Posted by: sweeneyblog | October 21, 2011

Riley’s 2011 Voter’s Guide

Hello Loyal Readers,

Since ballots are going out, and I know you are all chomping at the bit to get them filled out, here is Riley’s guide to how he is voting this year. None of this should come as much of a surprise, but I’m compiling it all in one place so you can share it with your friends. As always, thank you for reading even when you don’t agree. I believe everyone’s political opinion is valid when based on facts and values. When it is based on misinformation, that is a problem. But truly, politics is the one place where every citizen is an expert and deserves to have their opinion heard.

First, let’s look at the state-wide initiatives.

Initiative 1125: Vote No
This is Tim Eyman’s latest efforts to gut revenue funding for our state, this time aimed at transportation. As I’ve blogged before, investing in our infrastructure is absolutely essential, and cutting funds to our roads, bridges and buses right now is just plain foolish. Vote no.

Initiative 1163: Vote Yes
This is a measure that ensures that the most vulnerable, our aging seniors and those on disability, are treated by ethical and well-trained people. A simple measure that deserves passing.

Initiative 1183: Vote No
This is Costco’s latest attempt to shut down our state-run liquor stores and sell hard alcohol privately. I oppose this for three reasons. First, it would put hundreds of hard-working, unionized employees out of work (think about it, state run liquor stores close but would Costco hire more than a few people to added an extra shelf to sell booze?), second because it would not affect the price of liquor very much (we already get a good bargain) and finally, because we need those state run liquor stores open and running when we finally legalize marijuana.

Whatcom County Charter Amendment No. 1:  Vote No
This is the proposed Salary Commission. While it seems like a good idea at first, who doesn’t think we need a little oversight, the details quickly make me queasy. It is poorly designed, with the County Executive easily able to stack the deck so that they will raise his salary. This is not the right plan for Whatcom. My good friend, Shane Roth of Latte Republic, has more here.

Whatcom County Executive: Jack Louws
Jack Louws is definitely a conservative, but his considerate, reasonable and open-minded attitude towards our county won my vote. Also, he is running against Doug Ericksen. The same Doug Ericksen who wages war on the working people of Whatcom, who has threatened to dismantle our county unions, and who tried to have my friend arrested for videotaping a public meeting. Vote Jack Louws and don’t look back.

Whatcom County Council, Position 1: Pete Kremen
Though I no longer work for Pete Kremen, I still am supporting him. He has been stalwart in his efforts to protect the Lake Whatcom Forest Preserve, and brings his years of trusted leadership to the council. Also, his opponent, Tony Larson, wants to “revitalize the timber industry around Lake Whatcom”. I’ll take Pete Kremen over clearcutting Tony any day. Also, Pete Kremen has a striking resemblance to Admiral Adama. Seriously, check it out.

Whatcom County Council, Position 2: Christina Maginnis
When I met Christina for our interview back in the spring, I was struck by her methodical and thoughtful perspective. Here is a woman committed to clean drinking water, good jobs in our community and ensuring our first-responders have the resources they need to keep us safe. Her opponent, Sam Crawford, has been conducting unethical business dealings for quite sometime, and only recently has some of it come to light here on this blog. Vote Maginnis.

Whatcom County Council, Position 3: Alan Black
Alan Black, former pilot and veteran, is running against Barbara Brenner, and Alan will be a calming force for our county council. However, his election would reduce some of the entertainment value of county council meetings. Barbara Brenner considers herself an independent, and rightly so. She is independent of a great many things, and her sometimes erratic, sometimes amusing, always lively involvement in our county council has often been more of a hindrance than a help. Vote for the steady hand on the tiller. Vote Alan Black.

Whatcom County Auditor: J. Lynne Walker
To know J. Lynne Walker professionally, is to adore her work. As current Clerk for the City Council, J. Lynne is a dedicated and efficient public servant. Now she is stepping up to be head vote counter for Whatcom. Her tech savvy will serve her well, considering the poorly constructed Auditor’s website desperately needs a fresh coat of paint, and a more reasonable reorganization. Her opponent, Debbie Adelstein, is the number two at the auditor’s office right now and will provide more of the same. Being adequate is not enough, our auditor’s office can truly expand its outreach and J. Lynne Walker is the woman to make that happen.

Whatcom County Sheriff: Steve Harris
In case you missed it yesterday, or you are reading this somewhere else, I laid out all the reasons I am proud to vote for Steve Harris here in my blog post titled “The Case for Detective Steve Harris”

Whatcom County Treasurer: Steve Oliver
Steve Oliver has done a fantastic job managing our finances over the last four years, sheltering Whatcom from the worst of the financial storms. Cautious, capable, ethical, everything you could want in a County Treasurer.

City of Bellingham Initiative 2011-11: Vote Yes
This is the anti-red light cameras measure, and I agree whole-heartedly, we need to make sure these cameras are not installed in our city. I am not opposed to them because of privacy concerns, but rather economic ones. These tickets pump 40% of each fine out of our economy and into the pockets of an Arizona-based corporation owned by Goldman Sachs. Bellingham dollars should stay in Bellingham. Vote Yes on this measure.

Mayor of Bellingham: Vote Kelli Linville
Obviously, Dan Pike and I have had our disagreements, whether it is over the focus of his campaign, his efforts to install Red Light Cameras (see above) or his deceptive campaign materials, so clearly I would not be voting for him. On the other hand, I am very excited to support Kelli Linville for mayor. For many years I have admired her unqualified support for openness and transparency in public process. She embodies the idea of disagreeing without being disagreeable, and is exactly the sort of coalition builder we need in the mayoral office. Vote Kelli.

City Council, Position 3: Cathy Lehman
I endorsed Cathy early and with good reason. She is going to be a fantastic city councilwoman, and while I am fond of Barry, I’m vote for Cathy this year. Read my full write-up here.

City Council, At-Large: Seth Fleetwood
I have to admit, it is hard not to like Seth. He is funny, sharp and engaging. He was the sole vote against Red Light Cameras when Dan Pike pushed them through the city council, and he is not afraid to change his mind when new facts emerge. While I like Larry Farr (who reads this blog, so sorry about this Larry) and I appreciate his focus on downtown business, I’m going to stick with Seth this time around.



  1. Methinks you mean Initiative 1183 — or color me confused.

    • Just got that fixed. Sorry!

  2. Interesting Endorsements J.Riley – and yup I still read you…and still will. Cuz that’s who I am – committed to those who even like the other guy.

    Keep up the good work.


  3. Seth & Larry won’t be on my ballot, as I live outside Bellingham. I really wish Larry was running in an open seat, and not against someone I like, because Larry really offers a lot.

    And for anyone who is confused about all the similar names on Whatcom’s ballot, check here for help :

  4. Nice write up and clear reasons. I will add that Larry Farr is a class act. He would make a great city council person if we could only find room for him.
    And thanks for standing up to intimadators associated with one of the campaigns Riley – they have behaved in a shameful manner and have disappointed me greatly.

    • Thank you, I agree about Larry, and I appreciate your support

  5. The 1183 is tempting on the grounds that the economic projection showed a increase in state revenue.

    • some money costs too much

  6. I appreciate your piece but couldn’t disagree more regarding Alan Black. I just don’t get it… he doesn’t seem to have much knowledge of our local issues and doesn’t seem to have any passion in him in regards to our community. While folks may not always agree w Brenner, she is the most authentic local public official that I am aware of. She is a rare gem and I think we should keep her. I can’t help but wonder if her opponent was recruited by WCV to do their bidding.

  7. Thanks Riley – this was a help with the initiatives.

  8. […] During election season, every voter’s mailbox gets filled to the brim with a smorgasbord of political mailers. In this post, I was going to walk you through what goes into a successful persuasion piece and examine some of the pieces to cross my hands recently. If you are looking for my advice and endorsements about who to vote for this election, please see my 2011 Voter’s Guide. […]

  9. […] 5:30pm:  Brandywine with Cathy Lehman, Christina Maginnis and Alan Black. […]

  10. […] reviews of this project. You are reasonable and thoughtful man, that is one of the many reasons why I supported you. You know that 98% of what these people raise is irresponsible blather. Please don’t confuse […]

  11. […] what? Riley endorsing a Republican and Doug Ericksen isn’t involved? Are you kidding me? First of all, I am a proud Democrat, but that doesn’t mean I’m […]

  12. […] the Plastic Bag ban, which was greeted with frustration that quickly faded to acceptance, or the red light cameras which sparked a ballot initiative and arguably was the 2nd biggest factor in Dan Pike losing his bid for […]

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