PARRISH, from Page 4
I-90”; that he isn’t even sure how it is going to work (perhaps he should ask someone?); that he doesn’t understand “fixed rail on a floating bridge” (ditto); that he believes uninformed voters were duped by Greg Nichols in 1998 over the first public vote on light-rail expansion to the Eastside; that "we [that is to say, Freeman and whoever's on his payroll that week] have lost the key battles ever since”; and that despite being a public official who, in theory, ought to be responsive to 14 years of consistent rejection of Freeman's positions by both courts and the voters, he isn't sure how light rail can be stopped, but he's willing to help to try to do it.
Now, this sort of extreme position — hostile to both voters and the laws that McKenna, as a two-term state attorney general, is supposedly committed to enforcing — doesn't make a whole lot of sense coming from someone not only running for high office, but doing so by trying to paint himself as far less extreme than he actually is.
But it does make sense if you remember that McKenna, before he was attorney general, served for nine years on the Metropolitan King County Council representing Kemper Freeman's hometown of Bellevue.
And that Freeman has been a major financial and political patron of McKenna's throughout his career, including giving more than $6,000 in personal donations so far from Kemper and his wife for McKenna's statewide races alone.
Freeman knows McKenna is a reliable ally, because McKenna knows where his bread is buttered. Freeman has had his buddy Rob on speed-dial throughout McKenna's nearly 20 years in public office.
Sadly, this is increasingly the model for public office at every level, especially after Citizens United: Prospective elected officials have a huge advantage in their campaigns if they cozy up to the extremely wealthy.
For the bargain-conscious oligarch, buying someone like McKenna is a fabulous investment. For only a few thousand dollars, your company can get government contracts or relaxed regulations or enabling legislation worth far more.
Or, in Freeman's case, you can have a governor who's willing to act aggressively to enforce your pet obsession: Voter preference, court rulings and public benefits be damned.
GEOV PARRISH is cofounder of Eat the State! He also reviews news of the week on “Mind Over Matters” on KEXP 90.3 FM.