Ballots have been mailed, so it’s time to get clear on how to vote, and then make sure we follow through by November 5th. If there are any doubts about how to vote, there are many resources out there that are more than happy to advise. For those of you who live here in Whatcom County, WA, I’ll share my favorite voting guides.
Whatcom County Council
These are the races that are getting the majority of media attention – even from outlets beyond our region, and for good reason (hint: the proposed coal port).
For a little background, let’s review some of my previous posts: Could Our Obscure County Election Change the Planet? This post linked to a National Journal article which pointed out that our upcoming County Council election could be crucial to the decision that ultimately decides whether the Gateway Pacific Terminal (aka “the coal port”) gets built or not. And Why You Should Care About the Growth Management Act if You Live In Whatcom County discussed another reason to pay attention to the County Council election – because poor land use planning is eroding our ability to be resilient, and because we are currently out of compliance with state law, which is costing us $$$. Next I wrote a post called Zone 9 From Outer Space, where we looked at how the County Council has dealt with zoning issues, using the example of the controversial slaughterhouse issue.
That last post linked to some excellent commentary by Tim Johnson, over at Cascadia Weekly’s The Gristle. If you need further education about how to vote in these races, I’ll once again refer you to the Weekly, October 15 edition. First, check out The Gristle, where this week’s theme is Election Fraud. Johnson warns: “We’ve now entered what has traditionally been the Dirty Tricks eclipse of local elections, where ugly shadow money long withheld comes flooding into campaigns only to be fired out again in torpedoes of late-hour hit pieces filled with lies, smears and petty character assassinations, the background of which won’t fully surface until after the election. The irony for voters who have not yet made up their minds about which candidates deserve their vote is the quality and reliability of information that surfaces from this point forward is much reduced.”
Johnson then proceeds to give an excellent background on the issues at stake, and how they’ve been handled to date for the County Council. Interestingly, following Johnson’s premonition, the Bellingham Herald today reported that there have been huge sums of money flooding into the “Save Whatcom” PAC from those outside of our county who have a financial interest in seeing the Coal Port developed. Most of it from Coal companies themselves. See Coal Interests Give More than $100,000K. The interesting thing is, this money has not been spent yet, so there is one more reason to believe we’ll see last minute shenanigans and smears.
In regards to the candidates themselves, once again Johnson has an excellent analysis of each race. Pick up a copy, or download the digital version of this week’s paper. Or just read my quick summary, which follows. Note that the Dirty Coal Conglomerate money is hoping to convince you to vote exactly opposite of the recommendations below.
Kershner Vs. Buchanan: Kershner is caring, orderly, respectful, and has integrity. However, she has promised as a central theme in her campaign that she will continue to keep the county out of compliance with state law in regards to the Growth Management Act. Out of compliance with state law = illegal. On the other hand Barry Buchanan is a known, thoughtful, proven candidate who will help the Council become compliant with state law and end the lawsuits. Vote Barry Buchanan.
Mann vs. Elenbaas: Ben Elenbaas presents himself as a moderate – essentially identical to the actual policy positions that Ken Mann has taken on the County Council. The truth is that Mann actually is a moderate, and Elenbaas has strong ties to the tea party, and was a primary architect of the foul smelling slaughterhouse zoning proposal. “Bottom line, whatever Elenbaas says he wishes to achieve on council, Mann is already delivering.” Vote Ken Mann.
Weimer vs. Luke: “Carl Weimer is the most gifted and informed policymaker working as an elected official in Whatcom County…By contrast, Luke is a one-note candidate. And even on that one note –aggressive revolt against GMA–she is not sharp, failing to articulate her concerns with even a single example.” Enough said. Vote Carl Weimer.
Knutzen vs. Browne: On Bill Knutzen: “Ill temper does not mix well with dim-wittedness.” On Rud Browne: “Browne is unique among candidates in his ability to transcend the standard left/right divide of local politics.” Knutzen talks about jobs, but Browne is an actual job creator. Vote Rud Browne.
Coming up next: Suggestions for the other items on your ballot.