Joey Martinez Endorses Shaw, Challenges Edgar to Stop ‘Cheating’ Voters
After challenging Burien City Councilman Gordon Shaw in the Aug. 16 primary election, Joey Martinez told The B-Town Blog Saturday (Aug. 27) that he is endorsing Shaw for re-election.
Martinez finished third in the primary, with just over 16 percent of the vote. Shaw is second with 37.95 percent of the vote, and “non-candidate” Bob Edgar leads the race with 44.99 percent (read our coverage of Edgar’s unsuccessful attempt to drop out of the race here).
“I hope all my voters will vote for Gordon,” Martinez said of the incumbent lawmaker. “He’s the better of the two candidates” for City Council Position 4in the general election.
If, that is, this council race features two actual candidates for office – regardless of the fact that Edgar’s name will appear on the November ballot.
Only Edgar knows the answer, and so far he’s not talking.
He has not campaigned in public, and has not responded to repeated voice mail and e-mail requests for comment by The B-Town Blog. (His campaign e-mail address, however, was still online last week.)
Edgar filed for election in June and submitted his campaign statement for publication in the King County Elections Voters’ Guide, but then withdrew as a candidate – only after the legal deadline to withdraw had passed.
As a result, his name appeared on the primary ballot and now will go on the general election ballot. Should he win the election, even as a “non-candidate,” state officials say it then would be up to him whether to be seated on the council or to decline to be sworn in.
So while Martinez is pleased that he received over a thousand votes in his first run for local elective office, he is not a happy warrior about the way the campaign unfolded.
“Can’t Have It Both Ways”
“I feel cheated,” Martinez said. “One of my opponents was a phantom candidate. I feel like I was unable to campaign effectively. I was unable to campaign against him.”
Nor could Shaw really campaign against him after Edgar notified the state Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) and King County Elections that he was not running.
Edgar “didn’t campaign – as far as we know,” Martinez observed.
Although Edgar addressed the Burien City Council during public comment on several occasions, and wrote letters to the editor for posting, he had no campaign materials such as yard signs or fliers. So he was not required to file financial information with the PDC.
Another would-be candidate, Diana Holman, filed for Position 4 but withdrew prior to the statutory deadline for withdrawing from the race.
“I definitely think he’s playing games with the electoral process,” Martinez said. “I feel the voters who voted for me got cheated” because of his actions.
“I challenge him to either publicly state he is not running, or publicly campaign for the job. He can’t have it both ways. By continuing to hide he ultimately cheats the voters. It’s not fair to anyone, least of all the Burien voters.”
“There will be some people who will think I’m a sore loser,” Martinez continued. “It’s not that. It’s the principle, the electoral process.”
The issue is “a candidate who conveniently withdraws after the deadline to withdraw from filing, and after the deadline for submitting a candidate’s statement, but before the deadline for filing campaign financial information, and notifying only King County Elections and the PDC” that he is no longer a candidate.
After that, Martinez noted, Edgar kept “making public comments as a citizen but hides in the shadows as a candidate. This is playing games with the democratic process.”
Plans to Run Again
Despite the fog surrounding Edgar’s “phantom” candidacy, Martinez, 32, is glad he ran for elective office this year – and thinks he will run again for the Burien City Council.
Martinez came to the Seattle area at age 19 “to get away from California. I picked a place and moved up here. And I’m really glad I did. I met my wife here and now have two boys.
“I moved from Los Angeles as a boy and became a man in Burien,” he added.
He’s worked two years for the city of Seattle after nine years with the city of Auburn, and coaches the Burien Bearcats midget football team.
“I’ve always been interested in politics, and have wanted to give something back to the community, Martinez said. So when The B-Town Blog posted the notice for candidate filings and encouraged citizens to run for local office, he decided to take the leap (read that post here).
While another campaign is likely, “it will be a decision I make with my wife. I’ll run again unless she convinces me not to – or demands that I don’t run!”
In the meantime, Martinez “will look into what is required to serve on the commissions for the city of Burien. That will be the best way to learn to do the job as a city council member, so I will be applying for the appropriate vacancy.”
The next time he runs, Martinez hopes to involve more local Latinos in the political process – “and all would-be voters. There’s too much apathy. People get busy and just want to work and be left alone.”
Martinez said he “didn’t run to be for or against annexation, or for or against the SMP” (Shoreline Master Program) if the state Department of Ecology again sends it back to the city. “I ran to make Burien a better place to live for all of us.
“Initially I was against annexation for all of the perceived problems like the crime rate in White Center. But after doing my own research, it actually looks to be a better proposition for the city for a lot of reasons.”
He said if Burien stands by and allows Seattle to annex North Highline, “Seattle will continue the practices of the King County Housing Authority and overload that area and the Highline School District with low-income housing.”
It will be Burien taxpayers who end up paying the bill for Highline schools if that happens, Martinez warned.
On the other hand, “the crime rate between Burien and White Center is not statistically different,” despite what some opponents of annexation claim.
“I believe the numbers in the Berk report because they would not skew the numbers to please us. They won’t sell out their professional reputation to please [City Manager] Mike Martin.”