A few days ago I offered four hypotheses on why King County Council member Jane Hague is blocking the appointment of George Cheung to the King County Citizens Election Oversight Committee:
- Hague hates Chinese voters.
- Hague’s own insecurity over Cheung’s impressive credentials.
- Because Cheung is a Democratic PCO.
- Because she’s just too goddamn drunk to get around to it.
Cheung has outstanding credentials by any measure: a B.A. from Brown University in Political Science; a Master in Public Policy from Harvard; current Executive Director of the Win/Win Network, a get-out-the-vote nonprofit; founder and past Board Chair or Interim Executive Director of Equal Rights Washington; a past intern with the Organization of Chinese Americans to lobby for the Justice for Wards Cove Workers Act; a stint as a project director for the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination; a civil rights investigator for Rhode Island and Washington; a consultant for APIAVote, United Way of King County, Nikkei Heritage Association of Washington and Seattle Public Utilities; a board member of Equal Rights Washington and the Western States Center.
Cheung was recommended by King County Elections director Sherril Huff to fill an open committee position designated to represent the Chinese-speaking community.
So…which hypothesis is correct? Today Jane Hague responded to Publicola‘s queries with a copy of her letter to Cheung:
I believe that it is in the best interests of King County citizens and our elections division for the appointment to go to someone who is neither an active partisan for the Republicans or for the Democrats.
Unfortunately, I do not believe you are qualified for this particular position because of your
long-standing work as a Democrat [sic] Precinct Committee Officer and campaign activist.
Yes…Hague overlooks a stellar resume and dismisses a life of highly relevant achievement…because Cheung is a Democratic PCO.
A PCO? Hell…I hear that people have been blackmailed and threatened at knife-point to force them to run for PCO. Numerous PCO positions go unfilled or end up being appointed (instead of elected). PCO doesn’t even qualify as a gateway-drug to activism.
Cheung has also committed the “crime” of publicly supporting some Democratic candidates. But a web search of his activism on behalf of candidates reveals that Cheung supports candidates who are strong on the issues he has spent his life supporting. As it happens, many of Cheung’s issues—fighting discrimination, promotion of citizen activism and involvement in government, get out the vote, etc.—are bad issues for many Republicans. But they are precisely what the position needs.
One must wonder if Hague realistically believes there are similarly qualified candidates—degrees in political science & public policy, experience promoting civic engagement, strong anti-discrimination creds, get-out-the-vote activist—who are politically chaste, and therefore eligible (in her eyes) for the position? I don’t think so.
There may be one other reason Hague is stonewalling: Cheung contributed $100 to her opponent, Richard Mitchell.
Hell hath no fury like a Republican scorned. And Hague is a Republican hack, something she betrays with the phrase “Democrat Precinct Committee Officer” in her letter.
Hauge’s hypocrisy is evident by other members on the committee. One of the non-partisan committee seats (see 2.53) is to represent “an independent research and policy institute.” That seat is held by Paul Guppy of the Washington Policy Center. Mr. Guppy has great credentials for the position. Hague not only voted in favor of appointing Guppy, she sponsored the motion.
But Guppy has his own partisan baggage. He currently holds a partisan appointment, made by the Senate Republican Caucus, to The Citizen Commission for Performance Measurement of Tax Preferences. Guppy has made political contributions to Dino Rossi and John Carlson. And he writes partisan essays, like this one against King County Executive Dow Constantine.
If Paul Guppy is acceptable as a non-partisan member of the King County Citizens Election Oversight Committee by virtue of his credentials and experience in policy analysis, then so too is George Cheung acceptable by the strength of his credentials and experience.
And so the committee remains without the representative of the Chinese-speaking community required by the King County Code.
All this leads me to say, “Jane, you ignorant hack, sober-the-fuck-up, and quit hating on Chinese voters!”