Opinion

We don’t need Seaquist to improve democracy

At a campaign forum last year in Silverdale, state Rep. Larry Seaquist (D-Gig Harbor), in the midst of congratulating himself for having unsuccessfully opposed the Legislature’s vote that spring to suspend Initiative 960, made a curiously contradictory observation.

On the subject of ballot initiatives in general, Seaquist noted that he didn’t want Washington to go the way of California — which, he insisted, would be a pretty well-managed state if not for all the unnecessary ballot measures with which its lawmakers had to contend.

Given that the Golden State finds itself teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, thanks to the fiscal irresponsibility of its Democrat-dominated Assembly, one assumes a few voter-sponsored initiatives to limit spending might be just what the doctor ordered in Sacramento.

Just don’t count on Seaquist agreeing.

In fact, the 26th District representative inserted foot firmly in mouth once again this spring when he defended the Washington State Legislature’s most recent vote to gut Initiative 1053, which had reimposed the two-thirds majority requirement to raise taxes that was central to I-960.

Seaquist’s aversion this time around was to the propostition that if a supermajority were needed to raise taxes and fees, by definition those increases could only be approved by elected representatives, not appointed bureaucrats.

Specifically, such a standard would allow the voters to hold lawmakers like Seaquist, rather than the faceless Department of Transportation, accountable when tolls on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge or fares on Washington State Ferries go up.

But accountability apparently offends Seaquist, who last month described passing the buck to bureaucrats as “better democracy.”

Here’s hoping the next time Seaquist’s name appears on a ballot — assuming it ever does — he finds himself on the receiving end of some good, old-fashioned democracy administered by the voters whose wisdom he apparently holds in such contempt.

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