air and clean energy. Tell your friends and family.

The rest of my 37th LD ballot

Now here's some quick hits for the rest of my ballot. My ballot is somewhat boring for various reasons.

State Legislature, 37th LD

All three of my state legislators are up for re-election. None of them have real challengers so they are all going to win.

Courts & Judicial

I have sadly lost track of the judicial races. I've met a number of the judges running multiple times and they all seem pretty reasonable, or at least the ones the 37th LD endorsed. So I encourage you to use the 37th LD endorsement list to fill out your judges. Only one state supreme court justice has a contested race, so make sure you chose Steve Gonzalez not the other guy.

King County

The only King County non-judicial elected office up is King County Prosecutor. The long time incumbent is a Republican and has been for ages. Over the last decade, most offices at the county level have been officially made "non-partisan". This does not mean that those running for them aren't members of parties. It just means that the ballot doesn't show a "prefers X party" by their name (and some subtle changes in rules about primary versus general election which I can chew your ear off if you're curious).

Anyway, Dan Satterberg is not awful. He's just not in my opinion pushing us to have a just system at anything but a snail's pace. Plus at the last minute he publicly said he considers himself a Democrat now, right after an actual Democratic challenger appeared. That challenger, Daron Morris, has sadly had to withdraw from the race for health issues. But I'll be filling in his bubble anyway (it's on my ballot). We deserve better than "not awful".

City of Seattle, Proposition No 1, Families, Education, Preschool and Promise Levy

The one local item that matters is this one. It essentially merges two existing property tax levies that will soon expire and slightly increases them to fund various programs around what the title says. If you've read my post about Washington property taxes, then you know that our funding system is messed up. Levies generally have to expire, the amount that the jurisdiction (in this case city) can collect year over year is capped to 1% and if they ever need more (say, because you have a rapidly increasing population and increasing local costs for everything), then they (your elected officials) have to go back to voters to get the funding they need just to keep services at constant levels.

Anyway, there's some concern that maybe some of the money will go places people don't like. And it's a "tax increase". But I don't buy it. In Seattle, if you own property you're doing pretty well compared to most. If you're poor, you probably qualify for assistance (seniors even can get a lower levy rate!) and the city needs money. Next year are municipal elections, and if this levy fails, they will have to put another one on the ballot while city council elections are going on which would be a mess. Vote yes.

National Contests

On my ballot I have US Senator and Congressional District 9. Maria Cantwell and Adam Smith, respectively. Easy peasy. I just don't much care about changing horses right now given the national climate (and Cantwell's challenger if former Republican state party chair Susan Hutchison who in 2016 regularly couldn't bring herself to clearly condemn egregious statements and policies of the Republican candidate).

Other State Ballot Measures

Initiative Measure Number 1631

Vote yes. Just putting this one in here again. Vote for clean air and energy!

Initiative Measure Number 1634

Vote no. This is an incredibly cynical initiative pushed by large corporations to eek a few more cents of profit from people buying soda by claiming local cities are taxing vegetables, in concert with anti-tax Republicans who want to restrict local authority. It's intended to undo Seattle's soda tax. I'm opposed to the soda tax, but I'm more opposed to the state taking away local options for taxation given how few we have. Plus it's just gross to claim this is about vegetables when it's about the ridiculous variety of sugar water beverages. The Stranger's guide to this initiative is pretty good,

Initiative Measure Number 1639

Vote yes. This is a gun control initiative. It's about damn time. It requires background checks, training, waiting periods for guns that are more dangerous, requirements for safe storage and so on. You know, the kinds of things we demand for pretty much any other piece of personal property (like cars, where you have to take an actual test from the state just to legally drive one!) These are sensible gun control measures that if you poll Americans nationwide overwhelming majorities always support, but the gun manufacturers use their blood money to try to stop. Vote yes.

Initiative Measure Number 940

Vote yes. This measure started as an initiative to the legislature which the state legislature then tried to modify and it got tied up in courts about whether that was okay. So here we are voting on it. Anyway, this measure changes state rules on how the police interact with residents (by requiring more de-escalation training and so forth), as well as changing the use of force standard so it's actually possible to prosecute cops who kill people. Vote yes. It's about damn time here too.

Some races I can't vote for but you should if you can!

There are a lot of state legislative and US House races where you should vote for an awesome Democrat challenger if you can! I have to wrap this up ASAP, so here's a big list!

United States House

Washington State Legislature

This is where it gets quick. These are all the folks running for state legislature that I've supported in some form and think you should vote for them if you're in their district! Note I am not really including districts where I think an adequate Democrat would win regardless. That is, these are the contentious one where we can get a larger legislative majority and actually PASS MORE AWESOME policy.

There are no doubt more awesome folks (mostly women) running around the state that might like your support. If you can't call or knock doors for any of these folks, even a few dollars can help. There are last minute expenses that can mean a big push to turn out a few more voters or not winning. So it's not too late to support them! If you want to help in person, then Rebecca Saldaña (my state senator) has events you can attend with her to support them!

The End

That was probably the fastest typed out ballot guide I've ever done! I blame my current health. If you want to talk about any of them or ask me why, find me on some messaging app you know I'm on (or call me up, but not Facebook because their interface is awful and unreadable to me now). Happy voting! And don't forget to vote for I-1631 for a bright future – and remind your friends and family to vote too.