The Cactus Speaks: SeaTac Voting, Cactus Style

[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 different opinions and views of SeaTac residents. Those interested can e-mail us at [email protected].]

SeaTac Voting Cactus Style

By Earl Gipson

It is primary time and I thought I would share my method for voting and being informed is foremost. I do this in logical fashion starting with local candidates and some basic questions:

  1. Do I know the candidates? Since I go to the Council Meetings and most Committee Meeting I usually do. If I don’t, Google comes into play.
  2. Let’s say I do know them. Next question: are they honest/ethical? Well, some past candidates and incumbents failed this question immediately (and not just a little). Lying to my face or on campaign literature will not get my vote.
  3. Okay passed the first two. Have they participated in meetings and presented themselves well? Since they are going to have to speak on issues and perhaps be on the Council dais they should. I’m a little lenient on this one since being on camera, public speaking can be initially tough but a little bit of practice and they are generally fine.
  4. The final preliminary question. Would they be good for the City regardless if they agree with me? I would actually prefer they don’t agree with me all the time. I like a good debate (some may say argument) and if they can change my mind on an issue/s I definitely find this an asset.

Experience, occupation (current/past), and misc.
It is nice to see a legal, business, or some type of professional background but not any type of requirement, not to mention its hard to come by most times. Most times it’s the person first and then I ask what they do. I’ve seen many a diamond in the rough that did great things that had nothing to do with their occupation.

Compatibility with office they are running for. Drug dealers, loan sharks, and meth heads are a turn off but may be appropriate for some positions. Kidding.

The Almighty PDC research
The Public Disclosure Commission requires you track and report your contributions. If you can’t manage a few thousand dollars how can anyone expect you to make good decisions on lets say, SeaTac’s $35 million budget?

I have found the PDC to be reasonable and cut first timers some slack as long as you are honest and comply with reporting within a reasonable time. I was never fond of their reporting software (ORCA) but figured it out eventually. It may have improved since 2011 (don’t know). Even when you do violate, the fines aren’t very much unless you REALLY messed up.

Knowing/researching their contributors, treasurers, campaign managers (shown on the PDC website also) will also give insight of the integrity of the campaign. Some bad apples keep showing up,

The “how to’s” of PDC research
Step A: Go to the PDC database search engine (here) and filter on locality (Contains SeaTac for our example).

Step B: Right click on details (to open a new tab) of each individual candidate you wish to know more about.

Note: Mini-Reporting (Campaigns of $5K or less) will not show contributors and or expenditures. You can change your reporting mid-campaign but there are deadlines.

Step C: Click on the C-1 tab and it will show the Treasurer. Campaign Manager and other initial candidate filing data.

Step D:  Look for commonalities, gross outspending (those buying an election), and irregularities.

Step E: Look for previous PDC violations (here). Search by candidate name. The PDC takes quite a while to investigate and some allegations are never proven. I pay attention to the ones that are (fines levied).

There you have it
This will take some time at first but once you do it becomes routine at election time. As far as the SeaTac Council election (using my methodology) I definitely know 2 people I am NOT voting for and one is an incumbent. You can only insult your constituents so many times without it biting you in the ass.

Cactus song selection
Ah the choices we make. I see this song as a question if we have free will. The internet sees it a few ways. This is as deep as I get anyway (and I want a pet tiger).

The Killers-Human-2008:




2 Responses to “The Cactus Speaks: SeaTac Voting, Cactus Style”
  1. Doug Hill says:

    Good advice on a methodical analysis for voting. Yes experience is a tricky qualifier but there are ways to accrue experience. Now, having lived in a city for a year and attending a handful of council meetings is a red flag and does not show a desire to accrue the necessary knowledge/experience to ask for a seat on council. Join committees ( I did and it truly expanded my knowledge of the how’s and why’s of our city government) and really learn about what the citizens of this community feel passionate about. Having confidence in a candidate’s commitment to and passion for our city is what moves voters.

  2. chuck darielli says:

    Let me guess Silver Tongue Campbell and Maybe I should call a cab Wheeler