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Saturday, January 31, 2004

Dean at Town Hall

He was in Seattle today. I mention this partly because it's important but also because I have a question for y'all.

I'm going to go to the caucus for Wes Clark. If Clark doesn't get the 15% threshold (and that seems increasingly likely), I'll have to pick someone else. I don't know who I'd pick in that situation. So I'd like you to convince me your guy is right. I'm leaning toward Dean, but I like all the Dems. Who do you want me to pick, and why?



What's up with those DUI ads?

Half the google ads are something to do with a DUI attorney. Since the two people most likely to read it are me and Jerry and neither of us drink, this is probably not the most effective advertising. But if any boozehounds on this site drive along SR 22, there you go. Of course this post will probably just increase number of ads. But at least I'll know why now.



There's Something Wrong With Some People

Like Bill Young for example.

He figures the four-door gray sedan would be worth about $1,500 if Ridgway hadn't owned and driven it. In 1996, Young paid $5,000 for it.

So far, there are no legitimate bidders.

``I just came up with the figure,'' he said Friday of the price tag. ``It might sell. Someone might buy it because the previous owner was the notorious Gary Ridgway.''


That's right Gary Ridgway's car is being auctioned off on e-bay. And someone thought they could get $12,000 for an '89 Sable he owned once. The only person stupider than Bill Young is anybody who buys the car.



Those Wacky (and Racist) Republicans

I don't even understand Alex Deccio's remarks. I suppose that's a good thing. But honestly a wood pile?



Friday, January 30, 2004

Buh Bye Dunn

I somehow managed to resist saying Dunn is done. Or almost. Anyway, Dunn won't seek reelection.

Alex Alben will be in an even stronger position to pick up the seat. I thought he had a good shot before. If the Republicans have a bloody primary, look out.



Give Me IRV

The type of primary you want is largely a question of what type of outcome you want. If you want the parties weaker, you’ll oppose any registration, and would look at Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) and the Cajun primary. If you were concerned about shenanigans you would be more likely to view IRV and especially the Cajun primary with some suspicion. If you’re looking at simplicity, then the Montana primary or traditional party registration will get you most excited. So I realize that this may be futile but I’m going to try to convince you that IRV is the best primary system available.

In an IRV system, we would get a ballot that had all the candidates’ names in November. Instead of having only one circle it would have one less than the number of candidates. The voter would rank the candidates from their most to second least favorite. If their favorite candidate received the fewest votes, the second favorite candidate would be added to the pool of first choice votes for that candidate. And the process would continue until one person got more than 50% of the vote.

The two main reasons I support IRV are fairness and cost. Some people also like the fact it could limit the power of the parties. I’m not thrilled about that, but if it gets you going good for you. Also, the problems that some people have with it can be overcome rather easily.

So starting with the bad, the two main arguments against IRV are that it might invite cheating and that it is too complex. Because IRV could allow a winner who didn’t get the most votes in the first round, crooked computer programmers, or shifty ballot stuffers might have some cover. Things can be done to eliminate cheating. These include checking a random sample of precincts to make sure the calculations work. These should be done regardless of what type of primary we have.

Regardless of corruption, some people’s votes might not count because of other problems. In the 2000 presidential election, the Florida ballot was somewhat confusing and it probably threw the election. This is serious, but the main difference between Florida and what an IRV ballot will look like is that the butterfly ballot’s design punished stupid Gore voters, while letting stupid Bush voters off the hook. IRV would punish stupid Democrats the same as stupid Republicans.

No matter what party’s stupidest members get punished, the establishment of the parties aren’t going to like IRV. The main thrust of the lawsuit that overturned the old system was that the parties wanted more control of who their nominee is. Well if there is no nominee, the parties are going to be annoyed. This pleases a lot of Washingtonians, with our independent streak.

That independence and fairness makes for a compelling reason to put in place IRV. The system not only gives third parties a chance to compete, but it allows lesser-known members of major parties into the general election. Moderates could get through to the general, and supporters of firebrands wouldn’t have to worry about electability.

IRV is the only reasonable election system that has a general election, but not a primary. This will save loads of money. The ballots will only have to be printed once. Poll workers will only be paid once a year. This money can be used for schools, transit, or a lot of other things the state is cutting.

None of us know what the legislature will decide on. Aside from the Cajun primary there are good things about all the systems. But the cheap, party hurting, fair to the voters IRV is the best of them.



Monorail and Second

Its nice to see an article complaining about the monorail running down Second that has new phony concerns. The old ones were getting so tiresome.

They are worried that the monorail will be too close to the buildings. In fact it will be 6 1/2 to 8 feet away. The Seattle Center/Westlake monorail is pretty quiet when you're inside. Go eat lunch by the window in Westlake and see for your self. So with 40 years advance in monorail technology, the sound shouldn't be an issue.

Second concern is the view. I don't know where on the West end of Second there's a good view now. Other than the view of the Washington Mutual tower, it's just a view of some boring building or another. And this won't go above the 4th floor. We aren't talking about people with good views anyway. And of course the view from the monorail, especially facing West, will be spectacular.



Thursday, January 29, 2004

Worst. Boondoggle. Ever.

Since we're paying nearly half a billion dollars for it, you'd think Seahawks Stadium wouldn't leak. You'd be wrong.



Dear Exxon Mobil,

Just pay them. You screwed up. If you're going to hire drunkards to drive boats full of pollutants, you should be prepared to pay out some lawsuits.

Thanks,

Carl Ballard



South Carolina Debate

Listen live here



Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Teamsters Endorse Sims

According to his web site. This is a big one. And it's pretty early.



That's Expensive for no Trial

It cost $12.6 million to prosecute and defend Ridgway since he was captured in 2001.



I Applaud the Useless Effort

Washington state's proposed resolution, introduced yesterday, doesn't go as far as Virginia's — yet. As it's now written, it asks President Bush and the Congress to work with states to improve No Child Left Behind "to ensure successful nationwide implementation."

In particular, it asks for changes in the way schools are held accountable for the performance of students in special-education programs or those learning English as a second language.

Right now, if those students don't meet the same performance goals as all students, then schools fail to make what the law calls "adequate yearly progress."

The resolution also states Washington's preference to judge schools based on the improvements they make over time, saying that's more educationally sound than No Child Left Behind.


If the Bush administration or Congress act on this, I'll be mighty surprised.



Now Where Will I go to Swim in Tons of Human Waste?

Mary Lou Dickerson has introduced a bill that will keep cruise ships from dumping their waste in Washington waters.

"We need more than memos to protect ourselves," Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, D-Seattle, said yesterday at a news conference that featured environmental and sport-fishing groups.

Dickerson's bill would prohibit passenger vessels from dumping sewage sludge, oily bilge, untreated sewage and nonsewage wastewater known as gray water — drain water from dishwashing, laundry, showers and sinks. It would also give the Ecology Department power to board ships and test wastewater.



Tuesday, January 27, 2004

About Time

Snohomish County is clearing the airwaves.

The aging and overcrowded radio system used by police and firefighters is getting a major upgrade this year after nearly a decade of debate.

The change is expected to help speed aid to your door when you dial 911, ensure dispatchers can send emergency crews during a major disaster and improve radio coverage.

The powerful new 800-megahertz (cycles per second) system will provide more emergency radio channels and use them more efficiently than the existing VHF system, said Ron Solemsaas, Snohomish County Emergency Radio System project coordinator.

"It's exciting. We're really looking forward to this," he said. "Agencies are champing at the bit to start using 800 megahertz."

The $34.2 million communications system will be installed in two phases, starting with the county's southwest corner.



Primary Rundown

The Senate Democratic Caucus has a wonderful rundown of the possible primary election possibilities. I've made my opposition to the Cajun primary known, and I could settle for any of the other options. I'd like IRV the best though.



If We're Going to be in the Ag. Business

We're going to have to keep immigrants coming. So yeah lets make sure they have adequate IDs

OLYMPIA - A Vancouver lawmaker waded into the touchy issue of immigration politics Monday by introducing a bill encouraging financial institutions and local governments to accept identification cards issued to Mexican nationals.

Rep. Bill Fromhold, a Democrat, called it a "statement of respect" to Clark County's growing Latino population.



I'd Like Some Biodiesel

It's the wave of the future



Monday, January 26, 2004

Damnit Bone

Can we say Rossi comes out of right field now?



Governor Bad Hair

Molly Ivins calls the governor of Texas Governor Good Hair. I've been looking at our potential governors and I can say with certainty that we'll be inaugurating Governor Bad Hair in '05. Rossi's is the worst, and I'm not just saying that because he's the Republican. He looks like he just discovered what a comb is but hasn't mastered it yet. Sims and Gregoire are too short and look funny on them. And Talmadge's hair is dull, dull, dull.

Believe me folks, I ain't one to talk. I shave my hair off in the summer and let it grow in the winter. And yes there will be more substantive comments in the future. But I've been looking at all their pictures on their web pages and they strike me as less than striking.



Eileen Cody Does The Right Thing

But I lived on junk food when I was in high school.



Sunday, January 25, 2004

Dear Federal Way,

Maybe you should have been complaining about this in 1998. I mean it's not exactly like ST pulled it out of the blue. I know you'd like them to waste more money in your little berg, but it would be even better if they spent the money wisely.

Hugs and Kisses,

Carl Ballard

PS. I'm an anti- sprawl guy and I think it would be good for your town to "add thousands of buses and cars to the city's core."



More on What We're Getting From the Feds

BELLEVUE -- There's a million bucks in the bank for an overpass study to marry pavement and the Overlake Hospital Medical Center campus, thanks in part to Bellevue Mayor Connie Marshall.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray told members of the King County Journal editorial board Friday that Marshall's lobbying made the case for the money, approved Thursday as part of a tardy federal spending bill that President Bush signed Friday.

Marshall said she traveled to Washington, D.C., on three trips with different national city groups to make the case for funding the study for a new Northeast 10th Street overpass across Interstate 405, possibly bisecting the Overlake Hospital campus.

``It's my goal to bring our dollars back,'' Marshall said. ``It's why they pay me and the rest of the council to go back there.''



Oh Boeing

Boeing is looking to subcontract as much of the parts manufacturing as possible. In the short term that means the Wichita factory is probably going to be on its last leg. Bad news for the future of the Puget Sound.

The document also confirms the widely held view that the company foresees closing its Renton plant, though the timing is not stated. Boeing Commercial Airplanes Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally has said that plant will continue producing airplanes until the 737 program ends, probably 15 to 20 more years.

Although Everett should be safe for the foreseeable future.



A Helpful Caucus Report

Thanks Seattle Times.

Although Beverly Marcus obviously is lying if she always votes and hasn't participated in a caucus.



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