Running for difference

Walla Walla has a City Council. This I knew before we moved here. The Mayor position is filled on a rotating basis with someone from the Council, voted on by members of the Council themselves. So the good citizens of Walla Walla don’t directly vote for a mayor. Representative government at its best?

Possibly not. I received my ballot in the mail on Friday, which I still find unsettling as a process, this whole vote by mail thing, and looked at what was on it. The Referendum 71, to keep or ditch domestic partner benefits for Washington State, and the Initiative 1033, to gut funding for programming from libraries to nursing homes, I already knew about. There are signs all over for the state representative job, so I knew I’d see that on the ballot. I’d heard a peep about the two men running for the commissioner of the Port of Walla Walla, but not much, and I’d heard absolutely nothing about the three people running unopposed for the open slots on the Council. Unopposed. All three of them.

What was this about? Were they all shoo-ins? Or did no one care who sat on the Council?

I ran to the Internet—okay, I didn’t run, seeing as my laptop was a few feet away—and looked up information on the races. Well, when I say “looked up,” I typed in a few keywords (namely, walla walla election city council 2009), and then voila, I got bupkus. Maybe on page 2. Nope. One article on the contested Port Commissioner job, and nothing else. Apparently “Walla Walla” is a link at the bottom of many pages on Washington State politics, skewing my results. Three pages into my search I gave up.

On the Walla Walla city Web site it lists the current members, and with five minutes more of digging, I found the name of the mayor, Dominic Elia. Sheesh, no need to put your names out there, folks, you’re only running the city.

So where were these people who were campaigning for positions 1, 2, and 3? What were their ideas about making the city a great place to live and work? Where did they think we need improvement? How are they prepared to handle the tax revenue issues in these difficult times? And my biggest question of all:

Why didn’t you jackasses move the snow off the streets last year?

Feeling frustrated and fanciful after inking in oval after oval on my ballot, I wrote in my own name on Position 3. Too bad for you, Daniel Johnson, who I’m sure will be elected anyway. I sealed up the envelope, avoiding the paper cut of last year, and put my poll tax—I mean, stamp—on the front.

Later that day, a friend who’d just lost her grandmother came over for some apple crisp and tea. As we were chatting, I mentioned I’d audaciously written myself in to the council, figuring I’d be right down there with Mickey Mouse and Yoda. Her reaction surprised me.

“I’m voting for you!”

“Oh, really, you don’t need to do that,” I said, waving my hands in front of me like they’d save me against her 18-wheeler of a response.

“No, I’m writing you in, and I’m telling all my friends to do it, too!”

Oh my God. How . . . how, fantastic. I mean, there’s no way I could win, what with 30,000 registered voters in the county and me knowing exactly 138 people here. So they would be throwing away a vote for one seat in an unopposed race. Low stakes. So why not tell her to shout from the Blue Mountain range if she wanted to?

I’m up to 12 votes at this point, and kind of tickled pink. Maybe I should have a motto, but everything I come up with seems to have a serious drawback:

Vote for Everett Maroon, Because Maroon Means Mayor in Arabic

Because Someone on the Council Should Be Able to Rock a Bejeweled Blitz Game

Putting Walla Walla’s Nondriscrimination Clause to Work!

He’s Even Named After a City in Washington

Because Who Cares, Really?

I may even take a picture of myself mailing in my ballot.

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3 Comments on “Running for difference”

  1. Todd Nothstein
    October 19, 2009 at 7:52 pm #

    Well, Ev, I hope this doesn’t torpedo your campaign, but I think your frustration is that you’re not in Kansas anymore, or actually you kind of are. You’re out there in a place that is clearly not the northeast. Clearly. Do you need a sponsor? Can I save your life for the price of a cup of coffe a day?

  2. Kevin M. Kelly
    October 19, 2009 at 8:07 pm #

    Absolutely delicious. I hope you win a seat. I only wish I were a Walla Walla resident so I could write you in as well.


  1. Octogate and the space between here and there | Trans/plant/portation - October 18, 2010

    […] The process by which Walla Wallans elect people to the City Council itself, which in the last election cycle, had no opposing candidates, so it was either these folks or nobody (or me) […]

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