Tag Archives: Politics

Candidate filing begins

Few surprises from the first batch of candidate filings, unless you consider Tim Sheldon running for re-election in Mason County as commissioner a surprise.

You might.

In 2010 I wrote a story that included Sheldon’s sentiment that he wouldn’t run again for commissioner.

His eyesight had diminished to 20-800, he said Monday. He has since had surgery to fix glaucoma and his eyesight is back to 20-30, which he said is reason to consider returning. I don’t remember him bringing that up when he was driving me back and forth between Shelton and Olympia.

Sheldon also sees unfinished business ahead. I’ll probably write more for the first-day election filing story that will post later, including the fact that there are two challenger, Roslynne Reed and Randy Churchill.

Also filing are Byron Holcomb of Bainbridge Island for the temporary 1st Congressional District Seat. He was alone as of 1 p.m. Democrat Derek Kilmer is running Congress in the Sixth District, as is Republican Jesse Young. Sherry Appleton, a Democrat, has filed to run for re-election in her 23rd Legislative District House seat, while James Olsen has filed to run in the other 23rd District House seat.

The incumbent county commissioners Rob Gelder and Charlotte Garrido have filed to run for re-election. More candidates will have filed later this afternoon.

Three candidates are in for the U.S. Senate seat held by Maria Cantwell, including the incumbent.

One extraordinary hour on campaign finance.

Recently I was awarded a scholarship for a two-day conference in Washington, D.C. to attend classes on the ins and outs of what the Citizens United decision means for politics, and how I can find data about campaign spending in this new arena.

On Saturday, though, I got a great primer from the group at “This American Life.” As usual, the one hour provides so much information without making you feel like you were sitting in a class. It’s as entertaining as watching “Breaking Bad.” If you’re into politics at all, or you just care about your country and your government, take the hour you’ll need to listen to this.

Olsen finds a video

So James Olsen, known for many things political but most recently candidate for the state House of Representatives this year and in 2010, sends out this email with the message:

Friends — I received this link in the email- Democrat Donkey Game. Oh, so true. You will recognize many of the Donkey gamers from around the area.

While his statement that he “received this link in the email” might be technically true, I wouldn’t blame if you suspect he knew it was coming.

In 2010 a guy in Colorado got wind of Olsen and did three anti-Olsen videos. The other two have a robot dancing in underwear. The following one has production problems, but it’s short and you get the point.

Republicans: Here is your Lincoln Day speaker

The Kitsap County Republican Party, in addition to caucusing on Saturday, will hold their annual Lincoln Day dinner on Friday. Scheduled to speak to the group is Rev. Wayne Perryman, whose bio lists him as a community activist and minister.

He is also a former talk-show host and has numerous videos on YouTube, including some appearances on conservative national shows.

Here is a story from The Sun in 2003. Perryman was born in Bremerton, it seems.

A video clip from his own site follows:
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The GOP convention could actually matter

National political conventions haven’t mattered since 1980, when the Democrats fought over rules about whether delegates should be locked in. Even then, the outcome seemed pretty certain, as it has in every convention since then and for quite a while before.

That could change this year, according to a piece written by Michael Medved in The Daily Beast. In the column, Republicans, Dissatisfied with Their Presidential Field, Dream of Deadlock, Medved contends there is a slight chance the GOP nominee might not be picked until the actual convention. Among the reasons is the lack of a true “Super Tuesday” this year and fewer states operating with a winner-take-all formula.

Of all the things Medved says, this to me is the most true:

This outcome appeals to all media outlets (which would relish the high drama and corresponding high ratings) as well as party organizers who would welcome the engagement of the grass roots in a fiercely competitive race and a visibly open convention.

I salivate at the prospect of a convention that matters. I asked my company to send me to both conventions in 2008, even offering to take a bus and find homes to crash in. The response from my bosses was that conventions are scripted infomercials. They were right. I don’t plan on repeating the request this year, but I’ll enjoy the festivities much more.

Where I disagree with the headline is that this is happening because Republicans are dissatisfied. While true that there probably is a lack of enthusiasm for any candidate other than Ron Paul, if party members were generally excited about more than one candidate the same scenario could exist. The truth is no one has managed to pull away. (Again, like I’ve said before, that’s an interesting expectation to have when there hasn’t been even a single caucus or primary.) The point is that the race is even enough that this next year offers the most promise we’ve seen in years that a primary process might not deliver a clear winner.

Turkey Haze, running through my brain

Here are a few items of interest to a post-Thanksgiving America. Excuse me, while I kiss this guy.

The Seattle Times reports the U.S. Department of Justice believes the Seattle Police Department’s policy of letting officers refuse to incriminate themselves is too broad and is applied to too many situations.

The Washington Post reports on an effort to get a middle-ground candidate on the 2012 ballot. The biggest question for me is raised in the story. Who is out there now who would be willing to sign on to this as a candidate running against someone else in the same party. Only someone with nothing to lose, methinks. That means someone who either doesn’t have a prayer of ever winning anyway, or someone who doesn’t care whether the party members get mad. A national version of Tim Sheldon, perhaps.

Obama’s campaign operation is working somewhat quietly in Chicago. The Washington Post reports on some of the pros and cons of being in Chicago and details a few of the efforts the group is undertaking.

Eyman: The local angle

I’m posting here a letter e-mailed by Tim Eyman on the heels of the loss on Initiative 1125, which would have restricted how highway tolls can be used. He first makes the case that initiatives are hard, in large part because you have to judge months ahead what the electorate will support. That much probably everyone would more or less agree with.

At least one of his other comments is worth wondering about in connection with local issues.

We’ve learned that initiative campaigns are, by far, the most effective way to increase public awareness, public education, and public participation in public policy. Initiatives aren’t just about passing laws; they’re about lobbying the government. And one of the most important tools of lobbying is public awareness and public votes. $30 car tabs and the 1% property tax limit are two of the most prominent examples, but the seeds of victory for this year’s I-1183 were laid by last year’s I-1100. There are legions of additional examples where the lobbying effect of an initiative campaign layed the groundwork for later legislative action.

So this makes me wonder about the vets and homeless levy that failed in a big way here in Kitsap County. It’s not similar to an initiative in how it was launched. This was not a grass roots initiative in which a number of voters gathered signatures. This was launched by government. But could the silver lining for the levy’s supporters be that the issue was raised at all?

Sure, the measure lost big time. But people are talking about it. Is there any chance the needs supporters identified will be met some other way?

Eyman’s letter follows.

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Signs of the Kitsap County commissioner campaign

Tristan Baurick is writing a story on the changed political sign culture on Bainbridge Island. I’ve got a sign story of my own to tell.

On Aug. 29 Kitsap County commissioner candidate Chris Tibbs sent a letter to Doug Ellis, interim executive director at the state’s Public Disclosure Commission, and to Sam Reed, secretary of state, about a call made to a vendor of his.

Tibbs, a Republican, said that Dennis Peterson, owner of Kitsap Sign Co., told him Linda Gabriel, campaign manager for Rob Gelder, a Democrat running for the seat he was appointed to earlier this year, called Peterson’s business identifying herself as Tibbs’ campaign manager and asking to see paid invoices.

Gabriel has since said of Peterson’s contention, “If he told him that, he either was mistaken or not telling the truth, but I never said that to him.” Peterson himself has since said he thought that is what she said, but he may have not heard it correctly.

Tibbs’ letter was not an official complaint and he asked what Gabriel would be entitled to. Phil Stutzman from the PDC responded saying that Gabriel was entitled to see what she was asking to see. As for the misrepresentation, “The PDC has no authority to require a person to properly identify who they are when contacting a commercial advertiser, although we hope a person would properly identify him or her self.”

Gabriel had planned to have campaign volunteers go look at the invoices, she said, because Tibbs had not yet posted them with the commission, and there seemed to be far too many signs out there for the receipts that had been recorded. Tibbs has been, in his words, “aggressive” in getting lots of signs out there. She would have been entitled to go look. Vendors are required to show the paperwork they create when it involves campaigns for public office.

Gabriel didn’t send someone, because the receipts were then posted on the PDC site before that was necessary.

That vendors are required to show that info was news to Peterson, because he had never been asked. That’s not surprising, because normally the records are readily available online before it gets to going to vendors. In this case they were not, according to Gabriel.

Personally, I think either Peterson misheard Gabriel, or Gabriel misspoke without realizing it. She said it would be stupid for her, someone who was readily identified as the campaign manager for one candidate, to try to sneak one by a vendor by claiming to be the campaign manager for someone else. I agree. That would be stupid. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that someone from a campaign might try to pull a fast one, but not something so easy to disprove and not for something she was entitled to see anyway.

What further makes me think it was an honest mistake by someone is that Peterson, when I talked to him on the phone, didn’t know who Gelder was. He knew Tibbs, since he’d printed the signs for him. I don’t think Peterson was lying. I think he thought Gabriel said something she did not.

One thing Gabriel and Peterson agree on was that neither liked how they were being treated on that phone call between each other.

A lot of what burns campaign workers at election time is what happens to their signs. Every year, since 2004 anyway, we reporters are asked to look into what campaign workers allege is vandalism to campaign signs. In 2004 there was clear targeting of many George Bush signs. Some of John Kerry’s signs were abused, but it did seem that Bush signs were trashed in far greater numbers.

Since that election I have heard complaints every year, mostly from Republicans. James Olsen on Bainbridge Island has consistently created a list of the destruction to his signs on Bainbridge Island.

On Monday I spoke with Jim Sommerhauser, who until this year could be seen every election planting campaign signs for the Democratic Party. Sommerhauser said a campaign can count on losing about half of its signs during a campaign. The vast majority of those losses, he said, are caused by what he described as “kids” going after an easy target. He said most of it is not really aimed at a candidate for reasons other than availability, but sometimes kids respond to their parents’ open opinions about candidates by acting out in ways an adult would not. About 10 percent of the vandalism, he said, is intentional.

Another cause is when candidates don’t know the rules about where signs can go. State right of way is off limits. County right of way is fine for the smaller signs in most of the county, as long as they’re not put on mowed areas or have the wire holders. On Bainbridge Island the property owner next to the county right of way must be notified. In Bremerton and Port Orchard signs are not allowed on public right of way, period. All this is according to a rule sheet Sommerhauser hands out to other Democrats.

Sommerhauser, on that same sheet, advises how to place signs to reduce vandalism, but also makes the case to not overdo them. He says candidates should not try to “outsign” opponents, and that a sign in someone’s yard carries endorsement value a sign along a random point in the road does not.

Tibbs has tried to outsign Gelder, and for the most part he’s done it. You see one Tibbs sign, you might see six. There is also good evidence to support that Tibbs signs are being pulled and dumped on the ground in greater numbers than anyone else’s. The picture above comes from Tibbs’ Facebook site. The site isn’t dedicated to sign vandalism, it’s for his campaign, but he did post some pictures.

Law enforcement has not generally placed a high priority on policing this stuff when they hear about it. It’s not that they don’t respond to calls, but I haven’t heard of too many people being caught. I’d like to see someone vandalizing a sign just so I could get to the motive.

Sometimes the vandals are doing it in public enough that another citizen will notice. Here is an audio recording of a woman’s call to 911 when she saw someone dumping signs.

      1. signvandal

Tibbs provided the audio here and showed me the police report. That report shows several signs on the ground. They all belong to Tibbs. Other signs, for Bremerton City Council candidate Faye Flemister are left standing. The two theories are that his signs are being targeted either because he is a Republican, or because there are so many of his signs out there, way more than anyone else. I’m guessing some of you have an opinion about that.

Welcome to the 2012 presidential campaign.

This week I got a thrill down my leg watching the CNN/Tea Party Express Republican presidential candidate debate. I only watched the first hour, which means I missed some of the more interesting moments. Nonetheless, I got a charge I hadn’t expected. I really thought that after 2008 and 2010 I was still pretty exhausted by presidential elections.

Not so, it turns out. The season keeps getting earlier and earlier so the process does run the risk of running out of gas even before Iowa. If enough candidates dropped out based on polling numbers, we could have all but one candidate from each party out of the running by January, with primaries and caucuses being nothing more than wastes of your campaign donations.

Still, I enjoyed Monday’s debate, and it got me excited for 2012. Someday I’ll admit regretting that statement, but for now I’m still psyched.

If nothing else, it gives us a chance to laugh at things like this:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Indecision 1776 – Ye Cobblestone Road to the White House – Tough Tea Party Crowd
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog The Daily Show on Facebook

All Kitsap to be part of Sixth Congressional District under all plans

All four redistricting commissioners would take all of Kitsap County and make it completely fall within the Sixth Congressional District, moving the First District completely across Puget Sound.

Even though this is the case now, in theory this could change. The commissioners vary drastically on where they put the new Congressional District. Any jockeying of that could, in theory, result in some lines moving.

If Jay Inslee were not running for governor, it’s not likely this would have happened. At least Bainbridge would likely have remained in the First District. Again, politics are not supposed to be part of the equation, but a long time ago it was explained to me that the commission’s first unofficial task is to protect the incumbents.

We’ll post more later.

Gorton conservatizes Kitsap County

The state’s Redistricting Commission is supposed to release later today the different commissioners’ ideas for redistricting the state, but former U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton has his out there already. We’ll get to the impact here in a minute. To start, though, he puts the new 10th Congressional District along the state’s norther border from the San Juans to Okanagan.

If Gorton’s proposal were to hold, all of Kitsap County would be in the Sixth Congressional District. AP has seen the other proposals but hasn’t gone into much detail about what would happen here.

Legislatively Gorton’s changes would be significant. The 23rd District would lose Silverdale, but pick up downtown Bremerton and Port Townsend. I suspect Democrats will balk bigtime at that idea, because it creates a strong Democratic district that yes, pretty much guarantees James Olsen will never win a legislative election, but potentially makes the 35th and 26th Legislative Districts more conservative. That could present steeper challenges for Larry Seaquist in the 26th, but even more for Kathy Haigh in the 35th. Haigh’s win in 2010 was razor thin as it was.

I know politics are not supposed to play into the conversation, but don’t expect Democrats to lay down for Gorton’s idea.

When the others come out I’ll see if I can do what I’m doing here, which is laying out a comparative map like you see below.

Election 2012: This may or may not matter

Everything shared here could be considered moot by the end of the year, depending on what the redistricting commission comes up with. If we lose the First Congressional District completely, then this won’t really matter to a Kitsap audience.

Speaking of redistricting, in California 29 of the state’s 53 incumbents were drawn into new districts. A member of congress does not have to live in the district being represented, but it’s usually kind of a good idea.

The point here was to discuss the names of candidates seeking to replace Jay Inslee. According to the Federal Elections Commission, four candidates have filed to run for the First District seat in 2012. Republican James Watkins will try again and is for now the only Republican.

On the Democratic side state Rep. Marko Liias of Edmonds is running, as is Sammamish state Rep. John Goodman and business owner Darshan Rayniyar.

In the Sixth District Republican Jesse Young hopes to improve on his third-place finish in 2010 and will be joined by fellow Republican Robert Sauerwein in a bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks of Belfair.

Audio: Norm Dicks on Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Stimulus, Anthony Weiner

I recorded the conversation with U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair, for the Sunday story on his position on U.S. efforts in Afghanistan. He is among Democrats and a few Republicans calling for a quicker withdrawal of U.S. troops.

I also asked him about Libya, Iraq and whether Anthony Weiner should resign. I cut about a minute and a half from the recording, but it’s still a bit more than 19 minutes long.

Norm Dicks on Afghanistan

No presidential primary in 2012

Sam Reed’s office sent this:

Washington lawmakers have approved a plan sponsored by Secretary of State Sam Reed and Gov. Chris Gregoire to suspend the 2012 presidential primary , to save over $10 million.

The state will use the Iowa-style precinct caucus-convention process as the fallback system, and will return to conducting the more broadly based presidential primary in 2016.

The House voted 69-28 on Tuesday in support of the Senate-passed plan, SB5119, which was forwarded to the Governor for her signature. The Senate vote earlier in April was 34-15. A number of lawmakers on both sides of the vote said they vastly favor the primary over the old caucus system that draws many fewer participants and excludes overseas voters, including the military, and house-bound people or those who are working during caucus time.

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Three perspectives on federal spending

For those of you with time to read I present you three pieces that deal with federal spending. One says the government should be spending on things that create income, like education and infrastructure, instead of spending so much on benefits. Another offers that saying the government is “broke” is not correct, that deficit spending is a problem, but the U.S. is still in good financial shape. The final piece says arguments that a $61 million federal budget cut would be catastrophic is ridiculous, that $61 million is peanuts in comparison to the entire budget.

America’s Grim Budget Outlook

Bond Market Shows Why Boehner Saying We’re Broke Is Only Figure of Speech

Dems not taking debt seriously

Federal spending will not go down

The State of the Union speech to be delivered this (Tuesday) evening by President Obama is likely to call for a couple of things aimed at the budget.

First, he’ll join Republicans in calling for an end to earmarks.

Second, he’ll call for a five-year spending freeze on non-security discretionary spending.

On the second point, “The problem there is you’re talking about 13 percent of the federal budget,” said George Behan, spokesman for U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair.

Dicks’ position of leadership even though he is again in the minority party is spelled out pretty well in a (Tacoma) News Tribune story by McClatchy Washington Bureau reporter Rob Hotakainen.

The story also references the call for no earmarks and the problems locally (think Port Orchard) that presents.

“I (Dicks) may have done it,” he said in an interview in his office on Capitol Hill last week. “I’ve been here 34 years. I may have done the best I can.”

Behan said Dicks takes issue with the president’s apparent willingness to leave defense out of the spending cut picture. Dicks gave a speech on the House floor Tuesday (The video appears below.) referencing $78 billion in defense cuts recommended by Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Behan said that in times like these, Dicks believes cuts need to be made everywhere. “He’s as strong as anybody on defense but he doesn’t believe you should exempt the Pentagon,” Behan said.

Incidentally, Dicks still doesn’t have a copy of the president’s speech, late by Washington standards. An excerpt of the Republican response to the speech has been posted on Facebook.

Non-discretionary spending is far and away the big chunk of the federal budget, items in defense, Medicare and Social Security. An overall freeze of spending would cap all spending at whatever it is this year, but the federal government would have a tough time doing that, because spending on defense, Medicare and Social Security go up every year just by maintaining the same level of service. That’s why a freeze is essentially a cut. Cutting non-discretionary spending is harder to do, Behan said.

Also part of the president’s speech tonight is . U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Bainbridge Island, spoke to that this morning on the floor of the House.

“As we’re coming out of this very deep recession, many of us believe that one of the brightest spots on our economic horizon is our ability to develop hundreds of thousands of new jobs in this country, so that America can fulfill its detiny of leading the world in clean energy development.”

The entire speech follows, as does the one from Dicks.

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Gregoire’s Chief of Staff Jay Manning on Tucson Shootings

Gov. Chris Gregoire’s Chief of Staff Jay Manning, Kitsap-grown, spoke to the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce Thursday.

Manning didn’t try to sugar coat the upcoming round of budget cuts, but he ended by predicting Washington State is positioned to pull out of the recession faster than most states.

Manning also mentioned a topic that must weigh heavily on the minds of public officials at all levels of government, the shootings in Tucson and incendiary packages in Maryland.

Manning said the atmosphere in Olympia “is really intense right now, and it’s really scary to be in government and to think there’s that level of anger out there.”

Manning said being in government is seen as a disgrace, yet government workers perform essential functions, child protective services for example. The biggest shame, Manning said, is if government became the last place people would go to get a job.

“There’s not a lot of hope or optimism about government right now,” Manning said.

He’s all for free speech, but, “Let’s ease back on the rhetoric a little bit,” he urged. “It should be about issues and ideas.”

Question: If you have ever thought about running for public office, have recent events of violence against politicians discouraged you? (take the poll on the Kitsap Caucus home page).

Democrats Voted Here

If you are wondering why Democrats held on so well in Washington while across the nation they did not do well at all, the basic answer appears to be that they voted here. Democrats in Washington, despite the dire predictions for them nationally, mailed in their ballots. A Portland pollster makes that case, as well as the one contending that Washington is getting bluer.

Some of the information is included in a story about the county certifying the Nov. 2 election.

Moore Information of Portland, Ore. sent out an analysis (posted below) suggesting that Dino Rossi, Republican challenger for the U.S. Senate here, did better among Republicans than any other Senate candidate in the country. He also won the vote of independents by big numbers. He lost, according to Moore, because incumbent U.S. Sen. Patty Murray did even better among Democrats, and there are more Democrats than there used to be and they didn’t get too depressed to vote here.

Of course, if you read our story from Nov. 1, this may not surprise you at all. The last two paragraphs said this:

Turnout was markedly higher in 1998 and 2006. Carl Olson, Kitsap County Democratic Party chairman, said his party’s get-out-the-vote effort is tracking as well as it did in 2006, when turnout was 68.2 percent.

“My personal sense tells me there may be some surprises,” he said, meaning Democrats may do better than expected. Whether the party’s tracking of those who are solid or lean Democrat means they voted Democrat again, he said, he doesn’t know.

While Democrats lost ground in Washington, what their voters did by voting was prevent a party disaster. They maintained control of both chambers in the state. Locally every Democrat incumbent had a closer race, but they all won.

My hunch is this also explains why late votes, those counted after those from election night, did not break Republican as they have in past elections. Democratic margins, in fact, grew larger.

Moore’s analysis, co-written with Hans Kaiser, also with Moore Information, follows:

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Democratic Leadership Wants Derek Kilmer in Ways & Means Post

State Sen. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor would serve as vice chairman of the capital budget in the Ways & Means Committee under a proposal made by Democratic leadership this week. The move means he would no longer chair the Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee, but would put him in a key role in the prime budget-writing committee in the state Senate.

State Sen. Phil Rockefeller, D-Bainbridge Island, would continue to chair the Environment, Water & Energy Committee.

The full body of Senate Democrats will vote on the proposal when legislators go to Olympia for meetings on Dec. 7 and 8.

The press release from the Senate Democrats follows.

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