Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Frustration of Voting in Seattle

I went to my polling place to cast my ballot on Tuesday evening and the place was packed. Not sure why as I got my ballot and of the 25 "races", 21 had only a single unopposed candidate and the other 4 races, it was fairly clear would not be all that competitive.

The saddest part of the election was looking at the results and seeing that the race for City Council, Sally Clark vs. Stan Lippman, Mr. Lippman, who is not a serious candidate who runs a serious campaign, got 25% of the vote yet in the 7th Congressional race, Republican Steve Beren, a serious candidate who really ran a campaign got just 15% of the vote. Now feel free to disagree with where Mr. Beren stands on the issues supporting the troops, wining the war on terror, limited government and reducing dependence on foreign oil, I realize none of those stances match up with your average 7th Congressional district voter, but still, he is a serious candidate. If he was running in another Congressional district, such as the 4th, 5th or even the 8th, he could have won. It is true he had about the same chance of winning in the 7th as say a Jew winning a race in Iran or Palestine, and I think that analogy for the 7th is appropriate on more than one level, but Stan Lippman, who I am sure is a decent person, is not someone that could win any election contest in the state and he got a higher percentage of the vote.

That brings us to an issue that is eventually going to cause Seattle, the Puget Sound region, Western Washington and maybe even the entire state problems in the future. Right now, the Democrats are going to win ever race in the Seattle area and the majority of races in the Puget Sound region with little to no effort. The Democrats have a monopoly in Seattle. The problem is with any monopoly comes poorer service to the customer then if there was competition. Think of that excellent customer service you get from the Department of Licensing, public schools, the way AT&T use to work hard to keep you as a customer when they were the only game in town. The Democrats do not need to do anything for the Seattle area and will still get voted into office. All you need to do is take a look at the accomplishments of Representative Jim McDermott.

Here are the first 10 listed bills that Rep. McDermott sponsored during the current session of Congress:
1. H.CON.RES.447 : Expressing the sense of the Congress that States should have the flexibility to design welfare programs that make sense in their communities with an overall goal of helping children and reducing poverty by promoting and supporting work.

2. H.RES.26 : Congratulating the Downers Grove North High School Trojan football team and the students and fans of Downers Grove North High School on their outstanding sportsmanship and on winning the 2004 Illinois Class 8A Football State Championship.

3. H.RES.52 : Congratulating the Seattle Storm for winning the 2004 Women's National Basketball Association Championship.

4. H.RES.53 : Congratulating Ichiro Suzuki for breaking the Major League Baseball record for hits in a single season.

5. H.RES.353 : Supporting a landmark initiative in bilateral energy cooperation between India and Pakistan.

6. H.RES.705 : Recognizing and congratulating Apolo Anton Ohno for his historic performances in short track speedskating at the 2006 and 2002 Olympic Winter Games.

7. H.R.751 : To reauthorize and improve the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program by promoting work, family, and opportunity, and for other purposes.

8. H.R.852 : To extend Federal recognition to the Duwamish Tribe, and for other purposes.

9. H.R.1200 : To provide for health care for every American and to control the cost and enhance the quality of the health care system.

10. H.R.1615 : To ensure that proper planning is undertaken to secure the preservation and recovery of the salmon and steelhead of the Columbia River basin and the maintenance of reasonably priced, reliable power, to direct the Secretary of Commerce to seek scientific analysis of Federal efforts to restore salmon and steelhead listed under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and for other purposes.

Here are the first 10 listed bills that Rep. McDermott co-sponsored during the current session of Congress:
1. H.CON.RES.25 : Recognizing the contributions of Jibreel Khazan (Ezell Blair, Jr.), David Richmond, Joseph McNeil, and Franklin McCain, the "Greensboro Four", to the civil rights movement.

2. H.CON.RES.26 : Honoring the Tuskegee Airmen for their bravery in fighting for our freedom in World War II, and for their contribution in creating an integrated United States Air Force

3. H.CON.RES.30 : Supporting the goals and ideals of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

4. H.CON.RES.35 : Expressing the sense of Congress that the President should develop and implement a plan to begin the immediate withdrawal of United States Armed Forces from Iraq.

5. H.CON.RES.38 : Recognizing the achievements of the National Captioning Institute in providing closed captioning services to Americans who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.

6. H.CON.RES.41 : Recognizing the second century of Big Brothers Big Sisters, and supporting the mission and goals of that organization.

7. H.CON.RES.42 : Expressing the sense of the Congress that a commemorative postage stamp should be issued to promote public awareness of Down syndrome.

8. H.CON.RES.44 : Recognizing the historical significance of the Mexican holiday of Cinco de Mayo.

9. H.CON.RES.57 : Expressing the sense of the Congress that the President should grant a pardon to Marcus Mosiah Garvey to clear his name and affirm his innocence of crimes for which he was unjustly prosecuted and convicted.

10. H.CON.RES.58 : Expressing the sense of Congress that the United States Postal Service should issue a commemorative postage stamp honoring former Representative Shirley Chisholm, and that the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee should recommend to the Postmaster General that such a stamp be issued.

Now I am not looking for a representative who brings home pork but for goodness sake, if you look at the entire list of sponsored legislation, except for recognizing the Duwamish tribe, there is nothing, not one thing that specifically helps the 7th congressional district or its residents. Nothing for the viaduct, nothing for transportation, no infrastructure, no social services, no Port of Seattle, no Pacific Rim trade, nothing to make Puget Sound cleaner, no homeland security projects, nothing, nothing, nothing.

But then why should he, he just got 80% of the vote without campaigning.


Anonymous said...

Considering that it's Jim McDermott he's talking about here, that might not be such a bad thing. Having heard some of the things old Bagdad Jim has had to say, it would be frightening if he started actually trying to move something forward.

Anonymous said...

I agree - feeding my ballot into the machine at my precinct felt a lot like putting it into the paper shredder I've got at home - and with about the same result. thanks for the good info on the votes.

Anonymous said...

I doubt this sort of thing will eventually cause Seattle problems.

As you pointed out, Beren fundamentally disagreed with Seattle voters on a ton of issues -Iraqa, war on terror, limited government, dependence on foreign oil... so why should they vote for him?

Many moderate Republicans win in Democratic states and regions... Rob McKenna here and Arnold in CA. If Richard Riordan can win in LA and Rudy can win in NY, Seattle would surely elect the right Republican mayor, and maybe even a member of Congress.

However, they don't do it by running against an incumbent that people have voted for in the past (no one likes to be told they were wrong), they win by being moderate, and putting together a platform that appeals to the people they are trying to have vote for them.