Got my ballot for the general election in the mail the other day, and I've finally got the time to open it up and give it the attention it deserves.
First off...I'll spare you the local county type offices...other than to rant real quick that there are 14 people running unopposed on the ballot this year. Now...I'm not sure I want to be a District Court Judge(let's ignore the fact I am not really qualified...that doesn't seem to stop other politicians)...but, Benton County Auditor, or Benton County Treasurer? In 2004(the last year I could find data for) the County Treasurer made $78K a year...I'm willing to bet the salary has gone up since then.
Oh well. There is always next year.
On the National/State wide level, there are only 4 issues really worth talking about: 3 initiatives and then the 4th District Congressional Race, which thanks to Washington's Top 2 Primary rules faces two Republican's squaring off in the General Election.
Yup...in Washington, the Top 2 vote getters in the Primaries run in the General Election...even if those top 2 happen to be from the same party, which is what happened here. For the last 12 years, this district has belonged to Doc Hastings, Republican, and in truth the Democrat's didn't make much of an effort to take this this district back. I just think it's lame that we now have Republican bashing Republican in the General Election. Dan Newhouse vs. Clint Didier, which is very much coming down to Establishment RINO vs. Tea Party Extremist...in the media. I voted for Didier in the Primary, and I will vote for him again in the general. As I have said before, he is not perfect, but I feel he has more 'upside' than Newhouse...and in the end, I feel that Didier actually believes what he says, while Newhouse has that 'Tell you what you want to hear' feeling to him.
As for the initiatives, the only one I had to really research is I-1351, which would set new mandated class sizes, as well as new levels of support staffing based on numbers of students at those schools. It will also require 'High Poverty' schools to have smaller class sizes than normally funded schools. Basically, looking at the numbers, it will increase the number of teachers by 1/3rd, and support staff by almost 50%(the estimated numbers are 15,000 new teachers, and 17,000 more 'support staff'....at a cost ranging from zero additional tax dollars to 4 Billion additional tax dollars, depending on who you believe.
I'm voting no for it. It's would be easy to say 'Oh, we home-school...why would I want to spend any extra tax dollars on schools'...but that's not it. I don't like The Mob Mentality passing laws that try to be this specific...it takes up 6 times as much space in the Voter's Booklet as any other ballot measure. Also...the State Supreme Court has already found the State Legislature in contempt of the State Constitution for not spending enough money on education!!!! We think passing this initiative will fix anything? Finally...this initiative, with it's specific numbers of new hires, feels too much like empire building by special interests.
The we have the two different firearm law related initiatives, which are almost but not quite mirror images of each other, and they are both very easy for me to make up my mind on.
I-591 would prevent confiscation of firearms without due process, or requiring background checks beyond the federal standards.
I-594 Would require universal background checks for all sales, public, private and gun show related. Not only would it require a background check, but for pistol sales it will require a letter signed by your county Sherriff or local Police Chief stating that the purchaser "is eligible to possess a pistol [...] and that the application to purchase is approved by the chief of police or sheriff'
Holy Crap...no way THAT could be abused. The wording also makes it illegal to loan someone a firearm, except when you are at the gun range with them, or hunting with them. So...loan the guy at the lane next to you your pistol, and you are covered...give your buddy your new P22 so he can being it the range tomorrow and try it without you? You have broken the law. Let a guy borrow a shotgun when you are upland bird hunting? Covered. Let him bring the gun home to clean it for you, and you have broken the law.
Several local police agencies have said they will not enforce those sections of the initiative...but why pass a law that will not be enforced! They are also upset by the letter requirement. Benton County has already said this will require bringing in at least two more staff members...and this is a general agreement between all sheriff's offices.
So...yeah...I am voting Yes for I-591 and No on I-594.
If I can swing ANY election result, it would be preventing I-594 from passing...not only do I not believe in background checks for private sales...it's a poorly worded law that would make folks criminals for the wrong reasons, and already has law enforcement personnel saying they won't enforce portions of it.