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Saturday, June 26, 2004

Grocery Workers Contract Extended, Mediator Brought in

Both sides have agreed to bring in a federal mediator into the discussions. Also there is an extension of the contract until July 9th. So that's another two weeks with health benefits and the old pay system.



House Opposes Enron Refund

Dennis Hastert and Tom DeLay's House of Representatives still carries a torch for Enron. Anyone voting for Congress in any state where Kenny Boy and his pals bilked them has no business complaining about their energy rates if they vote Republican. You can bet your ass that with a Speaker Pelosi we'd have at least allowed the measure to get a vote.

Any Californians who vote for Doug Ose in the next election, remember he said "We cannot sit here flailing away at past history." As if your energy bill went back to its original rate when we discovered that Enron and others were bilking us out of billions. And really 3 years ago isn't some insanely distant time in the past; it isn't like we're asking the British for a refund for burning down the White House in the war of 1812.

We did get a call to the FERC to release information, thanks largely to Cantwell's efforts. It will probably stay in whatever final version gets released.

"The FERC is not just sitting on its hands, it's literally sitting on evidence that could help protect people from getting robbed by Enron again," she said after the vote. "The FERC should be put on notice that it is high time the commissioners start doing their jobs to protect consumers. The vote today in the House is a step in the right direction."



ST Construction bids Under Estimate

So I don't know how they decide estimates, or who pays for over runs, but the bids that ST has received for construction are currently 3% below what they originally estimated for the projects that have been bid on. Some are over, and some are under, obviously. So 3% is the aggregate.



Friday, June 25, 2004

Smith In Iraq

Adam Smith got back from Iraq and Kuwait recently. And he blogged about it here.



What's a guy got to do to get Fired?

Or even publicly rebuked? Ramsey, as you know was woefully ignorant of the worst Medicare/Medicaid scandal in a public institution ever. All right, maybe the UW is still considering not letting him go. But do they have to be so damn nice in public?

On Sunday, The Seattle Times published an editorial criticizing Ramsey's handling of the widespread billing problem and calling for him to step down.

University officials fired back Wednesday in a two-page rebuttal submitted to the Times editorial pages. Board of Regents President Gerald Grinstein and UW Medicine board Chairman Dennis Okamoto declared that members of both boards stand unanimously behind Ramsey.

"We believe the loss of Dr. Ramsey's leadership would be devastating to the future of UW Medicine and our community," the two leaders wrote.

...

On Wednesday, leaders of the 29 departments in the School of Medicine signed a letter to both boards defending Ramsey's leadership.

"We believe strongly that Dean Ramsey's continued leadership is critical to the School of Medicine's efforts to remedy the problems that contributed to the federal billing investigation and to maintain the tremendous momentum the school is enjoying in its research, clinical and teaching enterprise," the letter stated.



The Thugs Behind Nader in Oregon

Kevin Drum links to a document showing that our old pal Dick Armey, now doing business as Citizens for a Sound Economy is leading a drive to put Ralph Nader on the Oregon ballot.

This proves to me that a vote for Nader is a vote for Little Bush. Oregon should realize that.

UPDATE: Salon has more (free after watching an ad).



Union Contract Expires Today

The grocery union's contract expires today. I don't know if there will be an extension, or a strike, or a lock out. I haven't heard anything on the radio, or seen it in the papers, or in the protect health benifits blog. So does anybody know what's going on?



Veloria Out

Rep. Velma Veloria (D-Seattle) is not only leaving the legislature, she's leaving the country. Her husband works with the American Coalition for International Labor Solidarity and has been in Cambodia for some time. She'll be joining him there. Since the seat is in Seattle, it's a pretty safe bet it'll stay in Democratic hands.



Thursday, June 24, 2004

Oops

Do you know who the biggest backers of Eyman's I-892 are? Subsidiaries and abilities of the BC based Great Canadian Gaming Corp. As the PI points out:

Federal law says it is illegal for a foreign corporation or citizen to contribute "directly or indirectly" to a federal, state or local election.

Great Canadian's local subsidiaries and affiliates have given at least $62,500 to the I-892 campaign, sponsored by professional initiative promoter Tim Eyman.

That is 20.8 percent of all contributions reported -- $300,441 as of May 31, almost entirely from the gambling industry.

The donations include $25,000 from Great American Gaming Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Great Canadian Gaming; $25,000 from Evergreen Entertainment Corp., of which Great American owns 50 percent; and $6,250 each from two Grand Central Casinos operated by Evergreen Entertainment in Lakewood and Tukwila. Great American also operates Great American Casinos in Kent and Everett.

...Sorry, link



Initiative Rundown

The Stranger has a good rundown of the initiatives out there. A good read before you put pen to paper. Or before you argue with some guy on the street.



Census Estimates

Newly minted US population estimates here and Washington here(.pdf).



Wednesday, June 23, 2004

After assaulting wife, Island County Deputy still walks the street


According to KIRO-TV, Island County Deputy Sheriff Mike Burchfield has been accused of assaulting his wife. Burchfield reportedly
tackled her and struck her several times. "She received injuries on her arms, hand and legs and to the back of her head," said Capt. Rick Wallace of Oak Harbor Police.

Birchfield's wife told the dispatcher her husband tried to prevent her from reporting what happened.

"I tried to call from the house and he dragged the phone and ripped it out of the wall," she said in the 911 call.

In its Wednesday noon newscast, KIRO went on to say that Burchfield surrendered his gun but was not arrested.

So let me get this straight: A police officer physically assaults his wife and despite our collective experience in the David Brame tragedy, this police officer still walks the streets.

Simply Unbelievable.

UPDATE: KIRO 710 reports that Officer Birchfield received more punishment than I first thought. In addition to taking away at least one of his firearms, they have also (b) taken his badge and (c) placed him behind a desk. That'll protect her!



Chief Dean

It's official.



People Locke has Pardoned

Jamieson had a nice article about the people who Governor Locke has pardoned over the years. The online version ends with a list of those people. It's nice and if my HTML was better you could see it without having to click through.



Washington State Death Penalty

I have mixed feelings about this. I definitely don't want Washington to kill Dayva Cross or anyone else. I'm fine with the death penalty for war crimes, but other than that, I don't want it, and certainly in jurisdictions where I have a vote. I also agree that Dayva Cross' triple murder is less bad than Ridgeway's.

On the other hand, I don't want to limit prosecutors' ability to plea bargain. It's an important tool in putting bad people away. And it was a difference between Dayva Cross' case and the Green River case.



Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Best of Seattle

Every year the Weekly does its best of Seattle edition. It isn't very remarkable except that you can vote for things here. I'm taking myself out of contention for local website (I'm not from Seattle I'm from the suburbs, and yeah I know Penny-Arcade won it last year, and they aren't from Seattle either) I suggest Upper Left who I put. It's a pretty good blog, it's a bit more established than me, and it's actually from Seattle. And for "Best alternative to the monorail" I put "fuck you Seattle Weekly."



Sweedish is Heading to the Eastside

Swedish Medical Center officially announced its intention to enter the Eastside market Monday by filing a formal certificate of need application to the state Department of Health for a new $197 million, 175-bed hospital in Issaquah.



Columbia Clean Up

The EPA is looking at a highly contaminated length of the Columbia river. They think that one mining company, Teck Cominco Metals Ltd, are responsible for much of the pollution. So big business on one side and sane environmental policy on the other, I wonder how Bush's EPA will side.



Dogs on Ferries

Starting July 1st, the Washington State Ferries are going to be equipped with dogs that can sniff for explosives. And they will smell your 4th of July fireworks. Even the legal ones.



F9/11 and Fundraising

McDermott is in the movie. His office is showing it as a fundraiser for the ACLU and Hate Free Zone.



Monday, June 21, 2004

I just sent the Following

To the campaigns of Alex Alben and Heidi Behrens-Benedict. I'd have sent it to Ross too if he'd had an email address on his campaign web page.

Hello, I’m Carl Ballard with the Washington State Political Report (carl-ballard.blogspot.com). I am asking all 3 Democrats running for the 8th district the same questions, and I’d appreciate your answer. Thank you.

1) What is your view on globalization? More specifically do you support or oppose NAFTA, the WTO, and the FTAA? Do you support outsourcing?
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) How will you fund K-12 Education? What will you do to keep tuition low in colleges and universities?
4) What will you do to provide healthcare for uninsured and underinsured Americans?
5) What are your feelings on the war in Iraq? Should we pull our troops out, continue the present course, or something else? What steps will you take as a Congressman to move this position forward?

...Added Ross



Guns OK, Metal Detectors to be used Anyway

Ah the fun of the capitol.



Seattle Firefighters want more

The union boss of the Seattle firefighters is looking at ways to expand the number of firefighters.

And, the union recently conducted an $8,000 public-opinion poll that shows Seattleites support the union's top goal: getting four firefighters on all engines. Atwater says firefighters will take the issue to voters in an initiative campaign, if they must.

An initiative would not be necessary if political leaders find money — estimated at $3 million to $4 million per year — for four-person crews, in the city budget. But that's unlikely because the city is looking at a $25 million gap next year between projected revenues and the cost of providing current services.



Sunday, June 20, 2004

More on the Bush Visit

There's so much wrong with this blog post on the Nethercutt campaign blog.

Details of President Bush and George Nethercutt's meeting aboard Air Force 1 are beginning to emerge.

You're his Communications Director for Christ's sake! You can give us all the details at any time you want. Instead you're going to say what the AP and the Columbian report. I mean you gave it to them, it isn't a state secret.

Then it quotes from the AP:

As they munched on popcorn and cookies, Nethercutt pitched his idea to lobby Iraq to buy American-made Boeing jets, not Airbus planes from Europe. Nethercutt also lobbied Bush on a plan for using Boeing planes for air tankers. He got no firm answers from the president on either point.

So just so we're clear: Nethercutt thinks we should "lobby" the Iraqis to buy American jets, and Bush won't say yes or no to it. But we're liberators I tell you! I wonder if that's a more important story than dead Americans, George. And the air tanker too. Granted, that's bipartisan nonsense in this region. But way to highlight that particular embarrassment.

The blog goes on to list how he talked to Bush about improving "the Portland-Vancouver economy." So that's one of the biggest things to highlight. That he's helping a region mostly out of state!

And it ends with "Developing..." As if they couldn't just say everything he said to Bush if they wanted to.



MoveOn Nominations

You can nominate your favorite 8th District candidate, or anyone else for some nice exposure and fundraising largesse here.



Arson in Everett

EVERETT - A small fire was discovered about 12:43 a.m. Saturday between two three-story rental houses in the 2500 block of Grand Avenue.

Investigators are trying to determine if the fire is related to a string of arsons in north Everett since June 1.

It appears to be an arson, but is significantly different from the other fires, according to police Sgt. Boyd Bryant.



Inslee's New Page

Jay Inslee's campaign seems to have re-launched its web effort. There is a new URL and a new (much better) lay out. It's got a blog that has comments, and a good look (I've followed his campaigns in the past as a volunteer, and I don't know who ChrisM is, though).

My only complaint with the page is that it's a bit too Bush centric. That's problematic in two ways. First Inslee isn't running against Bush. So it doesn't get into the heart of the House campaign. Second, it doesn't have the emphasis of the amazing work Inslee has done in Congress.

Also, and I assume this will get better, the page isn't complete yet. There are still a lot of internal links not up. There are topics that don't have any information in them.

slight editing



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