A few days ago my friend Leah asked a question on Facebook which I think a lot of other good people in Washington's 7th Congressional District have wondered themselves: "I don't pretend to know a thing about politics, but seriously? Jim McDermott is the best we've got?"

To which I replied, "The US House of Representative is a cesspool. 435 members, 25% of whom are completely nuts. If his blurb in the King County Voters' Pamphlet sounds the same as it did 10 years ago, it's because guys like Jim McDermott are fighting a Sisypeahn task of keeping a boulder of Boehner/Cantor shit from rolling down on all of us."

He's not just the best we've got, he's one of the best there is!



Although he's currently my state senator, this is the first time Jamie Pedersen has actually run for the position. He was anointed as senator when Ed Murray ran away from the crap sandwich he (as majority caucus leader) helped create in the Washington State Senate to run for Mayor of Seattle.

I'm not a huge fan of Pedersen's background as a corporate Merger and Acquisitions attorney (was Mitt Romney ever a client?), but he did co-sponsor the Vulnerable User Law (VUL), which was meant to harshen penalties for drivers who caused bodily harm to cyclists and pedestrians.

There have been recent questions, however, if this bill has any teeth. 19-year-old cyclist, Caleb Shoop, was killed by a driver in Kenmore earlier this year, and the driver walked away with a $175 ticket. The city of Kenmore decided to not pursue charges under the VUL saying that there was not "enough evidence to charge the driver with negligence."

Pedersen is running unopposed, so when he's elected senator in November, hold his feet to the fire and let him know that we expect the Vulnerable User Law to be effective policy, not just lip service.


The other benefactor of Ed Murray's sudden departure from Olympia was Brady Walkinshaw, who replaced Jamie Pedersen in the State House. As a PCO in the 43rd District, I was eligible to vote on our next representative in a special meeting last December, after Murray was elected mayor and Pedersen was appointed to his seat in the Senate.

Three candidates were running, and Walkinshaw was my third choice. It was nothing personal, I had just never heard of him. Much to my surprise, Walkinshaw won by a fairly healthy margin, thus opening my eyes to the political machinations that happen behind the scenes.

He was a decent candidate, young and fairly polished. A huge portion of his initial platform was passing the DREAM Act, which indeed passed earlier this year (though considering the timing, I have a feeling that Walkinshaw had very little to do with its passage). He doesn't seem to have screwed anything up, and now that he's been a Rep for eight months, I hope Brady likes the job, because being a Democratic public official in Seattle's 43rd District is basically a lifetime appointment.


Speaking of lifetime appointments, Frank Chopp is running to represent the 43rd District in the State House. Again.

Chopp has represented the 43rd in the House since 1995, but I'm not sure he knows that. Since 2002, Chopp has been Speaker of the House, and that's where his power and passion have seemed to reside for the past several years. Chopp needs to remember that he doesn't represent Olympia, he represents the most liberal legislative district in the state.

Chopp likes to blame obstructionist Republicans for not passing more progressive legislation in recent years (things like a high-earner income tax and long-term funding for public transit) and indeed the Republicans do currently have a tenuous majority in the State Senate and are obstructing some more progressive legislation from passing. But Democrats controlled the House, Senate and Governor's mansion from 2005 until 2012, during which time our tax structure got more regressive, hitting the middle class hard.

Is Jess Spear a better choice? At this point I have no idea. She represents the same Socialist Alternative Party (ohhhh, scary!) that new Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant does, and I think Sawant is doing a fine job of rattling cages at City Hall. Perhaps Spear can do the same in Olympia.

At the very least, a good showing by Spear in the primary will get Chopp's attention and maybe spark a good debate running up to the November general election. Chopp needs to remember that he works for us, the residents of the 43rd District, not the Democratic Party in Olympia.



I oppose the death penalty. Not from a strict moral standpoint, but from a realization that our judicial system is weighted in favor of people who have access to good representation. Until all people are truly given a fair shake in a court of justice, regardless of their means or background, the death penalty remains an arbitrary form of punishment.

Dan Satterberg supports the death penalty. Dan Satterberg is my Prosecuting Attorney, and if you live in King County he's your Prosecuting Attorney. And it's the Prosecuting Attorney's job to seek the death penalty in certain cases, which Satterberg has done as recently as a month ago.

I cannot vote for Dan Satterberg. Unfortunately, he's running unopposed and will win.



Who knew a ballot initiative over parks funding could become this contentious? People are yelling, cursing, even nearly coming to blows in town hall meetings over this issue. I think Jean Godden's carrying nunchucks now. Only in Seattle!

Proposition 1 creates a new metropolitan park district in Seattle, which will maintain, operate and improve existing parks, as well as create new ones. Funding for this park district will come from a property tax levied by the Seattle City Council.

Make no mistake, this park district will cost a little more than the current parks levies we pay (about $50 a year more for the average homeowner), but the trade-off is a stable, dedicated funding source for parks. So even when the city's coffers are bare, parks will be funded (and really, when the economy stinks and the city is broke and you lose your job and your house, it's a pretty nice thing to be able to go to a park with an unlocked bathroom and a working toilet).

The one thing that gives me pause regarding the establishment of this park district is that the Seattle City Councilmembers will serve as its Board of Commissioners. With district elections coming our way next year, six of Seattle's nine councilmembers will no longer be accountable to you, giving each of us less influence over their decisions (be prepared, this will be my beef with city council elections and issues for the rest of time). There will, however, be a citizen oversight committee and annual performance audits, which will hopefully hold these councilmembers accountable when our vote cannot.

Overall, the good of this proposal outweighs the bad. And on 80 degree days like today, there's nothing better than going for a dip and getting a sunburn at Green Lake Park, which will hopefully become free of goose poop once Seattle has a dedicated source of parks funding. See you at the beach!