Posted by: sweeneyblog | October 19, 2012

Riley’s 2012 Voting Recommendations

Hello Loyal Readers,

Stuck on your ballot? Let Riley help!

Yes, it is ballot time. Here is how I’m voting and why. I’ve arranged it in ballot order. I will add this tab to the top of the page once I’m done so that it is easily accessible until election day. If you find this information useful, please share it on facebook or email it to your friends. Thank you!

Initiatives and Referendums

I-1185: This is Tim Eyman’s latest attempt to enforce the unconstitutional 2/3rds vote requirement for tax increases. I think majority rules is a plenty reliable system. Vote No

I-1240: This is the charter schools amendment. I had hoped to get a blog post about this issue out before this but I’ll cut to the chase. You can already create a charter school within the public school system right now. All this would do would drain money away from our dangerously underfunded schools into a system with less oversight and mixed results. Vote No

Ref. 74: Marriage Equality. I’ve written about it. My guest columnist has written about it. Time to make it happen. Vote Approve

I-502: This is the best shot at marijuana legalization we have seen in a decade. Read more here. Vote Yes

Now, the complicated ballot issues. I wrote about all of these in my post here.
Senate Joint Resolution 8221: Vote Approved
Senate Joint Resolution 8223: Vote Rejected
Advisory Vote 1: Vote Maintained
Advisory Vote 2: Vote Maintained
Port of Bellingham, Prop 1: Vote Yes

Federal Races

President: Barack Obama. Look, I know quite a few people voting for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson. Feel free. We don’t live in a swing state and if you want to make a point, please do. Both of those candidates deserve to have a voice on the national stage. I was considering voting for Jill Stein myself until I talked to my wife about the sheer volume of accomplishments of this president, so many directly affecting my life. Able to stay on our parents health insurance? Check. Seeing my fellow 20-somethings come home from the long war in Iraq? Check. Stimulus funds that trickled down and employed some of my fellow graduates? Check. We are voting for the president.

U.S. Senator: Maria Cantwell. A senator who is actually tough on Wall Street? Who hunts down BP executives and grills them on the national stage? Sure, she isn’t the warmest or friendliest senator. Heck, she isn’t even the friendliest senator from Washington. But she is doing a good job and deserves reelection.

U.S. Representative, Congressional District 1: Suzan DelBene. Okay, so I don’t actually live in the 1st, but many of my readers do. Vote DelBene. Similar to Cantwell, she is not a thrilling speaker or full of charm and style. But she is an incredibly pragmatic leader at a time when the House of Representatives could use some cool heads. Conversely, her opponent, John Koster, said illegal immigrants should be tagged like cattle, has ties to secessionists, and shares Todd Akin’s views on women’s reproductive rights.

State Races

Governor: Jay Inslee. Some of you might be underwhelmed by his lackluster campaign, but I am still voting for him. McKenna’s viciously anti-choice, anti-LGBT agenda is going to set Washington back, while Inslee’s commitment to investing in green energy will make us the silicon valley of new energy technologies.

Lt. Governor: Bill Finkbeiner. I already talked about this one in my blog post here. It is a weird race, but vote Bill.

The next handful of state races all share a similar dynamic. They have a boring Democrat running in a race with little visibility against a Tea Party Republican who has promised to make crazy drastic changes. These roles of government seem to be doing pretty well so far, I’m sticking with Team Boring.

Secretary of State: Kathleen Drew. I wrote about her here.
State Treasurer: Jim McIntire
State Auditor: Troy Kelley

Attorney General: Bob Ferguson. I had the pleasure of meeting Bob last year and he is a smart, capable attorney. His opponent, Reagan Dunn, is a slacker who barely shows up to vote at the Seattle City Council. Vote Bob.

Commissioner of Public Lands: Peter Goldmark.  Peter is many things: a scientist, a farmer, and now, one of the few people standing between Whatcom County and a coal port. He promised a thorough review of the EIS, while his opponent, Clint Didier, is whole hog for the port.

Insurance Commissioner: Mike Kreidler. He has done a good job implementing Obamacare in Washington. Tell him to keep up the good work by reelecting him.

Local Races

State Legislature, District 42, Position 1: Natalie McClendon. Did you have any doubt? Can anyone look at Rep. Jason Overstreet’s record and say, “Wow, heck of a job!” Natalie and I have had our disagreements over the years but I never once doubted her values, and all of that pales compared to the damage Overstreet continues to do in Olympia. Vote Natalie.

State Legislature, District 42, Position 2: Matt Krogh. His was the first yard sign I put in my yard this year because I am SO excited to see Matt elected. He will be an ethical, thoughtful and compassionate advocate for Whatcom County. Also, his opponent has made some truly atrocious votes in the last two years, but mainly I’m just excited about seeing Matt take our values to Olympia.

If you happen to live in the 40th district, bravo! Proudly vote for Kris Lytton, Jeff Morris and Kevin Ranker. They all deserve your vote for the hard work they have done in the last two years.

Public Utility District 1: Brad L. Stone. Aside from having a name out of a comic book, he is a thoughtful man ready to tackle a very boring post.

Supreme Court, District 9: Sheryl Gordon McCloud is a fantastic legal mind and deserves a seat on the bench, but more importantly, Richard Sanders is shockingly bad. As much as I dislike salty language, I think I’m going to let the Stranger handle the background on this one. “This race features the return of disgraced former justice Richard B. Sanders, who voters booted off the high court in 2010 amid charges that Sanders made racist statements and showed unforgivable hypocrisy (he voted against same-sex marriage because he said gays have “more sexual partners,” but it turned out that Sanders himself had multiple simultaneous girlfriends). Whatever you do, don’t vote for that cherry-picking asshole.”

Whatcom County Superior Court Judge: Deborra Garrett. Read my interview with her here, and her opponent, David Grant, who has been making nakedly partisan appeals to the Republicans here.

City of Bellingham, Prop 1, Low-Income Housing: This measure is a relatively small addition to our property taxes to create more low-income housing, which gets panhandlers off the streets and reduces crime. Pretty straightforward. Vote Yes.

That’s it! Sorry for the long post but it is a long ballot. I will continue to cover late breaking political stories from here until our election night liveblog. Remember, if you found this useful, please share it on facebook and email it to your friends!



  1. Riley, thanks for recommending YES on Prop 1. It’s an investment in the community, it will make a big impact on our ability to get those lengthy housing wait lists moving again and get some building jobs in the community.

  2. Disagreements can be fun, amusing, exciting. Agreements boring. This is an agreeable slate. I am content to be bored today. Where’s my ballot? I need a nap.

  3. What a shock! I can’t believe it! LOL!

  4. […] Looking for my explanations about the other issues on your ballot? Check out my full recommendations here. […]

  5. Did you and your lovely wife hear Jill Stein tonight? If she had, she would have been wowed and maybe coax you away from her initial coaxing. Also, conspicuous by its absence is an endorsement in the CD in which you live. Don’t forget that if the electoral college ends in a tie, the House will decide on our next President. As my friends in the Democratic Party know, I have never, to say the least, been an ardent backer of Rick Larsen. This year, however, even I am endorsing him.

    One mistruth/bit of hyperbole that I must point out. Rob McKenna is hardly “viciously anti-choice”. In fact, he is pro-choice, He might wish that the woman would choose to carry the fetus to full-term, but he would not deny her that choice even though most in his party would. And, it may well be true that as an intelligent and politically-savvy man, he is pro-choice because he realizes that no anti-choice Republican has ever been elected Governor; but, that is conjecture.

  6. More on Obama: Took Medicare for All off the table? Check. Tried repeatedly to talk the Iraqis out of the withdrawal date Bush had negotiated by getting them to agree not to prosecute soldiers/contractors? Check. Ramped up the troop level in Afghanistan to no avail? Check. Is keeping us there through the end of 2014 even though Karzai says his forces can handle things now? Check. Has greatly expanded the murderous use of drones in Pakistan and elsewhere? Check. Refused to prosecute obvious war crimes of the previous administration? Check. Has put crippling sanctions on Iran which are tremendously hurting its people not its leaders (shades of Iraq including unfounded allegations)? Check.

    Has indicated a willingness to put cuts to Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security on the table next term? Check. Bailed out the big banks, but has done virtually nothing to bail out students and underwater homeowners? Check. Continues to give the big banks zero interest loans? Check. Has not criminally prosecuted one single banker for their role in bringing our economy to its knees? Check.

    Has said virtually nothing about the climate crisis in his debates and campaign? Check. Has ramped up oil drilling offshore and in Federal lands including the Arctic? Check? Believes in “clean coal”? Check. Wants to loan our money to new nuclear plant start-ups? Check. Talks up natural gas–read fracking? Check.

    Has expanded the war on drugs, including medical marijuana? Check. Has done nothing to strengthen gun laws despite repeated mass carnage? Check.

    Has a kill list? Check? Has expanded espionage on US Citizens? Check. Has suspended the Constitution allowing Americans to be executed and held indefinitely without charge? Check.

    Did not go to Wisconsin during the mass mobilization against Walker? Check. Had Homeland Security actively involved in putting a stop to the Occupy movement? Check.

    Has deported record numbers of immigrants? Check. Has blocked UN membership for Palestine? Check. Backed down and extended the Bush tax cuts to the very wealthy? Check.

    The list could go on and on, Riley.

    Yes, he has done good things as well–higher mileage standards, Lily Ledbetter, ending DADT etc.; but, his sins of omission and commission outweigh his accomplishments both in number and magnitude.

    He promised Hope and Change. He has dashed the former and not delivered on the latter. He is a good orator, but a lousy President. He serves his corporate masters and not we the people. He does not deserve to be re-elected.

    Oh, and he is better than Romney; but, the lesser of two corporate evils is still a corporate evil. Neither will reverse the apocalyptic path we are on.

    Thanks Be to Allah that you and I live in a State where we will be able to vote our conscience.

  7. Riley,

    would have answered earlier but was out of town.

    Your endorsement of Bellingham’s so-called affordable housing levy is ill-conceived.

    Think about just one little fact. The various tax and fee increases currently being proposed (sewer, water, buying more land, prop 1, transit ride increases, just adopted transit tax increase and on and on and on, add up to around $500+ per year when all is said and done. Of those designated by HUD as low income about 1/2 are not, as yet, “housing cost burdened.” How many people are pushed into a housing cost burden status if an additional $500 is imposed on their property taxes or rental units?

    The fact is, if the levy supposedly “helps” 1300 homes than 16,000 households in the low income, very low income and extremely low income brackets are left with tax and fee increases. No one seems to care about them!

    Also, everyone forgets, businesses pay levy taxes too so, prices go up on every single thing sold in Bellingham as a result or, alternatively, job opportunities are reduced.

    There is a reason Whatcom County has one of the worst levels of income for workers of all the Metro Counties in Washington and there is a reason Bellingham’s income levels make the rest of Whatcom County look good.

    Not to go on too long but has it ever puzzled you that a low income housing unit costs $300,000 or so to produce but, right now, a brand new home can be purchased in Bellingham for about $199,000?

  8. […] for my 2012 Voting Recommendations? Click the tab at the top of the […]

  9. […] no campaign staff at all except for a treasurer. Krogh is heavily invested in television, while Natalie McClendon is investing in mail. Buys and Overstreet both went for a pretty big mail push, but Buys added a TV […]

  10. At the risk of becoming even more unpopular, I concur with all recommendations save I-502. We have enough brain-dead potheads on the road as is.

    • That’s the issue. I seriously doubt that this will change the number of people driving under the influence, but I think it will set a clear legal standard for enforcing that. It gives our law enforcement the tools they need to protect our safety.

      But thank you for liking the rest of my recommendations!

  11. […] Looking for Riley’s 2012 Voting Recommendations? Click the tab at the top of the page or find it here. […]

  12. […] Are you looking for Riley’s 2012 Voting Recommendations? Sure you are. Hit the tab at the top of the page or click here. […]

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