[EDITOR'S NOTE: This column by Earl Gipson is a view of SeaTac city government. It does not necessarily reflect the views of The SeaTac Blog nor its staff. We are seeking additional regular columnists to reflect opinions and views of SeaTac residents. Those interested can e-mail us at email@example.com.]
by Earl Gipson
The New Year started off with a bang (actually a few of them) in the City of SeaTac…
SeaTac Prop #1 (giving 63 percent raises and benefits to hospitality, transportation, and other “easy to replace your butt or we would pay you more” jobs) now needs to be implemented and businesses audited at SeaTac taxpayer’s expense. That only applies to the taxpayers that will be left so if you are planning to move or relocate your business stop worrying, the pain is temporary.
The cost of this groundbreaking (should have used Bertha, at least it got stuck) local legislation was $1.8 million dollars in campaign spending with the unions outspending business (self defense) 2 ½ to 1. With 6003 SeaTac voters voting on the ballot measure (source-King County Elections) that’s ~ $363 per vote! That’s a state record that seemed to be ignored by the “main stream” media. Makes Costco look like amateurs.
SeaTac voter rolls increased by 1838 new registered voters 6 months prior to the ballot election. That’s the first voter registration increase since 2001 and a whopping increase it was. Speculating, this was either imported voters or voters who realized that living within your means is no longer necessary. Just vote yourself a raise. Congress does it.
To no surprise to most of us, Judge Darvas said, you can’t do it to the Port of Seattle. SeaTac has no jurisdiction over that government entity. Sooo, since the unions excluded themselves from the legislation and it does not apply to the Port everyone spent 1.8 million dollars to give ~ 900 people a 63 percent raise for doing the same “high skilled” job and not the 6200 employees that was targeted by the unions. Congratulations all around.
Stay with me here. This is SeaTac politics at its best. Our (perhaps yours, anyway) King County Council Member Julia Patterson retires (sort of; hubby and daughter still work for the City). State legislator Dave Upthegrief (did I spell that wrong?) is the darling to replace Patterson on the King County Council (it pays more) and he wins.
Now the King County Council must appoint someone to fill Upthegrief’s (I did it again) remaining term in the legislature. The 33rd district Precinct Officers (PCO’s) gather and deliberate (I guess that’s what they do) and come up with two names to submit to the County Council for appointment. They are Ms. Albertson of Kent City Council and Ms. Gregerson of SeaTac City Council. Despite the PCO’s heavy endorsement of Ms. Albertson, County Council appoints Ms. Gregerson. Did I mention Ms. Gregerson is Julia Patterson’s next door neighbor and fellow Angle Lake Shore Club member?
The County Council has never gone against the PCO’s top recommendation before in my recollection. Has Ms. Patterson really retired or found a different way to wield power? Personally I think she should be satisfied with the damage already done to South King County.
Did I save the best/worse for last? You make the call. In Tuesday’s SeaTac Special Council meeting for swearing in new/re-elected Council members, they also SELECT an Un-elected Mayor and Deputy Mayor.
Side note: The position of Mayor will NEVER be considered elected by myself/others until it appears on a ballot. 7 Council members does not an election make nor is the mayor of our City its executive. Overpaid (questionably competent) and non-resident City Managers are the executives in our form of government. No skin in the game as some of us would say.
Anyway, back to our story. Ms. Gregerson, by a 5 to 2 vote, is now the new un-elected Mayor and former un-elected Mayor Tony Anderson is now the Deputy Mayor (no other nominations). So basically Gregerson and Anderson just switched positions. I know frequent commenter Michael Kovacs might construe that statement a tad differently or is at least snickering.
Ms. Gregerson now holds two paid elected offices (Upthegrief’s unfinished term) and got a $2K annual raise now that she is SeaTac’s un-elected Mayor. As with Julia Patterson did she or does she really ever represent the Citizens of SeaTac? My opinion would be no. Political climbers is the only polite way to say what I am really thinking and looking around at the deterioration of our City.
The only thing missing from the Council ceremonies on Tuesday were red signs and raised fists from our electeds, excluding of course Terry Anderson and Pam Fernald.
If you got this far, thank you for listening and a not so Happy New Year!