Last week I wrote about the apparent quid pro quo between King County executive wannabe David Irons and the jail guards unions. Irons is leading an effort by Republicans on the council to extend “essential employee” status to juvenile detention officers, thus allowing them to secure more favorable contracts by invoking “interest arbitration.” In exchange, Jared Karstetter, who represents both jail guards guilds, has reportedly agreed to fund a countywide initiative in 2006 to make the auditor an elected office.
Of course, the real purpose of this initiative is to try to embarrass KC Executive Ron Sims, by keeping the controversy surrounding Dino Rossi’s discredited election contest in front of the public for as long as possible. That’s why GOP Councilwoman Jane Hague is in such a rush to gather signatures during the final weeks before the November election. Putting aside for a moment the laughable notion that electing an auditor somehow takes the politics out of elections, the timing of this initiative is naked political opportunism… exactly the type of opportunism Karstetter is known for.
Karstetter is also one of Irons’ most loyal financial patrons, contributing more to his campaigns than to any other candidate over the past few years. And today’s PDC filings shows even more largesse, with an additional $675 from the Juvenile Detention Officers Guild. That brings the total Karstetter-controlled contributions to $2700 in this election alone… only Casino Carribbean of Yakima has given more.
Sure… this is the kind of behind the scenes political deal making that goes on all the time… but it belies the Irons-as-reformer bullshit that he’s tried to push as the central theme of his campaign. In fact, Irons is both a beneficiary and a seasoned practitioner of political cronyism, and in the unlikely event he wins office he’ll have plenty of debts to repay to the jail guards, the gambling industry, the BIAW folks and other special interests looking to feed at the public trough.
There’s a reason why Irons’ official website, (un)Sound Politics, spends so much time and effort trashing Ron Sims, but can’t seem to find any positive words for Irons himself. There aren’t any.