Afternoon Jolt

Wednesday Jolt: Carrasco and Candidate Ratings

The day's winners and losers.

By Afternoon Jolt July 2, 2014

Today's loser: City Light director Jorge Carrasco,

Mayor Ed Murray announced today that Carrasco would not be getting a pay increase, after a series of scandals including the utility's decision to hire a consultant to burnish its image on Google. 

Last month, Carrasco requested a pay increase of as much as $125,000 a year—increasing his "pay band" to as much as $363,000 a year, from his current pay of about $250,000. 

Today, Murray announced bluntly, "I am not going to raise the superintendent's salary." 

"The contracts in question and the incidents in question in relation to City Light, while they did not happen on my watch, I am not happy with how I learned about them," Murray said. "In addition, I think there are questions around transparency and trust that need to be rebuilt a a result of this controversy.

"Then we come to the issue of salary. I am not going to raise the superintendent's [Jorge Carrasco's] salary. ... Instead I will again engage with council around some form of independent determination around the salary for City Light and perhaps for city employees. .. We need to pay public employees what they're worth, and I don't believe their salaries should be a political football, so we'll try and develop ...  an independent process to determine what is an appropriate salary for the appropriate position.

"Having said that, at the time, until we have sorted out the issues with the contracts, until we have rebuilt trust, and until we establish a process that determines both the salary band and the salary itself we are not going to raise the superintendent's salary."

Today's Winner:  Democratic state senate candidate Matt Isenhower

The the non-partisan Municipal League makes candidate ratings based on resumés, not ideology—whether or not you support the education levy swap, for example, doesn't factor into a candidate's ratings, while competence and accomplishments do. 

In an era of gridlock, where the partisanship of a righteous mind isn't helping to ccomplish anything, the group's approach (promoting people who are inclined toward success rather than excess) is looking better and better all the time. (We modeled our 2011 "endorsements" on the even-keeled Muni League process.) 

This is all to say, in one of this year's pivotal state senate races—the race in the Microsoft suburbs between Republican incumbent (and budget chair) Sen. Andy Hill (R-45, Kirkland) and Democratic challenger Matt Isenhower—the league rated both candidates "Very Good,"—the second-highest rating.

You'd think a high-profile incumbent like Hill would notch an "Outstanding"—as his budget counterpart on the house side, Democratic Rep. Ross Hunter (D-48, Medina), did. (Lest you think the Muni league leans Democratic, they gave the Democratic challenger in the 47th an "Adequate" rating to incumbent Sen. Joe Fain's (R-47, Auburn) "Outstanding."

Which brings us back to Hill. Fain's "Outstanding" rating, juxtaposed against his suburban GOP colleauge's B, takes some gravitas away from Hill's status as an incumbent, giving Isenhower—a Navy vet, Harvard business school grad, and Amazon manager—a nice boost. (Hill is far ahead on fundraising, though, $400,000 to $100,000.)

Footnote: In another win for Democrats in the swing-turf Seattle burbs, challenger Chris Barringer, chief of staff in King County Sheriff John Urquhart's office, netted a "Very Good" vs. incumbent Rep. Mark Hargrove's (R-47, Convington) underwhelming "Adequate." 

And while the Muni League doesn't care about ideology, we have to say: Hargrove voted against the DREAM Act and was one of only four votes against a ban on gay "conversion" therapy. (The DREAM Act passed this year. And while the ban on gay conversion therapy passed the house, it stalled in the Republican-controlled senate.)

Barringer, formerly a deputy prosecutor in the Bellevue City Attorneys Office and as a as a District Director for Republican King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn, has raised $37,000 to incumbent Hargrove's $32,000. 

Read the League's endorsements here.   


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