Tuesday, September 23, 2008

PDC revised rulemaking

The PDC has recently adopted a new rule, to "clarify" that candidates have an obligation to report all contributions and expenditures promptly. It reads, as follows:

Re:"21-day pre-election C-4 reports. The report filed 21 days before the election shall report all contributions received and expenditures made as of the end of one business day before the date of the report. [Effective June 12, 2008. Chapter 43, Laws of 2008]" http://www.pdc.wa.gov/home/historical/pdf/20072008LawRuleChanges.pdf

This new rule, which took effect June 12, 2008, is designed to prevent future abuse of the 21 day pre-election report rule.

A friend, someone who understands PDC law much better than I do, told me that there is no way that the PDC will hold Dan Pike or Sam Crawford accountable for not reporting the Realtor in-kind contributions.

Nevertheless, he hopes that the new rule will require candidates to report in-kind contributions promptly, so future voters will be able to make informed decisions about a candidate's source of funding before the election takes place.

And, we have WAC 390-32-010, the Fair Campaign Practices Code for candidates and political committees. It's been around for awhile. I'm especially fond of sections (6) & (8) - but all eight sections are important, if we hope to conduct future elections that discourage personal attacks on candidates and their family members.

Pursuant to the provisions of RCW 42.17.370 (1) and (6) the public disclosure commission adopts this Fair Campaign Practices Code:

(1) I shall conduct my campaign, and to the extent reasonably possible shall insist that my supporters conduct themselves, in a manner consistent with the best American tradition, discussing the issues and presenting my record and policies with sincerity and candor.

(2) I shall uphold the right of every qualified voter to free and equal participation in the election process.

(3) I shall not participate in, and I shall condemn, personal vilification, defamation, and other attacks on any opposing candidate or party which I do not believe to be truthful, provable, and relevant to my campaign.

(4) I shall not use or authorize, and I shall condemn material relating to my campaign which falsifies, misrepresents, or distorts the facts, including but not limited to malicious or unfounded accusations creating or exploiting doubts as to the morality, patriotism or motivations of any party or candidate.

(5) I shall not appeal to, and I shall condemn appeals to, prejudices based on race, creed, sex or national origin.

(6) I shall not practice, and I shall condemn practices, which tend to corrupt or undermine the system of free election or which hamper or prevent the free expression of the will of the voters.

(7) I shall promptly and publicly repudiate the support of any individual or group which resorts, on behalf of my candidacy or in opposition to that of my opponent(s) to methods in violation of the letter or spirit of this code.

(8) I shall refrain from any misuse of the Public Disclosure Law, chapter 42.17 RCW to gain political advantage for myself or any other candidate.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 42.17.370(1). 85-22-029 (Order 85-04), § 390-32-010, filed 10/31/85; Order 93, § 390-32-010, filed 8/26/77; Order 64, § 390-32-010, filed 11/25/75; Order 62, § 390-32-010, filed 8/26/75; Order 50, § 390-32-010, filed 3/3/75.

Now, I think that this may be a good time for me to discuss my relationship with Dan and Lisa McShane.

I met Dan McShane while he was serving on the Whatcom County Council. My other Council member is Ward Nelson.

Over the years, Dan has always treated me fairly. He responded promptly if I called or wrote him about an issue that concerned me, and always took the time to provide me with solid data to support his position on any issue that we were discussing.

Dan and I may not have always agreed about an issue, but he consistently treated me with respect, and provided me with the information I needed to make informed decisions about pending legislation.

I met Lisa McShane many years ago, at a forum, back in the days when we were working on opposite campaigns. (The first of many).

Over the years, I found Lisa to be a formidable political adversary, but she never made up lies about me. Nor did she run an unethical campaign against any of the candidates I was working for.

Sure, there were times that I ranted and raved and wished she lived in Boston, or Siberia, or any place other than in Bellingham. But, I can't say that Lisa ever mistreated me. She just flat out beat us on occasion. Fair and square. No tricks, no under-handed tactics. Just good old fashioned political savvy put to good use.

Years later, we served on a non-profit board together. During that time, I came to respect Lisa for her commitment and dedication to building a stronger, healthier community.

So, it goes without saying that I was shocked at the nastiness that erupted during the Pike/McShane campaign.

To this day, I can't explain why that campaign was as ugly as it was. In 15 years of campaigning across the state of Washington, I've never seen another campaign that could rival the Pike/McShane campaign in viciousness.

Tim Johnson, of the Cascadia Weekly had a theory that he posted in the Cascadia Weekly Gristle. He noted, that during the mayor's race, the Hannibal Lecters of the political world were recruited and turned lose during the Pike/McShane campaign.(Folks that the community had previously rejected and shunned for years, due to their past political behavior).

What was their mission? Well, from what I could tell, it appeared that they wanted to defame, bad mouth and destroy the McShanes. But they didn't stop with just the McShanes - they viciously attacked anyone who questioned Dan Pike's political behavior. Remember the Herald online comment sections?

Now, why would the former vice chair of the Republican Party (that's me) step forward to speak up on behalf of the McShanes?

I guess I'm one of those bloody idealists who believes that:

1) People have a right to disagree with me and work hard to convince elected policy makers to adopt legislation that I may not support.

2) A healthy political system requires the participation of a diverse group of stakeholders.

3) Good public policy does not come about through the "control of one party or the other" but through the practice of thoughtful, responsible compromise. In other words, the best legislation - is legislation that everyone can live with.

So, why did I support Dan McShane during the Mayor's race? First, he had the experience and people skills to do the job. I also knew that he had what it takes to build civic capacity. What is civic capacity? The ability to build solid, cooperative, working relationships with other elected officials and governments.

McShane acquired those skills while serving on the County Council. In today's political world, the ability to form cooperative working relationships with the representatives of other governments and non-government organizations is essential if a community wants to apply for grants or craft solutions for multiple jurisdictional problems. (Dan is also fiscally conservative).

Do I "dislike" Dan Pike? No. But he has not "wowed" me with his administrative skills either.

I do not trust some of the people Mayor Pike has surrounded himself with - they have a history - and it does not include the practice of building strong communities.

Some of them are bullies who enjoy using intimidation to frighten people from voicing their opinion, posting comments in the Herald, or filing PDC complaints.

I'm also disappointed to learn that Dan Pike is having a difficult time forming solid working relationships with Whatcom County Executive, Pete Kremen and Port Director, Jim Darling. Being able to work closely with other elected and appointed officials is critical if the city wants to reduce phosphorus loading in Lake Whatcom and revitalize the former G.P. brownfield site.

Both Pete and Jim have considerable political experience that Mayor Pike could benefit from.

Maybe, as Dan Pike matures politically, he will become a mayor that I can trust and support.

That would certainly be a nice development.


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