Here at HA, where the motto is “politics as unusual,” we take pride in doing things a little differently, so this primary election season, rather than joining the parade of candidate endorsements, we’ve decided to march to the beat of different drummer and publish our list of unendorsements. (And when I say “we”, of course I mean “me.”)
While I think I know who I’m voting for in all the races, the choice sometimes involves splitting hairs, but there’s little question of whom I’m not voting for. So here is a list of candidates near the top of the ballot for whom I definitely won’t be filling in the box… HA’s first annual Candidate Unendorsements:
KING COUNTY EXECUTIVE
Thank God for Susan Hutchison. Had this race merely been a battle between the four D’s—all of whom I like, and all of whom are qualified, if in different ways—my unendorsement might have come down to something petty and personal like temperament or height or legislative voting record, but Hutchison is what we call a bright-line distinction. Unqualified, out of touch and arrogantly unopen about her stance on nearly every issue, Hutchison is the clear unchoice in this field of otherwise experienced, if unexciting public servants.
I suppose I could unendorse James Donaldson for his bizarrely inept campaign (and his ineptly bizarre campaign manager), or maybe Jan Drago for her uninspiring calls to bring old blood into the mayor’s office. And of course, it’s awfully tempting to unendorse Mike McGinn, if only to provoke his inch-wide/mile-deep base into a passionate, bike-crazed fury. But something just sticks in my craw about T-Mobile exec Joe Mallahan, a man whose candidacy would be taken only slight more seriously than Norman Sigler’s, if not for the $200,000 he sank into his own campaign. I understand he’s a nice guy and a successful businessman, but I’m not all that sure how that has anything to do with being mayor. And listening to Mallahan on the trail, apparently neither is he.
SEATTLE CITY ATTORNEY
It’s one of those low profile races folks tend not to pay much attention to, and quite frankly, neither had I, despite challenger Pete Holmes’ earnest outreach. But when incumbent Tom Carr started publicly challenging Holmes’ legal qualifications for office, weeks after the deadline for filing a legal challenge had passed, he earned both my ire and my uncoveted unendorsement. Pushing a homegrown version of the birther controversy, Carr insists that Holmes six years providing legal council to the OPA Review Board doesn’t actually count as practicing law, which, assuming he believes what he says, either makes him a crappy lawyer for missing the deadline to file a challenge, or a crappy lawyer for not understanding the law. Or, he doesn’t actually believe what says. You get the point.
REFERENDUM 1 – PLASTIC BAG FEE
Honestly, I’ve always been a little conflicted about the bag fee. On the one hand there’s plenty of environmental justification for limiting the use (and thus waste) of plastic bags, and this is exactly the kind of issue on which Seattle is able to provide national leadership. On the other hand, I reuse my bags, particularly the paper ones, which, double-bagged and lined with newsprint have become an integral part of my efforts to comply with Seattle’s strict food waste recycling mandates. (I just dump the whole, compostable bag into my yard/food waste bin. No clean up, no mess.) But in a display of political douchebaggery, the plastic bag industry has dumped $1.3 million into a cynical, astroturfed “No” campaign, more than earning my unendorsement, and a big, fat “Yes” vote. Hmm. Maybe next year we should put a douchebag fee on the ballot… that’ll really cost the American Chemical Council some money.
Coming up, the Seattle City Council unendorsements… that is, assuming I ever get around to it.