Evan Smith: Why is Shoreline Prop. 1 passing after overwhelming LFP defeat?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

By Evan Smith
ShorelineAreaNews Politics Writer

Lake Forest Park City Councilwoman Sandy Koppenol raised an interesting question Thursday: Why does Shoreline’s levy-lid lift seem to be passing easily, just 11 weeks after a similar proposal lost by a 78 percent to 22 percent margin.

I don’t have an answer. Both propositions had opposition from similar groups — conservative anti-tax groups and liberal Democratic organizations.

If anyone has an idea send it along.

On the fourth day of ballot counting, the “yes” votes on Shoreline Proposition 1 went above 55 percent for the first time.

The voter turnout as of Friday afternoon was nearly 55 percent, compared to an expected final turnout of 70 percent. Ballots counted include ballots that arrived at the County elections office by Wednesday and all votes from accessible voting machines in the Bellevue, Seattle and Tukwilla.

King County will update the vote count at 4:30 p.m. Monday.

Vote Count as of Friday afternoon:


Ballots Cast/Registered Voters:    18,092 / 32,983      54.85%

Proposition No. 1 Basic Public Safety, Parks and Recreation, and Community Services Maintenance and Operations Levy
Total Votes 
Total Ballots
Voter Turnout




Anonymous,  November 8, 2010 at 8:05 AM  

Of course no one really knows for sure why this would be the case, but here are a few ideas.

Lake Forest Park was asking for a larger increase than was Shoreline. I believe the Lake Forest Park Council's request was 150% of that being requested by Shoreline.

Secondly, the opposition in Lake Forest Park organized early and well and had large number of volunteers from all political persuasions, all age groups and income levels, and all areas of the City. Sufficient funds were raised from the community to mount an effective campaign, including several mailings to voters and an informative website. Additionally, 10 former councilmembers publicly opposed Proposition 1 in Lake Forest Park.

Residents seemed to be taken aback when learning that about 1/3 of city staff, in a small city of about 13,000, were being compensated more than $100,000 annually. They were unwilling to allow the city a 38.6% levy rate increase in year 1, with no caps to CPI increases in years 2-6.

Just some thoughts that Ms. Koppenol should have recognized...

Anonymous,  November 8, 2010 at 9:12 AM  

Maybe it's because the citizens that voted "yes" on Shoreline's prop 1 recognized that the City of Shoreline has been providing important services at an excellent value for 15 years.

Maybe it's because the citizens that voted "yes" in Shoreline realized that there was no where "extra" to cut and if it didn't pass it was services that they valued that would go away. Not just faceless jobs.

Maybe it's because the citizens in Shoreline paid better attention to what was really at stake.

Maybe it's because the citizens of Shoreline are better educated about local government and what it does.

Maybe it's because the citizens of Shoreline recognized the City really is trying to the best it can for them on every level.

I think those are some pretty good and plausible reasons.

Anonymous,  November 9, 2010 at 6:44 AM  

The 15 people who voted to oppose the measure at a meeting of the 32nd Legislative District Democrats do not represent the values of most Democrats or most residents of Shoreline. Some don't even live here. The negative campaign was led by a politician who ran for Shoreline City Council but got less than 25% of the vote. Failed candidates for city council seats in Edmonds and Lake Forest Park also spoke against it. The people and organizations who opposed Proposition 1 are the same ones who fought against improving Aurora and many of the other great steps our city has taken. They are out of touch with the vision for our city that was updated last year based on extensive input from hundreds of citizens.

In the midst of the worst economic downturn in a century, when voters oppose almost all taxes and distrust almost all government officials, the people of the City of Shoreline reaffirmed what we said 15 years ago when we formed the city. We value high quality, efficient local government. We want to keep our taxes low. We also want to preserve the things that make Shoreline one of the best places to live.

Right now, the city is doing a good job and is going in the right direction. The city continues to cut costs and find more efficient ways to serve the public. The approval of Proposition 1 by a wide margin in the midst of an anti-tax, anti-government year shows that we appreciate it.

Anonymous,  November 9, 2010 at 11:39 AM  

My observation is that the City sponsored surveys stated that 95% approve of how the city runs Shoreline. The results of the election show that less than 60% actually run Shoreline.

And what remains to be seen is if the City staff is punished for violations of State law for running the Support Shoreline political action committee.

Anonymous,  November 9, 2010 at 11:53 AM  

I doubt that there will be any "punishment" since City staff did not run the Support Shoreline committee. They did participate but there is nothing against the law with political participation of public employees on their own time.

Ah, democracy. Everyone gets to participate.

Anonymous,  November 9, 2010 at 12:29 PM  

Perhaps it's because the City waited until the last moment to put the levy on the ballot to give the opposition campaign very little time to organize while City staff was helping to fund and organize the 'yes' campaign weeks before the City Council vote.

Anonymous,  November 9, 2010 at 12:46 PM  

Those who think it was a "last minute" addition have been asleep. The city has been talking about this at neighborhood meetings and other events for many, many months. You just need to pay attention. It may be that voters actually did the math and realized what a good deal we have. The No campaign touted the fact that we had the highest TOTAL tax rate of 5 local cities. Take a look at the city portion of that and we were nowhere near the top. Then look at the assessed value of the median home in each city and you learn that the median Shoreline homeowner paid the LEAST of all 5 cities. If you want to be a born-again fiscal conservative, learn to do the math.

Anonymous,  November 9, 2010 at 4:06 PM  

And what makes you think the city staff did all the work on their own time?

There is more to the RCW than just use of personal time.

Anonymous,  November 9, 2010 at 6:36 PM  

And what makes you think that they didn't do it on their own time?

Anonymous,  November 9, 2010 at 10:45 PM  

Do you know which RCW to look up?

Didn't think so.

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