Legally the state Legislature is partisan; you’re either a Democrat or a Republican. The City Council is non-partisan.
However, you would be naive if you actually believed party politics didn’t play a significant role in the behavior of both incumbents and candidates for jobs in both venues. In fact, who belongs to what party and how their actions conflict with their membership loyalty was a major point of contention the past few weeks as political maneuvering resulted in an almost humorous series of circular inconsistencies.
Put this column on your refrigerator next to your children’s drawings so you can refer to it later this fall. By then, a lot of relationships won’t be the same, and some bruised feelings may not heal for a long time.
Remember when Democratic Councilman Martin Moore was pro-choice and said he would support the public’s will by voting to implement the sale of marijuana in Federal Way? Here we are, a few months later, and now he is a Republican, anti-choice and against marijuana. He also announced several weeks ago he was candidate for the state Legislature against appointed incumbent Democrat Carol Gregory.
The Democrats are mad at him, as are some Republicans who would like a “real” Republican in the field to challenge Gregory. At least two council members considered the race before declining. However, former Advancing Leadership Executive Director Teri Hickel has filed the paperwork and will run against Gregory. That caused Moore to again change his mind and decide he was not a candidate and will support Hickel.
And remember when current Democratic Mayor Jim Ferrell was a Republican, then switched to be a Democrat between his first and second mayoral races with Skip Priest so that he wouldn’t have to split Republican votes with Priest? Several Democrats aren’t too happy with Ferrell because he just gave the Key to the City to Hickel, even though her candidacy has been rumored for many weeks. He could have chosen to hold the presentation after the election.
By going through with the presentation, he gives Hickel publicity now and fodder for her campaign. Ferrell is a smart enough politician to have known better. That’s why the Democrats are annoyed. It is also a mistake that important political players will remember when Ferrell is up for re-election.
To further complicate things, appointed Councilwoman Lydia Assefa-Dawson, who is a Democrat, not only attended a Republican fundraiser, but last year joined Moore on a list of Democrats for Republican Mark Miloscia as he defeated Democrat Shari Song to capture a seat in the state senate.
I speculated in an earlier column, Assefa-Dawson’s perceived lack of party loyalty could make her vulnerable to a challenge from her own party. Sure enough, her opponent is Democrat labor representative Anthony Murrietta.
And City Council candidate P.K. Thumbi stressed in his announcement that he intends to run a nonpartisan race against incumbent Dini Duclos. But his primary political activity has been supporting Miloscia, R-Federal Way, Rep. Linda Kochmar, R-Federal Way, and Diana Noble-Gulliford in her City Council race. All three are Republicans. He probably won’t get an endorsement from too many Democrats.
Both parties are watching Ferrell on the marijuana issue. Democrats, like the majority of Federal Way voters, favor allowing marijuana to be sold in the city. Republicans tend to be against the idea. The City Council is pretty conservative and their recent votes suggest a majority is against implementation.
And while Ferrell’s official recommendation to the council was to implement its availability, he didn’t seem to step up and try to lead on the issue. Some political observers believe that the former prosecutor — who received significant support from the Police Guild and whose chief of staff is the former police chief — might want it both ways. That would make his new party, the Democrats, happy by appearing to support implementation, but also make Republicans happy by not attaching himself too closely to the issue when the council votes it down.
To add further intrigue, Moore has been looking for a job for several months. He became unemployed when his boss state Rep. Roger Freeman passed away and was replaced by Gregory. Moore was quick to announce his candidacy to challenge Gregory and raised over $12,000. But with his sudden decision to drop out of the race and support Hickel, some political observers are wondering if Moore believes a government job might open up for him some place. Moore says he didn’t make any deals.
Also, the King County Democratic incumbent Assessor Lloyd Hara will be challenged by fellow Democrat John Arthur Wilson, who is also Hara’s former chief deputy.
And to think the election season is just starting!
wwFederal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn: firstname.lastname@example.org.