Posted by: sweeneyblog | October 25, 2014

2014 Voting Recommendations

Riley Endorses . . .

Riley Endorses . . .

Hello Loyal Readers,

Sorry for the delay but here are my picks for this election. First, a few disclaimers. As a political junkie, I wear many hats. I am serving my last few months as vice-chair of the Whatcom Democrats (I’m done in December) and I am a paid consultant with the Joy Monjure campaign.

I’m involved with these groups because I’m deeply passionate about their goals but my recommendations are my own. I don’t speak for the Democrats, I don’t speak for Joy Monjure, I speak for J. Riley Sweeney – that’s why my name is at the top of the page.

Enough preamble, let’s get to the recommendations in ballot order.


Initiative 1351: YES
This ballot measure would direct the legislature to spend funds on hiring additional teachers to reduce class sizes. This will not solve the problems with our educational system but another strong yes vote on funding education will send a clear message to the state legislature to stop screwing around and get serious about helping our kids. After years of brutal cuts to our educational system (Looking at you, Gregoire!!!), let’s do what we can to invest in our classrooms. Vote yes.

Yes on I-594

Yes on I-594

Initiative 591: NO
This initiative would forbid Washington state from enacting any gun legislation that is more rigorous than federal regulation. I’m in favor of local control and letting Washingtonians decide what to do with their firearms. Vote no.

Initiative 594: YES
I dug into the details of this earlier, but basically, if you sell a firearm then you must conduct a background check. Opponents of this measure ask, “What if I hand my firearm to my buddy while we are shooting in my backyard?” The FBI directly addressed this earlier this month in the Seattle Times, “The Gun Control Act of 1968 doesn’t specifically define what constitutes a transfer,” FBI spokesman Billy Estok wrote on Aug. 25. “However, it can be clarified that simply handing a gun over to somebody else to try out does not qualify as a ‘transfer.’”

This bill cracks down on craigslist sales and gun show giveaways and works to ensure that guns stay in the hands of good guys. Is it a perfect law? No. But it is a step in the right direction. Vote yes.

Advisory Votes 8 & 9: Vote MAINTAINED
Advisory votes ask voters to approve what the legislature did earlier this year. One has to do with a legal grey area (whether marijuana qualifies for an agricultural tax cut) and the other requires native tribes to follow the same rules for leasing private land. Both are pretty boring, both passed with large bipartisan majorities, both should be maintained.


Rep. Suzan DelBene

Rep. Suzan DelBene

Congressional District 1: Suzan DelBene
DelBene has been simply fantastic as a representative: a leader in cracking down on NSA spying and fighting for our privacy, a local advocate for farmers, and an accessible legislator voting for a wide range of good legislation.

I wrote about some of her accomplishments here. Pedro Celis should offer no competition but show your support for a job well done. Vote DelBene.

Congressional District 2: Rick Larsen
There are plenty of reasons why some of my readers don’t like Larsen – his support for the Cherry Point Terminal frequently topping the list – but after years of a rather chilly relationship with the local progressive community, Larsen has really made an effort to reach out to his critics and friends alike. He showed up in person to a ton of local events and took some very hard questions head on.

The bottom line: he votes the right way most of the time and he is in a safe district so I want to encourage good behavior when I see it. Also – his opponent is bonkers. Vote Larsen.

Other Congressional Districts in WA: Vote Democratic
I realize I have gained readers from across this state. While I don’t want to spend a lot of inches discussing each district, I do want to make this point: While the Republicans control the House of Representatives, we will still have conspiracy theory investigations into Benghazi, government shutdowns, and climate change ramblings rather than work-sessions on immigration reform, repair of our infrastructure and creation of an energy industry of tomorrow.

While the Democrats may not always be effective or right, they seem to be at least interested in creating legislative solutions to problems in our nation. Which is more than I can say for the Republicans in Congress. Vote Democrat.

State Legislature

Seth Fleetwood

Seth Fleetwood

State Senator: Seth Fleetwood
Anyone surprised? Seriously, vote Fleetwood. As a reporter following Ericksen’s behavior in the legislature, it is crystal clear who Ericksen works for, and it isn’t us. This vote goes beyond partisanship to just good government.

Control of the state Senate is key for a whole host of reasons (fighting climate change, repairing our infrastructure, fixing our local health care systems) and Fleetwood will make a fine legislator. He is bipartisan, rational and not in anyone’s pocket. The Ericksen campaign has set new lows with the number of lies they have spread about Fleetwood. Show them that it doesn’t work here. Vote Fleetwood.

State Representative, Po. 1: Satpal Sidhu
How often do you get an electrical engineer, business executive and education specialist all in one package? Sidhu is over-qualified, but more than that, he brings a non-partisan perspective to legislative issues – approaching them as problems to be solved rather than political battles to be won.

His opponent, Luanne Van Werven, has spent the last twenty years spending thousands of dollars of her own money trying to block gay people from getting married and women from controlling their own bodies. She is a religious zealot, and yes, I use that term very specifically. She believes the Earth is 6,000 years old, that FDR prolonged the Great Depression and that gays and lesbians are abominations in the eyes of the Lord. Vote for the guy who lives in the real world. Vote Sidhu.

Joy Monjure, candidate for the 42nd LD

Joy Monjure, candidate for the 42nd LD

State Representative, Po. 2: Joy Monjure
While I personally like Rep. Vincent Buys, he has not done the work of a state legislator. In the past two years, he has only gotten one bill passed, and that is while his own party controls the Senate. We need a leader who works across party lines to craft meaningful solutions.

Monjure was an Everson City Councilwoman, has worked on sustainable farming for years and understands that the key to improving our schools is fighting poverty. I work on Monjure’s campaign because I believe she will make an incredible and passionate legislator. Vote Monjure.

State Representative, 40th District, Po. 1 & 2: Kris Lytton and Jeff Morris
These guys are great. They propose a wide swath of legislation (take a look at Lytton’s record here and Morris’ here) with a deep interest in crafting effective and meaningful laws in their areas of expertise (education and green energy respectively). Vote for the home team. Vote Lytton and Morris.

Bob Burr

Bob Burr

State Supreme Court: Charles Johnson and Debra Stephens
Our state Supreme Court has handed down some fantastic decisions that really move our community forward. They’ve put a (metaphorical) gun to the legislature’s head, forcing them to fund our schools and haven’t interfered with legalization of marijuana. Well done, re-elect our current slate.

Whatcom County District Court Judges: Matt Elich, but NOT David Grant
Both of these guys are running unopposed but David Grant, aside from seeking partisan support from the Whatcom Republicans, has severely resisted efforts to reduce our prison population using bail alternatives. It is a wonky issue but here we are, I’m leaving his box blank.

Public Utility District: Bob Burr
My choice is the committed progressive and rabble-rouser, Bob Burr, versus Jeff McClure, the guy who publicly endorsed the Cherry Point Terminal and promised them all the water they need. I was sitting on the fence on this one (stir things up or go with the sell-out who hasn’t ruffled feathers) until the pro-coal PAC from last year, SAVEWhatcom, decided to spend thousands in coal money to prop up McClure. That settled it. Bob Burr is my man for PUD. Vote Burr.

Charter Review

For these races, vote NO MORE than five candidates. For more information about what the heck Charter Review is, read my article here. For more information about who these people are, check out my article here. My main criteria for this race is who will not screw up our county constitution.There are some people running who want to strip the County Council of their ability to block the coal port, or make the sheriff an appointed position by the executive. I want none of that.

This was difficult for me, since there are so many talented people running for these seats, however, I would ask that you please vote these candidates:

Barbara Ryan

District One:
Barbara Ryan
Eli Mackiewicz
Todd Donovan
Thomas Stuen
Alie Walker

District Two:
Stan Snapp
Judd Morse
Kate Blystone
Sherry Nelson
Susan Gribbins

District Three:
Richard May
Chris Johnson
John Lesow
Karl Uppiano
Jon Mutchler

That’s all for me, folks. If you have any questions, feel free to shoot me an email by clicking here. I’m always happy to explain more about why I’m voting a certain way in the comments below.



  1. And remember, folks, you don’t have to vote for 5 people for charter review. I only voted for 3. In the same vein, you can also not vote for a position when there is only one choice. You can even write in a candidate, for example Darcy Burner for Congressional District 1. [Darcy did the heavy lifting for DelBene and the Dems sandbagged her.] Of course you probably knew that anyway.

    • Right on Walter!
      I still can’t get over Mr. Sweeny endorsing the “Mitt Romney” of Ferndale for Charter Review Position3. Shows his poor Judgment on endorsements. Too bad so sad.
      Susan DelBene is of the “New Democrat- Old DLC” ilk who loves lobbyists and photo opportunities more than Rick Larsen, if you can imagine that! Sure she sounds good on social issues but the big issues? She is as quiet as a well oiled hinge.
      If all the local Democratic candidates lose tomorrow I hope the Democrats in the county figure out how poor the Dem leadership is and finally do something about it. I think the democratic candidates should start talking to members of the party who might have better ideas then what has been shoveled at them for the past few cycles by the same “old good ole” boys & girls club.

      • Well, Rick, you won’t have to worry about me getting in the way. I’m done with my term as vice-chair at the end of the year.

        But more importantly, there is not some secret cabal running local politics – if you want to change things you can, run for office, join committees, convince voters that you or your ideas are right. If you think the leadership of a local party needs changing, get involved and change it.

      • Riley, I’m not worried about you getting in the way of anything. As a matter fact I would hope you may help to be a solution to many of the problems that plague the County Democratic leadership. I believe you to be passionate about your politics.
        If you’re worried about your performance as a vice chair you may just want to move on.
        It’s unfortunate that you suggest there is some sort of “secret cabal” running local politics. The current officers might not appreciate that too much. I really don’t think that matters though. Do you? They have set the agenda for years now and I don’t see them deviating anytime soon.
        I definitely think the local party leadership needs to be brought back to the values that the Democratic Party used to stand for if you call that changing that we’re in agreement. I’ve been involved with the party for many years now. I’ve witnessed the leadership push away some of the best PCO’s that I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. Some of the most passionate people with ideas that I believe would have been successful had they been given a chance instead of overridden by certain egotistical know- it-all’s that think they are the only ones who have answers and ideas. This house needs to be cleaned before it can successfully move forward. Let’s see how tomorrow goes =)

  2. Hey Riley,

    I’d like to thank you for providing endorsements for races like the State Supreme Court and such. I honestly had no idea who to vote for until now. The only thing I would recommend is that you provide summaries for why you endorsed people for the charter commission, since that’s another office that I think people don’t know that much about.

    Anyways, thanks for the posts!


  3. Just for fun, whenever you endorse I guess the endorsements you’ll make in advance… I’m 100%

    • You guessed Uppiano and Mutchler?

  4. Riley,

    Thanks for for voter guide. Now I know who NOT to vote for. ( I can’t for for the two you mentioned in District 3). 🙂

    If you had read/studied I-591 & I-594 and maybe you wouldn’t be so anti-Second Amendment.

  5. I would like to add that 2/3 of Doug Ericksen’s donations came from corporations such as BNSF, Monsanto, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Phillips 66, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, the NRA, and many more. Check out the PDC for details. While most of Seth Fleetwood’s come from individuals and civil societies, like reproductive rights organizations, labor rights, environmental groups. I cannot find one single corporation that donated to Seth, or Joy or Satpal. I wanted to ask the Republican candidates at the forums why they run for public office when they represent privatization of everything. “How do you plan to put the “public” back in public service?” was the question no forum moderator would let me ask. Hmmm, wonder why?

  6. I am sure it was an oversight that you will correct. “Nyima the Dog” is clearly the better candidate for Whatcom County Prosecuting Attorney over the incumbent. I look forward to your ongoing support for this important candidate.

  7. There have been so many good things said about Satpal Sidhu, but no one (not even those of us Spin Doctors) has said it quite so well as you, He does live in the real world, and she has been the one perpetuating the right wing myth that her life is what should be imposed on everyone. Satpal is the definition of a gentleman and a scholar; she’s an angry throwback to yesterdays politics. Thx

  8. Thanks for Reminding me, I gotta get to Marking up that Votey paperwork.

  9. Riley: Can you please tell me why you are not voting for Bob Burr for Charter Review? Isn’t Burr also running for Charter, besides running for PUD? Also, Is Walter Haugen correct that we only have to vote for 3 Charter Review candidates for each District? And, can you tell me why you are voting for Uppiano and Mutchler for Charter Review?

    Mutchler voted yes to approve the SSA/GPT support resolution in April 2011.

    Uppiano had this to say in a comment he posted in Dec. 2011, in which he called CO2 objections “bogus,” and seems to believe in the idea of “clean coal”:

    Karl Uppiano commented on The Orange County Register.
    December 29, 2011 at 11:36am ·
    “The batteries required for most of the ‘green’ boondoggles (electric cars, solar and wind energy storage, etc.), are particularly nasty from an environmental perspective. The free market had already gravitated to the most environmentally friendly, sustainable, and above all, practical solutions: Hydroelectric power grid (and nuclear, if done right — and nuclear technology is improving, quietly all the time), gas and diesel powered transportation, and natural gas home heating and cooking.

    The use of clean coal technology for the power grid is also very attractive, but the watermelons* don’t like it because of bogus CO2 objections. Fueling the power grid with diesel and natural gas generators is a mis-allocation of resources. Fossil fuels are much more valuable as mobile energy sources (i.e., for transportation).

    *Marxists masquerading as environmentalists — green on the outside and red on the inside.”

    • First of all, you can vote for up to five people for charter review from each district. However, in my view, there were only three good candidates in the 3rd who shared my values (Richard May, John Lesow and Chris Johnson). Beyond that, I wanted to pick some people who I could find some common ground and trust to make good decisions about the County Charter.

      Jon Mutchler as a Ferndale City Councilman has done a great job of providing grounded and rationale leadership and although we don’t see eye-to-eye on many partisan issues, I like the way that approaches issues in our community.

      Karl Uppiano is definitely a bit inflammatory – especially on the national issues, but for the County Charter he has done a great job of reaching out and talking about the actual substance of the charter with voters – online through his facebook page and in person. He is one of the few candidates who has been regularly campaigning for this position and we have gone back and forth about the issues of the charter.

      That is why both of these men received my endorsement – because they are interested in doing the work of the charter review committee and committed to the task at hand.

      • Thanks for explaining. I agree about not supporting Bob Burr in the Charter Review position, as he is needed in the PUD spot, And we have too many good people in the 1st. Some time we should talk about what you mean by “partisan”, as many of us have different ideas. Having gotten my poli sci degree in ’68 at UW, there may be a generational gap. But I think of “bipartisan” in current usage as a term that applies to all Republicans and the right half of the Democratic party teaming up to support corporate interests against the rest of us. (So it makes me cringe.)

      • ONLY because they are NOT liberals?Progressives? Partisan much?

      • Only because they are NOT Liberal/Progressive it? Partisan much?

  10. Each district will have 5 representatives to the Charter Review Commission. The Dems are suggesting that we only vote for the three whom we know don’t support district voting for County Council. I’m of two minds about that since it might be better to vote for the more reasonable candidates over the more rigid ones. Thanks, Sandy Robson for posting the quotes by Karl Uppiano. That choice surprised me as well.

  11. I forgot to add one additional piece of information about Karl Uppiano who is running for Charter Review.

    I remember seeing Uppiano’s comment on a past Facebook post made by Ron Reimer (past President CAPR) a long while back, which featured a photo of the EPA’s logo/emblem with a red-stamped “Scrap-It” across it. I copied and pasted Uppiano’s comment and have kept it in my notes.

    Uppiano’s comment on that FB post was: “The EPA has become one of the most oppressive bureaucracies extant.” The capriciousness and bullying, the criminalization of normal human activity, the suppression of prosperity, and the unbridled, unelected and unaccountable authority is outrageous.”

    I don’t care to vote for anyone with the attitude that Uppiano has. Are you sure you are feeling positive about your Uppiano recommendation, Riley?

    • Those 2 choices do seem right-wing; I was doorbelling in Ferndale today, and only used the palm card with the 3 endorsed candidates. I do wonder, Riley, what was your rationale? (maybe that they were the lesser of 2 weevils?)

      • See my comment above. They are both conservatives, yes, but there was some thought put into it. As for not endorsing Bob for Charter – too many good candidates in District One and I’m excited to see him for PUD.

    • You don’t care to vote for anyone who speaks the truth Sandy.

  12. I thought that I’d share this exchange with Luanne from Twitter:

    Me: I was going to complain about @WhatcomGOP’s duplicate mailings… but I like knowing I’m costing them the only thing that matters: money.

    Luanne: Nice try @infodriveway FYI @WhatcomGOP doesn’t snail mail. If you’re talking emails… well, they be free. Avoid annoyance and unsubscribe

    Me: I wonder if right-wing opposition to my marriage is so strong that the state party and other orgs can’t do a mail merge. @LuanneVanWerven

    Luanne: @infodriveway I’ll pass the word up the chain

    Me: @LuanneVanWerven Thank you. All I want is for political campaigns to send one piece of mail to us.

  13. Is there a point some where?

  14. Jon Mutchler supported the boondoggle new police station in Ferndale. He also supported Gary Jensen’s attempts to intimidate the student who criticized him in the Ferndale High student newspaper about the well water issue. It is well known he will be running for Mayor of Ferndale when Gary Jensen’s second term is done. There are other issues where I feel he is not a fit candidate for ANY office.

    Karl Uppiano is the head of the Whatcom Tea Party. A vote for him is a vote for the Tea Party.

  15. “Karl Uppiano is the head of the Whatcom Tea Party. A vote for him is a vote for the Tea Party”. Association Fallacy.

    • Wayne – As the mutual fund advisors like to say, “Past performance is no indicator of future success – BUT that’s the way to invest.”

      • That is the worst way to invest and a guaranteed way to lose money. I say that from a perspective I have from 42 years as an investment counselor (a very successful one according to my clientele, I might ad).

  16. As for filler voting 5 even if you only strongly like 3… here is the math, Riley… if there was only 201 voters and all the rest had voted, and Mutchler had already gotten 100 votes, and i had already gotten 99 votes, and then your and Bryna’s ballot each had one vote for me and no votes for Mutchler then my end total would be 101 and Mutchler would have 100. But if you and Bryna each voted for me and Mutchler, then Mutchler would have 102 votes and i would have 101 votes. Therefore, your “bonus vote” for Mutchler to fill up all the spaces on your ballot, could add on to all the other competing votes for your secondary preference candidates, surpassing your preferred candidate.

    That’s the actual math. Less is more.

    • That is a moot point because Mutchler most likely would have gotten at least two thirds of those votes. 🙂

    • That’s a good point – and for those who are voting strategically, I would definitely recommend May, Johnson and Lesow exclusively. That said, I wanted to provide a little more info about some of the other candidates in the 3rd.

  17. According to PDC records, below are some of the contributors to
    Vincent Buys’ campaign:

    Pacific International Terminals (GPT applicant)
    UP (Union Pacific) Railroad
    PMSA (Pacific Merchant Shipping Association) – represents owners and operators of marine terminals and US and foreign vessels operating worldwide.

    K&L Gates PAC (K&L represents SSA Marine on Gateway Pacific Terminal issues)

    Phillips 66
    BP North America PAC
    The Williams Companies (oil & energy)
    Alcoa Inc Employees PAC

    Rayonier (forest products)
    Washington State Forest Protection (private forest landowners forest products trade assoc)

    Washington Association of Realtors
    NRA Political Victory Fund

    Vote for Joy Monjure for WA state Representative for the 42nd Legislative District!

    • Joy Monjure:

      WA Education Association

      Amalgamated Transit Union

      • Wooooo! Scary! Teachers and bus drivers! Alert the presses!

      • Pacific International Terminals (GPT applicant)
        UP (Union Pacific) Railroad
        PMSA (Pacific Merchant Shipping Association) – represents owners and operators of marine terminals and US and foreign vessels operating worldwide.

        K&L Gates PAC (K&L represents SSA Marine on Gateway Pacific Terminal issues)

        Phillips 66
        BP North America PAC
        The Williams Companies (oil & energy)
        Alcoa Inc Employees PAC

        Rayonier (forest products)
        Washington State Forest Protection (private forest landowners forest products trade assoc)

        Washington Association of Realtors
        NRA Political Victory Fund

        NOW THAT IS SCARY! 😦

    • Even scarier is the bankster donations to Ericksen, many thousands (in $950. increments) from Bank of America and Wells Fargo. Same goes for Monsanto, Wal-Mart, the NRA, Pfizer and Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Premera Blue Cross (and we wonder why our health insurance is so expensive). Could it be that Doug’s membership on the ALEC Health and Human Services Task Force whose goal is the privatization of everything, may have something to do with this?

  18. riley, you’re endorsing Karl Uppiano & Jon Mutchler instead of long time Democrat John Munson for 3rd District charter review position? That’s pretty fucked up.

    • Please watch your language because children view this website.

  19. […] that toxic caucus, unfortunately. I agree with the voting recommendations of Riley Sweeney in his 2014 Voting Recommendations post, mostly with Cascadia Weekly (see page 10 of the Oct. 14 issue), and with Flip Breskin (below).  […]

  20. Riley said: “Jon Mutchler as a Ferndale City Councilman has done a great job of providing grounded and rationale (sic) leadership . . . .”

    You are correct Riley. Jon Mutchler led the charge in the combined Ferndale Planning Commission/City Council meeting in February to enact the phony antiii-Rojsza law that was marketed as “cleaning up nonconforming uses.” The aim of this ordinance is to provide a rationale to seize the Rojsza’s ground. “[Sidebar: Where does garden variety bigotry end and anti-immigrant racism begin?] He has also being instrumental in spreading phony rationales for the boondoggle police station and the boondoggle street repairs. He is good at rationales. That is why I label him a power abuser.

  21. Pains me to admit it, Riley, but I took all your recommendations… save for Fleetwood. Can’t vote in that district. If I could, I would leave that race blank.

  22. Thanks Riley!! This was so helpful!

  23. […] of being a “political operative” for Satpal Sidhu because I had the nerve to point out how extreme Van Werven is, based on her evangelical views on how the world works and her activism over these views. It is one […]

  24. […] for WWU President Bruce Shepard to resign were not well received by the Republican leadership and long-time party activist Luanne Van Werven was tapped to run in his […]

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