November's election isn't as titillating as next year's presidential brawl, but it still carries some significant issues dealing with our rights and our wallets. Here then are my recommendations, starting with the biggies.
I've already stated my position - a resounding YES - on Referendum 67 for citizen's rights to get the money owed them by insurance companies.
NO, NO and NO on Sound Transit Prop 1. This is over $150 billion that no one can define in terms of expenditure. This is a sweetheart deal for Sound Transit, which isn't held to the same strict funding scrutiny that the Monorail folks were. They need to go back to the drawing board on this one.
NO - Initiative 960 requires a two-thirds legislative approval or voter approval for tax increases, legislative approval of fee increases, certain published information on tax-increasing bills and advisory votes on taxes enacted without voter approval. Two words sum up my No recommendation: Tim Eyman. His philosophy is, "Toss the baby out with the bathwater." 960 would create a larger bureaucracy than we have. This is Eyman's 14th initiative; three have passed, three were declared unconstitutional and six either failed to qualify or were defeated by voters. This one should be DOA. Another half-baked idea from the Mukilteo Doughboy.
YES - Senate Resolution 8206 sets up a "rainy day" fund of 1 per-cent of the general state revenues, prohibiting using that money except in times of emergency when; the governor declares a state of emergency; job growth in the state for any fiscal year is estimated to be less than 1 percent; legislature could appropriate money from the account at any time by favorable vote of at least three-fifths (60 percent) of the members of each house; or if the balance in the budget stabilization account exceeds 10 percent of estimated general state revenues for that fiscal year, then by majority vote of each house, the legislature could appropriate any amount that exceeds 10 percent.
Several state legislators, including some Magnolians, oppose this, saying that it "ties their hands." Their simplistic arguments fail to convince me that an emergency fund is a bad idea. We all need to do that. They still have 99 percent of the money to play with.
NO - Senate Resolution 8212 lets private companies doing business with the state use inmate labor.
Whoops! Sounds like a labor subsidy to me. Will they pay these inmates union scale? Don't think so. Businesses using inmates will get cheap labor, pay no benefits - are inmates eligible for Social Security benefits? This takes jobs from non-criminals, and depresses wages.
NO - House Resolution 4204 wants excess property tax levies for school districts passed by a simple majority. Current law requires a super majority (based on getting 60 percent of the vote based on 40-percent voter participation at the last general election). The authors know special levy elections are often called when nothing else is happening, with turnout often below the 40-percent threshold, requiring more than 60 percent of the vote to pass. This is a shell game to allow passage of property tax increases through a minority of voters. No one is against funding schools, but letting as few as 20 percent of eligible voters decide to raise our taxes doesn't work for me.
NO - House Resolution 4215 changes the law to allow our legislators to invest educational funds in the stock market. Another bad idea, although I can imagine business likes millions of dollars headed to the market. We have enough problems funding education without investing in a volatile stock market. Our elected representatives can come up with a better scheme than investing in Starbucks and Microsoft.
YES - King County No. 25. The county director of elections should absolutely be a non-partisan office chosen by the voters, and not the party holding power. A no-brainer.
YES - King County Prop 1 says that instead of voting every six years to impose regular property tax levies of $0.30 or less per thousand dollars of assessed valuation to fund Medic One, that we simply establish the funding with collection beginning in 2008. Are we likely to every say no to Medic One?
YES - Seattle Charter Amendment 17. It seems we must have more pressing issues than adding a preamble to our city charter, but it seems harmless enough. If we pass this, maybe they'll direct used on this nonsense to where they're really needed.
YES - Seattle Charter Amendment 18. It appears another waste of taxpayers' money, but it let's the mayor make his state of the city speech in February instead of June, sort of like the president.
I won't weigh in on the plethora of candidates, partly because you can't really glean anything from most of the campaign propaganda, let alone my prattle, and partly because most of us decide who we like based on a pretty face, a slick message, or we vote along party lines.
Be sure to vote.