Mitchell Comes Out Swinging Against Hague

By Erica C. Barnett October 18, 2011

King County Council challenger Richard Mitchell, a Mercer Island Democrat, put council incumbent Jane Hague, a Republican, on the defensive earlier this week on Robert Mak's "Up Front," posing questions about Hague's record on the council, her troubles with the law (including a charge of negligent driving after being pulled over for DUI in 2007), and her "flip-flops" on a $20 vehicle-license fee to preserve Metro transit service.

• In response to Hague's claim that she has been an "advocate for transit" on the council (she initially supported, then opposed, then voted for passing the fee without voter approval), Mitchell shot back: "The Metro transit challenge has been known since 1997. The incumbent has been in office since 1993. And over the last six months or so, there was a lot of indecision or flip-flopping on supporting funding for Metro Transit. That's not leadership."

• Regarding Hague's misstatements about her past and brushes with the law, Mitchell said, "The incumbent represented early in her career that she had graduated from college. That turned nut not to be the case. [Ed: True.] There are also couple of ethics issues that involved fines with the [state Public Disclosure Commission]. [Ed.: True.] That's a challenge. These sort of things, including the well-publicized issue with the DUI, negligent driving, in 2007---that's a challenge for the incumbent. The voters need leadership with integrity."

Hague's limp response: "These issues were very well vetted in the last election. ... I took responsibility for those issues. I believe that this will stay with me for the rest of my life, and a result I'm a much more compassionate and effective leader. ...  Past history is past history."

• Hague's only real gotcha moment came when Mitchell said he would like to change land use in King County to increase density and raise revenues, perhaps by taxing parking spaces. Hague's rejoinder: "Clearly, my opponent has a very Seattle-centric view of this.Land use planning has to recognize subarea interests. In many cases, the land use policies have already built up [developments]. ... We need to take a look at our unincorporated area revenue and ask, have we been robbing it for other purposes?"

As we reported earlier this week, Hague canceled her appearance on Mak's show twice before appearing on the show last week, citing injuries from a bicycle accident September 25. Additionally, Hague canceled twice on the Seattle Times editorial board, once on Q-13 Fox, and once on the Greater Seattle Business Association, the gay and lesbian chamber of commerce.

During the time she was canceling media appearances, however, Hague appeared at a forum sponsored by the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce and at a ribbon-cutting for RapidRide B, the Eastside bus rapid transit line, just two days after her accident.
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