November 4, 2013 at 7:25 PM
Term limits are crucial for representatives and senators
Editor, The Times:
I wish more articles were written on a consistent basis about the influx of money into our political process [“Funding state elections from near, afar,” page on, Nov. 3].
There is no question that candidates who are more qualified, yet do not have the money power behind them, have a very limited chance (if any) of moving past the primary.
As a result, it’s no wonder that voting participation by the American people is at such a low percentage compared to Norway or Germany, which were mentioned in the article. As American citizens, we really have little impact on who makes it to the ballot in a presidential election.
Money and the media typically dictate which candidates we get to vote for. And certainly, it’s not only the presidential election, members of the House and Senate are all up for sale.
To minimize this, we should really mobilize around implementing term limits for representatives and senators; so many of our representatives and senators remain in office for far too long. Along the way, the special-interest groups, lobbyists, corporate donors, etc., have infused so much money to support elected officials’ re-election, that doing the right thing for the country and the constituents isn’t even part of the equation.
Carrie Hanley, Sammamish
October 22, 2013 at 7:02 PM
Potential influence gained by large campaign contributions
After striking down campaign-donation limits on corporations in the Citizen United case, the U.S. Supreme Court has before it a case that seeks to strike down an overall cap on how much individuals can give to campaigns in McCutcheon vs. Federal Election Commission.
Sound judgment and discernment suggest without some reasonable limits we run a greater risk of compromising the integrity of our elected officials.
In fact, why not put limits on how much each candidate may spend on elections, with specific limits for each office?
To help reduce campaign costs, let’s shorten significantly the length of the campaigns for the president and Congress. Three, or even two months is long enough for campaigns for the Senate and House of Representatives. Six, or even four months, is long enough for presidential campaigns.
Public television can provide a no cost vehicle for televised debates in these elections.
Finally, let’s address the right of Congress to set campaign limits on corporations and individuals, with a constitutional amendment.
Let’s address these enormous campaign costs and the potential for influence gained by large campaign contributions with wise and sound legislation.
Milton C. Smith, Seattle
July 24, 2013 at 4:38 PM
Murray not right for mayor
That saying, “you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig,” holds true in regard to state Sen. Ed Murray running for mayor. [“Murray got job at UW amid cuts,” NW Sunday, July 21.]
Although Murray was a leader in the Senate, accomplishing a lot, he, along with others, could not pass the sorely-needed transportation bill.
Further, what magic wand caused the University of Washington to pay Murray $50,000 yearly for whatever expertise he had, when the UW was facing an $81 million state budget cut, higher tuitions and loss of hundreds of jobs in 2009? Even with the strapped budget, the UW’s Office of Planning and Budget hired Murray. Was it to influence more money for the UW?
Of course, Ed Murray is an honest man, and we can’t fault his salaries, but his lengthy tenure in the state Legislature does not necessarily qualify him to be the mayor of Seattle. When something’s not broke, don’t try to fix it!
Leonard Larson, Seattle
May 15, 2013 at 7:32 AM
Election process corrupt
As a Pakistani living in Seattle, the past two days have seen me glued to my computer, following Pakistan’s national elections [“Pakistan’s ex-leader poised to win,” page one, May 12]. Both Pakistani and international media have failed to provide a complete picture of what is actually happening.Social media is full of eyewitness accounts and visual evidence of blatant rigging by both the victorious party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, and by the Muttahida Quami Movement.
Right at this moment, large numbers of people are out on the streets peacefully protesting against the rigging and demanding re-election in certain constituencies. There has been at least one instance of the police and other individuals using force against the protesters, including a brief round of weapons firing, which the local media has barely acknowledged.
I have heard firsthand accounts from friends and family who have seen rigging carried out in various forms — officers and voters at polling stations being threatened with guns, the tearing up of filled ballots, purposeful eight-hour delays in opening up polling stations as people waited in line, men looking over women’s shoulders as they voted with scarcely veiled threats, and more. The international media need to take note immediately.
Nabeeha Chaudhary, Seattle
April 2, 2013 at 4:08 PM
McKenna proposes worthwhile changes, but leaves one out
As a longtime voter, I was pleased to see Rob McKenna’s statement of changes needed by the GOP [“A reset button for Washington state’s GOP,” Opinion, March 31]. I first voted in November 1952, casting votes for Dwight Eisenhower and other Republicans. I’ve voted in every election since, but with much less support for Republican candidates in recent years. The changes he recommended, plus one more, could earn my votes again.
McKenna omitted one important change that needs to be made if the GOP hopes to get popular respect and support: Its congressional members need to stop being influenced by big business and big-money interests.
Oregon’s former senator and maverick Wayne Morse, referring to congressional members, said something like, “Once they get bought and paid for, they stay bought and paid for. They think that’s integrity.” When we see the GOP senators’ reluctance to correctly tax those interests, that statement seems as pertinent now as it did some 40 years ago.
– H.W. Petersen, Bellevue
Republican Party fails to separate itself from extremists, loses votes
The problem with Republicans is not the delivery system, going to minority neighborhoods, or getting out the message. It is the message itself. Here is the real problem, Rob McKenna: Your political party makes no effort to separate itself from the cranks and extremists within the Republican Party that garner the most local and national attention for their “out of the mainstream” points of view. These are the people whose views came to represent the Republican Party because Republicans allowed them to do so, and in doing so, Republicans gave control of the U.S. Senate to the Democrats.
You and I can both name five states in the last two years that should have elected a Republican, but didn’t due in large part to the extreme views of the Republican senatorial nominees themselves. Until the Republican Party quits catering to the extreme points of view of these people, you and your fellow Republicans will continue to lose the votes of people like myself. If you don’t believe me, just ask Karl Rove.
– David C. Sherbrooke, Bellevue
March 7, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Recant not successful
Poor Mitt Romney, he just can’t seem to get his point across [“Romney spreads blame in explaining why he lost,” News, March 4].
He claims that the 47-percent comment — blown out of proportion by the media — wasn’t really what he meant to say. What he really meant to say was, he lost because African Americans and Hispanics were lured to vote for President Obama because they don’t have health insurance and they wanted it.
But didn’t the 1 percent vote for Mitt because they wanted his bag of goodies?
One good thing about class warfare is that there are more of us than of them.
–Nancy Dapper, Seattle
September 13, 2009 at 4:00 PM
A signature, like a vote, is private
I want to thank Judge Benjamin Settle for the courage to stop the release of names of people who signed Referendum 71 ["R-71 signatures kept private," page one, Sept. 11].
Even though I did not sign this one, as a private citizen I think of these petitions as a vote. In signing them, people are essentially voting for or against an issue.
In this country we keep our votes anonymous. If these names are released, everyone will be averse to ever signing a petition again for fear of retribution by the opponents of it.
I hope Settle has the intelligence to make this temporary injunction permanent.
– John Hed, Covington
Retribution is not free speech; signatures shouldn’t be disclosed
The threat of publicly releasing Referndum 71 signatures defines what’s wrong with today’s political discourse: self-interest.
I signed the petition not because I am against anybody, but because I believe in equality of opportunity rather than equality of result. I am 41, never married and sexually abstinent — not for lack of interest or desire but because of belief and conviction.
That said, I get no break on my health care for living a sexually risk-free life, nor do I enjoy the benefits of married couples or those living in domestic partnership. Equality of result would have me fight for those “rights.” Equality of opportunity informs me I will have those benefits, too, someday, should I marry the woman of my dreams.
I signed knowing someone might use my signature against me without knowing me or asking why. Disappointing for sure, but this is still America where we are free to take sides, free to speak up and free to love our neighbors when the dust clears.
I disagree with releasing R-71 names and making them public. Not because I am afraid, but because hatred, anger, retribution and political expediency should never be masked under the guise of free speech.
– Justin Kawabori, Redmond
Signing a referendum also supports direct democracy
As a teacher of Washington-state history I want to explain that not all the people who signed the petition to put Referendum 71 on the ballot oppose extending domestic-partnership rights.
I teach my students about the initiative and referendum process in my class, and we discuss what they will need to consider when they are asked to sign one.
What a citizen is agreeing to is that they want to have that issue come to a statewide vote. In this case, we may have people who signed it because they like direct democracy and believe citizens should be able to vote on as many laws as possible. Or people may have signed it because they believe a statewide vote will get rid of the law, or people may have signed it because they believe a statewide vote will keep the law.
My point is the assumption that all the people who signed it did so for the same reason is not true.
– Todd Beuke, Sequim
September 7, 2009 at 4:00 PM
A loving home, a life among discrimination
I will be voting to approve Referendum 71 to provide legal protections for couples and families like mine.
My same-sex wife — we were married in Canada — and I are raising two children. Our son is a special-needs child, and our daughter is an honor student who will be a high-school junior this year.
My wife and I co-own our home, have combined bank accounts and live as a married couple in every way. Our household of two kids, two cats, two fish and a yellow lab is a busy one, filled with love and laughter, joy and tears and is deserving of all of the protections and respect of any other.
I am a Metro transit operator, and my wife is an administrative registered nurse with a company providing assisted-living services. We abide by all of the laws of this state and country, pay our taxes and are responsible members of our community.
Despite this, when I was injured at work recently and opened a Labor and Industries claim, I was told my claim would be filed as single with no dependents and that I would be receiving a reduced benefit.
Not only are my wife and I being discriminated against in this instance but our children are as well. Please join me in making Washington a state that protects and respects all of its citizens.
– Nancy Suppe, Bothell
Let couples that stand a chance be married
I have managed to be married and divorced three times before turning 45. Thankfully, I knew I wasn’t good parent material so I avoided advancing that defective gene set. I’ve also managed to stay unmarried for 20 years and counting.
I am completely offended with the notion that extended rights for domestic partnerships is in any way a threat to me, any marriage I ever had or any marriage anyone else has had or may have.
I want to support and defend any couple that has the courage, commitment and optimism to get married. If their church doesn’t have an issue marrying same-sex partners, why should I? As for the state, it’s a civil-rights issue. Nothing more, nothing less!
My marriages should not be defended. They failed. I favor marriages that stand a chance.
Can we wake up with civility, humanity and basic human rights and see Referendum 71 for what it is?
– Sandy Person, Redmond
For the love of families, support extended partnership rights
Thanks for your editorial in support of all Washington families ["Basic fairness, equality for Washington families," editorial, Sept. 2].
To voters who would deny me and my family equal rights, I’m not afraid to let you know who I am.
My partner and I met when we were Peace Corps volunteers 23 years ago. We’ve traveled the world together. We’ve cared for each other in illness, in job loss, in moves across the country. We’ve stood by each other when each of our fathers passed away. Our lives are about love, joy, laughing, dark chocolate and being good stewards of this world.
In our child-raising years, we’ve become part of communities that include gay and straight parents. We sit side by side at our kids’ talent shows — beaming with equal pride. We share advice and tips on the latest phase in our kids’ development. We go to our jobs or are looking for work. As a community we’ve come together to support each other in our greatest losses and unite for our shared concerns. What is gained by discriminating against any family?
For the love of all families, support equality. Now that it appears destined for the ballot, vote yes on Referendum 71.
– Cathie Bachy, Seattle
September 4, 2009 at 4:00 PM
Washington is a place of equality
Editor, The Times:
I was elated to read your editorial ["Basic fairness, equality for Washington families," Opinion, Sept. 2] encouraging voters to approve Referendum 71, upholding the domestic-partnership law, when it comes to the ballot this fall.
The Washington I know is a place where people of all different races, backgrounds, creeds and, yes, sexual orientations can live together in respect, tolerance and equality. It is on those values I hope voters will base their decision on Ref. 71.
This November, voters will face one question: Should this law be approved? I hope voters will also ask themselves another question: Should someone be allowed to commit themselves to someone they love? Truly, that’s all this issue asks, and there’s only one, simple answer.
Yes, I am a gay man. But I reject the notion that I am intrinsically inferior to others because of this. I hope voters will, too, by turning out to approve Referendum 71.
– Tucker Cholvin, Snohomish
Keep the conversation in the realm of executive responsibilities
King County executive candidates Dow Constantine and Susan Hutchison have weighed in on marriage benefits for same-sex partners. Now what?
This illustrates how far off base we have drifted in how we choose our elected officials and why they seem so incompetent when in office. Voters and the press continue to ask questions and probe positions that, while interesting, are irrelevant to officials’ jobs.
The current example of Referendum 71 and King County executive shows how we drift in how we choose our executive. What does Ref. 71 have to do with overseeing Metro transit and managing the aspects of the county that person is responsible for? Nothing.
Why don’t we get back to basics, and see how they are qualified for the job, not how they feel about social and political issues that are out of the scope of their jobs? While it may satisfy our curiosity to know how they feel about same-sex marriage, health-care reform or other popular debates, it obfuscates how competent they will be at the everyday tasks of their jobs.
That suitability will affect us directly. Valuing how they feel about Ref. 71 and other issues is exactly why Mayor Greg Nickels is being booted: He expended more effort toward posturing on global climate change and provided incompetent direct response to the snowfall in Seattle when that was the climate change he should have focused on.
King County executive hopefuls should be focusing on their executive skills, not political skills. Otherwise it’s just another snow job.
– Bob Johnson, Mercer Island
For referendum signers, no special protection
The attempts to block the release of petition-signer information by the backers of Referendum 71 ["Foes sue to block Referendum 71; backers can't hide donors' names," NWFriday, Aug. 28] reminds me of a sketch from 1977′s crude “The Kentucky Fried Movie.”
The sketch has a daredevil wearing a fire suit, helmet and gloves walk up to a group of black men, yell the “n-word” at the top of his lungs and then run for his life.
The difference is that Ref. 71′s heroes want to replace the protective suit with blindfolds for the rest of us. The notion that the despicable and malicious nature of their speech entitles the signers’ to special protections from public censure is an absurd and disturbing perversion of the First Amendment.
– Jonathan Kallay, Seattle
Ref. 71 could be an infectious change
I predict Referendum 71 is going to become a big deal and a defining moment in the history of gay rights.
People have been choked by Proposition 8 in California passing. People have learned. This won’t happen again. It will be the beginning of a “Yes, we can” movement that is much bigger than the gay movement, a movement of “Yes, we can take care of our society and our people, no matter who they are.”
It will go well beyond Washington state.
– Emma Le Du, Seattle
September 1, 2009 at 4:00 PM
Dig deeper in coverage of mayor’s race
Editor, The Times:
The all-too-predictable coverage of our candidates for mayor and primary opponents, Mike McGinn and Joe Mallahan, by The Seattle Times and other media outlets is very disappointing.
The majority of the coverage ignores the specific ideas from each candidate and paints them as an environmentalist lawyer determined to stop the tunnel — McGinn — and a T-Mobile executive who wants to simply restore efficient government services — Mallahan.
Neither depiction is false, but the coverage rarely digs deeper. Let me give it a try.
I know Mallahan, for example, wants to leverage funds to expand units for low-income families. I know he wants to eliminate the head tax for small businesses, reduce consultant contracts by 25 percent to yield tens of millions in savings for the city. He wants to expedite hiring of police officers to save millions more and help protect he city. I know he wants to fully reinstate and expand the gang unit, eliminate the Mercer Street Project and ensure wealthy developers bear more of the cost burden.
I know McGinn is interested in funding a private-public partnership to create Seattle High School scholarships; he wants to build a citywide fiber-optic network for Internet use; he wants to focus on Metro’s plans for Rapid Ride lines and an electric-trolley bus system that potentially will improve traffic dramatically, and at a fraction of the cost of light rail.
How do I know this? Because I’ve participated at events for both McGinn and Mallahan, asked them questions personally, and I have actually taken the time to read their Web sites in depth, where their ideas are laid out. Have you?
Even The Times’ own profiles of both candidates focus less on these ideas and issues and more on surface stuff like their personalities, families and background.
Let’s dig deeper. I encourage The Times and all media outlets to really press McGinn and Mallahan on how they will achieve some of the ideas I’ve laid out above — taken directly from their Web sites — in order for the city to make the best, most-informed choice this November.
– Paul West, Seattle
New mayor will need leadership, not government, experience
I am tired of hearing that the new mayor will spend the first six months looking for a coffee shop and the bathroom.
Your assumption that it takes “government experience” to lead is wrong ["Voters' message is clear: Show us something new," Opinion, editorial, Aug. 23]. It takes “leadership experience” to lead. Maybe we have a patriot stepping up to lead us.
I’m a disappointed voter, not a “cranky voter.”
– Thomas P. Wise, Seattle
Unions endorse, but do they know what they’re doing?
All the big unions in Seattle endorsed the incumbent for mayor in the primary election. Mayor Greg Nickels lost and so did the unions. There is a good reason why Seattle politicians go after the union endorsement.
Seattle is one of the few cities left in the country with a union density higher than the national average.
Yet Seattle unions are sticking to the old dogs. Now that their favorite lost the primary, they are running around their halls trying to figure out whom to endorse now. Sticking to the old politicians only reinforces the negative perception most people have of unions: that they are corrupt, outdated and embedded in a romanticized past that barely resembles their present, much less their future.
This should be the question unions should ask of themselves: What about our future? Their future is not in endorsing politicians that play lip service to favoring unions. A politician who creates union jobs yet does nothing while the cost of living increases on those same workers, who does nothing as expensive condominiums replace less expensive apartments, who stands by as the homeless wither in our streets, is not a friend of working people and should not be a friend of the unions.
– Russell B. Jacobs, Seattle
Message to Seattle pols: Don’t mess with voters
The long-held view that Seattle voters simply refuse to get tough with their elective officials, no matter how much they dislike them or disagree with their policies, has finally been consigned to dustbin status.
Last week’s primary results sent a resounding message to local officeholders — voters do pay attention to your words and deeds, and if you screw up or ignore their wishes, there are electoral consequences.
Soon-to-be former Mayor Greg Nickels both screwed up (snowstorm response) and defied Seattle’s wishes (waterfront tunnel). As a result, voters unceremoniously gave him the boot while humiliating his political clones, Jan Drago and Jordan Royer, in the process.
Now watch Seattle’s political and economic establishment, which sorely wants the tunnel, close ranks behind the pro-tunnel candidate, Joe Mallahan. It is normal for the establishment-backed candidate for mayor to win handily like Paul Schell in 1997 and Nickels in 2005.
But Mike McGinn’s first-place primary finish proves tunnel opposition still resonates among voters who had overwhelmingly rejected the tunnel option in their 2007 advisory vote.
Candidates who run against the will of Seattle’s voters — at long last — will do so at their own peril.
– Russell Scheidelman, Seattle
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