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Primary election candidates, issues, odditiesAugust 5, 2012 @ 6:22 pm (Updated: 2:29 pm - 8/7/12 )
Well-known politicians, single-issue candidates, people you've never heard of, and a couple of special issues are all on your Primary Election ballot.
For local election geeks like me, it's a joy to read voters' pamphlets in a four-county area. There are 90 candidates vying for statewide and congressional offices, along with dozens more seeking legislative positions.
Recent history reminds candidates how important primary elections are. Former Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels was knocked out in a primary.
Nickels was a two-term Seattle mayor who came in an embarrassing third in the 2009 primary. Joe Mallahan went on to campaign against Mike McGinn with voters ultimately choosing McGinn. Nickels is on the ballot again. He's hoping to become the first Democrat to capture the Secretary of State's job since 1956.
Tuesday's Primary will be the first test of the contenders to replace Governor Chris Gregoire. Most voters know Republican Rob McKenna and Democrat Jay Inslee are in the running for governor.
There are seven other gubernatorial candidates on the ballot, including Rob Hill. Hill, a Democrat, is running for the state's top political job on a single platform.
"I want to raise the tax on a pack of cigarettes by $10 per pack," he says.
Half of the $10 increase would be added in 2015, with the other 5 bucks would be tacked on in 2016.
"The tax increases will reduce current consumption and stop kids from starting," says Hill. "All the new tax revenue will go to tobacco education and prevention."
In the Lieutenant Governor's race, James Robert Deal says he's running to "raise issues others avoid." One of his key concerns is the fluoride water districts add.
Another single issue candidate is found in the U.S. Senate race against incumbent Maria Cantwell. Will Baker believes the number one issue in the election "should be impeaching President Barack Obama, specifically for Obama's decision to give America's state of the art military spy drone technology to Iran."
The redistricting process has made the 1st District into the state's most competitive seat.
Two of the state's other congressional districts, the 10th and the 6th, also don't have incumbents running in them.
Pierce County now has four congressional seats representing voters.
A money issue is on the ballot in King County. Voters will decide Proposition 1 - the Children and Family Services Center Capital Levy.
This would raise property taxes by seven cents a day, for the average homeowner, for the next nine years. That'll add up to $210 million, which will be used build a new King County Youth Services center.
The current building dates back to 1952. It's been described as "aging," "dilapidated" with "cramped courtrooms" and office space ill-suited for child-abuse, child-abandonment and juvenile-justice cases.
Opponents don't take issue with the condition of the building that would be replaced, but they say property taxes are already too high.
Seattle voters have an additional Proposition 1 to vote on. That would increase taxes by about 15 cents a day for the average homeowner. If passed, that would generate up to $123 million over the next seven years to update and maintain libraries.
Librarians usually aren't celebrities, but Seattle's Nancy Pearl is well-known and even has an Archie McPhee's action figure modeled after her. Pearl wrote in an opinion piece for The Seattle Times, "It's no exaggeration to say that a library saved my life."
"As a child seeking refuge from a difficult family, I found solace at the Parkman Branch Library in Detroit, thanks to a children's librarian named Miss Frances Whitehead. Through the books she shared with me, and the kindness she showed, she opened my world well beyond the world that I knew," Pearl says.
Opponents of the Seattle library proposition also consider themselves library lovers, but they don't support this kind of funding approach.
They say day-to-day operations of libraries are so important that they should be a city budget priority. They tell me, "If voters fall for this ploy and approve the levy, the Mayor and Council plan anyway to take away $5 million a year, and are likely to take more, from the library system's regular General Fund support."
Voter turnout is expected to be around 46 percent. Find your ballot, under the stack of bills or next to your keys, fill it out and mail it before the end of the day Tuesday.
By LINDA THOMAS
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