Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What to Make of Susan Hutchison for King County Executive

Over in King County conservative Susan Hutchison is running for county executive against Dow Constantine. The first thing that brought Ms. Hutchison to my attention was that she is a former board member of that wonderful pseudo-scientific organization...the Discovery Institute. Obviously this immediately caused my blood pressure to immediately shoot through the roof. Let's take a closer look into what she's about.

She pretty much side steps any questions about her time at DI or her views of intelligent design. For instance when asked (from The Seattle Times) her views on intelligent design, she said "I support academic freedom". That seems like thinly veiled support of the "teach kids both and let them decide" strategy. Other than that she's pretty quiet about ID.

I emailed Natasha Jones, Deputy Communications Director for King County, to ask her about an executives powers. Here's what she had to say

Hi Mr. Myers – The executive powers do not include any say in county schools or educational institutes, although most executives are acquainted with local educational leaders and may collaborate on partnership activities, such as a recent effort involving King County, healthcare providers and schools to get dental care for eligible students whose parents are uninsured. Also, some county departments may work closely with school officials to coordinate special educational programs for students and efforts like Public Health programs or notifications.

The official powers are spelled out in the county charter, available here in PDF form and in a searchable format here:

It’s a little challenging to navigate, so I’ve pulled out the appropriate sections below. To find it yourself, search for section “320.20” which lists executive powers and duties.

Let me know if I can provide any additional information or if you have any questions.

Natasha Jones

Deputy Communications Director
Office of King County Executive Kurt Triplett

Seattle, WA 98104





Section 310 Composition and Powers.

The executive branch shall be composed of the county executive, the county administrative officer, the county assessor, the officers and employees of administrative offices and executive departments established by this charter or created by the county council and the members of the boards and commissions, except the forecast council and office of economic and financial analysis, the board of appeals and the personnel board. The executive branch shall have all executive powers of the county under this charter. (Ord. 16207 § 1, 2008).

Section 320 County Executive.

320.10 Election, Term of Office and Compensation.

The county executive shall be nominated and elected by the voters of the county, and his term of office shall be four years and until his successor is elected and qualified. The county executive shall receive compensation at least one and one-half times the compensation paid to a councilman.

(King County 12-2008)

320.20 - 340.10 CHARTER

320.20 Powers and Duties.

The county executive shall be the chief executive officer of the county and shall have all the executive powers of the county which are not expressly vested in other specific elective officers by this charter; shall supervise all administrative offices and executive departments established by this charter or created by the county council; shall be the chief peace officer of the county and shall execute and enforce all ordinances and state statutes within the county; shall serve on all boards and commissions on which a county commissioner was required to serve prior to the adoption of this charter, but if more than one county commissioner was required to serve, the county council shall appoint a councilman or councilmen to serve on the board or commission with him; shall present to the county council an annual statement of the financial and governmental affairs of the county and any other report which he may deem necessary; shall prepare and present to the county council budgets and a budget message setting forth the programs which he proposes for the county during the next fiscal year; shall prepare and present to the county council comprehensive plans including capital improvement plans for the present and future development of the county; shall have the power to veto any ordinance adopted by the county council except as otherwise provided in this charter; shall have the power to assign duties to administrative offices and executive departments which are not specifically assigned by this charter or by ordinance; and shall sign, or cause to be signed, on behalf of the county all deeds, contracts and other instruments. The specific statement of particular executive powers shall not be construed as limiting the executive powers of the county executive.

So at least Ms. Hutchison won't have a say in curriculum if she is elected.

One good thing to say for her is that she supports R-71 (the domestic partnership law). Although homophobe Larry Stickney (the idiot running Protect Marriage Washington) said (according to The Seattle Times) "I think in her heart of hearts she is really with us".

I'll email her and see if she'll say one way or another where she stands on intelligent design/creationism in the classroom, she always side steps the question so I don't expect anything.

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