It was a split decision today in the Seattle Times endorsements for Port of Seattle commissioner, with the editorial board coming out for the best qualified candidate in one race, and in total union-bashing mode in another.
On the bright side, the Times endorsed Rob Holland, an all around stand up guy and former 37 LD Dems chair, who deals with port issues for a living, over David Doud, a Bellevue real estate broker… despite the obvious drawback of Holland’s labor connections.
For Position 3, our choice is Holland, who is labor-backed but not representing exclusively a labor interest. Holland lives in Seattle and is a great-nephew of former Seattle City Councilman Sam Smith. He works at Seaport Energy in the fleet-fuel business, and knows the Port as a customer. Holland stresses that the Port’s mission is “to support trade, and maritime and industrial jobs” and says he would work to keep Seattle competitive.
Yeah, Holland is “labor-backed” but as the Times painstakingly points out, not “exclusively,” which I guess is their way of justifying going for the guy with the knowledge and credentials over the one who just views the Port as a taxpayer financed real estate development firm.
“Holland’s view is more suited to a public enterprise,” the Times grudgingly admits. How civic-minded of them.
But in endorsing Tom Albro for Position 4, the Times editors just simply couldn’t hold back their anti-union bias:
For Position 4, our choice is the business-backed candidate, Albro. He is an entrepreneur who runs the company that operates the Seattle Monorail. He has also been a civic volunteer, serving as chairman of the Municipal League from 2000 to 2002. Like Holland, he is for preserving industrial and maritime land uses.
So is his opponent, Max Vekich, who was once a Democratic representative in Olympia. Vekich was a solid labor vote, and is now a member of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. Vekich knows the waterfront, but his close identification with organized labor makes him a risk for this post.
Hear that? Like Holland, Albro is for preserving industrial and maritime land uses… though unlike Holland, he has no actual professional experience as to what these industrial and maritime land uses might be. I mean, he runs the Seattle Monorail, which, whatever its potential might have been, is little more than a glorified amusement park ride.
Vekich on the other hand, he not only shares Holland’s passion for preserving the Port as, you know, a port, he also shares Holland’s firsthand experience of the daily grind along a working waterfront. The Times even admits this, but dismisses his superior qualifications because “his close identification with organized labor makes him a risk for this post.”
Huh? Vekich’s close identification with organized labor makes him a risk of what…? On the Waterfront style mob violence and corruption? If not for Vekich and his union connections, Terry Malloy coulda been a contender?
I mean seriously, if the Times is worried about corruption and mismanagement at the Port, they should be more concerned with Albro, a self-financed candidate whose political base was apparently inherited from the disgraced Pat Davis/Mic Dinsmore regime. Meanwhile, Vekich is running as part of a well publicized reformist slate with Holland and respected incumbent John Creighton, while Albro is essentially running as part of a secret slate with the similarly unqualified and business-as-usual-backed Doud.
So I guess my question for the Times is, if not for his membership in the ILWU, would the clearly more qualified Vekich have been a less “risky” choice? And if Holland had been in the employ of a dreaded union, would your endorsement have gone to the less qualified Doud? Are you really making the argument that a “close identification with organized labor” should disqualify one from public office, while a close identification with the developers and shippers who have profited most from the Port of Seattle’s documented mismanagement and corruption (and who have largely financed the Albro/Doud campaign) is a feather in a candidate’s cap?
Huh. Considering the Times’ longstanding and unwavering support for the disgraced Davis, perhaps it is Holland, not Vekich, who has the most to lose from today’s endorsements?