Evan Smith: Kagi gets top Municipal League rating

Sunday, July 25, 2010

By Evan Smith
ShorelineAreaNews Politics Writer

Incumbent Democratic State Rep. Ruth Kagi has won an “Outstanding” rating from the Municipal League of King County. Kagi is the only one of the nine 32nd Legislative District candidates on the primary-election ballot to get the League’s highest rating.

The League announced its ratings of legislative, judicial, municipal and county candidates in contested races a few days ago. The League rated candidates as “Outstanding,” “Very Good,” “Good,” “Adequate” or “Not Qualified,” using four criteria: Involvement, effectiveness, character and knowledge. The League uses questionnaires, interviews with the candidates and information from references to determine its ratings.

The League lists the ratings without comment or explanation.

Municipal League Co-Chair Gabe Meyer told me Friday that voters should use the League ratings as only one tool in evaluating candidates. He said that he has often voted for candidates with lower ratings than their opponents because of the candidates' stand on issues. He said that the League had neither a liberal nor a conservative bias, but, rather, a “bias for competence.”

Kagi, who is running for a seventh two-year term in 32nd District representative position 2, has two opponents in the August primary: Republican Gary Gagliardi, who won an “Adequate” rating, and Stan Lippmann, running as a Democrat, who was rated “Not Qualified.“

In the State Senate race to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Darlene Fairley, Republican David Baker and Democrat Patty Butler both won “Very Good” ratings, and Democrat Maralyn Chase got a “Good” rating.

In the contest to replace Chase in representative position 1, Democrat Cindy Ryu was rated “Very Good,” Republican Art Coday won a “Good” rating, and Democrat Doris McConnell had an “Adequate“ rating. Ryu’s ratings continued on a roller-coaster ride. The League had rated her “Very Good” in a losing bid for Shoreline City Council in 2003, “Outstanding” when she won election to the Council in 2005 and “Adequate” when she lost a re-election bid in 2009. Neither Coday nor McConnell has a record of past League ratings. When McConnell won election to the Shoreline Council in 2007, the League didn’t rate Shoreline candidates.

In the Senate race, Chase got the same “Good” rating she had in re-election bids to the State House of Representatives in 2006 and 2008. She had a “Very Good” rating in 2002 and was unrated when she ran unopposed in 2004, Baker’s “Very Good” rating was a step up from the “Good” rating he had when he challenged Fairley for the Senate seat in 2006. Butler’s “Very Good” rating also was a step up from the “Good” ratings she had when she ran successfully for the State House in 1996 and unsuccessfully for re-election in 1998.

For Kagi, this is the fourth time that the League has given her an “Outstanding” rating. She twice got” Very Good” ratings, and once was not rated when she ran unopposed.

In the one contested election for a position on the Shoreline District Court. a contest that will be on the general-election ballot but not the primary ballot, the League gave an "Outstanding" rating to appointed incumbent Marcine Anderson and a "Very Good" rating to challenger Dennis J. McCurdy.


Anonymous,  July 25, 2010 at 7:23 AM  

Evan Smith obviously does not read the candidate questionnaires. Patty Butler responded on her Muni League questionnaire that she was a State Representative from 2007-2009 and last ran for office in 2008. This ten year discrepancy does not account for the fact she lost this seat to Carolyn Edmonds.

After being notified of this discrepancy, the Muni League has made Patty Butler's questionnaire unavailable. Evidently Evan Smith can't be bothered to carefully read the response to the questionnaires, what kind of political reporter is he?

Anonymous,  July 25, 2010 at 7:28 AM  

What about the Muni League withdrawal of Ron Hansen's rating last Fall? They rated him as outstanding, but they failed to do their homework and after being informed that Ron Hansen's CPA license had been revoked by the Washington State Board of Accountantcy, the Muni League revoked it.

So much for the credibility of the Muni League and Evan Smith since he is fully aware of this withdrawal.

Evan Smith,  July 27, 2010 at 6:23 PM  

When I talked to the Municipal League chairman, I asked him about the League's withdrawal of Ron Hansen's "Very good" rating last year. He told me that, when the Muni League heard that there might be information that the League hadn't considered, it just declared him "unrated," a designation that shouldn't be either a positive or a negative.
I also asked about Cindy Ryu's being rated two levels higher than she was in the Council election last year. The League chairman said that Ryu seemed to have improved
My impressing is that "outstanding" and "not qualified" ratings mean a lot more than the three in between.

Anonymous,  July 27, 2010 at 11:13 PM  

Ah, the case of Ron Hansen is not the issue of "unrated" being a quality of negative or positive.

It is a case based on: the Muni League failed to perform adequate research on Hansen's previously suspended, subsequently revoked CPA license - that is the first problem. The second issue with this case is their retraction of their rating, falling from "very good" to unrated.

And Mr. Smith, if you truly believe that ratings in the middle three do not mean that much, then why remark at all about Ryu's roller coaster ratings? Were you aware that she was unable to meet with the Muni League for their rigidly scheduled interviews last year because of her duties as Mayor?

Anonymous,  July 29, 2010 at 4:30 AM  

I went back and fact-checked Ron Hansen's rating at the Muni League. They did NOT change it to "unrated." It was changed to "rating retracted."

Words do matter, unrated is NOT the same as rating retracted.

Reporters as journalists are supposed to fact check statements made by those they interview, the Shoreline Area News is proving itself to be the same slanted rag that the Enterprise was.

Evan Smith,  July 29, 2010 at 5:47 PM  

Regarding Patty Butler:
• The Municipal League co-chairman told me this afternoon that he didn't know why her questionnaire is no longer available, but he promised to check.
• He said that her saying 2007-09 instead of 1997-99 would not be a disqualifying misstatement.

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