Saturday, June 27, 2009

Chris Vance at Can we talk about what the County really does?

I will repeat here what I said there:I agree with Chris Vance, Deb Eddy, and Ted Van Dyke.

This is a trifecta for me, and a first.
I am going to bookmark this page, and cherish this event, always.

Can I throw in the library system to the list?
Shoreline has a nice King County library, maybe King County's City of Shoreline should have the very nice library? Not the best example, I know.

As more is annexed then maybe the county structures should go with it, where possible?

The King County Executive race is highly competitive, but the candidates keep talking about issues where the county has little influence. Here's a plea to address the topics where the county matters, such as law enforcement.

. . .
Which leads us to the services King County actually does govern and provide: solid waste, public health, regional parks, sewers, buses, records and elections, and, most importantly, criminal justice. Simply put, King County’s budget is roughly $5 billion, but of that, 87 percent is dedicated to specific services and programs, such as the road fund, and Metro transit and sewer service. Buses and sewers are vital, but there really aren’t a lot of policy issues to debate when it comes these core municipal services.

This leaves between $600 and $700 million in the General Fund for politicians to argue over. Of that, 73 percent currently goes to police, jails, prosecutors, juvenile justice, public defenders, and courts. These are the services King County truly governs, and this is where the real debate lies.

There are plenty of issues to debate regarding public safety. Last year the county laid off prosecutors and Sheriff’s deputies, and consequently stopped charging some crimes as felonies . We continue arguing about building a new jail, and we continue to expand the use of work release and electronic home monitoring. In addition there is the debate over whether King County should make reductions in public safety or in the valuable but entirely discretionary health and human services programs which compete for General Fund dollars. Law and justice is where the vast majority of the county’s discretionary budget goes and is the primary service it provides to the region, yet none of the candidates for Executive has a section of their web page devoted to these issues, and none is making crime and public safety the focus of a campaign.

Mr. Vance makes other interesting points, and uses Susan Hutchinson as an example. Please read the full story at
Can we talk about what the County really does?