Democracy is disruptive, messy, and seemingly unfair at times. As the late Rep. Mo Udall said after losing a presidential primary, "The people have spoken. Damn 'em."
Make that 40 percent of the people have spoken. If 80 percent of life is showing up (or so says Woody Allen) Snohomish County voters are appearance-shy, with 40 percent (as of Wednesday night) considerably lower than the average odd-year return rate of 48 percent.
The minority that spoke for the majority is a shrewd lot, however. They agonized over five advisory measures, splitting on maintaining at least three of them (Alas, these Eyman advisory votes provide the illusion of choice. They don't count, and cost taxpayers more than $100,000.) Voters also saw through Eyman's self-serving I-517, the signature-gatherer-protection act.
The Mukilteo resident has become the Harold Stassen of initiative peddlers.
I-522, the GMO-labeling initiative, was leading in the polls a month ago, but Snohomish County narrowly turned it down. Voters may have done their homework on its weaker points or Monsanto's hemorrhaging of direct mail killed it. Make no mistake: GMO labeling will come about some day, most likely through federal legislation. Tuesday, we kicked the can.
The two newest members of the County Council, Ken Klein and Terry Ryan, could remake the face of county government. Add to that a new County Executive, John Lovick, and Sheriff, Ty Trenary. The Reardon era fades in the rear-view mirror.
The big news? The measure in SeaTac to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Anticipate similar efforts in Snohomish County.
And there's fresh urban leadership to celebrate. Quietly (mostly), cities in Snohomish County welcomed new mayors in Monroe, Stanwood, Granite Falls, Gold Bar, Mukilteo, and Lynnwood.
The election of Nicola Smith in Lynnwood, just like the election of Ed Murray in Seattle, spells stronger regional leadership relative to the regionally feeble incumbents they unseated. And Mukilteo's Jennifer Gregerson is poised to seal the future of Japanese Gulch and a new ferry dock. (The solons of the Editorial Board recommended the incumbent. So much for being on the right side of history.)
Everett had one of the lowest city turnouts at 36 percent, but Mayor Ray Stephanson, and two out of three city councilmembers were running unopposed. We'll revisit the city and the city's future next week.
And so, the melancholy of an unstuffed mailbox. And a yardsign-free neighborhood. And the joy.
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