The Moderate Washingtonian

Outlook on politics and elections in the state of Washington from an overall centrist viewpoint. My views tend to be libertarian in nature, but at the same time are largely nonpartisan.

30 December 2005


I'll be gone until next Friday and likely won't post anything. I'm flying to Seattle to spend a week with my boyfriend and get away from work. Hopefully nothing good to bitch about will happen for a while.

29 December 2005

Hutcherson, Lapin indeed hateful and hypocritical, but also idiots?

I couldn't help but chuckle at the lack of religious knowledge set forth by fundamentalists Rev. Ken Hutcherson and Rabbi Daniel Lapin in response to a pro-gay rights demonstration by Seattle area religious leaders in today's Seattle PI. Aside from the following condemnations, let me first say how pleasant it is to see religious leaders finally willing to stand up to the nutty right-wingers painting religion with a negative brush. Many (myself included) have been guilty of stereotyping all of the devout as the loudmouthed fundamentalists we so often hear. But, onto the idiocy:

First, Hutcherson claims the Bible is the "inerrant word of God." Anybody with a functioning brain knows this is bunk. God did not write the Bible. The Bible was written by many, many people, and translated into many languages over and over and over again. It is clearly not "inerrant" by its nature alone. Even Jesus' disciples had different versions of the course of events between their different books of the New Testament. The books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John differ markedly even in speaking of major events, including the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. The point is that humans are imperfect by nature, and the Bible is humanity's attempt at writing down the word of God. Therefore, reason stands to say that the Bible is not perfect nor the infallible word of God.

Next, Lapin defends the Book of Leviticus, quite possibly the nuttiest book in the entire Bible. Besides condemning homosexuality as an abomination, Leviticus also offers up the following nuggets of "wisdom," taken from the King James version of the Bible:

1. You may possess human slaves. Leviticus 25:44
2. You may not eat shellfish. Leviticus 11:10
3. You cannot get your hair cut short. Leviticus 19:27
4. You cannot come to the altar of God if you are disabled, or even have poor eyesight. Leviticus 21:18-21

These, among others, are examples of how outdated this ~3000 year old book is. I may be wrong, but I'm guessing that Hutcherson and Lapin have not been on any anti-shellfish, anti-barber, or anti-crippled crusades. But why are these not abominations in the modern world, but homosexuality is? Oh, right, it suits their theocratic agenda. These men and their followers are hypocrites and bigots by their own statements, but could they also be intellectually-challenged as well? Answer for yourself.

28 December 2005

The race is on for Compton's seat

Ten applicants so far, people have until the 6th of January to file. Most notable in this article is the Dolores Sibonga sighting.

23 December 2005

Vancouver USA has big dreams

It seems that the constant horse race between Spokane and Tacoma for the state's second-largest city may soon have a third coming up around the corner. Vancouver is considering pursuing annexing a populous region into the city limits, potentially adding 65,000 new residents. This would place Vancouver's population easily over 200,000. Both Spokane and Tacoma are estimated to have between 198,000 and 199,000 residents, with Spokane currently in the #2 spot.

But--not so fast, says Betty Sue Morris [D], chair of the Clark County Commission:

"We will absolutely oppose any effort by the city of Vancouver, or any other jurisdiction, to annex the entirety of Fire District 5."

Maybe it's far-fetched, but Vancouver is free to dream big. Unfortunately for the southwest metropolis, it appears the race for second place will continue to be a two-horse race.

21 December 2005

Off-Topic: Belief-O-Matic

My roommate referred me to this online quiz meant to judge your would-be religion (or lack thereof) based on personal opinion towards faith-related issues. I found it to be rather enjoyable, with my top two and bottom two choices being about what i'd expected:

1. Mainline-Liberal Christian Protestant
2. Liberal Quaker (hell yeah, just like Nixon!)
3. Unitarian Universalism
4. Secular Humanism
5. Taoism
24. Hinduism
25. Eastern Orthodox
26. Roman Catholic
27. Jehovah's Witness

Wright in for Congress

US Rep. Doc Hastings [R-Pasco] has his first announced challenger for 2006. Democrat Richard Wright, a Kennewick physician, lost the 2004 Democratic primary to eventual loser Sandy Matheson.

20 December 2005

SurveyUSA national governors poll

December's SurveyUSA national approval poll for state governors was released today, with our beloved governess coming in 39th of 50 in net approval-disapproval rating. Chris Gregoire, who has yet to hold a positive approval rating among reputable polls, scored a 43% approval and 50% disapproval rating, which is essentially equal to her November score. It'll probably take a dive come 2007 when her spending spree of next year will lead to another tax hike and spell an early doom for her reelection opportunities (if it hasn't already happened). Not to go off on a tangent, but she'd probably do her party a favour by not running again and allow them to nominate John Ladenburg or somebody else who can still stand up to Dino Rossi. Just a thought, Gov.

Liberal Republican Gov. Jodi Rell [R-CT] is once again the nation's most popular executive, followed closely by other continual favourites John Hoeven [R-ND] and Mike Rounds [R-SD]. John Lynch [D-NH] is the nation's most popular Democratic executive, fifth overall. Neighbouring Govs. Dirk Kempthorne [R-ID] and Ted Kulongoski [D-OR] fared differently, with Kulongoski slightly more popular than Gregoire and Kempthorne breaking the top half by coming in 19th nationwide.

19 December 2005

Hession appointed to conclude mayoral term

The Spokane City Council voted unanimously to appoint Dennis Hession as mayor for the remainder of Jim West's term. Northwest district Councilman Joe Shogan presided as council president pro-tem, but the Council did not make a permanent appointment at this meeting for Hession's old position. The next meeting will be held January 3, 2006.

Surprise! Gov loose with truth again

You knew Chris Gregoire was blowing hot air up our collective rears with her fiscal conservative bunk she was spreading after reports this year's new tax package provided the state with a budget surplus. She already lied about her spending intents on her first budget, I'd say as soon as it became apparent her party had taken both houses of the legislature, but we know she was rather late showing up for work. Saving the surplus would have been the intelligent thing to do, considering her first budget mostly delayed bill payment until 2007, but in the classic Mike Lowry fashion she's embraced since in office, she intends to blow part of it on new programs -- in addition to whatever legislative Democrats want to spend it on.

I find it pretty telling that she goes from saying "we are on a good budget" and "if I look out to the next biennium, we start in a hole." Yep, she's such a fiscal conservative, just like Mike Lowry!

18 December 2005

Appointments abound!

Just a reminder, tomorrow night at the Spokane City Council meeting the appointment to fill the remainder of Jim West's term will occur. It is widely assumed the Council will pick their own leader, interim mayor and elected Council President Dennis Hession, to occupy the office until the fall of 2007. Barring the unexpected, this would leave his current position open to any of the other six members of the city council, and, I suppose that after one of them moves up that would leave their council district seat open for a future appointment. I haven't heard any councilmembers come out and say they want Hession's job, but considering that Al French lost that race in 2003 there ought to be a pretty good chance he'll take a shot. I also wouldn't be surprised to see Brad Stark go for it, but i'm definitely looking forward to watching City Access tomorrow night. [Nerd]

Pelz decides on Chair

Former legislator, King County councilman, and failed Seattle city council candidate Dwight Pelz is officially pursuing the position of Chairman of the state Democratic Party. This means he is not jumping into the appointment race for the position he lost just a little over a month ago as speculated by some (guilty).

While i've never been a fan of Pelz, this is a smart move. He's widely seen as the favourite to replace Paul Berendt, and would be one of many applicants for the Council seat being vacated by Jim Compton. Looks like we will still be faced in a contest of an intelligent jerk versus an inept loser.

Another Cantwell Poll

Rasmussen Reports shows a head-to-head matchup between Sen. Maria Cantwell and assumed GOP challenger Mike McGavick at a 52-37 Cantwell advantage. Both have positive favourable figures, though McGavick is in need of raising his name recognition in order to compete.

17 December 2005

Cantwell approval up

According to a national approval rating poll of US senators taken by SurveyUSA, Sen. Maria Cantwell is now the more popular of the state's two senators. Typically running a few points behind fellow Democrat Patty Murray, Cantwell now holds the same approval rating and a lower disapproval than Murray. This bodes well for Cantwell in that she faces a potentially-strong challenger for reelection run next year in Safeco CEO Mike McGavick. With a positive 4-point swing in approval and 5-point decrease in disapproval, Cantwell appears on more solid ground than she was one month ago.

For the record, Maine Republicans Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe are once again the most beloved senators in the nation. New Jersey Democrat Frank Lautenberg and Montana Republican Conrad Burns scored lowest.

16 December 2005

Phillips not surprisingly too pompous to step down

King County Council Chair Larry Phillips wants to be retained for another two years, an unprecedented move. This is, of course, completely unsurprising on account of Phillips is a partisan, power-hungry, cutthroat politician who is desperate to keep a stranglehold on his position despite the new more suburban, more moderate Council. Unfortunately for Phillips, the three urban votes he has lags behind the six suburban votes likely to ally against him. Suburban Democrats Bob Ferguson and Julia Patterson have little reason to lick Phillips' boots after he's consistently tried to undermine them for the betterment of his urban machine, and one of them should oppose him for the chair position. Take a history lesson from the 1963-65 legislature:

The 1963 State House session began with a thin Democratic majority led by reigning Speaker John L. O'Brien and a minority GOP led by future Gov. Dan Evans. Knowing that they'd likely end with another O'Brien speakership, Evans began a coalition with about a half dozen conservative Democrats, mostly of Eastern Washington, and they voted together to elect Rep. William S. Day [D-Spokane] as the next Speaker, who in turn appointed coalition members to committee chairmanships. Dan Evans, despite being in a partisan numerical minority, became de-facto majority leader, and his performance in this session largely helped him topple Democratic Gov. Al Rosellini in 1964, despite the Lyndon Johnson national landslide.

If the 1963 House could do that with near-100 members, there's no reason Council Republicans couldn't ally themselves with a Ferguson or Patterson candidacy to give the body a centrist leader, much like the Day-Evans coalition did over 40 years ago. Phillips has burned them both enough times to warrant such a move, especially his constant revenge attempts at Ferguson for taking down Cynthia Sullivan way back in 2003. Move over, Larry.

15 December 2005

Conservative state senator will not seek fourth term

Sen. Stephen Johnson [R-Kent], as many had been expecting, will not run for another term to his Senate seat, but is open to running for the state Supreme Court. US Rep. Dave Reichert [R-Bellevue] has a stake in this in that his little brother, Steve Reichert, quickly seized the Johnson news to announce his campaign for the 47th district seat, a district that has quickly been drifting more Democratic and more moderate.

Claudia Kauffman, a Democrat, had previously filed for the race with the Public Disclosure Commission, but with Johnson's exit it may lead to the entrance of either of the district's Democratic state representatives, liberal Geoff Simpson or moderate Pat Sullivan, both of Covington. Sullivan is in his first term after knocking off conservative state Rep. Jack Cairnes [R-Auburn] in a blowout rematch of a razor-thin 2002 Cairnes victory. Simpson has won several close decisions after defeating conservative state Rep. Phil Fortunato [R-Kent] in 2000. Sullivan should have a long career in this district because of his centrist ideology, but Simpson would probably have trouble in the Senate race (or upcoming reelections, for that matter) because he is ideologically much more liberal than the district electorate.

14 December 2005

Holy Christianity, Danny Westneat!

For possibly the first time ever, I am in complete agreement with Seattle Times opinion writer Danny Westneat. His column today highlights the other day's bitch-fest featuring state Rep. John Ahern [R-Spokane], and the story he tells shows how absurd the holiday debate is. Regardless of what religion somebody is or if they have one at all, the holiday season should be about spending time with loved ones and being a good person, not waging war over language technicalities.

Compton out

Councilman incognito Jim Compton is set to resign his office two years before his term expires, according to the Seattle PI. After phoning multiple other members of the City Council, Nick Licata confirmed Compton's intentions to leave office and study in Europe. I never heard a peep out of Compton while in office, so i'll be quite interested to see who is chosen to fill his seat.

The Stranger's Slog has circled a few names for Compton's replacement, and explained the surprisingly narrow 20-day appointment timeline. Among their list is 2005 loser Dwight Pelz, who had previously appeared to be the favourite to replace Paul Berendt as chairman of the Democratic Party.

12 December 2005

Note to Rep. Ahern -- Please shut it

First, I saw some guy on CNN bitching about nothing. Then, I heard about several religious right think tanks bitching about nothing. Now, a representative from the district adjacent to mine is bitching about nothing. If it were not already apparent, the arrogant attitude by religious conservatives peeves me to no end. Is it not enough that your puppets control all branches of government and let you get your way on damn near everything? Is it really important that the state sanctions your personal beliefs while paying no heed to those who believe differently? Listen, getting all up in a huff over the terminology difference between "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Holidays" is not worth bitching over, and throwing holiday cards from President Bush away because it doesn't pander to your narrow beliefs is immature and arrogant. Rep. Ahern notes in the article linked from this Camden post that "we are a Judeo-Christian nation." Did you fail Government 101? Seriously.

I'm really growing tired of the politics of divisiveness like this. As of late, it seems politics is all about one group seeking restrict the rights of another group, and it is truly saddening. Whether it be the evangelical crowd against everybody else, homosexuals, or non-smokers versus smokers, this behaviour needs to stop. Take a step back and realize that everybody is entitled to their own opinion and the Constitution doesn't grant you the right to take another person's rights away because they think differently than you, even if you are in the majority.

First round of legislative endorsements

Based mostly on boredom, I put up a group of banners on some state legislators I'm definitely supporting for reelection, at least for those legislators who still have campaign sites up or are that much ahead of the game. Here's a short list of reasonable legislators worthy of another term, all of which are members of the House of Representatives:

Rep. Gary Alexander [R-Olympia]
Rep. Shirley Hankins [R-Richland]
Rep. Ross Hunter [D-Medina]
Rep. Fred Jarrett [R-Mercer Island]
Rep. Mark Miloscia [D-Federal Way]
Rep. Jeff Morris [D-Guemes Island]
Rep. Skip Priest [R-Federal Way]
Rep. Dave Quall [D-Mount Vernon]
Rep. Pat Sullivan [D-Covington]
Rep. Rodney Tom [R-Medina]
Rep. Dave Upthegrove [D-Des Moines]
Rep. Maureen Walsh [R-Walla Walla]

WA-5: 2006

Today's Joel Connelly column was about the third article i've seen in the past month to mention Peter Goldmark as a potential Democratic challenger to Rep. Cathy McMorris next year. I don't know much of anything about Goldmark, aside from his involvement in farming and Washington State University, and have a feeling he'll be another over-hyped Don Barbieri, but hope this isn't the case. McMorris has spent her first year aligning herself with the right edge of the Congressional GOP, and I have been less than pleased with her performance thus far. Perhaps with the national GOP troubles Goldmark will have a shot, provided he's more conservative than Barbieri in order to allow his candidacy to fly outside the city of Spokane, but we'll see. The thing that's sad is a reasonable, independent-minded Republican like Dave Reichert will almost certainly fall before a polar authoritarian like McMorris.

08 December 2005

Berendt leaving Democratic chair

The Seattle Times reported today that state Democratic Chairman Paul Berendt has decided against seeking another term. Berendt has served longer than any of the other Democratic Party chairs in the nation, having first been elected in January of 1995. I've never been a fan of Berendt and am plenty happy to see him leave. The man is a genius at political organization, but is also often incessantly negative and often hypocritical, but I suppose that is the latter is the case of most party leaders. I'll be interested to see if the state party committee will pick a chairman more in the mold of Berendt (Dwight Pelz, notably) or somebody more decent. Probably Pelz.

07 December 2005

Same old thing -- Strategic Vision

Strategic Vision released a new statewide poll today, which shows pretty much the same results as their prior several polls. Look at it if you didn't look at the previous ones.

06 December 2005

West recalled, Hession mayor

According to figures released to news networks by Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton, Mayor Jim West has been recalled by a margin of 65-35%. City Council President Dennis Hession will be the mayor pro-tem, and the Council will gather to appoint a mayor to serve out the remainder of West's term, whether it be Hession, another member of the Council, or anybody else they can agree on. Hession has told local news that he is interested in serving out the term, so it is likely he will be mayor until the November 2007 mayoral election.

Raw numbers:
Recall Yes - 38,718 [65.18%]
Recall No - 20,681 [34.82%]

New AWB ratings

The Association of Washington Business has released their ratings for the 2005 legislative session, covering both houses of the legislature and the governor. Not surprisingly, the fiscal conservative sans fiscal conservatism governor scored a poor 31%, about average for the Democratic caucuses (in other words, she's a liberal Democrat like the rest so don't believe the moderate labels she pins on herself). Members out of the partisan mainstream include Sen. Tim Sheldon [D-Potlatch] at 95% and Sen. Bob Oke [R-Port Orchard] at 67% in the Senate, and Reps. Shirley Hankins [R-Richland] and Tom Campbell [R-Roy] with 75% and 59% on the low GOP end, and Derek Kilmer [D-Gig Harbor] and Tami Green [D-Lakewood] with 50% and 46% on the high Democratic end. This is noteworthy because this should help both position themselves as moderate/conservative Democrats in their swing districts (Green's being a GOP-leaner, even), both having won by very slim margins last year. Conventional wisdom would dictate that the Democrats will lose some of those closely-won seats next year, but this could be good news for two of the most marginal members of the House. It was a little surprising to see Dave Quall [D-Mount Vernon] and Jeff Morris [D-Guemes Island] in the middle of the partisan pack, given their history of being two of the most business-friendly Democrats in the legislature.

02 December 2005

Turmoil in the 43rd, an update

In today's column, Joel Connelly gives us an update on what's going on with state Rep. Ed Murray [D-Seattle]. Murray had been openly considering challenging either state Sen. Pat Thibaudeau of his own legislative district or US Rep. Jim McDermott, and appears to have ruled out the McDermott challenge (unfortunately). However, he appears very serious about challenging Thibaudeau if she doesn't retire, and that would provide an entertaining Democratic primary next September, as well as potentially improving the Senate. Murray, while an avowed liberal Democrat, has spent his career admirably fighting for gay rights (he is openly gay) despite being repeatedly torpedoed by a markedly more conservative Senate. Having Murray in the Senate would not directly change the issue he's worked on throughout his legislative career, as Thibaudeau is also a strong gay rights supporter, but it could have an indirect effect with him sitting in the upper chamber. Who knows? When it comes to gay Democrats in the state legislature, i'm more of a Dave Upthegrove guy (more centrist on fiscal issues), but Murray would be an improvement over Thibaudeau.

01 December 2005

Lining up behind McGavick

Tacoma's News Tribune reported this morning that Gov.-in-spirit Dino Rossi has formally endorsed Mike McGavick for next year's US Senate race. Rossi, once courted to run by the NRSC himself, is likely the biggest in-party endorsement McGavick could have received and will probably put a damper on any big-name challengers thinking of entering the race. McGavick also earned the endorsements of the state's GOP Congressional delegation, announced in the same press release.