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Friday, October 16, 2009

Times endorses Smith-Blum, Chin, and DeBell

This morning the Seattle Times came out with their endorsements in the School Board elections. They, predictably, endorsed Kay Smith-Blum in District 5, Wilson Chin in District 7, and Michael DeBell in District 4.

My perspective on the candidates in District 7 is simple. If you like the way that Mary Bass works on the Board, vote for Betty Patu. If you like the way that Peter Maier works on the Board, vote for Wilson Chin.

The Seattle Times clearly does not like the way that Mary Bass works on the Board. They have endorsed Kay Smith-Blum instead. Not liking Director Bass' style, they don't like Ms Patu's either.

Regardless of their choices, the reasoning that the Times provides strikes me as weird. They like Ms Smith-Blum in large part for her refreshing energy and her track record of raising money - as if this were a charity board rather than the legislative body of a government entity. I never hear them mention it as a qualification for the state legislature, City Council, or The Congress. The Times says that Mary Bass doesn't deserve a third term because the challenges of her district remain high. Was Mary supposed to turn the Central Area into Wedgwood in eight years? Do they think that Kay Smith-Blum can do that? In addition, the Muni League has lowered Director Bass' rating. The Times has no other reasons than that for tossing out an eight-year incumbent?

They like Wilson Chin for their projection that he will build consensus. They acknowledge that he doesn't know much about the District but that he's learning fast. They contend that Ms Patu knows even less about the District and lacks energy.

3 comments:

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'm not surprised. I'm sure there is a comfort level over at the Times with Smith-Blum and Chin. They are more mainstream than Bass or Patu. I think Charlie's analysis of the thinking process of the Times' endorsement is correct. Why is fundraising a qualification to be on the School Board? Maybe it shows Smith-Blum can get things done or that she knows a lot of people with money.

Smith-Blum won her primary which doesn't bode well for Mary. But Mary does have city-wide name status so that may help her effort. I note that Smith-Blum has put up more billboards (I've seen two new ones, one in Ballard and one on Lake City).

Patu won her primary which may speak to the power of her base (as compared to Chin's). However, I have to wonder if she will do as well city-wide.

Smith-Blum and Chin are 1 and 2 in campaign spending so maybe that says something about how they are doing in their campaigns.

Charlie Mas said...

What's odd, to me, is that the Times actually wants anyone but Mary in District 5 for much more legitimate reasons than those they listed in the editorial. Like a number of other people, they believe that she's an obstructionist. They know what she's against, but they can't see what she's for.

A less biased assessment would show that over the past two years Director Bass has often been joined on the "No" side by Director Martin-Morris. Yet I don't hear people calling him an obstructionist.

Like me, I think they see a lot of Mary Bass in Betty Patu, which is why they don't like her. Ms Patu doesn't have Director Bass' expertise, but definitely her perspective and voting pattern.

Stu said...

Melissa and Charlie,

A couple of friends have asked what I thought of the candidates and I've started spouting a few of the things I know about each one and why I might like or dislike one over the other.

The election's coming up and many might have already voted but could we throw up a quick little "who do I vote for and why" thread so we can consolidate a lot of the discussion?

stu