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Seattle Port Commission Position 4: PubliCola Picks Max Vekich

By PublicolaPicks October 19, 2009

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Four-term state legislator, longshoreman, and labor leader Max Vekich is the obvious choice in this race.

Vekich not only says he’ll prioritize getting the Port’s environmental record up to green standards, he’s truly fired up about it—advocating for an upgrade at all the terminals that would include pushing for non-polluting, energy-efficient trucking, eliminating toxic runoff, making the Port a leader in cleaning up the Duwamish River, and eliminating waste dumping by cruise ships. He also supports changes to local cab contracts to eliminate "deadheading," a product of rules that prohibit cabs coming from the airport from picking up people in the city and cabs dropping people off at the airport from taking people back to the city.

As an eight-year Democratic state legislator (D-35) and a lead player in passing the state’s Growth Management Act, Vekich will bring sorely needed lawmaking experience to the perpetually sloppy Port Commission.

Vekich has the undisputed backing of labor, including the Teamsters, the Service Employees International Union, the King County Labor Council, and the longshoreman. His critics, including his opponent, paint him as a labor lackey, but we like that Vekich is in sync with the people whose livelihood depends on a successful and environmentally sound Seattle Port.

He has an impressive list of supporters, including U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, US Rep. Jay Inslee, US Sen. Maria Cantwell, State House Speaker Frank Chopp, and state representative Sharon Nelson, as well as all the local district Democratic organizations. He also has endorsements from city council candidate (and environmentalist) Mike O'Brien and the local chapter of the Sierra Club, as well as several members of the King County Council and the Seattle City Council.

Vekich’s main opponent is Seattle Monorail Services director Tom Albro. Red flag: Albro’s contributors list (unlike Vekich’s) looks all too familiar: It’s littered with business interests that benefit from the Port’s $70 million tax levy, such as Holland America, SSA Marine, airline service companies, and the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce.

Also on Albro’s business-as-usual donors list: Ousted state lands commissioner Doug Sutherland and Eastside mall developer Kemper Freeman, whose conservative agendas are out of step with Seattle. Albro himself has given money to GOP gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi and GOP Attorney General Rob McKenna.

PubliCola picks Max Vekich.
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