Yesterday Joel Connelly gave The Stranger a little heat for their coverage of the Seattle City Council race between incumbent David Della and challenger Tim Burgess. I didn’t really understand Joel’s First Amendment argument, but I suppose I kinda-sorta got his outrage at political purity, even if I disagree with it.
Should Burgess’ less than firmly pro-choice history, and past record of working for vehemently anti-choice groups disqualify him from serving on the city council? Joel says no. The Stranger apparently says yes. Well now WA’s leading advocate for reproductive rights comes in on the side of The Stranger, endorsing Della over Burgess.
“Typically we don’t make endorsements in Seattle City Council races because, in the past, all candidates were clearly pro-choice,” explained Karen Cooper, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Washington. “But questions and concerns arose over this specific race after we learned of Tim Burgess’s longtime association with Concerned Women for America, a virulently anti-choice, anti-woman organization,” Cooper added.
I talked with Cooper this afternoon, and she went even further than the press release, describing Concerned Women for America as “a hate group.”
The couple of times I’ve met Burgess I liked him. He seems like a reasonable, competent guy. But in the end we tend to vote for people who reflect our values, and when we don’t we’re bound to be disappointed.
Should Burgess’ years of working for Concerned Women for America absolutely disqualify him from office in this very blue city? I suppose not… at least not absolutely. But voters have a right to know the candidate’s entire biography, and our local media has a responsibility to report it. My guess is that if voters understood about Burgess what The Stranger and NARAL Pro-Choice WA understand about Burgess, he wouldn’t stand a chance in November. Perhaps that’s unfair to Burgess. But to keep that information from the public would be unfair to voters, and counter to the Democratic process.