[I was forbidden to blog during the 2008 campaign, so this is less timely than I would like it to have been… Oh well.]
The Municipal League of King County has a really noble mission. They rate candidates for political office, giving voters more information while subjecting the political process to a modicum of quality control. They do a pretty good job of it, too. Candidates gripe about their ratings (“Good” isn’t as good as “Very Good,” while “Outstanding” is the very best), but all in all, they seem to be doing their homework.
Which is what makes their endorsement of King County Charter Amendment Eight all the more confusing.
Charter Amendment 8, passed by King County voters this November, makes pretty much every elected office in King County non-partisan. The City of Seattle has had non-partisan elections for years; the only other county with non-partisan elections is Whatcom County.
But non-partisan elections don’t make our politicians any less partisan. The Seattle City Council may be non-partisan, but all nine members are Democrats. Same goes for Mayor Nickels. Does anyone think that stripping Kathy Lambert of the Republican label will make her any less of a Republican? Is Larry Gossett any less of a Democrat without that “D” next to his name? Hardly.
Voters use partisan labels to help make decisions on election day. Taking away this information ultimately makes it harder for the public to make an informed choice.
Why did the Municipal League, an organization that gives the public more information about candidates for office, endorse a charter amendment that would give voters less information?
The Municipal League gave telecom billionaire John Stanton a big award last year for his work on transportation governance reform. Some folks say Stanton is serious considering running for King County Executive. Removing the Republican label from John Stanton gives him a better chance, but it doesn’t make him any less of a Republican.
Dan Savage said it best: “If sex offenders have to register with the county, so should Republicans.”