August 23, 2006
"If it's on the ballot in November it will pass"
So said King County Councilmember Bob Ferguson at last night's meeting of Washington Citizens for Fair Elections . Ferguson is convinced that if the proposal for an elected Auditor is placed on the ballot this November, it will pass. Ron Sims and the other Council Democrats are also apparently convinced that the measure will pass. And that is exactly why they are working so hard not to put the measure on the ballot this November.
Although Democrat Ferguson joined the Republicans to put the proposal on the November 2006 ballot, he's now wavering and thinking of postponing the vote until 2009. Ferguson claims that the "new information" which is causing him to back down on the timing is the fact that Ron Sims claims he has a candidate who might be close to accepting Dean Logan's old job. Ferguson said he met the candidate the other day and that he is a serious applicant for the position, but that he is unwilling to take the job if the proposal is on the ballot. I told Ferguson that even under the generous assumption that the applicant is best possible person for the job, the opportunity cost of putting the proposal on the ballot would be low. After all, the proposal might be defeated and the applicant would only have to delay his most optimistic start date by a few weeks. That was the point at which Ferguson immediately shot back "If it's on the ballot in November it will pass". (I don't know if Ferguson has seen actual poll numbers, of if he's merely relying on his formidable instincts, but the fact is that he and his colleagues believe this is and are operating on the basis of that belief).
So... what is wrong with this picture? The voters of King County want to make the Auditor position an elected office this year, but some unknown man from another state who wants to run our elections office and who may or may not even accept the job or be approved by the Council, will take the job only if the voters aren't allowed to approve him. He will agree to take the job only if he can do it the way the voters of King County don't want the job done. He is therefore inherently unfit in the minds of the majority who want to elect our Auditor. He does not deserve to get the job. If he does take the job, he would be coming in opposed by a large numbers of voters. And thus he would only be setting himself up for unprecedented scrutiny, controversy and failure. Ron Sims and the Courthouse Democrats should understand this, but their only interest is maintaining control of the elections office for short term advantage. The actual appointees are expendable. I pity the new guy who is being set up for failure (and who probably isn't getting the whole story from the limited number of people he's been allowed to speak to), but there is a win-win way out of this.
Ron Sims, the Council Democrats and the applicant all go public as being in favor of an elected Auditor and the November 2006 ballot measure. (To save face, this newly public applicant can plausibly deny he had ever refused to go before the voters). The Democrats can give the voters the opportunity to vote on the measure, but can also make the argument that it is unnecessary to pass, because they've just hired the most qualified person to run the elections office. If the measure is defeated, then Ron Sims has the satisfaction of prevailing in yet another county-wide election. If the measure passes, then Ron Sims' hand-picked elections director has the advantage of incumbency and is the favored candidate to win election by the voters in 2007. Meanwhile (and to my regret, but to the Democrats' satisfaction) the forced mail voting scheme can be implemented ASAP.
I can't imagine how Ron Sims and the Democrats could reasonably reject this scenario. The people get our elected Auditor, but the Democrats have an advantaged nominee. The only reason the Democrats would rationally reject this scenario and decline to put the proposal on the November ballot is if they're convinced that Sims' hand-picked elections director is not someone whom the voters would approve (call this the Deanron2 scenario)
While the Democrats are currently moving forward under the Deanron2 scenario, they can quickly change direction if it's to their advantage. In the meantime, those of us who want an elected Auditor should move forward under the assumption that we're facing Deanron2. That would entail both doing what it takes to torpedo the unqualified, anti-voter Deanron2, and also to bypass the Council and file an initiative to put the question on the ballot as soon as possible.
(If anybody has the inside scoop on who Deanron2 is, let me know and we'll start looking into him).
Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at August 23, 2006
02:55 PM | Email This
Maybe Stefan should apply for the interim position as Elections director? Of course any "serious" candidate would have to list a willingness to respond to the Executive's every whim and promote fairness in elections (i.e. a determination to carry on Dean Logan's efforts to help Democrats).
Stefan would certainly not get that job.
In the meantime, wouldn't it be novel for any candidate to be required to submit to public hearings and/or county council questioning to help the public feel comfortable with any person annointed by Sims, and responsible for running honest elections? But no, that would certainly eliminate Ron Sims style "serious" candidates too.
An auditor/elections chief that's accountable to the voters in King County?
Heaven forbid! How dare the people have a right to expect county officials be held accountable as long as Chairman Ron is in charge.
3. As much as I see your logic, what I don't see is the benifit for the canidate. Assuming he has a managerial position now. Leaving it to accept a position for 1 yr doesn't make a lot of sense. Particularly if you have to spend the year campaigning/fund raising. If he isn't local, that fundraising effort just becomes that much more difficult.
4. J -- if the applicant is really good then Sims' political allies can organize his campaign. It's an essential yet relatively modest cost of gaining voter confidence.
So what? Its not like there aren't probably tens of thousands of talented people in Seattle that could do this job.
Somebody needs a lesson in negotiation. If they found somebody (who's apparently "stellar") "that quick", then they could do it again if this guy won't take the job if he has a chance to be voted out.
Who is more important? The guy they want to hire, or the voters that he serves?
6. If the guy does the kind of credible job that they claim he will do, then what's the problem??? He'd get re-elected easily. If he hates the idea of being accountable for his actions and wants leeway to not follow election law as Dean Logan displayed, then maybe he's not the guy for the job.
7. Its that guy on TV-from Miami-Dade elections who had to take his glasses off to see the "hanging chads" up close.
8. So... what is wrong with this picture? The fact that Ferguson knows that the will of people is to have elected auditor yet wavering on carrying out the will of people? The fact that Sims and other democrat council members know that the will of people is to elect an auditor yet knowingly disregarding the will of people? In what sense is this representative democracy? Can someone explain to me?
C.Oh, You expect Democrats,(particularly King County Democrats), to champion representative democracy?
Surely, you jest.
10. If Ferguson is wavering and changing his mind, it could indicate that he is being threatened with political payback. It's a scary thought, because it reeks of bad things not yet discovered in KCRE happpening.
11. I think sgmmac is right. They are undoubtedly putting the screws to Ferguson behind the scenes. I wonder what they have threatened him with. He sounds like he needs encouragement from the masses to stay true to the principles he claimed to have when he ran.
Given Mr. Sims' history of lying to his constituents, I would be very surprised if a serious candidate for the Director's position really exists. (Who knows where they scraped up the one they used to pressure Bob Ferguson.) No worthy candidate would seriously consider accepting the challenge of cleaning up that mess inside REALS without first having the opportunity to meet with mid-level management--and that HAS NOT happened. And it probably won't...
Why? Last week the only remaining candidate for Superintendent of Elections turned down the offer for the job after he was given the opportunity to get a little dose of reality from down in the ranks. Sims et al are already looking incompetent and tainted, and they're desperate to fill the Directors position before they get overtaken by the Elected Auditor wave. I'd guess they're unlikely to go THERE again!
Only a very foolish candidate with a serious political agenda would take the Director's job without first spending some quality time with the folks who are eager and able to tell him where the skeletons are hidden. Watch out for any surprise announcement from the Executive's office that a new Director has been hired...it'll be a be a sure indication we're in for a Logan reprise.
13. If we have a vast majority of liberals in this county, I am not so sure I want them electing the auditor.
What we need is a PAC - political action committee - to push this particular issue to a successful conclusion. A few timely ads in the Sunday papers and on King 5 UpFront could be very timely.
We also need to point out every time the extreme left says, "let the people decide" such as HERE and turn the obstructionists into converts.
Can we trust the present group at KCE to conduct an election that would allow the true winner to assume the post of King County Auditor?
In this and previous threads on the elected vs appointed auditor issue, I note that most contributors consider KCE staff to be incompetent. This may be the case with some KCE staff, but the '04 governors election was decided not by KCE's collective ineptitude, but by deliberate fraud and corruption. There needs to be a thorough top-to-bottom housecleaning and anyone who doesn't believe that is part of the problem.
Hate to beat a dead horse here but......
None of this would be happening if the King County Republican Party would have brought out a candidate to run against Sims in 2005 that would have had a chance of winning.
Now all we can do is sit back and watch in frustration.
The whole purpose of this delay is to make sure that the "all mail balloting" process goes through. After that, you might as well forget about honest elections in this state and an elected position will probably not be able to fix it.
Very discouraging to me, especially when I think that common sense people had a chance to change things for the better here.
Amazing how one person (ferguson) has the power to delay the auditor vote to the people until 2009. And all along I thought Ron Simms had all the power.
Sad day for honest elections in KC. I wouldn't want to be this "Wonder Guru" that sims has hiding in the wings.....
Monday's council meeting was nothing but a Circus. Dunn and Lambert should be furious.
19. In regard to this part of the post by No. 17:
"Now all we can do is sit back and watch in frustration." How many petition signatures would be needed for a recall of county council members and/or Ron Sims? I haven't seen the name of my councilmember (Pete von Reichbauer) mentioned in any of this discussion. Does he attend the meetings? Does he speak up? Does he have an opinion on this matter? (He does not respond to my inquiries.) Is this The Empire of King County?
So Ferguson's true loyalties are now revealed with his betrayal of his alliance with Republicans and decision to let the county stall an elected auditor for another 2 years. Wow, who is surprised?
A Democrat is a Democrat until they break ranks with the party machine and then they get Liebermaned. Ferguson talks a good game, but ultimately he's a Democrat and likes his job more than doing what is best for King County.
21. There are only two alternatives left to obtain an elected county auditor, an iniative/referendum campaign or recalling one or or more Democrat council members. Is there enough time? Are either of these appraoaches feasible?
Posted by: Paddy on August 24, 2006 08:53 AM
I think it was Jane Hague that tried an initiative that failed. But w/ Forward Washington online, a new hope may rise.
Poor Bob Ferguson. Apparently got whipped back into line by the party line.
thecomputerguy is right.
Managing the Election Department is primarily a database & systems management job.
Logan had zero necessary technical training.
Thousands of Database & System Managers live in the Northwest. Why does this job require Sims "Politcal" approval????
ANSWER: So Sims can CHEAT!!
Control & power.
Let's find out who this "Mystery Man or Woman" is and have our own Public vetting of background & skills. Quickly.
Ron Sims Current KC Elections Director Job Desription:
No Managerial or data processing skills required!
No legal skills or knowledge required!
Need not apply for job thinking through citizens of this county need to be fairly served!
Convictions a plus!
Democtratic party affiliation Mandatory!