Muni League: Sims gets an “A”, Irons a “C”

The Municipal League of King County has posted its 2005 Candidate Evaluations, a comprehensive citizen survey of county, port, city and school district races from throughout King County. Candidates are judged on four criteria — involvement, effectiveness, character and knowledge — and the evaluations have long been noted for being non-partisan and independent.

For example, in three of the five county council races, the Democrat received a lower rating than his or her opponent. However in the county executive race, Democrat Ron Sims was one of only a handful of candidates in the entire survey to receive an “outstanding”, the highest rating, while his Republican opponent David Irons was only rated “good”… the equivalent of a “C”.

It is curious to note that none of the candidates running for Seattle City Council was rated “outstanding”. And of particular interest to HA readers, our very own Richard Pope, running for Seattle Port Commission position #4, was rated “not qualified”, the lowest rating. Sorry Richard.


  1. 1

    Goldy spews:

    To be fair to Richard, the issue he raises on his Muni League questionaire about whether taxpayers should be so heavily subsidizing the Port is one that deserves at least a fair debate.

  2. 2


    Before deciding how to cast my vote in the primary for Port Commission position 4, I want to ask Richard to state his position on I-912.

    I can’t say I’m enamored of either Pat Davis or Jack Jolley, so there does exist some chance that he could get my vote.

  3. 3

    JCH spews:

    Looting Begins in New Orleans [Democrats At Play!]
    Associated Press , by By ALLEN G. BREED Original Article
    Posted By: 1940s guy – 8/30/2005 1:13:56 PM Post Reply
    NEW ORLEANS — With much of the city emptied by Hurricane Katrina, some opportunists took advantage of the situation by looting stores.

  4. 4

    Ivan spews:

    JCH @ 3:

    The Louisiana National Guard, meanwhile, is helping Bush loot Iraq for Halliburton. There’s Bush’s “homeland security” in action.

  5. 5

    Richard Pope spews:

    The Municipal Leech doesn’t like me for the Port Commission because of my steadfast opposition to their original sacred cow — the $62.7 million property tax levy that King County taxpayers are currently forking over every year to the Port of Seattle to subsidize shipping companies, cruise lines, developers, and (to a lesser extent) airlines.

    The Municipal Leech gave nearly as bad of a rating — merely “Adequate” — to Lloyd Hara, who is by far the most qualified candidate for Position 3, and shares my unequivocal opposition to the port property tax.

    Big business interests and other civic “do-gooders”, such as the Municipal Leech and the Alki Foundation, are strong promoters of corporate welfare. The port property tax was one of the first major forms of corporate welfare in King County.

    The Municipal Leech was primarily responsible for getting the 1911 legislature to pass a law authorizing the creation of port districts (and the imposition of a general property tax to subsidize them). The Municipal Leech then got the matter on the November 1911 ballot and got King County voters to approve the creation of a port district (i.e. the Port of Seattle).

    The Municipal Leech was organized in 1910. The primary purpose for its creation was to establish port districts subsidized by property tax revenues. And the impetus for its formation came from business interests that believed they would benefit from this property tax subsidy.

    Prior to 1911, of course, Seattle conducted maritime trading operations, as did every other coastal city of consequence in the state. These operations actually made money and did not require any taxpayer general subsidy.

    Since 1911, King County taxpayers have heavily subsidized the operations of the Port of Seattle through their property taxes. This property tax subsidy appears to be unique to Washington and Oregon. Most other port authorities in the USA break even, or actually made a profit.

    The Municipal Leech believes that the port property tax is a sacrament essential to salvation and good government. It is okay to talk about it, or even mildly criticize it, but God forbid someone should actually propose to totally eliminate it.

    Just look at the candidate ratings by the Municipal Leech for the Port of Seattle this year. There are only two candidates openly calling for the total elimination of the port property tax — Lloyd Hara for Position 3 and myself for Position 4.

    Lloyd Hara is only rated as “Adequate”. This is a terrible injustice, since Hara should be “Outstanding” or at least “Very Good”. Hara has a truly impressive record of public achievement — nine years as King County Auditor, twelve years as Seattle City Treasurer (including receiving an award as the best municipal treasurer in the USA), and regional director of the Federal Emergency Management Administration.

    So how can you explain the Municipal Leech rating Hara as merely “Adequate”, other than punishing him for calling for the total elimination of the port property tax?

    If you look at my own rating, the Municipal Leech has delivered the ultimate insult — “Not Qualified”. They gave me a “Poor” rating 4 years ago when I campaigned for elimination of the port tax. Probably they would have done the same this time, but they eliminated “Poor” as a rating category a couple of years ago.

    Maybe one could claim that Richard Pope is a total dirtbag, and not even the least bit qualified to serve on a legislative type board such as a Port Commission — a multi-member body which sets policy and directly hires only the very top level staff (which in turn manages the employees). If someone like Richard Pope really is a total dirtbag, then they shouldn’t serve in any capacity.

    However, two years ago in 2003, I ran for King County Assessor. That is an executive position responsible for hiring and supervising nearly 300 employees in the Department of Assessments. As well as determining property values that are used to allocate over $2 billion per year in property taxes (including the unjustified largesse going to the Port of Seattle).

    In 2003, when I was running for this position of much greater responsibility, the Municipal Leech actually rated me as “Adequate” for King County Assessor. Probably fair enough under the circumstances, given my lack of specialized experience relevant to property assessment.

    So obviously the Municipal Leech doesn’t care much for my position on eliminating the port property tax. And I don’t care much for the Municipal Leech and their desire to suck the taxpayer’s blood to subsidize their corporate welfare schemes.

  6. 6

    righton spews:

    Any rating system that puts Rons Sims and Larry Phillips at the top is suspect to me. What’s the criteria really (aside from the 4 goldy mentions)….conformity to the status quo? Talking ad nauseum at meetings (never seen, but guessing gabbiness gets rewarded in elected officialdom).

  7. 7

    My 2 cents spews:

    Sound Transit – Half the track and twice the price

    KC Elections – Messed up since at least 1998. Remember the King 5 Story.

    $300,000 Judgement for failure to comply comply with Public records request.

    Non-resident Nephew using his address to vote.

    Illegal Brain Harvesting

    Nice to see Bagdad Bob has found employment with the Muni League.


  8. 8

    Ivan spews:

    Pope @ 5:

    I wouldn’t vote for you on a bet. But on the issue of the Port property tax, I agree with you and with Lloyd, for all the reasons you cite.

  9. 9

    Goldy spews:

    Richard @5,

    Like I said, you raise a fair issue… though I’m not exactly sure you are the best messenger.

    Personally, I’m not opposed to public investment in port districts, in principle. But I’m certainly opposed to some of the particular “investments” the Seattle Port Commission has made, and totally agree that there should be a greater incentive towards break-even operations.

  10. 10

    Richard Pope spews:

    Ivan @ 8

    Then vote for Jack Jolley. He isn’t as outspoken as I am — probably because he actually wants to be elected. He doesn’t like the port property tax very much, but he doesn’t want to offend the Municipal Leech either. He would be a vast improvement over Pat Davis in any event.

  11. 11


    It’s my recollection that Rich Berkowitz also raises questions about the Port levy, though he may be saying that in terms of the amount rather than its existence. He always mentions Long Beach and Oakland as net contributors to their local economy, rather than as taxing bodies.

  12. 12

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Reply to 5

    OK Richard, you’ve made a valid point concerning Muni Leech, buuut … has ANY civic organization rated you better than “not qualified?” Much as I’d love to rid us of the entire port commission, I don’t vote for gadflys who are so ill-informed they don’t know their asses from a hole in the ground.

  13. 15

    Carl spews:

    The King County Labor Council is in the last year of a five year program to get a progressive pro-labor majority on the Seattle Port Commission. Peter Coates and Lawrence Molloy are the two candidates they support. Coates’ main opponent appears to be Berkowitz, who is a director with a lobbying group lobbying to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. That’s enough for me to laugh at any rating that rates him “Very Good.” Molloy’s opponent is the son of a Weyerhaueser executive who is described in the following PI article as “clearly the business establishments candidate.” That’s not who I want at the Port. Molloy was the only Port Commissioner to stand up to the cruise ship industry for being the largest polluter of Puget Sound. The other major issue affecting my thoughts on the race is the talk of turning valuable industrial maritime land into condominiums (Pier 46 I believe, could be wrong on the number). That land could support hundreds of family wage jobs with the spillover effects affecting possibly thousands of workers. With the Exec. Dir. of the Port due to be reappointed next year, I think it behooves all progressives to work towards a labor majority on the Port. The ED would be one of the negotiators on any union contracts that come up on Port jobs, and it is important that we get someone sympathetic appointed. The Port is an important economic driver in the region, and it needs to be led by people who will make sure that some of the $$$ is driven to working people.


  14. 16

    Carl spews:


    Forgot the link to the PI article:

    After reading this article, my co-workers laughed that maybe Weyerhaueser could ship old growth logged from the ANWR to Seattle via Holland America, to be offloaded by non-union workers. Maybe they will if the Citizens for a Healthy Economy have their way. They’ve got $100k in the bank to make sure no progressive candidate gets elected.


  15. 18

    Apollo spews:

    Hmm…Muni League? Nonpartisan?…anyone who could possibly rate Sims that high must be high.
    Leadership is wanting, unless dictators are considered good leaders.
    Mr. Sims has forgotten what $1,000,000 means to us joe schmoes. Another $100M after a failed computer system (that only already cost $40M)???…and people wonder why 912 will pass by 64%. It is OUR money, not YOUR REVENUE. Mr. Sims has grossly mismanaged my money. If you truly believe that Sims has been even ‘good’ for the County, please do all that you can to sever Seattle from the rest of King County. We want nothing to do with him. I live in Bothell, a far-flung corner of Reverand Dr. Martin Luther King County (for $250,000/year to his estate)…