NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Results mixed in Whatcom and Spokane

Both Spokane and What­com Coun­ty have released the first wave of their elec­tion returns to unclear results, with many of the races too close to com­fort­ably call.

For the may­oral race in Belling­ham, it seems that for­mer 42nd Dis­trict leg­is­la­tor Kel­li Linville has tak­en the lead by about 400 votes; we’ll see if that lead is main­tained as time goes on. Incum­bent Dan Pike has been try­ing to dis­tin­guish him­self from Kel­li by tak­ing a strong stance on the pro­posed Cher­ry Point Coal Ter­mi­nal despite it being an issue he or the city coun­cil would not be able to direct­ly decide and Linville’s sim­i­lar repeat­ed oppo­si­tion to coal ter­mi­nal. Con­sid­er­ing union endorse­ments of Kel­li Linville, play­ing up the divide the coal ter­mi­nal cre­ates between envi­ron­men­tal­ists and the labor move­ment seems to have been a move on Pike’s part to dis­play the dif­fer­ences between the can­di­dates and appeal to a dif­fer­ent vot­ing bloc.

In this vein the cur­rent results are curi­ous, because either the coal ter­mi­nal did­n’t res­onate as a the­mat­ic issue with vot­ers in this year’s elec­tion or the enivi­ron­men­tal votes still need to be count­ed by the audi­tor’s office; Alan Black and Christi­na Mag­in­nis are behind in the What­com Coun­ty Coun­cil races, and Pete Kre­men, the cur­rent Coun­ty Exec­u­tive, only holds a slight lead in his Coun­ty Coun­cil elec­tion, a run­ning for posi­tions which will have deci­sive pow­er in the next few years to set up obsta­cles to SSA Marine’s permit. 

Pete Kre­men will prob­a­bly widen his lead to Tony Lar­son; Christi­na Mag­in­nis and Alan Black will move clos­er to pulling off a vic­to­ry in their respec­tive races as more bal­lots are count­ed, espe­cial­ly because of the ten­den­cy of young vot­ers to vote lat­er in the elec­tion peri­od (Mag­in­nis is los­ing by a small­er mar­gin than Alan Black is). We’ll stay hope­ful on this front. All three were endorsed by the Wash­ing­ton Con­ser­va­tion Vot­ers in their oppo­si­tion to the coal terminal. 

Back to Belling­ham, Cathy Lehman has trounced Bar­ry Buchanan in the race for the city coun­cil seat in Ward 3; Lehman has run a very per­son­able cam­paign and has embraced a vari­ety of issues in her first run for office. She’ll be a strong voice on the coun­cil for solv­ing many of the prob­lems which Belling­ham will face in the com­ing years. Incum­bent Seth Fleet­wood has defeat­ed the Tea Par­ty-inclined chal­lenger Lar­ry Farr for the coun­cil at-large position.

Mov­ing across the state to the City of Spokane, one bal­lot item shines out; Propo­si­tion 1, which was the most recent iter­a­tion of a push to give the city a Com­mu­ni­ty Bill of Rights, includ­ing a pro­vi­sion to give enforce­able rights to the Spokane Riv­er and liv­ing wage pro­tec­tions inside the city. The propo­si­tion, put for­ward by Envi­sion Spokane, failed the last time it was put on the bal­lot, in large part to an advi­so­ry ques­tion insert­ed by a city coun­cilmem­ber which implied that tax­es would have to be raised if the Bill of Rights was passed. Such a ques­tion was not put on the bal­lot this year, and cur­rent­ly the mea­sure is only behind by 115 votes. If this pass­es, it would be a his­toric event, and it is def­i­nite­ly a sit­u­a­tion which should be kept an eye on.

There are def­i­nite­ly a lot more inter­est­ing races in these areas, but we decid­ed to give you an overview of some of the most per­ti­nent. We’ll make sure to keep you updat­ed on any new devel­op­ments in these races as we get more infor­ma­tion from the audi­tors’ offices. 

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