Opinion

Angie Vogt's ballot picks for November election

The ballots are in the mail this week, so it’s time to offer my perspective — independent of The Mirror — on the many initiatives and measures that we are asked to consider as Washington state and King County voters.

Governor: Dino Rossi

Rossi is the only candidate that I have chosen to endorse. I made this decision a year ago, when Dino made his announcement in Issaquah that he intended to run for office again.

The culture in Olympia is as dysfunctional as the one in the other Washington right now. Whether it’s another report of state negligence in investigating horrific child abuse cases, the gridlock in transportation and ferry services, or the out-of-control spending and taxing, Dino Rossi is the first viable and competent candidate to offer an alternative to the mafia-like grip that Democrats have on this state.

This election is about the need for change, period. Barack Obama and John McCain supporters alike can take reassurance that Rossi will deliver a much-needed change of direction for Washington. Dino comes from the business climate where he doesn’t get paid unless his customers are happy. Gregoire has spent 39 years in Olympia where the entitlement culture reigns. Not only do people get paid regardless of results, but they get scheduled increases.

I-985: Yes

This initiative opens HOV lanes to all traffic during non-peak hours, requires traffic light synchronization and directs funds from tolls to be spent on transportation projects that are specifically aimed at reducing congestion (as opposed to highway art and other transportation peripheral projects).

This is a Tim Eyman initiative, as evidenced by the fact that the writers in support of this initiative are all citizens and the writers of the statement against are all bureaucrats from the Department of Transportation. The initiative is simply requiring that the DOT follow the recommendations from state auditor, Brian Sonntag. Interestingly, the audit of the Department Transportation is the result of another Tim Eyman initiative requiring that our state agencies get audited regularly to ensure effective use of public dollars. It seems sad to me that the citizens have to demand that our agencies follow through on recommendations from our state auditor.

I-1000: No

This initiative would make Washington the second state to legalize physician-assisted suicide, allowing doctors to write lethal prescriptions for patients with a terminal illness. The Washington State Medical Association, as well as the medical associations from 48 other states, is “strongly opposed” to this initiative, citing that the measure is “fundamentally incompatible” with the role of physicians as healers. This initiative unfairly targets the poor, as pain management and other palliative care options are much more expensive and require more effort and cooperative participation. This measure is written more vaguely than the Oregon measure and allows for the real probability of people choosing suicide out of despair. Family members are left out of the loop as patients can choose this option without the knowledge or consent of their closest relatives. To learn more about this measure, go to www.noassistedsuicide.com.

I-1029: No

I-1029 would expand long-term care training requirements for persons caring for the elderly and developmentally disabled.

There’s a reason this measure was rejected by both parties in the Legislature. Current requirements in place already include background checks and will expand training in 2010.

This initiative drives up the costs and artificially “props up” professional certification, giving the state more control and burdening family members caring for their family members. Offering more bureaucratic requirements does not weed out those who abuse the system or those who have malicious intent. The writers of this initiative have offered no evidence that this initiative will result in better outcomes for those who are served by long-term care providers.

King County Charter Amendments

#1: County Elections Officer should be an elected non-partisan position (as opposed to its current form as an appointed position by the King County executive, currently, Ron Sims): Yes.

#2: Including gender identity and orientation in protection from discrimination in county job hiring practices: Yes.

#3: Restructuring of regional committees: Yes.

#4: Allowing King County Council to require certain job and professional qualifications to persons interested in running for offices such as sheriff and assessor: No. Voters should decide if a candidate is qualified, not the King County Council. Let each candidate make the case for themselves to the voters.

#5 and #6: Establishing an Economic Forecast Council and budget deadlines: Yes.

#7: Establishing a new process for citizen initiatives: No.

It is no surprise that the initiative process has been a thorn in the side of our elected officials and even less a surprise that they want to make it harder to accomplish. Initiatives have given the citizens a voice when the Legislature and other elected officials seem intent on dismissing the expressed intent of the voters. Initiatives have given us performance audits, accountability of how our tax dollars are spent and many other things that have served public interest. Vote no — twice if you can.

Federal Way resident Angie Vogt: vogt.e@comcast.net. For past columns and further commentary, visit www.soundupdate.com.

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