Live-blogging the Green Choice Debate

Well… not really. I hate live-blogging. And besides, I don’t plan to stay for the whole thing. (It’s Darryl’s birthday!) But I thought I’d share a few thoughts as they come to me.

And my first thought is… where the hell is Susan Hutchison? (Apparently, she declined her invitation.)

It’s an impressively full house for a summer night at Town Hall. Not full full—I mean, not Sims vs. Hutcherson packed to the rafters full—but about as full as you’re likely to see it. (The largest audience they’ll face the entire campaign, according to Fred Jarrett.) All the more reason for Susan to show up and introduce herself to one of the most passionate and active communities in the county.

From the very first question Dow Constantine stands out from the rest… mostly as being the only candidate up there without gray hair. Otherwise, it’s all a bunch of middle aged white guys. Again… all the more reason for Susan to show up and throw a middled aged white woman into the mix.

Ross Hunter starts off by making a process argument—that he’s the most capable of bringing folks together to achieve the vision we all share—which is a pretty savvy opening response considering that there really isn’t all that much that separates the four on environmental policy.

Dow raises tax reform as an issue, blaming the legislature for failure to act. That wins brownie points with me.

It’s kinda funny to do a debate format where each candidate gets a “rebuttal” per se, when the candidates don’t really seem to disagree with other.

More on Dow’s raising the tax issue, as it appears to reflect a smart strategy on his part. Dow and Larry come in at a bit of a disadvantage as longtime council members, as to some extent they’re forced into defending county government, while Ross and Fred go on the attack. But our regressive and inadequate tax system presents legitimate grounds for Dow and Larry to attack the legislature, and thus put Fred and Ross on the defensive. Particularly Ross, who serves as chair of the House Finance Committee.

I’m doing a lot more live-blogging than I planned, but I suppose that means I don’t have to go through the effort of writing up my thoughts after the fact.

Fred once worked as a gandy dancer. (Look it up.) Who knew?

All four think it’s important to buy the Eastside BNSF rail corridor, but none seem too urgent to turn it into commuter rail. (Though Fred thinks the price is too high, and needs to be renegotiated, and as a gandy dancer, he should know.)

With nearly every answer, Larry starts off by talking about something he’s done or some board or whatever he’s served on. I suppose it’s okay strategy to highlight one’s resume, but it kinda sounds like he’s running for student body president.

Ross has the most engaging debating technique. But I’m not sure if focusing reducing overhead and squeezing waste out of the budget is going to engage this particular audience.

The biggest contrast here tonight is between Dow and Ross. At least on matters of substance.

NOTE TO STAFFERS: Please tell Larry not to talk so fast, and tell Fred not slouch (though to be fair, that may be the natural shape of his back). Oh… and this goes for all four candidates… it wouldn’t hurt to crack a smile once in a while. If Susan were there, I bet she’d be smile. (Except when she’s angry. Or maybe even then too.)

It’s not really fair to seat Fred next to Larry. It makes Fred look small.

Ross said “poop.” He has my vote.

Dow argues for a $1.50/barrel tax on petroleum to raise $100 million to help clean up Puget Sound. Ross and Fred talk about being smarter with the money we have.

On cleaning up the sound, is now the time to push for funding from the state… Fred: “Now is not the time to push for funding.” Dow: “Puget Sound can’t wait… fund this now.” Ross: “You are electing a King County Executive, not a King County lobbyist.” (Didn’t answer the question.) Larry: “Now is the time to raise the revenue.”

Do you support a county property or sales tax increase to help clean up the Sound? Fred:  “No.” Dow: “I’m not willing to dismiss this out of hand, but it is not the time for sales or property.” (Wants a progressive tax from the legislature.) Ross: “I don’t support this year adding a property or sales tax.” (And he “knows” that the people don’t support it.) Larry: “I’m not opposed to raising money locally.”

Again… this is the real conflict in this race… the council members think we need more funding or more (and more progressive) taxing authority, and the legislators think we need to spend what money we have more wisely.

I’m out of here.


  1. 1

    SeattleMike spews:

    *PLEASE* tell me that they had an empty chair there with a sign that said “Hutchison” on it!

  2. 2

    AP spews:

    two thoughts from the debate
    -not a lot of difference between the four on enviro policy? i mean, i’ll give you that each of the four legitimately believe the environment should be protected – which may already be a contrast from this candidate you call “Susan” – but they’re not all exactly carl pope.

    -by neglecting to highlight the comment, i’ll have to assume you left before jarrett’s confession of the evening. “i grew up [or maybe “live” i can’t remember exactly] in mercer island … born in montana … and i’m a cub scout dropout.”

  3. 3

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Riots Erupt In Honduras

    You won’t see it on American TV, but thanks to the miracle of digital TV, Mrs. Rabbit (who is fluent in Spanish) is picking up a Mexican broadcast signal with video of angry Honduran mobs infuriated by this weekend’s military coup battling riot police in that country’s streets. It’s getting harder and harder for the world’s would-be rightwing dictators to get away with their thuggery.

  4. 4


    “NOTE TO STAFFERS: Please tell Larry not to talk so fast, and tell Fred not slouch (thought to be fair, that may be the…”

    Though to be fair, not thought to be fair.

    You’re welcome.

  5. 5

    PCO37 spews:

    Good job Goldy. I was surprised at Dow’s dismissal of the BN tracks as being a low priority and of it being a higher priority for Ross. There were signs with Susan’s picture – Where’s Susan and a small chant at the beginning.
    Far more boring than the LWV/Horizon House debate w/Susan and truly exotic ideas (turning the Viaduct into a nursery and pedestrian mall to provide a green greeting to visitors.)

  6. 6

    kurisu spews:

    My understanding was that Dow supports rail on the BN corridor when there’s the land use to support it. The feasibility studies for commuter rail were not very promising in the near future.

  7. 7

    Richard Pope spews:

    Roger Rabbit @ 3

    How can Zelaya legitimately claim to still be President of Honduras? It would be like Blagojevich still claiming to be the legitimate Governor of Illinois.

    Looks like a unanimous decision of the Honduras Supreme Court and a nearly unanimous decision of the Honduras Congress (which is controlled by Zelaya’s own left-of-center political party) removed Zelaya from office.

    True, the procedure sucked. Zelaya apparently was not given due process of law — i.e. notice and hearing to defend himself. But if he had been, the result would have been exactly the same.

    In any event, the Honduras Supreme Court felt that Zelaya was an immediate danger to the country, since he had not obeyed prior court orders, and thought that acting in an ex-parte expedited fashion was essential. I don’t agree with the process used, but on the other hand, it was a decision made by a body of judges with considerable legal and judicial experience, who were familiar with Honduras laws, customs, and culture.