Thursday, November 05, 2009

It's almost a wrap.

Tonight's results make at least a couple of my cliffhangers safe to call. I may be the last to admit it - I almost can't believe it - but Referendum 71 has opened a five point lead and looks sure to pass. My home state is the first in the nation to expand civil rights for gays and lesbians at the ballot box. That's something. Of course, it took a better than two to one vote here in King County to make it happen, but it happened. Huzzah!

In the local races I'm tracking, it's going to be Will Hall for Shoreline City Council Position 3, having expanded his lead by a couple hundred more votes overnight. The trend has been consistent enough to be convincing. I voted for Will, happily, but Patty Hale was a worthy candidate for the Council as well, a dedicated community volunteer and neighborhood activist. It's a shame she got caught up in controversy during the campaign, but it was a controversy of her own making because of her apparent inability to simply say "I was wrong" and get on with it when she was reprimanded for discussing her campaign with an English class while she was on the clock as their substitute teacher. I'm sympathetic to the value of student involvement but it seems to me that Patty was in a perfect position to cadge a couple of invites to speak to social studies classes as a candidate, off the clock. It didn't help that she didn't seem to understand the difference.

At any rate, Will comes with his own record of community involvement and relevant professional experience to boot. He picked up a late endorsement from the local Democrats after incumbent Councilmember and Party favorite Janet Way came in third in the primary. Janet, who I voted for then, endorsed him as well. I didn't use the Party sample ballot as a template for my own picks, but his willingness to identify with the Democratic Party, a requirement for the endorsement, does count as another point in his favor. Congratulations are in order and extended.

Challenger Shari Tracey continues to hold a slim lead over Position 5 incumbent Cindy Ryu, with a margin of about 400 votes. A margin of one, of course, is sufficient, and it seems that Shari will likely win. I'd like a bit more certainty than "likely," though. (Insert grumble about mail ballots and glacial counts here.) The replacement of Ryu, appointed to the essentially honorary position of mayor by the current Council, will be a major shift in the power center and culture of city government. Ryu, a Democratic State Committeewoman, is a local landlord and developer with close ties (she's on the board) to the Chamber of Commerce, where the ill-fated write-in effort against Keith McGlashan was spawned. Based on the vote totals, Keith appears to be the most popular politician in town this week. I see the election of Shari Tracey, which, though not yet written in stone is growing more likely by the day, as the neighborhoods giving notice that they don't like their city being run by the Aurora corridor business community. I think that's a healthy thing.

So, I'm down to one I won't call. Happily, I don't have a horse in that mayoral mess in the big city to the south. I'm sure Slog and Goldy can keep you up to date on that.

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