No surprises at Chamber candidates forum as office seekers stay close to party lines

1233
4
- Carolyn Eslick (R) is challenging John Lovick (D) for Snohomish County Executive.  Lovick is running for the first time.  He was appointed to the position following the resignation of Aaron Reardon last June.
– Carolyn Eslick (R) is challenging John Lovick (D) for Snohomish County Executive. Lovick is running for the first time. He was appointed to the position following the resignation of Aaron Reardon last June.

Updated to attribute quote on ferry funding to candidate Alllen McPheeters.

Candidates for federal, state and local office in the upcoming elections met on Monday night in the Edmonds City Council Chambers to participate in a candidate’s forum sponsored by the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce.

Present were US 7th District Congressional Rep. Jim McDermott (D) and challenger Craig Keller, and Snohomish County Executive John Lovick and opponent Carolyn Eslick.

From left, 21st District candidates Dan Matthews (R), Marko Liias (D), Allen McPheeters (R), Strom Peterson (D), Jeff Scherrer (R) and Lillian Ortiz-Self (D).
From left, 21st District candidates Dan Matthews (R), Marko Liias (D), Allen McPheeters (R), Strom Peterson (D), Jeff Scherrer (R) and Lillian Ortiz-Self (D).

Also attending were Washington 21st District Senate opponents Dan Matthews (R) and incumbent Marko Liias (D); and candidates for the State House of Representatives Position 1 Allen McPheeters (R) and Strom Peterson (D), and Position 2 Jeff Scherrer (R) and Lillian Ortiz-Self (D).

From left, 32nd District candidates Maralyn Chase (D), Robert Reedy (R), Cindy Ryu (D), Alvin Rutledge (R) and Ruth Kagi (D).
From left, 32nd District candidates Maralyn Chase (D), Robert Reedy (R), Cindy Ryu (D), Alvin Rutledge (R) and Ruth Kagi (D).

The 32nd District was also represented, with incumbent State Senator Maralyn Chase (D) and her opponent Robert Reedy (R); State House of Representatives Position 1 incumbent Cindy Ryu, and Position 2 Representative Ruth Kagi (D) and challenger Alvin Rutledge (R).

Candidates mostly stuck close to party lines, with Republicans coming out for cutting taxes and spending, opposing the $15 minimum wage, and promoting education by easing up on regulations requiring teachers to do things other than teach. Democrats favored raising the minimum wage, and finding new sources of revenue to fund education, transportation and other critical needs.

Questions to the County Executive candidates included one on the issue of prisons and the fact that many mentally ill persons are simply incarcerated rather than treated. Incumbent Lovick sees the solution in new programs and facilities targeted to the mentally ill, while challenger Eslick advocates privatizing this function by turning it over to new for-profit mental hospitals

Democratics Kagi and Ortiz-Self, both strong proponents of education, pledged to work to implement the state mandate to fully fund education, advocating creative solutions to increase funding for meeting this constitutional responsibility. By contrast, Republican candidates support cutting costs and raising efficiency in education by stopping state interference in the educational process, and letting teachers teach without the burden of undue regulation.

Senator Chase said she deplored the state tax system, calling it the most regressive in the nation and our business and occupation tax “deplorable.” She reiterated her commitment to tax reform, and continues to believe that a graduated income tax would be a significant improvement over the present system.

When asked about how to fund the ferry system, Allen McPheeters (R) came out in favor of raising fares to make the system self-supporting, while Democrat Strom Peterson disagreed, arguing that the ferry system is an integral part of the state transportation system. Just as we don’t expect freeways to pay for themselves, we should not put the same burden on the ferry system, Peterson said.

Despite their differences, all candidates did agree on one thing: They strongly urged voters to cast their ballots by Election Day, Nov. 4.

For those unable to attend, the Candidates Forum will be available for viewing online at www.edmondswa.com.

— Story and photos by Larry Vogel

 

 

4 Replies to “No surprises at Chamber candidates forum as office seekers stay close to party lines”

    1. Thanks for noticing that, Tom. The 21st district photo was accidentally omitted during editing but I just added it back.

      Ignored

  1. Dear Mr. Vogel,

    I’d like once again to thank you and My Edmonds News for your coverage of these events. It’s a vital source of information for voters to learn about the candidates.

    I would like to point out a small correction, and give some background information.

    In your story, you wrote, “When asked about how to fund the ferry system, Dan Matthews (R) came out in favor of raising fares to make the system self-supporting…” Actually, I’m the one who made that suggestion.

    Now here’s the background data.

    The Executive Summary of the Department of Transportation’s (WSDOT) 2015-17 Budget Request says, “The four primary transportation accounts that support WSDOT expenditures are projected to have an aggregate 2015-17 deficit of approximately $72 million…” Looking further, at the Operating Budget, WSDOT is requesting $498M in operating funds for our ferry system. The revenue forecast for the ferries is about $356M (according to the Transportation Revenue Forecast Council’s February 2014 report). That means a deficit of approximately $142M — nearly double the amount of the hole in the transportation accounts.

    In November 2000, the Blue Ribbon Commission on Transportation issued its Final Recommendations to the Governor and Legislature. Among these recommendations was “Seek to achieve a 20-year goal of 90% to 100% farebox recovery [of operational costs].” In 2000, farebox recovery was 64.8% (according to a WSDOT report issued in 2010). When the head of Washington State Ferries (WSF), David Moseley, retired earlier this year, he proudly claimed WSF had a farebox recovery rate of about 70%. In fourteen years, farebox recovery has made little progress toward the Commission’s recommended goal. But if we could close the half of the farebox recovery gap — increasing it to 85%, we would close the $72M hole.

    That comparison report also says, “a 2008 survey of 13,000 riders found rates to be relatively elastic, with ferry ridership estimated to decrease just 4% if a 10% rate increase were imposed in the future, further implying that non-discretionary trips were less price-sensitive than discretionary trips.”

    We need not impose large fare increases across the system. The Edmonds-Kingston route is pretty close to self-sustaining. According to WSF’s route statements, that route recovered 95.5% of costs at the farebox in 2012, and had an overall revenue recovery ratio of 97.0%. In 2004, this route had farebox recovery of 120.4% — it was subsidizing other parts of the system. The Mukilteo-Clinton route also does pretty well, with 88.3% farebox recovery.

    On the other hand, the Port Townsend-Coupeville route has long been the most subsidized route in the system, with farebox recovery in 2012 of only 39.3%. That route has much higher utilization — WSF recommends you make reservations — so why are we subsidizing 60% of it’s costs?

    Thanks again for all you do,
    Allen McPheeters,
    Candidate for State Representative, 21st District, Position 1

    Links for this information:
    WSDOT’s 2015-17 Budget Request Executive Summary: https://1.usa.gov/Zs0ym3
    $72M deficit information is on page 2. Operating Budget chart is on page 6.
    Transportation Revenue Forecast Council’s February 2014 report: https://1.usa.gov/1s9DUKO
    $356M revenue estimate is on page 38.
    Blue Ribbon Commission Final Recommendations: https://1.usa.gov/1yK9Rhj
    Raising farebox recovery is recommendation 16.
    2010 WSDOT report comparising WSF to other ferry systems: https://1.usa.gov/1tw3Kow
    See Table 4.5 for the farebox recovery data; the quote about rate elasticity is below the table.
    WSF Route Statements for FY2012: https://1.usa.gov/1rUsWXZ

    Ignored

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *