Monday, October 27, 2008

Confidence in Fred Jarrett

I think there are at least two kinds of politicians: the "populists" and the "wonks". Too many politicians are populists, who treat government like a popularity contest: a grown-up version of the Homecoming King and Queen (come to think of it, a lot of politicians are former homecoming kings).

We need more wonks, which is why I'm voting for Fred Jarrett. Meet him in person like I did this weekend and you'll see why: he is knee-deep in the details about the issues that matter to him (and me): like education  and transportation.

Here are a couple of areas where he changed my mind:

  • Vote no on I-985: I'm partial to cars--it's far and away the most important way people get around, and I disagree with the do-goodies who push ultra-expensive mass transit that won't help a bit. I figured there's enough opposition to I-985 that it won't pass anyway, but I want to send a message that cars are important. Not anymore. Fred thinks it's likely to pass, unfortunately. I agree with him that it would be a disaster (micromanage how traffic lights get synchronized? Puh-lease)
  • It’s possible to get bad teachers to quit, through policy changes that don’t have to upset their union.  Best example: make pensions portable.  A lot of middle-aged teachers would love to change jobs but the golden handcuffs of their generous pensions are keeping them there.  What if we could make their pensions portable?  through defined contribution (like the 401k that I have) or through something else…  I think that’s the single best way to improve schools.
  • Tolling on I-90.  Fred’s opponent, Bob Baker, talks like it’s a simple matter of “just say no”, but in fact Bob Baker’s naive stance would make matters far worse for Mercer Island.  [this deserves its own post, like the one from Surrounded by Water]

I'm not surprised the non-partisan Municipal League gives Fred the highest rating for our district.

Stop by the Education Funding blog he runs with several other legislators for more wonky details.

Vote for Fred Jarret, Washington 41st Legislative District

1 comment:

Stowe said...

Fred made an excellent point about understanding the importance of right-of-way, rather than advocating the usual knee-jerk reaction to have "light rail". If there are no dedicated lanes for buses or light rail, neither will be a better, faster alternative than a car. Light rail is going to creep through Rainier Valley at 15 mph - is this an incentive to switch? So if there were to be right-of-way lanes designated for "mass transit", then what's better - buses or light rail? I'd rather have buses now, than light rail in light years away. Especially if programmable, electric buses can be swapped in, in the future.

Another cool idea would be to look to Europe where they revise traffic lanes on demand (using LED lights rather than painted lane markers) from 3 wide lanes with high speeds to 4 narrower lanes with lower speeds but higher throughput for peak travel hours. Fred is actively studying these solutions that could really work. Thoughtful solutions, rather than the knee-jerk plea for light rail, are what we need. That's why Fred's got my vote.