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Saturday, May 29, 2004

Trail Update

4 of 7 members of the Lake Forest Park city council are nuts. They don't even know what materials they were voting on letting the county use. If we don't know what materials can be used we don't know things like cost, like how tough they are on feet and bikes, like if they leach into the soil. Maybe the city should have done some research on those things first.

The mayor was opposed at the time of the vote. I don't know if he can veto the legislation, or if he will.

At least they deferred the other, crazier thing.



Not this year

No 10th annual NW Bookfest.



Seattle Chamber of Commerce Supports Tunnel for 99

In a letter. It also supports the South Lake trolley.

My recommendation for 99 is that we do something. Because we are kind of an earthquake prone region, and I'd rather not have the Viaduct collapse. I mean we have several options, and the worst among them is better than leaving the Viaduct up.



Dear Chris Vance,

Did you just refer to the working people of the state as "paid union mercenaries"? Did the Times misquote you? Were you drunk? Do you think maybe this is why you keep losing here?



Friday, May 28, 2004

Mass Casualty Unit

Bellevue is petitioning the Federal Government for a mass casualty unit. Good for responding to terrorist attacks in Bellevue. I think we should call it Seattle's mutual aid car parked across the bridge. I kid. There are also earthquakes.

Actually Bellevue is applying for half a dozen or so things from the Feds. Most of it seems good, but I don't know how much they'll get. I mean what if everybody wanted good radios and hazmat training?



Dear Nicole Brodeur,

Maybe, and this is just a theory, the "Microsofties" were able to get those benefits because they never turned into Scabby McScabberson. Also, and again just a theory, maybe the richest person in the country can do good by both his employees and people in the Third World.

All my love!

Carl Ballard



Hanford Reach

Senator Cantwell took a tour of the Hanford Reach. She's either happy or putting on a good face. But since the feds are considering denying us the funding to clean up our waste unless we agree to take on more, this is somewhat of a Herculean task.

Thursday's tour of the Hanford Reach, a 51-mile free-flowing stretch of the Columbia River where salmon return to spawn, was an example of the unified effort by local and state governments and the attorney general "to make sure Hanford is properly cleaned up," said Cantwell, D-Wash.

"It is a symbol of the great cleanup that needs to be done in all these other states," she said. "I really do believe this area of our state has a very bright future, but that future depends on Hanford getting cleaned up."



Monorail Contract Extension

Construction bids extended to August.



Thursday, May 27, 2004

Sims Responds

Here it is with nothing from me but some italics:

Carl -- thanks for the inquiry -- here are some brief answers to your questions.

1) How would the tax structure change if you were governor? How would you go about changing it?

I would propose a major overhaul of our tax system which would include the elimination of the business and occupation tax, elimination of the state sales tax, a homestead exemption on property tax and the introduction of a graduated income tax. We are still fine tuning the proposal, but our goal is to cut taxes on up to 75% of households, and provide up to a billion dollars of new revenue for education and transportation and other key programs. This could be achieved without raising taxes, but simply restructuring our tax system. The billion dollars of new revenue is derived from the federal deduction of the income tax. As you know, sales tax is not deductible.

In terms of how I would go about changing it -- that is why you elect a governor. The role of the governor is to lead and promote change. I have done that as county executive and I intend to do that as governor.

2) What controversial issues would you take a stand on and show leadership? What controversial issues have you fought for in the past? Would you do it again?

What issue as governor would I take stand on - adequate funding for all levels of public education and tax reform. What controversial issue have I fought for in the past -- growth management and increased environmental regulations, same sex marriage, tent city. Would I do that again -- yes?


3) Recent court decisions about the Public Disclosure Act have made it tougher for private citizens to access government documents. What do you think of this, and do you support the legislation Brian Sonntag is drafting to keep the spirit of the PDA in tact? What changes if any to the PDA do you support?

I was very surprised by the recent court decision and I would be interested in working with Brian Sonntag on proposed legislation.

4) What will you do to provide healthcare for uninsured and underinsured Washingtonians?

As county executive I am working on a major health care reform package in collaboration with the major employers in King County. One of my goals as governor is to ensure that all those that are currently uninsured or underinsured have access to affordable and high quality health care.

5) How will you fund K-12 Education? What will you do to keep tuition low in Washington State colleges and universities?

Adequately funding our k-12 educational system and ensuring access to higher education - including keeping tuitions low - is the main driver of my tax reform proposal. Without real reform we will never meet these goals.



Hybrid Busses

I remember there being some contention in the Democratic ranks about this a few years ago. Something about being able to get more busses on the road if we went with more polluting ones. But now that the new hybrids are here, it looks pretty good to me.

Replacing the older buses with new ones will save more than 750,000 gallons of fuel annually, city officials said.

"These buses save energy, and are cleaner and quieter than conventional buses for the millions of people who ride our transit system," said King County Executive Ron Sims in a statement.



I just sent the following to both Democratic gubernatorial candidates.

I’m Carl Ballard from the Washington State Political Report (http://carl-ballard.blogspot.com). My readers and I have a couple questions for both of you. Thank you for your time.

1) How would the tax structure change if you were governor? How would you go about changing it?

2) What controversial issues would you take a stand on and show leadership? What controversial issues have you fought for in the past? Would you do it again?

3) Recent court decisions about the Public Disclosure Act have made it tougher for private citizens to access government documents. What do you think of this, and do you support the legislation Brian Sonntag is drafting to keep the spirit of the PDA in tact? What changes if any to the PDA do you support?

4) What will you do to provide healthcare for uninsured and underinsured Washingtonians?

5) How will you fund K-12 Education? What will you do to keep tuition low in Washington State colleges and universities?



Burke-Gilman

Lake Forest Park is proposing a slow death for the main North-South bike route in the area. And they are hardly putting in the effort to even make it look reasonable. If they just had the environmental stuff, they could make that argument.

But the stop signs for people's driveways gives them away. This isn't serious. I mean cars have hit me coming out of their driveways on the street. I suppose we should litter every street where cars enter from residents, commercial, or other parking with stop signs.

And Dean Peterson with a radar gun? I did my own experiment. When Hwy 99, or I-5 or I-405 or 520, or 522, or MLK are clear and I'm going the posted speed limit or slightly faster 90% of cars pass me if they can. I guess we should shut down those roads.

In fairness, this isn't the whole city. They only quote a couple council members. And the mayor is opposed for now. But how'd it even get this far?



What a good idea

2 months ago.

Kent school-security officers should stop using metal handcuffs to restrain students, as well as discontinue carrying or using firearms, batons and pepper spray, an independent review panel has recommended.



Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Gas thieves

But the rising price of gasoline has created a mini-crime wave at this and other gas stations in Washington, as clerks report more motorists filling their tanks and driving away without paying.

``We're seeing it more and more,' said Laine Davis, a clerk at the station.



Marysville Sets Stage for NASCAR

They are looking at traffic. They gave the mayor the ability to sign contracts with International Speedway. I don't know what this will do to the feel of the city, but groups have formed supporting and opposing it.



Even With Brame Costs Tacoma has a Surplus

So good for them. Hopefully they can stop the hiring freeze. And we'll see about the next budget.



When I said

I wanted a bloody primary in the 8th, I didn't mean Democrats. It's a legit criticism though.

...Alben is sending out an email, and has something similar on his webpage.

Dave was hand-picked by a state party leader because he is a prominent radio personality. He claims he is not "electioneering" on his show, but every day he discusses issues that matter in this election -- social and international issues.



Olympic Natl. Park

A series of cuts could be coming to the Olympic National Park. A few of the things may be:

*The lowest staffing since 1992
*10 fewer seasonal interpretive rangers
*Closing a visitor center



Tuesday, May 25, 2004

PDA Opposition Heats Up

Both Washington State Auditor Brian Sonntag and The Stranger agree that the State Supreme Court, under the gentle guidance of Chief Justice and lead bureaucrat shill Gerry Alexander, made a dumb decision when they decided to gut the Open records section of the Public Disclosure Act. Unlike the rest of us, Sonntag is crafting legislation to fix the Court's craven stupidity.

Here's a suggestion: Prohibit any use of the new attorney-client privilege as an exception to the PDA. Government agencies simply should not have those kinds of secrets. In addition, limit the PDA's Litigation exception to cases that have been filed with the court, not to records in cases where the bureaucracy "reasonably anticipates" that their sneaky actions might get them sued. Finally (for now), prohibit any agency from appealing an adverse decision and stop litigating the PDA to death. Oh, and impeach the Gerry Alexander Five.

Thanks to reader BLL for the link to the TNT article.




Governor Questions

So here's what I'm thinking: I'd like to email both of our gubernatorial candidates a few questions. Nothing too hard, but it doesn't necessarily have to be softballs either. I'm thinking generate 5 questions and ask them to Sims and Gregoire. I have some ideas, but I'd like to hear anything you'd like them to answer.

And yeah, chances are the campaigns will just ignore it. But maybe they won't.



Yay Jay!

That would surprise Inslee. He said it remains unclear who the U.S. will hand power to on June 30, Bush's stated deadline for the transfer of power. And it seems clear that 138,000 U.S. troops will continue to be needed because Iraqi security forces are unable to keep Iraqis safe.

"You need a plan to succeed," Inslee said. "We did not have one before the war. We did not have one when we started, and we do not have one now."



If you can get some time off Tomorrow Morning

Kerry is coming to town.



Local 1105 (Grocery Workers) Contract Extension

You can shop for another two weeks without having to drive all around aimlessly. And that's another two weeks where they'll have full health benefits for sure.



Impound law Repeal

It wasn't even close. 6-2 with Licata away, so the votes would have been 7-2. All of the new members voted for the repeal, so good on them.



Monday, May 24, 2004

WSJ Swing State Polls

Kerry is rocking. Of the 15 states polled 4 are going to Bush the other 11 to Kerry (5 are within the MOE 2 Bush, 3 Kerry). I say we move WV, TN, AR, and IA into the Kerry camp, and maybe some states that are currently solid.

Anyway in Washington the numbers break down like this:

Bush 44.4%
Kerry 52.5%
Nader 1.3%
MOE +-4.3%

Tip of the hat to Kos



Viva Las Vegas

Steinbrueck went to Las Vegas to see their monorail. And apparently he liked what he saw.



Fire Season

It just gets worse and worse.


With unseasonably warm temperatures in March and April, the potential loss of heavy air tankers for safety reasons and a years-long drought continuing, Western states and the federal government are facing the possibility of another devastating fire season.

"Things are much worse than they were in February," said Rick Ochoa, national fire-weather program manager for the Bureau of Land Management.

Years of drought have left states across the West vulnerable to extreme fire conditions. The greatest threat lies in the Pacific Northwest, the Northern Rockies of Idaho and Montana, and the Southwest, including Southern California, where conditions are the driest.



A Question for any Labor Folks in the Know

Apparently when the Washington State Labor Council held its meeting recently where it didn't endorse either of our candidates for governor, it also didn't endorse one of my state reps. Ruth Kagi is running unopposed on the Democratic side. She's been a solid Democrat, as far as I know. Is there any reason she wasn't endorsed? Has she done something that I'm unaware of to piss off labor? Are they holding out hope that a Republican will be good?



Tacoma Parks

It looks like Tacoma residents will get to vote on a $60 Million parks bond. There are still a few more hurdles to go, and of course voters can accept or reject it.



Olympic Pipeline

Is there some reason that the only problems we hear about with pipelines are from Olympic? I mean I'd assume there are other pipelines in the area? Do they not carry as dangerous substances? Is it just small numbers? Is there something about Olympic?



Sunday, May 23, 2004

Seattle Times Censorship Effort Fails

Some Sundays, I just feel sorry for SeaTimes ExecuEditor Michael R. Fancher, a guy who never met a dumb decision by Frank Blethen that he couldn't find some way to defend. This week's apologia (scroll down to the second raving) arises from the Doonesbury Sunday cartoon, a cartoon dealing with employment retaliation that, for some reason, reminded Fancher of Mr. Berg's unhappy experience in Iraq Nam. Fancher apologizes not for the cartoon but for his failure to find some way to censor the cartoon in advance.

I guess when your dark overlord has already decided to endorse Bush Lite (again), it is highly improper to let anything slightly critical of this Maladministration slip by. Of course, this endorsement has nothing to do with Bush's agreement to support the Fancher Family Tax Break.



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