Should City Council Candidates Be Endorsed by Political Parties? (Poll)

Here we go again. Back to the future! Don't Asher and Greenway get it? last election they brought in the Dems in the 45th district into a non-partisan election. Kirkland for many years has followed a decorum in running for city council. This resulted in civility and the reputation for the council being one of the best in the Puget Sound region.

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Historically, council members were not partisan and they did not openly support people running for council offices against a fellow council member.

That was then.

When did we lose the wisdom of keeping Kirkland's council elections non-partisan? If we are not going to abide by the rules the council itself set in place, let's throw them out.

Asher and Greenway lost their majority with Hodgson and Lauinger leaving the council last election and one of the reasons was this kind of mean spirited behavior. Keep the parties out of our elections!

Kirkland has a well-deserved reputation for civility and these two want to bring back the acrimony and bitterness of the previous council.

When political parties play games with non-partisan political races, they poison the well. It's wonder so many of our city council are unopposed when they run for reelection. People are afraid to run for office because rules are broken, sidestepped or thrown out because of political expediency.




You want political people to be apolitical? Get real.

Give equal time to all Council candidates who have announced so far and their political party ties. Yes, Asher and Greenway were endorsed by the King County Dems and by the 45th District. What about Nixon who maintains the Eastside Republican Club online event calendar where his City Council candidacy is posted and his campaign event announcement is highlighted? He held office as an R so that’s logical. My point, Ralph, is that you shouldn’t point your finger – especially the one you’re pointing – only at the D’s when there is at least one other candidate with party ties to the R’s that he is using for City Council campaign activities. Each candidate is allowed to express themselves and I support their right to do so.

Party endorsements are not unique to Kirkland. The King County Dems made endorsements in non-partisan City Council races in 10 cities and in the non-partisan positions of Election Director and a Seattle School seat. Should they just ignore Kirkland? I don’t think so! Asher and Greenway have been active D’s for years so it makes sense that they would ask for and be considered for endorsement. I’d expect Nixon to do the same given his R history.

Should political parties endorse candidates in a non-partisan race? Good grief, we ask candidates to reveal their religion, their finances, their education, their favorite movie and book and who knows what else. Seems to me that the more we know about a candidate the better, and if that includes their political leanings, then all the better. At least the local Dems provide endorsement data online so we know who they endorsed and what parts of the party platform the candidates do - or don’t - support. I hope that the R’s will also publicly endorse in these races with as much online data so we could know more about those candidates as well. Even if City issues are ostensibly non-partisan, knowing who leans D, R, I, L or TP tells me more about their perspectives and values and therefore how they could vote from the Kirkland dais – more so than knowing what book they are reading right now or whatever else is going to show up on some profile somewhere!

For that matter, candidates get endorsements, contributions and support from organizations, some of which you just can’t tell what they are without a glossary. Their names include nice words like “Affordable,” “Responsible” and “Alliance” but depending on your perspective, their mission may or may not be exactly what the name suggests – or what you believe is in the best interests of Kirkland. There are also so-called independent expenditures from organizations which can do whatever they want, for or against a candidate. Countless “independent” postcards arrived last year during the legislative races - I threw most of those into my recycling bin because I had no idea who on earth was funding this waste of paper and postage to badmouth some candidate. If something arrives in my mailbox or on my doorknob from the D’s or the R’s, at least I know who they are, whether I agree with them or not.

Endorsements from local political parties have nothing to do with acrimony or bitterness. It’s a precious right known as Freedom of Speech. The Supremes ruled that corporations have First Amendment rights of political speech, so why not local political parties and other organizations? If an organization wants to endorse and a candidate seeks their endorsement, that’s fine with me as long as I have some clue what the organization is because then I know that much more about the candidate. Kirkland voters can decide if that endorsement helps them or not when they vote or they can choose to ignore it. Endorsements by bonafide organizations, including political parties, encourage people to know more about the candidates and get involved in the process and that’s just plain healthy for democracy.

Council members not openly supporting people running for council offices against a council member? Ralphie, what rock have you been living under? Ah, I get it, you said “openly.” For as long as I can remember, some past and present council members would meet friends for coffee and whisper veiled comments so that you knew who they were supporting or opposing. Sometimes they’d even whisper juicy secrets in your ear about the incumbent or the challenger, give you a sly wink and tell you to keep it to yourself and of course, no one did. Council members also have First Amendment rights to express their opinion and I’d prefer they were open about who they support or oppose instead of whispering to friends over their decaf. If they choose to take the Fifth and remain silent, that’s fine too. Either way, it is their right and their privilege as provided by law. Council rules about campaigns? None that I can find beyond State law itself.

Hmmm, all this talk about whispering and winking makes me think. Ralphie, want to get together later and see what we might endorse?

Kindest regards,