PubliCola Picks

PubliCola Picks Yes on King County Prop 1 and Seattle Prop 1 (and Reject I-1185)

By PubliCola Picks October 18, 2012


 You certainly don't need our help marking your ballot in some of this year's high-profile contests. We imagine you've already made up your mind on big-ticket items such as, I-1185, the latest Tim Eyman measure that makes it impossible for Olympia to raise taxes by setting a two-thirds majority standard.

(If not, PubliCola says "Reject 1185." First of all, the rule may very well be unconstitutional. The state Supreme Court heard arguments from education advocates and Democrats last month that the rule violated the state's simply majority rule. We too think it's unonstitutional—for the same reason we're recommending voters reject it: The two-thirds requirement gives extra weight to anti-tax legislators' votes when it comes to a critical function of the state—budgeting.)

And there's a cruel irony here: It only takes a simply majority to pass a corporate tax loophole, essentially a tax cut, but it takes a two-thirds vote to repeal it. This leads us to ask: Why are some budgeting decisions more equal than others?

But you knew that. (Yesterday, we also told you something you already knew: It's time to legalize marijuana and approve I-502. And  on Tuesday, in another no-brainer, we told you should vote for Democrat Bob Ferguson in the AG' s race. And on Monday, we tipped you off on this big secret—approve R-74, the gay marriage measure. More top-of-the-ticket no-brainers to come.)

However, there are a number of down-ballot races where it's not exactly clear how to vote: Should you vote for the lefty Democrat or the lefty Democrat in the race for the open state house seat in North Seattle's 46th Legislative District? Should you approve Senate Joint Resolution 8221 to lower the state's debt limit from nine percent to eight percent? Who should our next state auditor be? And, huh?We elect Supreme Court justices?

And there is, in fact, one high-profile ballot measure—I-1240, the charter schools measure—that isn't an approve-or-reject no-brainer. 

PubliCola will be rolling out endorsements on a select batch of races and measures over the course of this week ... and a couple next week as well (here are Monday'sTuesday's, and Wednesday's) where the choices aren't already 100 percent clear.

Today, we're endorsing two very-down-ballot measures, King County Proposition 1 and Seattle Proposition 1—Eds.

King County Proposition 1, Fingerprint ID System

King County’s Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), a decades-old fingerprint storage and matching program that helps county law enforcement officials identify suspects quickly, is a vital tool for catching criminals in the county.

Eliminating the levy, which costs the average county household about $20 a year,  would be penny-wise and pound-foolish, making it harder for county law enforcement to do their jobs. 

Seattle Proposition 1, The Seawall Levy

It’s a shame that Seattle puts critical infrastructure needs up to a vote of the people, but, to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, you battle gribbles with the political system you have, not the political system you wish you had.

The seawall is nearly 100 years old, it’s crumbling, and if it falls into Elliott Bay, it will take a large part of downtown’s waterfront infrastructure, including roads, utilities and waterfront businesses—with it. Seattle’s plans to rebuild our waterfront depend, first and foremost, on a stable foundation. PubliCola picks “yes” on Seattle Proposition 1, the $290 million seawall levy, costing the average Seattle homeowner about $59 a year. 

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