History, politics, people of Oly WA

Month: January 2008 (Page 3 of 3)

John Keister sells out to Renton

Ok, maybe that’s a bit too harsh, but that was my immediate reaction to John Keister pimping Renton during the Seahawks’ game on Saturday. It was a good ad, especially for people who actually remember almost ten years ago when Almost Live! was making fun of Renton.

People who’ve moved here since 2000 probably have no idea who John Keister is or why making fun of Renton still might be fun.

The one reason why I’d say Keister was totally selling out was that the content of the ad really gave no reason why Renton is ahead of the curve. Most of the ad could have been stock footage of any “I want to be a great suburb” town: kids playing with soccer balls, a pool.

The two concrete reasons, The Landing and the new Seahawks headquarters, are still future projects. The images of the Boeing plant, well that hearkens back to the blue collar residents that Keister and gang were actually making fun of.

Ok, everyone has to make money and if Keister feels like cashing in on Almost Live!, more power to him. But, this puts even more distance between reality and Almost Live! ever coming back.

5 reasons why My Football Club will work and My Soccer Club won’t

1. Big reason: My Football Club didn’t ask for money up front.

I was tempted to join MFC when they were asking for folks to say that at some point they’d pay $70 to be a part of the project. I eventually didn’t, but I might eventually.

I don’t think I’ll ever pay the $50 MSC is asking, especially since they’re asking for it up front, even before there is enough people to say they would join.

By not asking for money up front, but rather a show of support and an indication that you would eventually pay to join, MFC was creating a sense of urgency as we saw the number of members move upwards each week and created a sense that they weren’t just out trying to steal your money.

2. MFC was a fan thing, not just a soccer/football thing.
The folks behind MFC wanted to change sports ownership, it just so happened that the country they lived in (as most of the world) was a soccer/football country.

If this experiment happened in the United States first, I could see them doing it with an independent baseball team (United League, Golden League) before a soccer team. I’m a big soccer fan, but I also live in a baseball country.

The folks behind MSC seem to have taken the idea too literally.

3. There is already a tradition of fan-owned teams in the UK.

MFC was revolutionary not because fans would own a team, but because the fans would be connected through the web in order to manage the team. Fan owned teams are a not uncommon, if not popular, model in Europe and especially in England.

Starting a fan owned soccer team would be a big deal in America and especially if it were a web-based effort. The fans of the California Victory tried to save their team by following a similar path as many other fan-owned teams in England, but they failed.

Jumping to a MFC effort in England was probably a much smaller jump than trying to make the entire leap in America.

4. General trust issues based on behavior

In addition to asking for the money up front, the behavior of the folks behind MSC has been shady. Example here.

I heard Trevor Hayward, one of the guys behind MSC, interviewed on MLS Talk a few months back, and I got the impression that Trevor didn’t know what he was talking about.

5. General trust issues based on background

Will Brooks may not be famous, but he is a known quantity in football/soccer circles in England. A former journalist, he knew the lay of the land, and people knew him.

Who the hell are the guys behind MSC?

But, don’t worry. If MSC isn’t going to work out, there will eventually be other web based sporting team projects out there. I’m probably never going to join MFC, but the idea is too good to die.

So, who’s to say that the parties can’t live with Top Two?

Depending on how the Supreme Court rules in the next few months, we might have a Top Two primary back in Washington. This could take the power away from local parties as to who actually carries their label, who gets considered a Democrat or Republican on the ballot.

Right now, that label is determined by a primary election choosing the parties’ nominees. But, in a system where two Dems could advance to the general, we could see parties using lawsuits and party conventions to enforce their label.

Side note: even if the Supreme Court upholds the lower court decision throwing out the Top Two, the Grange has said they’d consider a statewide non-partisan election initiative.

Anyway, the recent decisions by the Pierce County Democratic and Republican parties relating to how candidates will appear on the IRV ballot next year could give an indication how the parties could live in a Top Two or non-partisan world. Both parties are allowing more than one candidate to appear on the IRV ballot, the Democrats allowing three, Republicans two.

Letter to the TNT (hat tip to Ranked Choice Voting Washington):

Republicans decided to allow anyone who garners 40 percent-plus of delegate votes at the party’s county convention to run with their brand name. In theory, the party will have a maximum of two candidates for any of the countywide seats. In practice, it will propose one GOP candidate for each race.

The Democratic Party, in contrast, decided to allow an inclusive measure that would allow up to three party candidates per race. In practice, this means that voters will have a chance to decide, based on the merits of each candidate, to actually rank candidates based on their own values and agendas.

IRV is essentially a non-partisan system, as it relates to local parties. Each of them will allow more than one candidate to leave an internal party event (caucuses or a convention) with a nod and a label.

So, who’s to say that the two parties can’t live with Top Two?

Hating the caucuses (as a process) 2

I don’t like to write the same post twice, but this was just too perfect. An email from Dwight Pelz just now:

And the winner in Iowa is…

The winner in Iowa will be the families of the men and women serving in Iraq. The winner in Iowa will be our planet, suffering from the neglect of a Republican administration. The winner in Iowa will be the children of families who cannot afford health care in George Bush’s America.

Of course, not the actual men and women serving in Iraq, since they can’t participate in Iowa:

Jason Huffman has lived in Iowa his whole life. Lately he has been watching presidential debates on the Internet, discussing what he sees with friends and relatives. But when fellow Iowans choose among presidential candidates on Thursday night, he will not be able to vote, because he is serving with the National Guard in western Afghanistan.

“Shouldn’t we at least have as much influence in this as any other citizen?” Captain Huffman wrote in an e-mail interview.

He is far from the only Iowan who will not be able to participate. Because the caucuses, held in the early evening, do not allow absentee voting, they tend to leave out nearly entire categories of voters: the infirm, soldiers on active duty, medical personnel who cannot leave their patients, parents who do not have baby sitters, restaurant employees on the dinner shift, and many others who work in retail, at gas stations and in other jobs that require evening duty.

Hating the caucuses (as a process)

Bad for Iowa, bad for Washington.

Kos:

… this ridiculous process he defends will disenfranchises thousands of Iowans as it disenfranchises millions of voters around the country who would like a chance to vote for their favorite primary candidate but will never get the chance.

Future Majority:

To ad insult to injury, only a whopping 6% of Iowans manage to drag their asses out to participate in a given year. Even with an average of 49% turnout (in 2004), young voters can’t catch a break in the media narrative. Yet somehow Iowans get a big fat pat on the back from the media every four years because a few die-hards manage to drag themselves out to the caucus and it makes for great copy and even better economics for the state.

Though, six percent compares favorably to the 2 percent turnout for caucuses we get in Washington.

New York Times:

“It disenfranchises certain voters or makes them make choices between putting food on the table and caucusing,” said Tom Lindsey, a high school teacher in Iowa City. Mr. Lindsey plans to attend this year, but his neighbors include a cook who cannot slip away from his restaurant job on Thursday night and a mother who must care for her autistic child.

In Washington, I’m wondering how long we have to be left defending caucuses and designed low participation.

Why don’t we vote to fill vacancies on local boards?

One of the things that made vote-by-mail an easy thing to do politically, was that the proponents said that it would make elections cheaper. No need for real world voting locations, everyone would just mail it in (on their own dime, btw).

So, why don’t we hold special elections to fill vacancies in local boards. Right now we’re going through the process of appointing a new city council member in Olympia. I’ve been blogging about it a lot because compared to the regular system of reviewing candidates (at least five months and two elections) the appointment process is short and undemocratic.

Which makes me wonder why we just can’t have another election. Here are more thoughts:

  • Local school boards hold elections at irregular times for citizens to consider bond measures and levies.
  • Again, if vote by mail elections are so cheap, why not hold elections to fill vacancies?
  • More democracy is a good thing.

Now, if someone quit five months before an election to fill their seat, I could see the wisdom of not holding an election. But, in Olympia we have a seat with 23 months left to go on it, so if we were to draw a line, somewhere between 23 months and nine months would be a good place to start. I’d go with nine months or a year.

Just creating an option for local governments to hold an elections somewhere in RCW 42.12 would be a good place to start.

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