I’ll save the venting for tomorrow night’s show when The Stranger’s Josh Feit will join me in studio to give his first-hand account of the proceedings at yesterday’s special session, and the inevitable fallout from the Dems’ boneheaded political blunder. But I just want to take time to thank those Democratic legislators who stood up to the political pressure, and voted against rashly reinstating I-747′s unsustainable and irresponsible one-percent cap on regular levy revenue growth.
Yesterday I wrote, “I’d be surprised if a majority of the Seattle delegation didn’t vote to approve the governor’s plan,” and, well… I was wrong. There are six legislative districts that represent Seattle, for a total of twelve representatives and six senators. Of those, only one senator and four representatives voted for the bill, with two representatives excused and not voting. A total of eleven Seattle legislators cast votes against the bill: Senators Ken Jacobsen, Adam Kline, Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Joe McDermott and Ed Murray, along with Representatives Mary Lou Dickerson, Sharon Nelson, Jamie Pedersen, Eric Pettigrew, Sharon Tomiko Santos, and Helen Sommers. I was particularly proud that my entire 37th Legislative District Delegation — Kline, Pettigrew and Santos — voted against the bill.
Only a handful of non-Seattle legislators bucked the governor’s pressure to quickly pass dumb policy. In the House, special kudos go to Rep. Geoff Simpson of Covington, who voted his conscience despite the fact that his district overwhelmingly supported I-747, and despite the fact that he feared this vote could potentially end his political career.
“I’m not here to make decisions based on whether or not I’ll get re-elected,” he said. “I’m here to make decisions that are good public policy … 747 is not good public policy.”
Simpson said local government can’t be expected to provide high quality services when revenues are not keeping pace with the rate of inflation.
While he was aware of the risks, Simpson said he hoped voters in his district would consider the sum of his voting record, not just this one vote.
That’s what representative democracy is all about. In the Senate, Craig Pridemore of Vancouver made a similar principled stand, again, knowing the political risks coming from a district that overwhelmingly supported I-747:
“I’m a former county commissioner. I know the impacts this will have on local government, law enforcement abilities, and all of the other critical local services. I can’t vote yes for that,” he says.
No doubt Pridemore and Simpson’s opponents will attack them as arrogant and out of touch, but this is exactly the sort of principled leadership voters so often decry as missing in our elected officials. If we want our legislators to mimic the polls rather than make informed decisions, we might as well just eliminate the Legislature entirely.