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Julie Anderson for Pierce County auditor

Post by Patrick O'Callahan on Oct. 19, 2009 at 8:07 pm with 10 Comments »
December 22, 2009 2:26 pm

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

A funny thing happened to the Pierce County auditor’s office in the two years since citizens voted to make it nonpartisan: It seems to have become more partisan than ever.

Its current occupant, Jan Shabro, was appointed by the Republican majority on the County Council early this year after former Auditor Pat McCarthy was elected county executive.

In appointing Shabro, the council rebuffed the Democratic Party’s nominees – which included Shabro’s chief challenger, staunch Democrat Julie Anderson. The contest this year looks as partisan as any in the past.

Perhaps it’s understandable that the Republicans and Democrats want to keep their stamp on the office. The auditor gets to print her name on every ballot sent out, which is a nice way to pick up name familiarity. That makes the position a good springboard to higher office, as McCarthy’s election demonstrated.

Still, the county’s chief elections officer ought to be more than nominally nonpartisan, if only to avoid the perception (inaccurate so far) that a particular party has its thumb on the scale when the ballots are counted. Running elections is pure administrative work, as are licensing, animal-control and the other responsibilities of the office. There’s no liberal or conservative way to chase pit bulls.

Looking at this choice in terms of administrative experience, we think Anderson has the advantage.

A former lawmaker and County Council member, Shabro has impressive credentials as a legislator. Anderson – a member of the Tacoma City Council – has worked as an administrator in state government and as a director of nonprofit organizations. She has displayed a formidable attention to detail that would serve her well as auditor.

The third candidate in the race, Will Baker, deserves special mention. He’s been arrested many times for disrupting public meetings, and he’s been convicted of disorderly conduct.

He’s made a hobby of running for office, and we would ordinarily regard his candidacy as a joke. Under ranked-choice voting, however, he could conceivably win if he garners enough second-choice votes. Not all diehard Republicans and Democrats are aware of Baker’s past, and some might choose him over the better known candidate from the other party. When he ran for state auditor as a Republican in 2004, he won a dismaying one-third of the total vote.

Another perennial candidate with no apparent qualifications, Dale Washam, managed to get himself elected assessor-treasurer on an RCV ballot last year. The assessor-treasurer’s office is now in predictable disarray. Let’s not repeat the mistake with a candidate who, unlike Washam, actually has a criminal record.

Leave a comment Comments → 10
  1. tree_guy says:

    Has she finished serving her term on the Tacoma City Council?

  2. Your concern about Will Baker isn’t really warranted. The only way he’s in danger of getting elected is if he also somehow managed to get more first choice votes than either Shabro or Anderson – a laughably impossible situation. Otherwise a good piece.

  3. Yay Julie!

    We need a referee who will be as tough on both sides and who will call it as she sees it.

  4. Received my ballot in the mail today…on the return envelop address it reads:
    Seeing this made up my mind–I voted for Anderson!!!

  5. Julie Anderson has committed to NOT using her office to further her own political ambitions like the Current Occupant has one so shamelessly. I have always been impressed by Julie’s knowledge, attention to detail, and intelligence. Even if her opponents weren’t both complete self-parodies, wholly unworthy of even a cursory second glance, I would be supporting Julie Anderson for Auditor.

  6. Anyone coming off the Tacoma City Council is automatically suspect with me. Not because of any partisan outlook. But due to the total lack of meaningful leadership and follow through in their governance of Tacoma.

  7. ClownPosse says:

    “Julie Anderson has committed to NOT using her office to further her own political ” Andrew Bacon !

    Go ahead, Pierce County !

    Elect this piece-of-work !

    This will be the next office under investigation for its severe ethical lapses !

  8. PrivateCitizen says:

    The editorial board continues to bungle their endorsements. Bringing RCV into the auditors race endorsement weakens what would otherwise appear to be a sound endorsement of a good candidate.

    Just two day before, the editorial board advised the community to vote no on charter amendment 3 (in order to retain ranked choice voting), but now they are trying to warn the community to be on the lookout for an unqualified candidate with a criminal record who might just get elected as auditor because of the use of ranked choice voting. They point out what they claim is a potential severe consequence of the RCV system (that they think we should keep) while taking another potshot at the assessor-treasurer who was elected via the ranked choice voting fiasco. They ask the public not to repeat that mistake, but at the same time they want to keep the flawed system that produced it.

  9. The Trib got this one right for the right reasons. While no candidate for “non-partisan” office will lack all partisanship, Julie Anderson has shown on the Tacoma City Council (a non-partisan office) that she can work with people of all persuasions for the common good. Her opponent is one of our county’s many recycled partisan politicians: from County Council to legislature and now appointed Auditor by her friends on the County Council. Change is in the air.

  10. ClownPosse says:

    ” Change is in the air. ”

    Yes, it certainly is !

    The smell of days old sewage !

    “I’m not the last of the old bosses. I’m the first of the new leaders.”
    -Mayor Richard J. Daley”

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