Sunday, September 09, 2007

City Council Partisanship

Many people have been responding to my observation that much of the campaign money for Maureen Judge comes from off-island special interests -- nearly as much as she receives from Mercer Island residents themselves.  Now three people have asked me to take a closer look at Mike Cero's donors, which I called "boring" because they're all from individuals, not national organizations.  Maureen's funding and endorsements come from the Democratic party and orgs typically associated with Democrats, like NARAL (Pro-Choice) and the Sierra Club. Peek into Mike's funding, I was told, and you'll find Republicans.

Sure enough.  I won't bother naming people, since they're individuals and not organizations, but you can check for yourself. Looks like Mike received several contributions since I did my last check of the Public Disclosure Commission database, and what do you know, some of these so-called MI residents are donors to national political campaigns too!

Seriously, I suppose if we were going to do this right we'd check every single individual on both campaigns, look into their past history and decide whether they're more "Republican" or "Democrat".  But I'm not convinced that a private donation from an Islander who happens to donate to other causes, is the same as a check from an off-island special interest group.  This is an election for city council, for crying out loud, an office that influences road construction and zoning, not the War in Iraq. If individual MI residents, out of their own pockets, choose to donate to a local campaign, then who am I to say they're doing it for partisan reasons?

On the other hand, when an organization based in Olympia or Washington D.C. donates,  I have to wonder what would motivate their central committees to spend precious donations to influence an election in a place where they will never set foot.  And remember, we're talking about a local government office that, being non-partisan, has nothing to say about Supreme Court nominees, or logging in state parks, or whatever pressing international issues that matter to national political groups.

I want City Council members who will fix my roads, ensure good cooperation between the City and the schools, and avoid embarrassment.  I trust that every individual MI resident who gave to Mike (or Maureen) has some interest in those issues as well.  But Maureen's biggest donor is the Washington Conservation Voters.  If they really cared about Mercer Island, I bet they'd be upset that her campaign signs are still polluting Island Crest Way.

How about it Republicans?  Maureen is using state- and national political donations to fund her City Council campaign. Are you going to sit this one out?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So, in going to various places on the Eastside this weekend, I noticed tons of election signs in every town I downtowns and in neighborhoods.

Putting signs up seems like part of the open process everywhere else...what makes MI different so that such signs are unwelcome? Not only unwelcome, but you refer to them as "polluting" Island Crest Way.