I follow closely the political action going on in the northern part of Cascadia, in Washington State.  While I’m not going to go too far in depth into the races and questions on the ballot, there are a few that I would like to comment on before Election day.

Chris Gregoire for Governor. Even if Governor Gregiore had not proven herself over the last four years as being a competent governor, I might have suggested voting for her anyway.  For all the spurious accusations that her opponents have made, she has actually done a fine job of keeping the State of Washington running well.  There certainly is more work that needs to be done, especially with the national and worldwide downturn in the economy.  The governor seems up to the challenge, and I would recommend her for reelection.

If nothing else, a vote for Gregiore would ensure that Washingtonians are not saddled with four years of Dino Rossi.  The Republican candidate has serious problems with telling the truth when speaking to the public.  The man is very secretive in his dealings with the public and the press — certainly not a quality that we try to expect from our leaders.  His views on environmental issues are almost criminal:  He shows no interest in preserving resources, and he is a proponent of massive new highway projects, including the paving of Lake Washington with another 8-lane bridge.  While that project likely would never get started, his unrealistic views would certainly be detrimental to the interests of Washington’s citizens.

No on Initiative 985. I spoke about this issue in an earlier post, but it bears repeating.  While the ballot title of I-985 contains some sweet-smelling phrases, in practice, passage of this bill would be a disaster for commuters and all drivers in the Puget Sound region.  Our highways have been designed with particular uses in mind.  Opening up a freeway with lanes that were designed for HOV vehicles to all comers would change the traffic patterns on the roadway that they will require considerable reengineering to be rendered safe and to efficiently carry traffic again.

Changing the traffic patterns in this way will discourage carpooling and transit use.  If we are going to place these vehicles in with the other traffic — if we are going to have people in buses sitting in traffic anyway — it seems logical that many of these folks will decide to return to their cars for the commute.  After all, if we are all going to sit in traffic longer, it might as well be in greater comfort and burning more fossil fuels.

One of I-985’s problems (among many) is that it will only benefit the Greater Seattle area.  If you live in Bellingham or Longview or anywhere East of the Cascades, you will see some of the State Highway Department funding for your regions siphoned off to the Puget Sound region.  Even growing cities like Spokane and Yakima and Vancouver will see losses in funding for local issues, while seeing little benefit from this measure.  In fact, those areas will see some of the same drawbacks in traffic changes, without getting any of the supposed benefits.

Yes on Initiative 1000. This Initiative is much simpler than it looks.  A dying person should have the right to control the means and comfort of their passing.

There are those who will tell us that it will be abused by evil insurance companies who will prefer the ill to be dead.  Some will say that it will encourage a class of “throwaway people” who will die because they are difficult to care for.  These are ethical questions that are worth discussing.  I say the same bill passed in Oregon a decade ago, and since then, the statistics have shown that none of these scenarios have played out in real life.  The law is working in Oregon.  Washingtonians should be allowed the same opportunities to choose how they will live, or to choose how they will end, their lives.

Some religious groups will argue that I-1000 is contrary to the tenets of their religious beliefs.  I respect the right of our citizens to hold whatever religious beliefs they wish.  I would urge those with beliefs that forbid one from easing the end of their lives to not take part in the activity.  Nothing is forcing anyone to harm themselves here.  If you don’t want to do it, I encourage you not to.  You will still have that right, and your church will keep others from forcing you to do so.

Sound Transit Proposition 1: Yes, this measure will spend a lot of money, our hard earned money, to build a suitable transit system for the Puget Sound Area.  Yes, it’s a lot of money.  Yes, we should have started investing in out transit infrastructure many years ago.  But now the time has come to step up and get the project going.

Yes, like any public project, there are items in the plan that we can nit-pick on all day.  We might not like just exactly where the trains or buses will go.  We might want it to go to our neighborhood first.  The fact is, however, that we need to get this project started now.  It will do the job just fine into the future.  There is no denying that we require these improvements in our transit infrastructure.  Let’s get the project going this time.

Will it take a while for us to get the full effect of this project?  Yes.  But we will suffer the consequences now and in the futire if we choose to delay this necessary project long into the future.

Give our Democratic President and Governor the support they need to get things done. We are going to send a Democrat to the White House this year, and we are going to retain our Democrat Governor.  To get their job done, they will require support from legislators of their own party.  Please consider that it will be in our best interest to consider voting for the Democrats running for US and State legislative positions in your district.  These are the ground troops who will help our new leaders to help us toward the future.  They deserve your support.

The elections bring with them a lot of outlandish accusations that have no real bearing on the fitness of the candidates to perform the jobs we are asking them to do.  Please see through the rhetoric and focus on the core beliefs of the candidates.  Who will actually do something that will benefit you and benefit society?  Then vote for them.