Last Sunday, October 28, Stacey Cowles (He was not named, but we must assume it was he, since Mr. Cowles is the only remaining member of the Editorial Board of the Spokesman Review) published “Our Election Preference” in the left hand column of the Opinion Page in the Business Section. (Note the peculiar use of the possessive pronoun “our” in the manner of royalty [or quoting God]) There was much therein with which I fervently disagree, but with none more so than his bland statement on Legislative District 4, Position 1, for which Mr. Cowles wrote simply “No endorsement.” With those two words he spoke volumes about his values.
Orientation: Legislative District 4 is the City of Spokane Valley and points north. (For a great map, click here.) Position 1 in LD4 is currently occupied by a man, Matt Shea, about whom much has been written. (Read here in my archives, or in a recent Spokesman article, or in the national magazine Rolling Stone, or just google ‘Matt Shea Spokane’)
That Stacey Cowles, representing the entire Spokesman Review, cannot bring himself to endorse Shea’s opponent is, in my opinion, an act of moral cowardice. The same day as the preferences were published, Ted Cummings’ campaign fund, Friends of Ted Cummings, paid good money to the Spokesman to publish the letter I’ve reproduced below. It deserves widespread dissemination as the writing of the sort of person I want as my neighbor AND a person I would want to represent me in Olympia.
Mr. Cowles knows what Matt Shea is and must understand the danger he represents. Mr. Cowles also knows the power of incumbency, so he is playing it safe rather than stir up this angry man, Mr. Shea, who is currently in office.
Read Ted Cummings’ letter and see if you agree:
Hello, my name isTed Cummings, I am running for state representative in the 4th LD. I recently had a debate with the incumbent and I have lived with a gnawing sense that I missed an opportunity to really contrast the dramatic differences between myself and Mr. Shea.
I am proud to share that I am a devout Catholic, but in saying that, I readily declare that as a state representative I would never impose my personal religious views on anyone. I believe my words and actions should be a testimony of my faith and I will leave everyone else to believe or not believe what they choose, without judgment from me.
In my opinion,The God and Jesus that Matt Shea speaks of are not the same God and Jesus that I believe in because I find no acts of love or charity in Matt’s words.
In my opinion the freedom Matt speaks of sounds like Tyranny to me.
In my opinion the patriotism Matt favors, I believe to be sedition and fascism.
In my opinion what Matt sees as free speech, I view many of his comments as hate speech.
I revere and honor journalism and know a free and respected press is essential to our country remaining free and informed.
I have been accused of being too “far to the left of the majority of the district’s voters” (October 18th Spokesman-Review Editorial “No Good Choices in the 4th) so help me understand why someone would say that. I mowed lawns and delivered papers as a child, I began W2 earnings and filing income tax returns when I turned sixteen and I have worked continually since that age. I registered to vote as soon as I was legally able and have voted regularly all my life. I eagerly and proudly registered for the draft as soon as possible when it was reinstated and to this day I will defend my country against all threats foreign and domestic.
I have been happily and faithfully married to the same woman for 37 years and I have worked for the same company for 30.
I have never been charged or arrested for a crime, I have never filed for bankruptcy and I have always paid my bills and lived within my means. My wife and I have paid our house and land off early and are debt free. Due to my union membership, I have a pension and a 401k and have responsibly prepared for retirement and old age, so as not to be a burden on anyone. I have always paid my taxes, until I began this campaign I attended Mass regularly. I proudly stand for the pledge of allegiance and the national anthem. I hunt with a rifle and a bow and respect the rights of others to do the same, I take care of my family, friends and neighbors, I have donated blood for years. I feed, water and shelter my animals before I feed myself.
I have never abused my wife or any woman; I have never waved a gun at someone or engaged in road rage. I have never been removed or fired from a job. I have never been sued for defaming a Sheriff’s deputy.
It is my personal belief that this campaign is about combatting someone I believe to be dangerous in many ways and seeks to possibly undermine our government and hurt our community.
To me there is nothing more quintessentially American than to stand up for and defend the young, the elderly, the veteran, the sick, the homeless, the weak, the different, the addict and yes, the immigrant. I will always defend those who can’t stand for themselves and I ask that you stand with me.
Please vote forTed Cummings and send the message to the nation that we believe in our country and our government and that hate, fear and intolerance have no home in Eastern Washington.
Thank you for your consideration, God bless America and God bless us, everyone.
Democratic Candidate for State Representative Position 1
Paid for by Friends of Ted Cummings PO Box 577 Colbert WA 99005 www.tedforwashington.com
Ted’s letter expresses values I share. I suppose I’m still a little naive, but as I read this letter it reminded me of one of the great movies of all time, Frank Capra’s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), a reference I’m sure is lost on many who really ought to see it. When you get your ballot, mark it for Ted Cummings AND for Mary May, a capable candidate running against McCaslin Junior, a man follows Shea regardless of his late father’s warning.
Get out and canvass!
Keep to the high ground,
Dr. Robert Wirthlin and I presented a written version of the story below to Cathy McMorris Rodgers at a “Coffee with Cathy” on April 11, 2017, asking her to save our patients health care as she hurriedly cobbled together the American Health Care Act. John McCain, may he rest in peace, recognized the bill for what it was. He memorably voted down the last Senate version of the bill on the night of July 27, 2017.
McMorris Rodgers did not listen to us April 11, 2017. I sent the following as a letter to the editor to most of the newspapers in eastern Washington. It is the story I have told on many a doorstep. I reproduce it here:
In 2010 the Affordable Care Act was passed. People with diabetes, folks previously priced out of the health insurance market by their pre-existing condition, were able to afford insurance. As an ophthalmologist I was able to save or restore the sight of many of these newly insured people before it was too late, people who were then able to continue to work, to drive, to read, to see their wives and children. Over the next eight years I watched in dismay as our U.S. Representative McMorris Rodgers voted time and time again to repeal the Affordable Care Act, pre-existing conditions and all. She did so, it seemed, with a grim determination to turn back the clock. She took every opportunity to peck away at the law, weaken it, make it worse and ultimately unworkable. Now she says, “I’m offended!” at the mere suggestion she could ever vote the way she did, claiming she has always defended pre-existing conditions. Every time I see her I am reminded of the faces of the people whose sight I was able to save thanks to the law she has worked so hard to dismember and destroy. This is the reason I enthusiastically recommend you vote for Lisa Brown, a woman with compassion that extends beyond the protection of her immediate family, a woman who understands that voting matters.
Jerry E. LeClaire, M.D.
Get out and knock on doors.
Keep to the high ground,
Who was Judge Triplet? Why am I announcing his passing? The Spokesman article last Friday (October 26) informs me he was an honest and decent man, a skilled jurist committed to fair application of the law. Surely the Spokesman account is accurate. I have no information to the contrary. I’ve never had any dealings with the “Superior Court.”
Yes, the article was accurate. But did the Spokesman provide the orientation I’ve now come to crave?
As I read the article on Judge Triplet’s passing, questions came to mind: How many people will read this? Of those who do, how many know what the Superior Court does? How many judges serve on it? How will the hole this good man’s passing leaves be filled? How does this gap relate to the judgeships on which I just voted? Why the hell does it seem too much to ask for the local newspaper to provide this orientation as part of their coverage, coverage that could educate citizens trying to understand civics and its importance to their daily lives?
Is it any wonder I read the Spokesman article on Judge Triplet more as an obituary than as information I can use?
So here’s the backstory, all obtained from the comfort of my laptop:
Judge Triplet served in Department 2 (of 12 funded Departments aka “Positions” as they are called on your ballot) of the Superior Court of Spokane County. The twelve judges on the Superior Court hear cases from Spokane County concerning:
• Civil matters
• Domestic relations
• Felony criminal cases
• Juvenile matters
• Appeals from courts of limited jurisdiction
The “Courts of Limited Jurisdiction” are the Spokane County District Courts and the City of Spokane Municipal Courts, where non-felony cases involving limited amounts of money and limited jail terms are heard. There is a nice diagram of much of this here.
Judge Triplet’s untimely death at age 55 leaves a gap in a very busy court, a gap that Governor Jay Inslee will appoint someone to fill “until the position is filled by voters in a countywide election.” Come on, Spokesman, when? The next regular election next fall? A special election? How does that work? How about a little civics?
Here’s another part the Spokesman doesn’t touch: Michelle “Shelley” D. Szambelan was appointed by Governor Jay Inslee just this year (2018) to Department (“Position”) 10 of the Spokane County Superior Court. Inslee chose among a number of well-qualified candidates, Ms. Szambelan and Dennis Cronin among them. We are now asked to vote between these two in the current election. Mr Cronin indicated at the time of the appointment he would run for the seat this fall. Had he not run Ms. Szembelan would have stood for election only in 2020. By all accounts I can read both of them are will qualified for the position.
Will Governor Inslee appoint to the newly vacant Position 2 the candidate with the lower vote count of what is likely going to be a close race for Position 10? Will Inslee wait until the voting is done to announce his choice? How will this work? Stay tuned.
Ordinarily there aren’t a lot of challengers for seats in the various courts in the State of Washington. Incumbency is powerful, unless a judge does something that is egregious and newsworthy. Of course, part of the reason for that is that most of us (including me) have only a rudimentary understanding of the court system…and information on the folks who are running for these seats can be pretty scant.
In that vein, let’s take a brief look at “Judge” Brandt, running against Patrick Johnson for an open seat in Position 1 on the Spokane County District Court Bench (one tier below the Spokane County Superior Court). First, Brandt was a judge, but he is not now, so running as “Judge” Brandt is at least questionable and arguably an outright deception. Second, he was never elected as a judge. He was appointed to a different position on the District Court (#7) in 2011 by the Spokane County Commissioners and then, in spite of incumbency (and Spokesman endorsement), he was voted out in a race against challenger Aimee Maurer in 2014 by a nearly 3% margin. In the current race I voted for Patrick Johnson. He’s relatively young, late 40s. If history is a guide, he will serve a long time.
Some random take-aways:
1) Newspapers that still do print versions could be more useful and interesting if they provided a little more context, if they quit assuming their readers know the background.
2) The Washington State judicial system is multi-layered and worthy of some study.
3) Judges, once elected, are not often challenged and even less often bested in an election. When they are (as with Judge Brandt) perhaps it says something.
4) Interim vacancies on the Spokane County Superior Court are filled by appointment by the Governor. Interim vacancies on the Spokane County District Court are filled by appointment by the Spokane County Commissioners. What is the history behind that, I wonder?
5) The State Supreme and Appeals Court Judges serve on 6 year terms. All the other judges (County Superior, County District, and Municipal [City of Spokane]) serve 4 year terms.
I should have learned all this in a civics class in my youth. Maybe I did, but a half century later it is all a bit rusty. It bears review–and our local newspaper could help.
And, now, after this short civics lesson: Get out and canvass! There are only nine days to flip this thing.
Keep to the high ground,
Lisa Brown and all the excellent local Democrats who have stepped up and run will win in the upcoming election if people who are Democrats and Democratic leaners cast a ballot, if the discouraged, disadvantaged voters vote. You might imagine that everyone in Eastern Washington is up to speed. Read on.
Below are series of actual answers I’ve received in response to the following question I’ve been told to ask of people on their doorstep: “Are you going to vote by November 6th? Have you received your ballot?”:
“I’m not political, I guess I’m a registered voter but I never vote.”
“I don’t vote. It is just too discouraging. They’re all a bunch of crooks.”
“I never vote. I guess that was my ballot i burned in the stove last night.”
“I don’t know enough to vote. I don’t have time. I don’t read the paper and I can’t bear to watch TV.”
My favorite response was from a nineteen year old outside the East Central Public Library with whom I struck up a conversation about my car: “Who is Lisa Brown, anyway?’
I responded, “She’s running against Cathy McMorris Rodgers for Congress.”
“That one! Really? I can’t stand her. Ya, I’ll vote. I didn’t know that was this election.”
There’s a Burma Shave-like string of signs along Rockwood boulevard in a yard with Lisa Brown signs and Halloween decorations that expresses how these responses make me feel: I…Want…To…Scream! But I don’t scream. Instead, I tell them why I’m knocking on doors this election for the first time in my life, how I was really angry when McMorris Rogers kept voting to take away the health care insurance that had allowed me to help people keep their sight, how I’ve met Lisa Brown numerous times and I’m convinced she’s the real deal, that she can get started fixing our broken government and our hideous uncivil discourse. I explain how easy it is to vote, how a stamp isn’t necessary, how for your ballot to count for something you really to vote for at least one candidate; you don’t have to make all thirty-some choices.
I’m pretty sure I’ve made headway with a lot of these people. With some I’ve actually helped them go through the process with the envelopes and signature and explained the phone number is optional, but might be used if the Auditor’s office has a question. I am sure I am making a difference, even if my personal numbers are small. There are many of us, but if there is to be a comfortable margin on election night that won’t evaporate as the last minute returns come in, we need more. You can canvass, too. It’s not hard. Nobody bites. So come out with Spokane Indivisible on Saturday and Sunday (see the box above for details) Or come on down to 1507 E Sprague, get a short training, go out with an experienced canvasser. Here’s the link. If you have smartphone, bring it. They’re useful. There are plenty of selected doors to knock. Time and energy will run out first. We’ll only know if it was enough after the votes are counted. Swing elections are always close. Remember Nethercutt changed regimes in eastern Washington in 1994 by only 4,000 votes out of 200,000 cast.
Matt Shea and Legislative District 4 (Spokane Valley Plus) Addendum:
I wrote about the Ted Cummings, Matt Shea race in LD4 yesterday. Many readers responded. Many posted the article, many passed it on. One reader was kind enough to point out an article on Matt Shea that appeared in Rolling Stone on October 23. It is definitely worth the time to read and share. Eastern Washington and north Idaho are making national news again, and Matt Shea’s reign risks making us a laughing stock. Just a couple nuggets from the article:
Ozzie Knezovich is memorably quoted therein, “The day that we stop caring about the character of our elected officials is the day this democracy is over,” he told me. “It’s the end of the republic.” I agree completely.
Ted Cummings, to his great credit, came to the Spokane Liberty/Second Amendment Rally in August (probably in Clark Park up Division) the author starts out by describing…and he spoke. He spoke truth: “I believe in our government, I believe in our police force over here, I believe in you, I don’t see danger in America, and Mr. Shea seems to see fear wherever he looks.”
Remember, as the Rolling Stone reminds us, and the Spokesman chronicled: McMorris Rodgers sought and accepted the endorsement of Mr. Shea. Ozzie Knezovich’s response: “Matt Shea is a cancer, and the things that he has done has done nothing but divide this county, and this nation. There’s not a vote worth having his name associated with mine.” That ought to tell us something about McMorris Rodgers, too.
Finally, The Spokesman Endorsement:
Tucked away on the Opinion page in the Business Section of the Sunday, October 21, Spokesman review was the “editorial endorsement” of “CMR.” Needless to say, I disagree. One might wonder at whose decision and whose writing this was since the Editorial Board of the Spokesman used to consist of Stacey Cowles, Burt Caldwell, and Gary Crooks. The latter two have left the paper. Why did Stacey Cowles not simply sign the article? As far as I can tell he did not consult with any of the rest of his staff. I know a number of people who have canceled their subscriptions in protest.
Back in 1994 the Editors backed Tom Foley, who, as you know, lost to George Nethercutt that year. The paper also backed Andy Dunau against Breean Beggs for City Council recently. May Mr. Cowles endorsement of “CMR” suffer the same fate. I know I am doing everything in my power to make it so.
Keep to the high ground,
Washington Legislative District 4 (for a map, click here), including Spokane Valley and area to the north, has a problem. The people of LD4 elected Matt Shea as one of their State Representatives in 2009, a midterm election with only a 51.51% ballot turn-in rate. He is a member of the lunatic fringe of the Republican Party, even of the local Spokane Republican Party. If you have any doubt of this I encourage you to click on this link. Watch the 4:22 minute video of Mr. Shea speaking at the “Old Paths for Christian History Conference” in Coeur d’Alene in October of 2015. Mr. Shea spends much of his time working for and lecturing on the State of Liberty, a concept closely allied to the Redoubt movement centered in north Idaho. The general concept is to carve out a 51st state composed of Washington east of the Cascades, north Idaho, and parts of western Montana (at least). In the Redoubt the far right faithful would have a voting majority. In the Redoubt, by force of arms if necessary, they would be able to defend their ideas of white Christian supremacy against the supposed threats posed by muslims, secularists, and other infidels. The Redoubters have their own internet newspaper, redoubtnews.com, and their own radio station, Radio Free Redoubt.
I notice Matt Shea’s photo is currently displayed at Redoubt News. Lest you think this is an insignificant number of goofy people, consider that Heather Scott, an Idaho State Representative from the Blanchard area seems to have an election stranglehold on her district. She is a prominent Redoubter also featured in Redoubt News. Her Facebook page is illustrative of her news diet. A visit there last year clearly showed her main source of information was Redoubt News. For that matter, check out Matt Shea’s Facebook page. It is not like these folks are hiding their fringy beliefs, nor are they hiding the news silo they live in. (You’re seeing their Public page. Imagine for a moment what they show their friends.) There is even Revolutionary Realty in Coeur d’Alene, a realty dedicated to serving the Redoubt faithful attracted here from the godless parts of the country. This movement bears watching. Click some of those links to get an idea what this all represents.
When Mr. Shea is not speaking to far right church groups about the State of Liberty and the Redoubt, you might find him as a guest (on August 25, 2015) of Alex Jones on the Alex Jones show. I cannot link you to the video because Jones has been banned from youtube (and Facebook).
Or you might find Mr. Shea speaking at the Red Pill Expo, a showcase of looney conspiracies held right here in Spokane. (Read: Matt Shea and the Red Pill)
Mr. Shea is a man with anger management issues that in saner times would disqualify him from any public office. He is a frequent speaker at rallies in Spokane where men (mostly) proudly open-carry their assault rifles. He poses as big on abiding with the letter of the law…but he let his concealed carry permit expire and then threatened a motorist with a pistol in a road incident on the streets of Spokane in 2012. In 2011 the outgoing Republican from the LD4 State Senate seat, the then 84 year old Bob McCaslin, Sr, publicly asserted, “I wish to state that under no circumstances would I support Matthew Shea for any public office.” The article in the Spokesman cites Shea’s threats and outbursts of anger as a major consideration. Mike Padden now holds that State Senate seat. Note: the current McCaslin, who holds the other Representative seat in LD4 is McCaslin Junior, and, in spite of his father’s opinion, votes in lockstep with Mr.Shea.
Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich. (read Daniel Walters article) has had a ruling feud with Shea for years and has publicly warning of Shea’s far right ideology. Note these criticisms come from two politicians who are themselves hardly centrists. How much farther right must Shea be?
Ten years ago, Lisa Shea, Matt’s wife at the time, moved out of their home in fear (according to court records) after he returned from a tour of duty in Iraq. She obtained a protection order against him. Read the Spokesman article from the time. “Among other disparaging remarks in court documents, Shea called his wife a ‘product of the foster care system.'”
How does a man like this stay in office? I have to believe it is because voters aren’t paying sufficient attention. Mr. Shea presents as a “Christian” likely appealing to some who don’t understand the brand of Christianity to which he subscribes Behind that benign label his specific views are hidden in plain sight from an electorate that hasn’t been paying attention. A nice shamrock appears on his campaign signs. Perhaps most important, he consistently votes for big business…and big business gives him gobs of campaign money.
In Washington State we still have a great tool with which to “follow the money.” It is the Public Disclosure Commission, pdc.wa.gov, A candidate for office anywhere in Washington State is legally required to disclose information about who is donating to their campaign and how they are spending it. We should use it.
Ted Cummings, whom I’ve met several times and thoroughly respect, is challenging Matt Shea for the LD4 Representative seat in Olympia. Let’s look at what the PDC can tell us. Here’s the link to see contributions to the two campaigns: Shea and Cummings.
Nearly all of Shea’s top forty-five contributors are corporations, many of which are based in other states. Two thousand from Novartis Finance Corporation in Fort Worth, TX? What interest do they have in a belligerent conspiracy theorist in Olympia? Monsanto (Oregon) for $1000? Avista Corp at $2000? (At least Avista is not spending $100,000 “independently” on Shea like they did for French and Kuney. The most Avista Corp can legally contribute directly to a campaign is $2000.)
These contributions to Shea are chump change for these companies. It is money to keep a man in office who is a steady pro-corporation, anti-regulation vote in Olympia, a vote that will help protect their profits. Damn any other considerations. Maximizing profits is what corporations do. They don’t care what else Matt Shea stands for or what he does as long as he votes their way.
Men like Matt Shea get into office and stay there with corporate money backing their elections. They present their mild side at election time and then go off to burnish their credentials with the lunatic fringe.
Vote for Ted Cummings. He’ll spend his time working for the people of LD4, not preaching the Gospel of the Redoubt and parading with an assault rifle. Ted got involved over Shea’s promotion of a “right to work” law in Olympia, but the more he studied Shea the more concerned he became. Read more on this race in the Spokesman article of October 8. Then also mark your ballot for Mary May for the seat held currently by McCaslin Junior. You won’t find two more reasonable, capable people than Cummings and May. Legislative District 4 needs a return to sane representation.
Keep to the high ground,
Addendum: See Canvass!…and More AND
On Wednesday, September 17 at the Greater Spokane, Inc. debate at the Fox Theater in Spokane McMorris Rodgers vehemently took offense over pre-existing conditions:
I take offense to anyone who would suggest that I would ever vote against protecting someone with pre-existing conditions. (KXLY video, starting at 01:28)
She said the same thing the next day at the Rotary 21 debate with the same tone of umbrage. Will she use the same line in the debate today in Walla Walla?
“Taking offense” is a rhetorical device. She shifts away from denying what she did to “I’m Cathy McMorris Rodgers. I have a son with Down Syndrome. You are low life to even think I could do such a thing!”
McMorris Rodgers’ declaration of “offense” should ring hollow to anyone paying attention. It is not complicated. Repeal of the Affordable Care Act has a been a shining goal of Republican/Libertarian legislators, word-meisters, right wing talk show hosts, and Fox News ever since the ACA became law in 2010. Attacking the ACA has kept the Republicans very busy passing repeals (without replacement) and filing lawsuits to chip away at every part of the ACA for the last eight years, never offering an alternative apart beyond the miserable status quo ante.
McMorris Rodgers and nearly every Republican in the House who has been in office has voted nine times to flat out repeal the Affordable Care Act–the whole thing–pre-existing conditions clause and all.
It is far easier to tear down than to build. Where was McMorris Rodgers’ defense of her son Cole when she cast those nine votes for flat out repeal? Where was the carefully constructed legislative replacement that would have defended her son’s access to affordable health insurance? Was a replacement going to pop out of thin air?
The time for McMorris Rodgers to “take offense” was at the short-sightedness of her Republican colleagues, the Raul Labradors, the Jason Chaffetzes (both of whom have abandoned their House seats). That was the time when she should have been “working for bipartisan solutions” (another hollow phrase she often uses).
When the Electoral College handed McMorris Rodgers and her Republican/Libertarian colleagues a willing president in 2016 they suddenly realized their votes might actually matter beyond obstructionism. “Oh my! We actually need to craft something!” They hurriedly cobbled together the American Health Care Act, the bill to which John McCain, recognizing the travesty it was, famously gave the thumbs down in the Senate. Much has been written dissecting the AHCA, noting that, indeed, it does not broadly protect people with pre-existing conditions like Cole Rodgers from being excluded or charged ridiculous premiums in many instances. But one doesn’t need to dive into the weedy details to see McMorris Rodgers’ “taking offense” is a diversion to her claimed sincerity, a diversion away from the truth of her voting record.
Every one of McMorris Rodgers’ nine votes for repeal of the ACA was a vote against people with pre-existing conditions. Every vote was taken without a replacement. Every repeal bill she voted for would have taken us back to the time people with pre-existing conditions either went bankrupt or went without. And now she is “offended????”
Vote her out.
Keep to the high ground,
P.P.S. McMorris Rodgers’ devotion to Republican/Libertarian ideology blinds her to the plight of ordinary people. She votes to repeal the ACA without replacement nine times while confident her upper middle class bubble will protect Cole from losing access to health insurance. She cannot conceive of not having the money to pay every premium on time. For McMorris Rodgers, if you miss paying your premium for two months it must be evidence you are trying to game the system, not that you’ve legitimately fallen on hard economic times. For her it is alright to vote for a bill that offers state waivers allowing an insurance company to refuse or charge more to a person who misses two monthly premiums, regardless of hardship. It is a prevalent Republican and Evangelical Christian attitude: The nuts I saved up for the winter are evidence of my worth. If, for whatever reason, you didn’t save up enough nuts that is evidence of your profligacy. Jason Chaffetz, former Representative from Utah, guest and darling of the local Spokane Republican Party was most eloquent on this point with his statement (paraphrased), “If only people didn’t have to have that new iPhone they could afford health insurance.”
There are two candidates for technical seats in Spokane County who really stand out as examples of expertise over politics, two men who are applying jobs for which they have all the right credentials, competing with partisans who do not. If voting were more like applying for a job, these two would be shoo-ins.
Tom Konis is a moderate Republican running for Spokane County Assessor. He has worked many years in the Assessor’s office. He has all the technical qualifications, expertise, and experience one could ask for. He is endorsed by the retiring Spokane County Assessor, Vicki Horton. (I cannot even tell you, nor was I able to easily find out, which party Vicki Horton “prefers.” That is how non-partisan this office should be.) The fact that Tom Konis “Prefers Republican Party” is purely incidental to his qualifications and desire to serve. Tom Konis has not spent his life running for public office. His opponent, Mr. Christian, on the other hand, is a Republican politician and a real estate broker who lacks Mr Konis’ experience and has dabbled for years in the moderate end of local Republican Party politics. My faith in democracy would undergo a partial restoration if the voters choose Tom Konis. (It fascinates me…and makes me angry and a little sick to my stomach…that WeBelieveWeVote weighs in favor of the less qualified candidate based on criteria that have absolutely nothing to do with the job. If you’re curious, click the link and then the blue level of “alignment” comment following their names.)
David Green is running for Spokane County Treasurer. In a piece entitled “Expertise or Ideology” I have written about this race before. David Green is a certified public accountant with decades of expertise in finance. If he were applying for this job solely on the basis of qualifications he would barely need to show up for the job interview.. His opponent is an unqualified, belligerent Republican political climber (M. Baumgartner) likely to use a position as Treasurer simply as a springboard to another office. His campaign emails alone are enough to make a reasonable person ill. If you have any doubt of that, read “An Election for County Treasurer…or a ‘Knife Fight’?.”
I urge you to tell everyone who might listen to vote for David Green for Treasurer and Tom Konis for Assessor of Spokane County. Please help restore my waning faith in the american voter. Don’t let David Green and Tom Konis get lost in down ballot incidentals (among the thirty-three races and issues). These are important posts for the function of our local government. Don’t let them go to the manifestly unqualified.
Keep to the high ground,
P.S. Taking the time to check out the fundraising of these candidates at the Public Disclosure Commission (a very useful resource) points up something interesting: the Spokane Association of Realtors donated to $1000 to Tom Konis’ campaign and none to his opponent despite the opponent being a realtor. I think there is a message here.
P.P.S. David Green’s opponent, Michael Baumgartner, has two large campaign, one as LD6 State Senator (a position for which he continued to solicit funds even after he knew he was stepping down) and another campaign war chest to use in the Spokane County Treasurer race. You can see who has contributed here and here. With all this money he hopes to steamroll his way to Spokane County Treasurer and beyond. Don’t let him get away with it. Vote for David Green, the qualified candidate.