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Saturday, March 12, 2005

Dear The Stranger, 

A column for Stefan Sharkansky? What was Satan not available? Is Rush Limbaugh not returning your calls? And if you're going to give him some room to write could you maybe limit it to one link to his page per column? And on a completely unrelated note (carl-ballard.blogspot.com)

The man is so painfully, heartwrenchingly dishonest it's amazing. His first column touches on two of his greatest dishonest recurring themes. First the general call for a recount because there are "electoral flaws." Yet when the race was closer and most of the flaws were already know, he was calling on Gregoire to resign.

The other, more specific charge in this column has to deal with two separate lists of the 876,168 voters in King County made two separate ways don't quite match. The explanation is of course that one is the list of everybody who's signed into the books, and the other is the list made for the parties after the fact. They were never meant to reconcile.

I hope next week's column ("I keep putting the same things into a spread sheet and get different data, proving I'm always right") will be an improvement. Seriously, maybe only one mention of the blog that called the Stranger "a bunch of pseudo-journo-wonks."

...Edited a bit and sent

...Bah! Recount obviously should have been revote. They'll clean it up on the off chance they run it.



Street Car 

I missed it, but a couple days ago it was announced that the waterfront streetcar will have to be demolished in September to make way for the Olympic Sculpture Park. On the Road to 2008 has more details including what people are doing to try to save the line. I've said before that I think the Street Car is wonderful in part because it passes by Eliot Bay Books, and in part because it passes by Eliot Bay. It's wonderful, and I haven't had a bus pass recently, but when I did and I had a free moment downtown, it was one of my favorite things to do.



Quake 

My radio tells me that there was a minor earthquake in the Olympia area. No damage reported, no link yet. If you felt it, feel free to tell stories in this thread.

...Link



Purple Heart 

Here's hoping that the 12 Ft. Lewis soldiers who just received purple hearts don't rack up any more.



Friday, March 11, 2005

Irons V. Sims 

Yay! We get to have an actual referendum on Sims' ideas. Growth Management over letting the rural lands go to hell. Tent City over having the homeless die in the street. Transit over sprawl. This is going to be fun.

Irons, a Republican from Sammamish, is expected to formally announce his candidacy Saturday, setting the stage for a battle against Democrat Sims, who is viewed by many observers as vulnerable after his drubbing in last year's gubernatorial primary, the county's mistakes in administering the November election, and bitter controversy over his rural land-use policies.



Highway Bill 

The U.S. House of Reps just passed a highway bill. The PI has some info on the por... er, wise appropriations in the bill.

The lopsided 417-9 vote testified to the bill's support and the desire by lawmakers to push it into law so the money can be spent on thousands of projects large and small.

For Washington state, the measure includes $14 million to repair the seawall along the Alaskan Way Viaduct and $21 million to unclog a chronic choke point at the new ferry terminal in Bremerton. [...]

Other local projects include $11.5 million for I-405 and surrounding streets in Bellevue and $4 million for a two-way HOV lane on I-90 between Seattle and Bellevue.

It also includes an array of smaller items, including $146,000 to expand the Lewis and Clark Trailhead and Scenic Overlook, $1.5 million for a welcome center in Enumclaw and $200,000 for a pedestrian and bike trail between Rainbow State Park and Adna.



Washington Young Dems Convention 

The SCYD's have the details:

YDWA Convention
April 8-10, Fri-Sat
Ridpath Hotel
Spokane, WA

Registration Fee:
By April 1: $40
After April 1: $45



Open Thread 

Open thread edition



Rossi's Campaign 

Goldy says that Rossi's campaign staff is still around. They may or may not sit around watching DirecTV all day. So who's paying for them to sit around? Presumably Rossi can't fundraise for an election that will only happen in his own imagination. Is it all being paid for by the Republican party, and if so, do they still have the cash for Vance's 'roides?



Thursday, March 10, 2005

Dear Congressman Inslee, 

I no longer live in your district, but I still consider you my Congressman. I worked hard to get you into office, and you've made me proud with almost everything you've done. From your early opposition to impeachment, your taking it to Enron even before the collapse, to the war in Iraq, to ANWR, you've been a leader in the fight for things I believe in. Sometimes your support for Microsoft is a bit strong for my tastes, and you're more of a free trader than me, but overall, I think you're one of the best people in the House.

But I have to say I was disappointed to see that you not only support the bankruptcy bill, but are urging Speaker Hastert to bring it up for a vote as soon as possible. This bill is a bad piece of legislation. As you probably know, most bankruptcy happens because of medical problems or family disillusionment. This bill does nothing to help them while carving out provisions for the wealthy.

In fact, since the Schumer amendment failed in the Senate, the bill helps out mainly people convicted of harassing or worse women trying to get abortions, and the very wealthy; these are two groups of people who don't need the federal government's help. So I'm urging you to retract your signature and oppose this bill.

Thank you,

Carl Ballard

...Edited and sent



Drought 

Gregoire declares a drought:

Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire, responding to predictions of the worst drought since 1977, declared a statewide drought emergency today.

Gregoire directed her Emergency Drought Committee to gear up an emergency command center, track and coordinate responses by state agencies and make sure state resources reach where they are needed.

She ordered the National Guard to prepare for combatting wildfires this summer and requested that the Legislature boost drought-related appropriations by an additional $8.2 million.

"While water shortages won't affect all areas of the state in precisely the same way, it seems very likely that all areas of our state will experience at least some level of drought this year," Gregoire said in remarks prepared for a late morning news conference in Yakima.

"We need to start taking action now, and all of us need to be part of the solution."

...


Manning said the state Conservation Commission will work with local conservation districts and individual farmers on best practices for conservation and irrigation. The Employment Security Department will focus on getting jobless benefits to those who are thrown out of work, and the state Department of Natural Resources will work with the National Guard to coordinate forest firefighting.

Using lessons learned in the 2001 drought, many farmers, hatcheries and communities aren't caught flat-footed, Manning said in a statement the governor's office released. Some areas are using treated wastewater for landscape irrigation, replenishing wetlands and washing equipment. Farmers have replaced open ditches with pipes, and irrigators are getting more efficient, he said.

"There are a lot of ways people can reduce their water use to protect our streams and to keep the farms and businesses that power our state's economic engine running," Gregoire said. "We can manage this challenge if we all contribute to the solution."



Law of the Land 

Gregoire signs the mental-health parity law.

“I’m pleased to be here today to sign bill 1154 that truly represents a giant leap forward in the health care of Washington citizens,” Gov. Gregoire said. “An attitude lingers in society that mental health is somehow less worthy of our help. The burden of mental illness is compounded by the financial strains it can bring to families.

“In that regard, when we fail to treat mental illnesses with the same attention we treat other illnesses of the body, it costs everybody in numerous ways – from lost productivity in the workplace to more strain on our social services safety net. This bill addresses the problems directly.”
Blogger has been acting up for me today, so we'll see if this or future posts get through.



Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Drought in King County 

Sims is taking steps to declare a drought.

Sims said he plans to propose a law that would formally initiate county-wide, water supply planning in partnership with the Cascade Water Alliance, a group of cities and water districts.

The plan would begin by March 31 and would try to define the region's long-term water needs; prioritize future water supplies to meet those needs; identify new supplies and required infrastructure needs; and establish policy guidelines for processing water-rights applications and for other water-resource management decisions.



AM1090Seattle.com 

It could still use some serious work, but here's Seattle's Progressive Talk's website.



Getting Them Out 

I'm not sure it has much of a chance to work, but a few military families are urging Gregoire to get the National Guard troops out of Iraq. This could be one of those issues that could attract the people who voted for Kerry, Patty, and Dino in the last election.

Three military-family activists hoping to pull U.S. troops back from Iraq have met with an aide to Gov. Christine Gregoire, urging her to question President Bush's authority to keep Washington National Guard troops deployed in the occupied country.

"This group was very serious ... very direct. The governor will hear about it, and we'll see where she goes with it," said Antonio Ginatta, Gregoire's policy adviser on general government issues, including the military.

...

They noted that Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer on Friday asked the Pentagon to return some of that state's Guardsmen in order to fight wildfires. CNN quoted Schweitzer as saying: "Somebody's going to have a blowup. Is it Northern Idaho, is it Eastern Washington, or is it Montana?"

"I know our governor has expressed a particular concern for our veterans returning home from Iraq," Ginatta said. "So I know she will be interested in hearing about the meeting. ... This will get raised to her in the next couple of days."



Open Thread 




Drought 

It will be bad this year due to the light snowpack in the mountains. The PI is saying it might be the worst since 1992. And it may be part of a larger change.

Further, climate scientists say, this year's weather may not be an anomaly -- it could be part of a trend that will require major adjustments in the management of water, fish, forests and other natural resources.

"Four of the warmest years on record have taken place in the last six years," said Richard Palmer, director of the University of Washington's Center for Water Resources Management. While this still can't be definitively linked to long-term climate change, Palmer said, it certainly seems prudent to consider what to do if this weather trend persists.


...

"Scientifically, we're very far away from being able to make that connection," Mote said. But neither can they say with any more certainty that this year's weather is not the product of global warming, he noted, so it seems prudent to consider it as a possibility.

"We need to be thinking in terms of changing our infrastructure and make sure that climate change is factored into all our long-range plans," Mote said.

The evidence is accumulating that this drought should not be viewed as a one-time emergency, both scientists said, but rather as perhaps a glimpse into what will become routine for the near future.

The Climate Impacts Group has taken the global estimates of climate change and applied them to the region predicting a long-term trend of rising snow lines, declining snowpack overall, significantly reduced stream flow even with normal (or, perhaps increased winter) precipitation.



Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Ashes Ashes we all Fall Down 

St. Helens is acting up again. It's up to orange alert. Patriotboy has the best picture.



Primary Questionnaires 

I know it's pretty early to start thinking about them this year. The legislative session is barely half over for goodness sake. But the parties may nominate candidates in May, so I'd like to get a few questions out. I've already mentioned King County's new 1st district. Are there any hot primaries for local elections heating up that I should know about in your part of the state? It's cities, counties, and school boards. It's fire and sewer commissions. I don't know what's partisan and what's not outside King County. Or if there's any such thing with the new primary.

Also what sorts of things do you want to know from candidates? Local government is property taxes. It's transit, sometimes down to the bus lines. It's how you manage to keep the police and fire departments on the street. It's education. It's making sure the tent city has a place to go. It's about hospital funding. But I don't know the specifics of most places.



Fair and Balanced 

So um, the Daily O has a photo gallery titled "Same-sex marriage rallies on the Capitol Campus." They had 9 pictures. 8 of people who want less people married and one of a gay couple that wants to get married.

I don't have anything against photo journalism depicting one side or the other. Certainly a 5,000 person rally is probably big news. But they sure didn't cover the anti-war rallies like that. And the headline made it seem like they were going to give equal or near equal weight to both rallies.

...They've added a bunch more pictures, and it's much less hacktacular now.



Robin Arnold-Williams 

We've got a new chair of the Department of Social and Health Services.

Arnold-Williams has been executive director of the Utah Department of Human Services since 1997 and worked closely with Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt when he was governor of Utah.

Gregoire said that connection sealed her decision to hire Arnold-Williams after a national search. The governor said she met with Leavitt last weekend and got a rave review for Arnold-Williams. He promised to always take Arnold-Williams' phone calls, Gregoire said with a laugh.



Senators Oppose Debate Limit 

Both Senator Murray and Senator Cantwell voted to oppose the rethugnican motion to limit debate (cloture) on the horrible Bankruptcy Bill that they are now ramrodding through the Senate. Bravo!

Unfortunately, the motion passed.



D'oh 

The Senate passed a couple of generally good election reform bills. One explains the procedures more clearly for people who vote absentee and military votes. Another one audits voters randomly to make sure they're not illegal, and clarifies what is and what isn't an illegal vote. I can see some problems with the audit, if it's a small sample size, but generally I'm fine with that provision.

But there were a few snags. First there is another bill to move the primary election date back. Since there was an initiative dealing with the primary, any bill that would tweak it needs 2/3 in each house. The second problem is an amendment by Pam Roach on the auditing bill:

Democrats rejected an amendment that would require proof of citizenship as well as make it a felony to vote illegally.

But in a victory for Republican Sen. Pam Roach of King County, the Senate agreed to amend SB 5743 so that it requires the Secretary of State's Office and county auditors to check on the citizenship of each voting applicant with the federal Immigration and Naturalization Service, despite Kastama's warning that no such database is available.



Monday, March 07, 2005

Anti Prostitution Area 

The city of Lakewood is trying to make the Tillicum neighborhood tougher for prostitutes to get into than the White House.

The city has already designated prostitution emphasis areas along Pacific Highway Southwest, South Tacoma Way and Union Avenue Southwest, the main drag in Tillicum.

But this is the first time offenders would be banned from an entire Lakewood neighborhood complete with homes, schools and other trappings of residential life.

The way it works is the city court can issue a Stay Out of Areas of Prostitution order to anyone found guilty of selling or buying sex. Then if police find them in the designated area, they can immediately be arrested – whether they’ve committed another crime or not.

Sometimes the courts give offenders leniency if they live in the anti-prostitution areas, so they don’t always have to move, City Attorney Heidi Wachter said. For instance, the order can stipulate certain hours when the offender is allowed to be in the area, she said.

It’s a common strategy to fight prostitution. In November, King County adopted emphasis areas in the communities of White Center and Boulevard Park. Tacoma has similar areas.

Lakewood Police Chief Larry Saunders said the approach has been helpful in fighting prostitution-related crimes along these strips. But it’s not a panacea. As offenders figure out the targets – and they’re kicked out of them – they find new corners to walk.



Rosellini 

Over at the Spokane County Young Democrats, Martha has an interesting post on a biography of the former Governor: Rosellini: Immigrants' Son and Progressive. (note: Martha uses a Powell's link, I don't know if that nets Martha or the SCYD's a few pennies or if she's just supporting an independent store, but I always link to Elliott Bay because they're a Washington store, and my favorite book store on the planet.)



On the Docket 

The supremes hear a gay marriage case in a few days. The pro marriage side says that the state Constitution holds that Washington can't discriminate against any group of people when giving a privilege to people. Since marriage is a privilege, you can't discriminate against gays. Also the state version of the ERA goes even further, so that denying the right of men to marry men and women to marry women violates their gender equality.

I'm sure one of my trolls (or some of the more reasonable Repubs who post here) will define the pro discrimination side better than I could. But basically there is a defense of marriage act in place. And it was (sad to say) signed by a Democrat.

But my favorite people are the ones on the street.

Marriage Equality Now member Michelle Muri said that in Washington state traditionally married couples have at least 350 rights that are denied to lesbian and gay couples, such as the right to make medical decisions for a partner and to get immigration priority.

"We believe second-class status for anyone is immoral, unjust and wrong," said Muri as the audience roared with approval. "Separate is never equal."



Stonecipher is Gone 

Because he's a slut, not because he's an asshole. So trying force the federal government into a contract that they don't need that is wasteful spending on the part of the Air Force is fine. But having an affair is too horrible to keep the man.



Sunday, March 06, 2005

Cantwell Votes For Usury 

From The Olympian:
The Senate rejected, 74-24, an amendment to limit to 30 percent the amount of interest that can be charged on an extension of credit.

Voting "yes": Murray, D.

Voting "no": Cantwell, D.
Is there a pattern here?



Sorry for the Light Posting 

But I was having a ton of fun. And it was for a good cause; If you want to click on the donate button, I won't stop you.



Note to Self 

Don't piss Goldy off. If I'm lucky he'll just start an initiative to call me a horses ass. If not he'll write stuff like this about me.

Stefan dives into the numbers with such absolute confidence that they will prove his theory of official corruption, that when they don’t… well, that merely proves that the numbers themselves are corrupt. And so the debate on (un)Sound Politics plays out like some Paranoid Fantasy Baseball League, where the champion is predetermined through mass psychosis, and the season consists of attacking, undermining, and ridiculing any statistic that suggests otherwise.
...Too meta if you ask me (scroll down)



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