The Herald of Everett, Washington
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up | Manage  Green editions icon Green editions

Calendar


HeraldNet Headlines
HeraldNet Newsletter Delivered to your inbox each week.
Published: Tuesday, May 21, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
In Our View / The end of filing week


More candidates, please

Politics, the mad beast. As voters rant about inertia, about a tone deaf political class, a take-no-action response offers Yeatsian confirmation that the best (or those who imagine they're the best) lack all conviction.
At Friday's candidate-filing deadline, at least one of three county council seats looks competitive (the 1st District seat of retiring councilmember John Koster.) The embattled mayor of Lynnwood, Dan Gough, faces three challenges. Most other races are paint-dry snoozers. Snohomish County citizens are satisfied with their elected officials or too disengaged, preoccupied or cynical to run themselves.
In Everett, Mayor Ray Stephanson didn't draw an opponent. Councilmembers Paul Roberts and Jeff Moore are running unopposed. In Stanwood, not even one of five council seats is a race. And Gold Bar, a city that may soon disincorporate? No one filed to run for mayor.
The lack of competition may reflect overall happiness with the status quo and faith in individual elected leaders. An off-year election and the lingering malaise of the Great Recession -- who has time to doorbell when there's a mortgage to pay? -- also play a role.
A couple systemic reforms could change the landscape. Snohomish County might follow King County's example and make council seats nonpartisan. It's a tweak that would require an amended charter and vote of the people. The benefit would be to attract independents who tack to common sense and avoid party dogma. In practice, these races still become partisan (you usually know the Republican and the Democrat.)
The most meaningful reform for Everett, the county seat and its largest city, is establishing district elections. The mission would be to ensure that every section of the city has a strong political voice, from the Everett Mall to Silver Lake to Riverside. The ideal formula is five members elected by individual district and two elected at-large (citywide.)
The first benefit is practical. With fewer precincts and a smaller electoral footprint, grassroots candidates stand a shot at winning with shoe leather and dedication. Running citywide, however, requires serious campaign dough to target registered voters (and ideally those with the best voting records) through direct mail.
For opponents of district elections, there is concern about unintended consequences, of bickering and balkanization. These are legitimate fears, although urban politics, like democracy, is a messy business. A couple at-large council members offer ballast, with district members advocating not only the needs of their individual districts but also, ideally, the greater good.
Cities, fire districts, and school boards in Snohomish County often attract consummate public servants. For their service, we're very grateful.

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus
digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.

loading...

Herald Editorial Board

Jon Bauer, Opinion Editor: jbauer@heraldnet.com

Carol MacPherson, Editorial Writer: cmacpherson@heraldnet.com

Neal Pattison, Executive Editor: npattison@heraldnet.com

Josh O'Connor, Publisher: joconnor@heraldnet.com

Have your say

Feel strongly about something? Share it with the community by writing a letter to the editor. Send letters by e-mail to letters@heraldnet.com, by fax to 425-339-3458 or mail to The Herald - Letters, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We'll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 250 words or less, we wonít ask you to shorten it. If your letter is published, please wait 30 days before submitting another. Have a question about letters? Contact Carol MacPherson at cmacpherson@heraldnet.com or 425-339-3472.