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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

October 19, 2008 at 4:43 PM

Governor’s race

Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times

Gov. Christine Gregoire, shown here arriving at a Northwest Harvest event earlier this year, has been battered by ads sponsored by the Building Industry Association of Washington.

Money for something

Editor, The Times:

$6.3 million — that’s a lot of money.

If we spent this on local schools, it would be a real boost for teachers’ salaries or doubling the size of libraries.

But this is the amount of money that one group, the Building Industry Association or Washington, is spending to slime the reputation of the incumbent governor.

Strange. I’ve always viewed Washington state politics as in the same realm as Minnesota or Vermont, not Texas or New Jersey.

But BIAW’s role in this gubernatorial election is slimy, nasty and beyond the call.

As the front-page story in Friday’s paper indicates [“Rossi’s biggest backer explains what it wants,” page one, Oct. 17], there have been many unsuccessful attempts at discouraging BIAW in their role as the pitchman for dirty politics. If legislative, executive and legal challenges can’t deter BIAW from their dastardly deeds, what can be done?

Clean and publicly-funded elections. Yes, this is an effective solution to BIAW’s slime machine.

Here is how it would work: Candidates for public office would have the choice of groveling for dollars from the usual special-interest groups (like BIAW) or tapping into a state fund to finance their campaigns.

If a candidate chooses to run “clean,” he/she must commit to not accept any money from any source.

A clean candidate must gather a set number (about 250 for a legislative seat) of commitments from local

constituents, plus a small ($5) contribution.

If in the course of the campaign, the clean candidate’s opponent is funded directly or indirectly by special interests, state election officials can level the financial playing field by offering the clean candidate matching funds that mirror the amount given his/her opponent.

This matching-funds feature is slightly different in Maine, Arizona and North Carolina, where clean elections has existed for several years.

In Maine, Arizona and North Carolina, BIAW would be crippled in their attempt to buy elections the way it is trying to do here because special-interest money has been moved from clean-election states to other states.

Think of it from BIAW’s perspective: It’s not easy to run against a clean candidate who can say: “I’m not bought and paid for. What you get is what you see. I’m running on specific issues not influenced by any outside money or interests.”

Publicly funded campaigns work. There is a better way.

Let’s dump BIAW’s ways of intimidation and demagoguery.

— Roger Lauen, Bainbridge Island

Think local

This election must be quite a quandary for Washington Democrats, who are vehemently opposed to Sen. John McCain.

Their opposition is, for the most part, due to their belief that McCain will continue the economic policies of President George W. Bush; policies that they claim have resulted in the current economic crisis.

Given this mindset, the choice of whether or not to vote for Gov. Christine Gregoire, under whose leadership this state has amassed a $3.2 billion deficit, would appear to be a no-brainer.

Yet, despite this recent revelation, Democrats are still doing all they can to get Gregoire re-elected, including filing frivolous lawsuits against gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi in order to derail his second successful bid for governor.

Ask any Sen. Barack Obama supporter, and that person will tell you that a vote for Obama is in the best interest of American citizens.

Ironically, what’s in the best interest of Washingtonians doesn’t appear to be of much concern.

— Marina Anna Baker, Bremerton

Comments | More in Election, Politics, Washington Legislature


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