Monday, March 31, 2008

Friday, March 28, 2008

Top Two making legislative elections more competitive?

Two recent ideas pointing to the Top Two primary making things more interesting for representatives in supposedly "safe districts."

With Jim McDermott and Dan Swecker the theory goes that the districts would remain blue and red, but the actual office holder would be in trouble.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Is the Washington primary law unconstitutional?

Michigan's law was struck down because voter lists would only be distributed to the parties, not to anyone who wants them.

Read Washington's law:
For a political party that requires a specific voter declaration under this section, the secretary of state shall prescribe rules for providing, to the state and county committees of that political party, a copy of the declarations or a list of the voters who participated in the presidential nominating process of that party.
Michigan's law:

(3) The secretary of state shall develop a procedure for city and township clerks to use when keeping a separate record at a presidential primary that contains the printed name, address, and qualified voter file number of each elector and the participating political party ballot selected by that elector at the presidential primary.

(4) Except as otherwise provided in this section, the information acquired or in the possession of a public body indicating which participating political party ballot an elector selected at a presidential primary is confidential, exempt from disclosure under the freedom of information act, 1976 PA 442, MCL 15.231 to 15.246, and shall not be disclosed to any person for any reason.

(5) To ensure compliance with the state and national political party rules of each participating political party and this section, the records described in subsection (3) shall be provided to the chairperson of each participating political party as set forth in subsection (6).

(6) Within 71 days after the presidential primary, the secretary of state shall provide to the chairperson of each participating political party a file of the records for each participating political party described under subsection (3). The secretary of state shall set a schedule for county, city, and township clerks to submit data or documents required under subsection (3). The secretary of state and county, city, and township clerks shall destroy the information indicating which participating political party ballot each elector selected at the presidential primary as recorded in subsection (3) immediately after the expiration of the 22-month federal election records retention period.

Anyone? Citizen Steve, what say you?

Update: Ballot Access blog has their say. And, as usual, its a good one.

Thurston County Dem blog notes

Two new entries today:

1. Get your voice on the draft county platform.

2. What should the party do in a post Top Two world?

Sports link-mania dump (Vote Sounders)

1. While I defended the Seattle Republic, I'm going to vote Seattle Sounders tomorrow and through the rest of the week. And, so should you.

2. Watching Cork City tie with Derry City over the next few days. The game was played last Friday, but is still available for streaming over at RTE.

3. Might watch the Charleston Cup over at USL Live, but I was really hoping to download it and watch it on the ol'Ipod. But, seems like they made some security enhancements this year, so downloading seems to be out.

4. Just realized last night that I am the Beckham effect. Kartik at the US Soccer Show went on a very good rant at the end of the podcast about the impact of Beckham: soccer commercials during the NCAAs and MLS having higher ratings than the EPL in the United States.

I'm probably in the demographic that MLS wants to see. I played soccer in high school, but slowly stopped following soccer at the same time the MLS was building. I watched World Cup games, but only out of patriotism. Only after Beckham signed (ten years later) did my interest get stoked again. Also, having a DVR and Ipod helped.

Listen to Kartik's show here.

If I lived in Orting

Orting is losing its dead tree blog:

Today, the last edition of the 7,500-circulation tabloid will roll out. And while there have been whispers of hope that a new owner might come along, no one has stepped forward.

"We were hoping for a miracle," said Dannie Oliveaux, the newspaper's sole staff reporter and editor for the past two years said last week. "I'll clear out my stuff ... unless somebody buys the paper at the last minute or something."

The real reason behind the closure is the flattening of Orting's local economy. Local stores are closing, so there are fewer local advertisers to prop up the local paper. But, that's doesn't mean that Orting should go without a local news source.

Orting, get thee a hyperlocal blog.

Real Dupont and, of course, Olyblog are great examples. There are some Tacoma ones too.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Top Two primary digest (what has been said)

First off, some bad predicting from Andrew up at the NPI blog:
They haven't won anything yet. If they lose - and they're likely to - the door will be slammed for good on that lousy system that no other state, save for maybe Louisiana, uses. The leaders of both the state Republican and Democratic parties have expressed confidence that the Supreme Court of the United States will uphold the lower court rulings invalidating the "Top Two" primary.
And...
That hour of oral argument will be heard tomorrow morning, and in a few months, the Court will announce its decision in Wash. State Republican Party, et al. v. State of Washington, et al. If history is any indication, Reed and the Grange are bound to be disappointed when the Court's opinion is issued - and the rights of those who belong to a political party will be upheld.
The Other Side points out the funny election we would have had in 1996:
In 1996, the top candidates were Gary Locke, Norm Rice and Ellen Craswell. Under this new system, Gary Locke and Norm Rice would’ve made it to the general leaving no GOP candidate.
So, who were the real choices in 1996? A farfarfar right-wing Republican who eventually abandoned her party or a two King County political chieftains, one moderately progressive and other a center-left business Democrat? I'd say the Top Two would have had it right in 1996.

And, Goldy is swearing a lot, but here is one of his clearer points:
The whole purpose of a primary election is to enable the parties to choose their candidates through more democratic means, rather than via smoke filled rooms. Now that you’ve done away with that, and entirely removed the parties from the nominating process, we might as well skip the primary and go straight to a general election… that way the ultimate winner can be chosen on a ballot that folks actually turnout for.
He's right in the sense of the historical meaning of primaries, though the original intent of the traditional Washington primary was to remove parties and their smoke filled rooms from the primary election. Though he is wrong about the Top Two taking the power of nomination away from the parties.

They can still nominate, it just means that their nominee might not make the general. I'll write more about this later, but parties just have to make their nominations mean something.

And, some stuff I wrote back in the day:

The best argument against a closed primary
Open primary grandstanding
Participatory democracy and caucuses
So, who's to say that the parties can't live with the Top Two

Monday, March 17, 2008

#4 sonics brain dump

Key Arena is owned by the City of Seattle. Qwest Field and Safeco are both owned (to some degree or another) by the people of Washington State through Public Facility Districts.

So, all three major sports venues in Washington (not including obvious college venues) are publicy owned, one more directly.;

Not really any facts here to back this up, but I think this makes the situation with Key more volatile. I'm all for more democracy, but that Key Arena is directly managed by elected officials, rather than a board appointed by elected officials, makes it more likely that folks will have problems with the arena's management.

More of a public issue, if you know what I mean.

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Being so close to Easter, St. Patrick's Day stuff on the mind:



This Sunday not being this Sunday.

And, a little less serious:



Reasons for hope: Setanta Sports Cup and the "A" Championship.

There have been other North/South cup competitions in the past, but because of recent political work and a pretty good sponsor, this one seems to be a bit more permanent.

Also, there have been Northern Ireland clubs competing in Republican leagues (Derry City, for example), but broad cross pollination at the non-league level across the entire island can only be a good thing.

Friday, March 14, 2008

#3 sonics brain dump

$75 million is a lot less than $300 million, which was how much Clay Bennett wanted for the Renton arena. But, how much is it compared to the stadiums and public financed sports venues the legislature helped finance last year?
Can't you see the beauty in that?

Last year's session saw the financing of a horse venue in Lewis County and a new hockey arena in Kent and a community theater down in Longview. I couldn't find hard numbers for all three projects, but the financing for the hockey arena comes to $30 million public dollars.

$30 million for a minor league hockey arena and no $75 million for Key?

Thurston County platform writing open to the public

We're all about letting you know what our platform is going to look like as its being written.

More here and here. Current platform draft here.

You can even read our platform committee's emails to each other, here (rss feed here).

This is a follow up of our pre-caucus forums that we held throughout the county to get people to start thinking about the platform.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Baird and the ethics vote?

I don't know why Baird voted against the ethics bill yesterday. Looking at his big ethics page, it seems like he likes the idea of reform and he was on the No side of a lopsided Yes voted.

I don't know why baseball hates America

But it does.

Well, baseball likes America (or Australia) less than Benefica likes America.

Comment over there.

#2 Sonics brain dump

2. Sherman Alexi is right:
...when I cheer for the Sonics, I am cheering for the city of Seattle. I'm a small-town kid who, through his basketball love, has changed this metropolis into my community. You are my family.

This is a love story, damn it.
Once, in KeyArena, after a big Sonics win, I hugged a stranger and he hugged me back. We were men crying in each other's arms.
Previously, by me: Why the Sonics Matter

#1 Sonics and Key Arena brain dump

1. Ross Hunter's Key Arena Task Force is as good as it gets when we're talking to Sonics fans about the legislature's reaction to the new group of local rich guys.

Problem is that I can't find the task force in the capital budget (beware large pdf), where Hunter's press release says it is.

So, deal with it and make it work.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Cheryl Christ announcement video and myspace AND Act Blue (updated)



Baird's challenger's myspace is here, and the reason I'm linking to it is not just so I link to it, but because it actually looks like she's using it.

Updated: She also has an Act Blue page. Bonus points for Cheryl.