Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Elections Thoughts

For some time, I've felt a declining joyousness about our local elections process and the growing obstacles that threaten it, but today's local results have helped reverse that trend.

Even though about 5000 ballots remain to be counted and certification isn't until 1/26, I'm happy with the direction Whatcom County voters have taken, to wit:

• All four progressive candidates for County Council lead by substantial margins
     [Weimer, Mann, Browne, Buchanan]

• Both progressive candidates for Port of Bellingham Commission also lead
     [McAuley, Kowalczyk]

• Two first-time City Council candidates, both young women, have wide leads
     [Vargas, Murphy]

• Initiative 517, another Tim Eyman exercise, is failing statewide

Despite all that is right in our system, there are some glaring flaws that need to be fixed to ensure that principles of fairness, equity and openness are always evident.

Here are a few:

• The Citizens United SCOTUS decision that corporations are persons and money is speech needs reversing!

• PACs and other corporate gimmicks badly need the -timely- light of day

• The role of 'outside' money in local elections needs serious questioning

• Gerrymandering needs to be curtailed by redistricting to ensure no 'safe' seats

• Notwithstanding the 1st Amendment, political speech needs to be more accurate and truthful, especially in mass media and mass mailings

• Candidates should agree, in advance, to attend Forums and answer Questionnaires to demonstrate their comprehension and explain their positions on Issues

• PDC [Public Disclosure Commission] rules and guidelines need to be strengthened and enforced

• Wider voter awareness and participation

There are probably other flaws that need fixing, too.

Today's Gristle is a good read that weaves some political contemporary history into these latest election results.
Don't you agree that the incoming County Council ought to address the egregious current Planning Commission very soon?
I believe new appointments such be undertaken as a first order of business, in the interest of decent planning in compliance with the Growth Management Act!
That would give reasonable certainty for all citizens, plus reduce the unnecessary costs of continuing to deny that GMA guidelines need to be followed.