Linda’s Election Guide
November 8, 2016

Linda’s Recommendations
(Explanations below)

Initiative 1433: Yes
Initiative 1464: Yes
Initiative 1491: Yes
Initiative 1501: No
Initiative 732: Yes
Initiative 735: Yes
Advisory Vote 14: Maintained
Advisory Vote 15: Maintained
Senate Joint Resolution 8210: Approved
King County Charter Amendment No 1:  Leaning Yes
King County Charter Amendment No 2: Yes
President and Vice President: Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine
United States Senator: Patty Murray
US Representative Congressional District No 7: Both good
Governor: Jay Inslee
Lieutenant Governor:  Cyrus Habib
Secretary of State: Tina Podlodowski
State Treasurer: Duane Davidson
State Auditor: Pat McCarthy
Attorney General: Bob Ferguson
Commissioner of Public Lands: Hilary Franz
Superintendent of Public Instruction: Leaning Reykdal
Insurance Commissioner: Mike Kreidler
State Supreme Court Justice Position 1: Mary Yu
State Supreme Court Justice Position 5: Barbara Madsen
State Supreme Court Justice Position 6: Charles Wiggins
Superior Court Judge Position 14: Nicole Gaines Phelps
Superior Court Judge Position 26: David Keenan
Superior Court Judge Position 31: Helen Halpert
Superior Court Judge Position 44: Cathy Moore
Superior Court Judge Position 52: Anthony Gipe
Superior Court Judge Position 53: Mariane Spearman
City of Seattle Initiative No 124: Yes
Sound Transit Proposition No 1: Yes

Initiative Measure No. 1433 Minimum Wage and Sick Leave

What it would do:
  1. Increase minimum wage all over Washington State; 2. Require all employers to give their employees paid sick leave.

Explanation:  Washington's minimum wage for employees who are at least 18 years old is $9.47 per hour for 2016. The minimum wage is increased a few cents every year, depending on inflation. Some cities have a higher minimum wage for just their city.  Seattle has this.  But most of the state just follows the state minimum wage.  Initiative 1433 would increase the state minimum wage to $11.00 in 2017, $11.50 in 2018, $12.00 in 2019, and $13.50 in 2020. 

Beginning on January 1, 2018, employers would be required to provide paid sick leave (7 days/year) to employees covered by the Minimum Wage Act. No state law requires paid sick leave now. 

The state fiscal office says that Initiative 1433 would bring in new money to the state (higher employer taxes paid), and also save money for the state (more families earn enough that they don’t need welfare or help paying for insurance).  But it would also cost more in other ways.  (DSHS would need to pay more to some workers, and school districts would need to pay more to many workers.)  Probably 1433 will cost more than it will save.  It is hard to know for sure (maybe workers who earn more will spend more, so the state gets more sales tax).

People who want you to Vote YES say:

1.   $9.47 per hour is not enough to pay for food, housing, and transportation for a single person.  It is for sure not enough to support a family.

2.   The cost of living has gone up a lot since Washington first set a minimum wage.  The minimum wage has not kept up.  The lowest pay needs to be higher.

3.   It is not right or safe to force an employee to work if they are sick.

4.   Communities with weaker economies will do better if people earn more money.  The people will have more money to spend, which helps the economy.

Who says vote YES:  Democrats; Labor Unions, especially unions representing low-wage service workers; National Organization for Women, YWCA, and other groups representing women; Children’s Alliance, teachers, and other groups representing children; Low-Income Housing Alliance, Poverty Action Network, other groups representing poor people; NAACP, El Centro de la Raza and other groups representing people of color; Church Council of Greater Seattle, National Council of Jewish Women and other religious groups; Newspapers in bigger cities (Seattle Times, etc); many more.
Who gave money to the VOTE YES campaign:  Labor Unions (local and state unions, all different sorts – teachers, food service workers, construction, etc)

People who want you to Vote NO say:

1.   Some types of businesses depend on low-paid workers.  For example: restaurants, farms, grocery stores, other stores, and schools. These businesses can’t afford to pay more money to workers.

2.   The economy in Washington is not the same in every area.  In Seattle, the economy is strong.  In many parts of Eastern Washington, the economy is weak.  It is not fair to make businesses in weak areas pay more to their employees.

3.   If small businesses have to pay more to employees, they will reduce hours of work.  Or hire fewer employees.  The employees will not take home more money.

4.   Small businesses can’t afford to pay more and will close down.  (Or move to other states.)  That will hurt their communities.

Who says vote NO: Industries that hire low-wage workers. WA Restaurant Association (restaurants); WA Food Industry Association (grocery stores); WA Retail Association (stores); WA State Farm Bureau; WA Lodging Association (hotels and motels); Association of Washington Businesses.  Some Newspapers in small towns and areas with weaker economies:  Walla Walla, Longview, Vancouver, Tri-Cities, etc.
Who gave money to the VOTE NO campaign:  WA Restaurant Association (restaurants); WA Food Industry Association (grocery stores); WA Retail Association (stores); WA State Farm Bureau.

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Initiative 1464: Campaign Finance Reform
Background: Right now, there are laws and rules limiting how much money any one person can give to a candidate running for office.  And there are rules about how the candidate can use that money. But if people or companies want to use their own money to advertise for or against a candidate, there are almost no rules.  They can spend as much money as they want.  It is easy to hide where the money came from

What it would do: The goal is to make elections more fair.  Initiative 1464 would change the way that politicians collect money to campaign; reduce the amount that anyone can donate to a politician; require people and groups who advertise to support or oppose a candidate to say who actually paid for the advertising; forbid politicians from becoming paid lobbyists after they leave office; change the rules so that visitors from out of state have to pay the same sales tax as people who live in Washington. The extra tax collected would be used to pay for partial “public financing” of political campaigns for the Legislature.  If this works well and there is enough money, the tax in the future might also pay for public financing of statewide offices (Governor, Auditor, Superintendent of Public Instruction, etc.).

People who want you to vote YES say:
1. I-1464 will help make sure that rich people don’t have more influence that everyone else.
2. Right now, a politician can leave office and then become a lobbyist to try and influence the people in their old office.  For example, Former Attorney General Rob McKenna is now a lobbyist and tries to convince the Attorney General’s office to change rules for his clients.  I-1464 will prevent this. 
3.  I-1464 does not take money away from schools or anything else in Washington. The money for public financing comes from making visitors pay the same sales taxes as people who live in Washington.
4.  Individual voters will also be able to pick which candidates receive some of the public financing.  Individuals pick the candidates for $150 worth of the money – up to $50 for each candidate.

Who says Vote Yes: League of Women Voters; Sightline Institute; The Stranger; Progressive Voters Guide; Democratic groups; Public Citizen; Friends of the Earth; Washprig; Common Cause; Faith Action Network.

People who want you to vote NO say:
1. Washington needs all of its money to pay for schools and other services.  We should not use tax money to pay for election campaigns.
2. Washington already has one of the most honest election systems in the U.S.  We don’t need to change it.
3. If we charge sales tax to people from outside of Washington, fewer people will visit Washington.  Washington will lose money.
4. It is a bad idea to use public money to pay for campaigns. There is too big of a risk of cheating or “corruption” if there is so much money given to campaigns.

Who says Vote No: Seattle Times; Brian Sonntag (former state Auditor), Sam Reed (former Secretary of State), Rob McKenna (former Attorney General – he now works as a lobbyist), Slade Gorton.  No other names or organizations are listed on the website.

Linda’s notes: I like many things about this initiative.  The restrictions on how much money candidates can receive from big business and PACS; the limits on politicians becoming consultants or lobbyists right after they leave office; it must be more clear exactly where the money comes from for campaigns; etc.  But the voucher system for getting money to candidates seems like a bad idea to me.  (I had the same complaint about the campaign finance initiative in Seattle last year.)  The potential for illegal activity and “kickbacks” is very high.  (Candidates giving money back to people who give them the $50 voucher.)  I like public financing of campaigns – but I don’t think this is the way to do it.  But most of the money for this initiative will pay for the other, very positive reforms.  I just wish they hadn’t added this silly voucher game to an otherwise very strong set of ideas.

Initiative 1491: Extreme-Risk protection orders
Explanation: Allows police and family members to ask a judge for an “extreme risk protection order” if there is evidence that a person is dangerous (to themselves or others).  The Extreme Risk Protection Order means that person is not allowed to have guns, and cannot buy or sell guns.  Police can take away any guns from that person.  The Extreme Risk Protection Order can last up to one year.  When the person is not acting dangerous any more, they can have guns again. 

People who want you to Vote YES say:

1.    The law in Washington does not allow criminals (felons) to have guns.  But it is very difficult to take guns away from anyone else before they commit a crime, even when police or family know the person is a danger.

2.   Often, family members are worried about the safety of someone who is acting different than normal.  Maybe that person has guns and the family is worried about what may happen. Maybe that person has talked about killing themselves.  But if that person hasn’t broken any laws, the family can’t do anything about it.

3.   1491 was sponsored by a family whose son was feeling angry and depressed.  The parents did everything they could to help, but there was no way to prevent their son from having a gun.  The son shot and killed his sister, and then killed himself.

4.   1491 requires evidence that the person is really a danger.  1491 makes it a crime to lie and say a person is a danger if they are not.

5.   Other states have passed laws like 1491.  In those states, there are fewer suicides, and fewer examples of domestic violence killings.

Who says VOTE YES:  Police, mental health groups, organizations that help families facing domestic violence, Doctors and Nurses, Teachers, Religious Groups, Democrats, Children’s Alliance, League of Women Voters, Seattle Times.

People who want you to Vote NO say:

1.   Everyone has the right to have guns unless they have been convicted of a felony.

2.   Someone who is mad at their family member may ask for the protection order for no reason. Their guns could get taken away. That’s not fair!

3.   If someone is a danger, the family can have the person “committed” to a mental health institution. 

4.   1491 is not about safety.  The goal is to limit people from owning guns legally.

5.   1491 doesn’t order treatment for the person who is acting strangely.  It just takes away their guns.  The person could just buy new guns illegally.  1491 doesn’t cure the problem that makes the person a danger.

Who says VOTE NO:  NRA (National Rifle Association); Second Amendment Coalition 
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Initiative 1501: Seniors and vulnerable individuals

What it would do: 
Change the state public records laws so that the names, addresses and phone numbers of in-home caregivers who are paid by the state (DSHS) become completely private.  Only the SEUI Union could get the names and addresses for caregivers.  The Public Records Disclosure laws would not apply to this group of workers anymore. 
Linda’s note:  I-1501 is a trick initiative.  It talks about protecting senior citizens, but Identity Theft is already illegal, and there are already extra laws to protect vulnerable adults.  I normally support unions.  But SEIU is being sneaky.  They want to make sure that no one can contact home caregivers except them.  (They don’t want the caregivers to learn about quitting the Union.) The Union already asked the Legislature and the Courts to change the public disclosure laws so that only the union can contact caregivers.  Both the Legislature and the Courts said no.  So SEIU wrote an initiative talking about protecting senior citizens, so voters will say yes. (The definition of “vulnerable adult” in the initiative is a person over age 60 who has a live-in caregiver.  The initiative doesn’t cover most people with disabilities, for example.)  At the end of the initiative is a long section about changing the public disclosure laws.  That is the real point of the initiative.
All of the money for this campaign is from the Service Employees International Union 775.  They gave $1,400,000.

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Initiative 732:  Carbon Emissions Tax
What it would do
:  Create a new tax on carbon emissions (from coal, oil and gas) and reduce some other taxes (sales tax and manufacturing tax) an equal amount. Also creates a sales tax exemption for low income families.

People who want you to VOTE YES say:

1.   Carbon emissions are a key cause of global warming.  (85% of all greenhouse emissions in WA are from using oil and gas.)  We must reduce carbon emissions to help reduce global warming.

2.   Initiative 732 will encourage businesses to use less oil, gas and coal because using those fuels will cost more.  Conservation and other sources of power (solar, wind, hydro) will cost less compared to oil and coal.

3.   Initiative 732 reduces the sales tax for everyone.

4.   British Colombia passed a Carbon Tax in 2008.  It is very successful.  Initiative 732 is based on the law in BC.

5.   Initiative 732 won’t solve the whole problem of global warming. But we can’t wait until everyone in every state is ready to change the laws in their state. Initiative 732 is a good start.

6.   If people want to propose to change the Carbon Tax or increase other taxes later, they can.  But if we wait until there is an initiative that adds a Carbon Tax AND promises to add other services, we may never reduce carbon emissions.

Who says VOTE YES: Audubon Society (State-wide and many local groups); MANY politicians (mostly Democrats, some Republicans) Jim McDermott, Ron Simms, Mayor and City Council member from Mercer Island; Democratic groups all over the state; Seattle Business Magazine; The Olympian Newspaper; Whidbey News-Times; American Association of Architects; American Planning Association (city planners); Climate Action and Climate Lobby groups all over the state. Also, there is a long list of endorsements from economists from all over the country.

People who want you to VOTE NO say:

1.   Just having a carbon tax in Washington won’t help.  We need an energy policy for the whole U.S.

2.   Carbon taxes don’t work as a way to reduce greenhouse gases.  There are other changes – like changing the rules for how much pollution can come from cars – that work much better.

3.   Initiative 732 is not fair to businesses.  Maybe they will just move to other states instead of paying the extra taxes.  Some businesses (Boeing) will pay less taxes than now.

4.   Initiative 732 was written by (white) environmentalists.  They did not work with “Climate Justice” groups (mostly communities of color) to make sure that I-732 was fair to everyone.

5.   People who work in or near polluting industries would be the most affected by a Carbon Tax.  The Carbon Tax should be used to change those industries or retrain those workers.

6.   The math is wrong.  Total taxes collected won’t equal the total tax reduction.  Washington State will lose money.

7.   “Revenue neutral” is a bad idea.  We should raise taxes by adding a Carbon Tax, and use the extra money to pay for more services or schools, or to support more renewable energy.

Who says VOTE NO:  There is no official opposition group.  Some organizations that say no include:  Companies that depend on using lots of oil and gas; Fuse (Progressive Voters Guide); Washington State Labor Council.

In addition, some environmental groups have a “no opinion” or a “not support” position:  (This is not the same as “against.”)  These include the Sierra Club; WA Conservation Voters; WA Environmental Council; Climate Action.  They argue that the group who wrote I-732 didn’t work with Climate Justice groups.  They also say that the Carbon Tax money should be used to help poor people, or used to support renewable energy, instead of being “revenue neutral.”  They are afraid that passing I-732 means we won’t be able to pass a stronger plan in a future year.  Many people are VERY upset that these groups are not supporting I-732. 

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Initiative 735: Propose an Amendment to the Federal Constitution (Constitutional rights are for PEOPLE, not companies, and money is not speech)

Background:  The Supreme Court made a decision in 2010 called “Citizen’s United.”  In that decision, the Court confirmed that companies have the same rights as people, and said that any company or group or individual can spend as much money as they want to influence elections.  The Court said that spending money is the same as “freedom of speech.”  The company or group doesn’t have to report what they spent.  No state or city can limit how much money is spent, or what they say in the advertising.  Most people believe this decision was wrong, and that human beings should have more rights than companies or groups, and that the money wealthy people, companies and groups spend to advertise against elections should be limited and open (everyone should know who is giving money to influence elections).

What 735 would do:  Ask Washington’s Representatives and Senators in Congress to support a constitutional amendment to reverse the “Citizens United” decision, and to make it clear that only human beings are “people” under the Constitution.

People who want you to Vote YES say:

1.   The Bill of Rights is for PEOPLE, not companies. Corporations are not people.

2.   If money is speech, rich people and big companies will have much more freedom of speech than ordinary people.

3.   Companies, labor unions, rich people, and some “secret” groups are spending millions of dollars every year to influence elections.  There is no way to find out who is really behind that money.  They don’t have to report what they are doing. (Money that is given to candidates is reported.  But if a company decides to spend money advertising against a candidate or against a proposed law, the company doesn’t have to tell anyone that they are spending the money that way.)

4.   States’ Rights are important.  States and Cities should have the right to limit how much money is spent on their elections. Citizens United cancelled laws passed in 32 states that tried to make elections more fair.

Who says VOTE YES: Environmental groups; religious groups; Union groups (Labor); Democratic groups; MANY individual politicians (both D and R) from all over WA

People who want you to Vote NO say:

1.   We need MORE speech (more information) in the United States, not less.  It is good to have more money spent to share more information.

2.   It is wrong to change the Constitution to LIMIT free speech.  We should only change the constitution to give people more rights, not less.

3.   A constitutional amendment might allow censorship of movies, newspapers, TV, books, etc.  That is not right.

4.   Instead of changing the constitution, we can pass new laws to require “disclosures.”  (Force companies and groups to say if they are spending money on elections.)

Who says VOTE NO:  “First Amendment Defenders.” No endorsements listed.

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Senate Joint Resolution No. 8210
Background:  Every ten years, there is a census in the United States.  The census counts how many people live in each state, and in each part of each state.  The number of Representatives in Congress from each state is determined by the number of people in that state.  Right now, Washington has 10 Representatives.  Each Representative stands for (“represents”) one Congressional District.  Each “Congressional District” should have about the same number of people.  After the census, it is often necessary to change the shape or size of congressional districts, so that each still has about the same number of people.  (Maybe more people moved into one city, and people moved away from another area.)  The Legislature from each state decides the new Congressional District boundaries in their state.  In Washington State, the Legislature sets up a “Redistricting Commission” to make these changes to the boundaries for Congressional Districts in Washington. 

Each state also has a “Legislature.”  The Legislature is like a mini Congress.  We have 49 Legislative Districts.  Each of these districts is also supposed to have about the same number of people.  So, after the census every 10 years, the boundaries for the Legislative Districts also usually change. The Redistricting Commission is also responsible for making these changes.

What it would do:  Resolution 8210 would change the deadline for when the Redistricting Commission needs to finish their work (every ten years).  The current deadline is December 31st.  The new deadline would be November 15th.  The Legislature voted on Resolution 8210.  It passed unanimously.  This means that everyone voted yes – all of the Democrats, and all of the Republicans.  (We still need to vote because it is an Amendment to the state Constitution.)

People who want you to vote YES say:

1.   Now, with computers, the Redistricting Commission can finish its job faster than before.

2.   December 31st is a terrible time to finish a big job.  It is hard for people (“the public”) to come give feedback at the end of the year – schools are closed, families are busy.  Finishing earlier will allow more people to give feedback.

3.   Making the deadline November 15 gives the state time to get ready for the new Legislative Districts before they take effect.

4.   Washington has one of the best redistricting systems in the U.S.  Resolution 8210 makes it even better.

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City of Seattle
Initiative Measure No. 124
: Seattle Hotel Worker safety and health.

What it would do:  Gives extra protections for hotel workers (especially housekeepers).  Requires hotels to keep lists of guests who have been accused of assaulting hotel employees, and not allow that guest to stay there again.  Increases requirements for hotels to provide health insurance for their employees.  Does not allow hotels to punish workers for reporting problems.  Initiative 124 does not apply to very small motels and hotels.

People who want you to VOTE YES say:

1.   Hotel Housekeepers are frequently assaulted on the job.  Usually, this is a male guest who touches or tries to rape a female housekeeper.  The housekeepers are often afraid to report what happened, because they may lose their job.

2.   I-124 requires hotels to give each Housekeeper a “panic button.”  It is an alarm that she can push to get help right away if a guest tries to hurt her.

3.   Hotel housekeepers are frequently injured on the job.  Their work is hard on their bodies.  But hotels can require more and more work from each person.  If the employee is injured or complains, they may lose their job.

4.   Hotel employees are some of the lowest paid workers in Seattle.  Plus, they often do not get health insurance at their job.  124 will improve access to health insurance.

Who says VOTE YES:  King County Labor Council,  One America Votes,  Casa Latina,  King County Asian Pacific Islander Coalition,  LGBTQ Allyship,  Gender Justice League,  Legal Voice,  API Chaya, Church Council of Greater Seattle,  Puget Sound Sage,  Statewide Poverty Action Network, King County Coalition Ending Gender Based Violence.  [Most of the YES on 124 money comes from Labor Unions.] Note:  The webpage for the YES on 124 campaign shows a picture of 6 hotel employees. Most are dressed like housekeepers, and all appear to be women of color.

People who want you to VOTE NO say:

1.    Good hotels already have ways to protect their employees.

2.   I-124 just adds more regulations for hotels to follow.  Extra paperwork!

3.   It is not fair to tell a guest that he cannot come back if he is accused of assaulting a housekeeper.  Punishment should only happen after a guest is CONVICTED of a crime.  (Same as other crimes – people aren’t put in prison for being accused of a crime, only if they are found guilty.)

4.   It is not fair to allow the unions to negotiate about health insurance or work hours for hotel employees.  What if the employees want something different than the labor union?

Who says VOTE NO (and gave money to VOTE NO campaign):  WA Lodging Association (hotels); American Lodging Association (hotels); WA Restaurant Association; Grand Hyatt; Renaissance Hotel.  Note:  the website for the “No on 124” campaign shows a picture of 4 hotel employees.  All 4 appear to be white people, and are dressed in suits or nice clothes.

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Sound Transit Proposition 3 (ST3)
Expand Light Rail, Sounder Commuter Train, and Bus Rapid Transit in King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties.  Costs about $50 billion.  Half is new taxes, collected from property taxes, sales taxes, and car taxes.

People who want you to Vote YES say:

1.   Transportation is the most important issue in the Puget Sound Region.

2.   ST3 is a BIG plan.  When finished, Seattle will finally have a “big city” type transit system.  Seattle has needed this for a long time.

3.   Adds Light Rail to Bellevue, Redmond, Issaquah, West Seattle, Ballard, Lynnwood, Everett. When finished, we’ll have a total 108 miles of track and 75 stations. Includes adding a second transit tunnel downtown.

4.   Adds Sounder Train stations further south (to DuPont), and add Sounder trips during the day (not just rush hour)

5.   Adds Bus rapid ride routes all along 405: Lynnwood, Bothell, Woodinville, Kirkland, Bellevue, Tenton, Tukwila, Burien.

6.   Building light rail takes time.  ST3 is a plan for the future of the Puget Sound region.  (Most other big cities have subways or other in-city trains.)

7.   Without ST3, traffic will get even worse than now.

Who says vote YES: City Councils:  Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue, Redmond, Issaquah, etc; Municipal League; Labor Unions, Housing groups; Environmental Groups; Most Mayors and City Council members all over the region; Business groups; Transportation groups; several hundred politicians from all over the region.

People who want you to Vote NO say:

1.   ST3 is too expensive. $50 billion; half is new taxes.  An average family that owns a house and 2 cars will pay $350 - 390 more per year, total.

2.   Education is the most important issue in Washington.  If people pay so much to build transit, they won’t be willing to pay more taxes for schools. (Or other important things like police or libraries.)

3.   We could add bus rapid transit all over Puget Sound for a lot less money.

4.   Most people don’t use transit – they drive cars. We need more freeway lanes.

5.   There is no end time for the new taxes.  Sound Transit could continue collecting the new taxes for many years after ST3 is finished.

6.   ST3 only helps people who live in big cities.  Everyone else will pay higher taxes, but won’t get light rail or less traffic.

7.   It will take too long – not finished until 2041

8.   So many people are moving to Seattle, ST3 won’t make traffic better than now.

Who says vote NO: Tim Eyman; Seattle Times; the “no” campaign website lists 14 politicians who are against ST3 and another 12 “experts.” 

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Other sources of information for this election:

The Stranger:

(Lots of swear words, but the information is very good. Their analysis of the initiatives is the best I have read this year.)

League of Women Voters:

Municipal League: