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Saturday, February 07, 2004

Teachers can Still Strike

The anti teacher strike bill died yesterday. Good news for common sense.

Dunshee, D-Snohomish, couldn't get school administrators and the state teachers union to agree on the language of his bill.

His goal was to draw up a process for stalled contract negotiations to be decided by an outside arbitrator if districts and teachers couldn't agree by a certain date.

The idea came to Dunshee after watching four teachers strikes in his district in the past five years -- including a 49-day walkout in Marysville that was the longest in state history.

But the teachers and school administrators were ironically united in their opposition to the proposal -- albeit for different reasons.



Caucus Results from CNN

here



First Impressions of the WA caucus

I came in a Clark supporter and left a Dean alternate. It was held at the cafeteria of the large high school. Every precinct from my small suburban city and some from the neighboring city stuffed ourselves in. 35 people came to the precinct, and I was one of 2 Clark supporters, below the 15% needed. In fact only Kerry and Dean had the 15%.

I was going to be a Dean supporter if Clark hadn't got 15%. Still, I listened to the pitches of both sides. I was a bit disappointed to tell the truth. All electability from Kerry and mostly all you can slow Kerry's momentum from the Dean camp. I came to be wooed, not hear a lecture on process.

So I went to the Dean camp and we could send 2 delegates and 2 alternates to the county and legislative district conventions (Kerry won the precinct, sending 3 of each). Here's a little play documenting what happened:

Lady: "Anyone want to go?"
Delegate 1: "Um I guess I will"
Lady: "Ok that's 1 we need another"
...
Lady: "More of this, it'll be fun"
Delegate 2: "Ok, I'll go"
Lady: "Ok it says here we need alternates"
Alternate 1: "Well it's probably no work so I'll do it"
Lady: "We need one more alternate"
...
Lady: "One more alternate"
Me: "I'll do it, if nobody minds that I'm a Clarkie"
Guy: "Oh, that will be fine"

Then a few minutes later we realized we had to vote on that stuff, so we just all wrote the names on pieces of paper. And that's your democracy folks!



Friday, February 06, 2004

Caucus for Clark

The caucuses are Tomorrow. When you go to them, I hope you’ll vote for Wes Clark. I won’t bore you with electability or tell you about an insider/outsider dynamic, because basically they are a crock. I’ll tell you why Clark can best fix what Bush wrecked, both foreign policy and the economy. His policy proposals, and experience make him the best possible candidate.

Bush has screwed up Economic policy, and in fact the economy. He will be the first president since Herbert Hoover who lost more jobs than he created. His tax cuts for the wealthy and no other stimulus have hurt economy. He has no plan except to exacerbate the problem by making his failed tax cuts permanent. (Those leaches didn’t cure the patient, how about Vampires)

Clark, a former economics professor, has a brilliant tax plan. It will ensure that nobody who makes under 50 thousand dollars a year pays any federal income taxes. This would put money in the hands of people who will spend it. But unlike Bush’s reckless tax plan, Clark will pay for his by increasing the burden on the wealthiest Americans.

While Clark’s economic plan is miles better than Bush’s, his greatest strength is foreign policy. General Clark actively built coalitions, and can do it again in Iraq, even with the problems there. His plan won’t get us out right away, but it will add international legitimacy that may take the incentive away from Iraqi insurgents, and will definitely take pressure off American troops. While internationalization of this mission will be difficult, his previous efforts in Europe looked like long shots at the outset, and he managed to bring our allies to the fight.

Finally, although his legislative experience is the least of the major candidates, he does bring a decent history there too. As SACEUR, he negotiated many things, most notably NATO’s unanimous decision to stop the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. He has worked with the congress and every administration from Regan to Clinton to improve the army.

Any Democrat still in the race (and all those who’ve dropped out) would improve the direction of the country if they were elected. Wesley Clark would improve it the most.



I Don't Mind

It's not like anything interesting ever happens in Kent.



Dear Joel Connelly,

No it couldn't. I mean if there were a third party, perhaps. But seriously, the contempt you have for Washington voters knows no bounds.

Somewhat confused,

Carl Ballard



They Don't Have to Tell You What?

When Washington State doctors screw up your surgery they don't have to tell you. Oh they have to tell the state. There's a bill to make them have to say what happened to families of their patients.



Thursday, February 05, 2004

Electricity, Electricity

Puget Sound Energy may increase rates 4.7%. According to the article in the Olympian, it wouldn't be for cleaner energy. So more coal, more gas, and more expensive. Lovely.



Anti discrimination Bill

All the bill needs is for some "courageous Republicans" to come forward to "pass the bill I believe the citizens of the state support," he said. The Senate is made up of 25 Republicans and 24 Democrats, meaning it could be very close, he said.

Rep. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood, and Sen. Don Benton, a Vancouver Republican who helped lead the Senate's vote to override Gov. Gary Locke's veto of the bill in 1998, could not be reached for comment.


The article also has some meetings where the issue will come up.

Update: Benton's email is benton_do@leg.wa.gov and I can't find Carrell's but they all seem to go the same way lastname_twolettersoffirstname@leg.wa.gov.



Reichert in

Dave Reichert is running for Congress . Lets get a few more R's in there. Preferably some who hate each other. Hey a boy can dream.



Wednesday, February 04, 2004

The Stranger Endorses Dean

In a move that will surprise nobody.

The Stranger's Election Editorial Board--renamed the Stranger Department of Homeland Security in honor of an election season that threatens to hand W. a second term--thinks it's critical to keep Dean in the equation. The Democratic Party desperately needs Dean to remain on the stage, firing up the faithful and putting steel into the spines of the other candidates. That's why we're urging readers to leave your homes this weekend, go to your neighborhood caucus site [see box], and convince your neighbors that Dean, and not Kerry (whose anti-special-interest rhetoric is undercut by the fact that he's raised more money from paid lobbyists than any other senator in the past 15 years) or Edwards (whose little-guy rhetoric is undercut by the fact that among the Dem candidates, he has the largest percentage of big-dollar donors and the smallest percentage of little-guy donors), is the best candidate. (Oh, given that this is Seattle, you'll probably also have to battle some Kucinich fans, too. No problem: Just tell them Dean, and not Kucinich, is channeling the starlight tofu energy of the fire goddess.)


I'd have liked them to go with Clark, and I'll get into that before the Caucus.

Also I'm doing block quoting as opposed to italics for quoting. I think it will be easier for the half blind to read. Tell me if you like it.



Dear Snohomish County,

You missed some of Reagan's accomplishments. You should add sold HAWK missiles to Hezbollah, fought an illegal war in Latin America, and only the second president to receive a pardon from his successor.

Hope that helps,

Carl Ballard



Aaaaaaaaaaaaa

That's it I'm never eating food again!



But I Want A Bloody Primary

Carlson won't be running for the 8th District. We still have a lot of people who are maybes. Dave Reichert would be the quintessential Eastside Republican, a moderate, with a good record of public service. The question is if the Republican establishment will allow that, or if they'll demand a firebrand.



Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Lets Take the 8th

When Pam Roach is worried there's a good chance for the Dems. The 8th district is full of urban Republicans. They have a whole different set of priorities than Eastern Washington Republicans. They are stronger gun control advocates. They are more willing to pay taxes for some services (roads in particular, but not exclusively). So a moderate Democrat like Alex Alben has a good shot.

But the sweetest thing of all is Jane Hague. She transplanted herself from the 8th to the 1st to challenge Inslee. Now she is in a less likely position to win than if she'd stayed put, and there is no natural successor to Dunn, so there may well be a bloody Republican primary.



Nonbinding Land Use Pact

County executives from Snohomish, King and Pierce counties and the state's land commissioner were among those who signed a non-binding commitment Monday to protect 600,000 acres of forested foothills as open space for the Puget Sound area's future sons and daughters. As much as 250,000 acres is in Snohomish County.

Today those private and state lands are being used for logging, recreation and open space for wildlife, but long-term planners say it's only a matter of time before trees are replaced with subdivisions.

"Once it's converted to homes, you can't get it back," said Gene Duvernoy, president of the Cascade Land Conservancy, which led the effort to get the Cascade Foothills Initiative adopted.



Nickels' State of the City

text here.



Monday, February 02, 2004

Vote Tomorrow

If you're in a school district that's having a levy.



Smoking Ban

I still say let the localities decide. There is a proposal to do that SB-5876. Another proposal HB-1868 would ban indoor smoking. The King County Journal has a good rundown here(although they screw up the bill number for 1868).

I'd like Seattle and Bellevue and maybe King County to institute a public indoor smoking ban, because that's where I eat. I don't care about the rest of the state, and I say let Pullman do what it wants.



Paging Josh Feit

Sound Transit is placing volunteers for their oversight panel.



Joe Wilson to Speak

He'll be at the UW at 8:00 Friday.



Sunday, February 01, 2004

Seattle-Everett ST Line's Slow Start

Well it's a nice route, but ST is having trouble attracting riders.

The ride has been free, but an average of only 165 people have been steeping aboard each Sounder train between Everett and Seattle since service began in late December.

The number of riders is "what we expected," said Sound Transit spokesman Lee Somerstein. But the agency hopes to have 300 people on each train by the end of the year. "We're two-thirds of the way there," he added.

Each five-car train can carry 560 people, which means the Everett-to-Seattle trains have been only 30 percent full.

...

With the morning train arriving at Seattle's King Street Station at 7:54 a.m., it has been tough for commuters who work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to ride the train unless they work right next to the station.

Sound Transit hopes to solve the problem by ramping up to four round-trip trains per day over the next four years. A second train is scheduled to start at the end of 2005, with two more round-trip trains starting by the end of 2007.



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