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.

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.


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