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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 5, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 40
Seattle Times goes off the rails
Section One
ALL STORIES
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Seattle Times goes off the rails

City's only remaining daily endorses anti-Gay bigot for Congress

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

In an editorial published October 3 that can only be described as bizarre, the Seattle Times endorsed longtime anti-Gay bigot John Koster in his race to fill the open seat in the First Congressional District.

Of course, it's not news that the conservative Times endorsed a Republican candidate for Congress, but Koster is no run-of-the-mill Republican. Even in a party that for decades has been moving inexorably to the right, Koster is on the far fringe.

'We disagree with Koster on social issues,' the editorial says, without saying how extreme his views on 'social issues' really are. Koster is not the 'practical conservative' the Times says he is. In fact, he has been known throughout his long political career for his truly wacky ultra-right views.

The Times itself noted in an October 2000 editorial that Koster 'tries to turn his disgust for homosexuality and abortion into law.' Dating back to his years in the state legislature (1995-2001), Koster was a consistent enemy of LGBT rights.

CONSISTENT FOE OF EQUAL RIGHTS
When legal recognition for LGBT relationships became a political issue, Koster was an outspoken opponent.

'I didn't create the institution of marriage,' Koster told the Times in 2010, 'God did. If you think it should be changed, take it up with the author.'

When Koster decided to run against Democrat Rick Larsen for a congressional seat in 2000, his campaign manager was none other than Larry Stickney, one-time president of the Washington Values Alliance (WAVA), the author of Referendum 71, and campaign manager for Protect Marriage Washington in 2009.

The next year Stickney also managed Koster's winning campaign for the Snohomish County Council, after which he became Koster's legislative aide.

In that post, Stickney drafted Council Resolution 03-026, which Koster sponsored, supporting the City of Everett's controversial public monument to the Ten Commandments.

Stickney also helped draft a 2006 Koster amendment to the Snohomish County budget seeking to strike funding for a December holiday program because it included a performance by the Seattle Men's Chorus.

Stickney managed Koster's losing 2010 congressional campaign, and is campaign manager for Koster's effort this year as well.

ACROSS-THE-BOARD CRAZY
The LGBT community is not the only target of Koster's right-wing zeal, however. According to the Times - and conveniently ignored in the paper's endorsement - Koster received a $2,500 contribution from the Republican National Coalition for Life in April, because he 'opposes abortions under any circumstances, including incest and rape.'

Koster is also no friend of federal efforts to improve and equalize educational opportunity.

'You oughta abolish the Department of Education,' he told the Snohomish County Liberty Action Committee during his 2010 campaign for Congress.

Extreme anti-government views are nothing new for Koster. As a state representative, his claim to fame was his 'Freedom County' resolution - seeking to allow his hometown of Arlington to secede from Snohomish County and set up its own county government.

While Koster pitched 'Freedom County' as an anti-tax paradise, it was widely believed that it was intended as a haven for right-wing extremists.

Koster's opponent for the First District congressional seat is Democrat Suzan DelBene. A September 18 SurveyUSA poll showed them in a statistical dead heat, with Koster favored by 46% of the respondents and DelBene by 42%, with a 4.1-point margin of error.

The newly redistricted First Congressional District is considered more Republican than the old district formerly represented by Democrat Jay Inslee, who resigned from the seat to run for governor.

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