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Journal Archives

Democrats Target Reichert With Trumpcare Attack Ad

While the bill itself is dead, Democrats are hopeful that the ill-fated American Health Care Act will continue to haunt U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has launched an online ad campaign calling out Reichert for helping to vote the bill out of the Ways and Means committee. The DCCC describes the campaign as a “5-figure ad buy” on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The ads will be targeted at Reichert’s district, which straddles the Cascade Mountains and includes Issaquah, Auburn and Wenatchee.

According to the DCCC press release: “Specifically, the DCCC ads will be geo-targeted to Washington’s Eighth District and featured on YouTube pre-roll, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, targeting swing voters 35 years and older, grassroots activists in the districts, and those that have engaged with the topic of ‘healthcare’ on social media.”

Like the anti-cartab campaign launched last week, the Reichert attack ad is rife with political ad cliches, including a foreboding voice-over and manic/menacing editing.

Read more: http://www.seattleweekly.com/news/dems-target-reichert-with-trumpcare-attack-ad/

Seattle Teachers to Vote On Possible May Day Strike

“If you decide to strike, we’ll have your back!”

Thus ends an op-ed, published today in the South Seattle Emerald, by Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant and Mike O’Brien in support of “bold action” by Seattle teachers and other unionized workers on May 1st, aka International Workers’ Day, aka May Day. The Seattle Educators Association (SEA) is voting this week on whether to strike on May 1.

Such a strike would add a new element to May Day in Seattle, which in recent years has consisted of gigantic, permitted marches by immigrant and labor groups during the day and smashier anti-capitalist marches in the evening.

“We applaud the incredible courage Seattle educators are showing in considering strike action on behalf of their students, their schools, and all those in our community under attack from the Trump administrations,” wrote Sawant and O’Brien. “Your bold actions are an inspiration for working people everywhere.”

Read more: http://www.seattleweekly.com/news/seattle-teachers-to-vote-on-whether-to-strike-may-1/

Mayoral Challenger Calls for Rent Control, More Aggressive Affordable Housing Demands on Developer

Mayoral Challenger Calls for Rent Control, ‘More Aggressive’ Affordable Housing Demands on Developers

Anti-racist organizer and mayoral candidate Nikkita Oliver has made Seattle’s affordable housing famine a central issue of her campaign. In a Town Hall panel last year, the attorney and activist criticized Mayor Ed Murray’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) plan for creating ‘affordable’ housing that is only affordable to people earning more than $40,000 a year.

During that forum, Oliver criticized HALA in part for keeping Seattle’s longtime strategy of concentrating density into urban villages and mostly leaving single family zoning alone. “Not only does a discussion with single family zoning need to happen, about how those areas need to change,” Oliver said, “but there’s actually not been a lot of push on those areas to change, because their pushback was ‘We don’t want those people here, they will make our neighborhoods less viable.’”

Now, Oliver is running for mayor against Murray as a candidate for the Seattle People’s Party. Her campaign website blames the status quo for the city’s affordable housing crisis, calling that crisis “what happens when bigotry and racism go unchecked and unchallenged; when politics and politicians work for their own interests and the interests of corporations; when progressive speak is not met with progressive action; when the people are silenced in the name of an outdated political process and democracy becomes nothing more than a meaningless slogan.”

In the spirit of demanding more than slogans, we asked Oliver what specific policy prescriptions she has for addressing the affordable housing shortage. In a written statement, Oliver articulated two specific policy changes she would seek as mayor to address the affordable housing crisis: rent control and demanding more affordable housing production from developers.

Read more: http://www.seattleweekly.com/news/mayoral-challenger-calls-for-rent-control-more-aggressive-affordable-housing-demands-on-developers/

The GOP Wants to Relitigate ST3, Voters Be Damned

Last fall, 556,252 people voted against the Sound Transit 3 measure. But to their displeasure, no doubt, nearly 100,000 more people voted for it.

The vote should have been a decisive end to the debate. Unfortunately, state Republicans are intent on relitigating the matter, and have spent considerable time this legislative session proposing bills that, to various extents, will hamstring the regional transit agency. Some of the measures have been outright hostile to Sound Transit’s very existence. For example, one measure proposed by Senators Dino Rossi and Steve O’Ban would allow municipalities to unilaterally opt their residents out of paying Sound Transit taxes, which would all but ensure a collapse of the agency’s taxing authority.

That bill was never taken seriously, nor should it have been. But it’s an important waypoint to keep in mind when considering other efforts being put forth by the same senators in Olympia. That’s because while these remaining bills may have more modest aims and (arguably) more reasonable rationales, they are at their roots a part of the same anti-ST3 agenda that would unnecessarily put into peril a mass transit system that our region badly needs—and strongly supports.

Primary among these is a bill that would change how Sound Transit calculates car tabs. Seizing on the fact that Sound Transit is using an outdated car assessment method that typically inflates the value of newer vehicles, Republicans have brought forward a bill that would require Sound Transit to use the Kelley Blue Book value of cars instead. Republican leaders clearly think they have a winning issue with the car tabs. The Leadership Institute, an alliance of business interests and GOP lawmakers, has launched an astroturf-y online campaign called “Lower My Car Tabs” to drum up support for the bill, and Sound Transit has been called everything from greedy to criminal for the way it calculates vehicle values.

Read more: http://www.seattleweekly.com/news/the-gop-wants-to-relitigate-st3-voters-be-damned/

Ethics Complaint Targets Seattle Mayor, Others For Supporting Ballot Measure From Office

A complaint submitted to the state Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) and the Seattle Ethics and Election Commission (SEEC) alleges that Mayor Ed Murray and other officials improperly used the platform and resources of public office in support of a measure coming up on the August city ballot. The complaint was filed by a group which opposes the proposed I-126 ballot measure to double city funding for homelessness mitigation by raising property taxes.

Filed by by Magnolia resident Elisabeth Campbell on behalf of a small citizens’ group group called Safe and Affordable Seattle, the complaint alleges that city leaders and employees have been “improperly, nay even fraudulently acting as the chief proponent of a citizens’ initiative.” The group further alleges the mayor and others have “induced others to act as the City of Seattle’s officials’ straw sponsor of a citizens’ initiative” and “also improperly used the resources of the City of Seattle to both sponsor and support that citizens’ ballot proposition.”

Among those many—nay, multitudinous—accusations, the charge of mixing public duties and resources with campaign advocacy has the most likelihood of gaining traction. The state rules are clear: “No elective official {or other public employee} may use or authorize the use of any of the facilities of a public office or agency, directly or indirectly, for the purpose of assisting a campaign for election of any person to any office or for the promotion of or opposition to any ballot proposition.” There are some narrow exceptions to the rule, none of which obviously apply here.

In his 2017 State of the City address, Murray said, “I believe we must double the City’s spending on homelessness. I have asked local entrepreneur and civic activist Nick Hanauer and Daniel Malone, the Executive Director of Downtown Emergency Services Center, along with Councilmembers Juarez and Bagshaw, to lead an advisory group that sends me a funding package within 14 days that achieves this goal. This package would raise an additional 55 million dollars per year, paid for by an increase in the commercial and residential property tax – around 13 dollars per month for the median household.” In the view of the complainants, this statement clearly violates the firewall between public office and campaign advocacy, as does the labor of public employees that was presumably used to craft the ballot initiative.

Read more: http://www.seattleweekly.com/news/ethics-complaint-targets-mayor-others-for-supporting-ballot-measure-from-office/

Sagle Fire District pays $335K to settle lawsuit

SAGLE — The Sagle Fire District is shelling out more than a quarter million dollars to settle a federal wrongful termination suit filed by former Chief Robert Webber.

Webber’s counsel announced on Tuesday that he will receive $335,000 after being fired for prompting an investigation into claims that a firefighter was being sexually harassed by her superior that ultimately led to the supervisor’s dismissal.

Webber served as the district’s chief from 2010-2014 and several commissioners went on record during the proceedings to say that he was a diligent leader.

Webber noted in 2011 that firefighter Katie Loper had grown isolated from her colleagues and no longer attending meetings or training sessions. Loper disclosed that her superior officer, Jason Cordle, had allegedly been sexually harassing her and had gone so far as to crawl through a dog door of a home to speak with her when she refused to see him.

Read more: http://www.bonnercountydailybee.com/front_page_slider/20170329/sfd_pays_335k_to_settle_lawsuit

Immediate ban sought on use of M-44 cyanide bombs in Idaho

HAILEY, Idaho– In the wake of the poisoning death of a family dog near Pocatello and the hospitalization of the dog’s 14-year-old owner, a coalition of conservation and wildlife organizations today formally petitioned (https://www.westernwatersheds.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/WS-M-44-APA-petition-final-1.pdf) the highly secretive arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture known as Wildlife Services for an immediate ban on the use of M-44 devices in Idaho.

The petition also asked for the immediate removal of all existing devices from the state. M-44s, also known as “cyanide bombs” and “coyote getters,” lead to the agonizing death of thousands of animals every year, many of them nontarget animals.

“Clearly, it is unsafe and immoral for Wildlife Services to use these poisonous land mines to target native wildlife for killing on lands of any ownership,” said Erik Molvar, Executive Director of Western Watersheds Project. “Our petition calls upon Wildlife Services to take action to eliminate these brutal and indiscriminate chemical weapons before more kids and pets get hurt.”

In November Wildlife Services responded to pressure from conservation groups by publishing a decision that supposedly prevented the use of M-44s on public lands. Even so, the device that killed the Mansfield family dog Casey and injured young Canyon Mansfield had been installed on Bureau of Land Management land in February.

Read more: http://www.idahostatejournal.com/outdoors/xtreme_idaho/immediate-ban-sought-on-use-of-m--cyanide-bombs/article_709fa320-7640-5de3-8ef2-34e4800f1742.html

Lawmakers approve $90 million for new research centers

BOISE (AP) — Idaho lawmakers have approved the use of $90 million worth of bonds for the construction of two new buildings at a federal research facility in Idaho Falls.

A resolution to fund the Cybercore Integration Center and the Collaborative Computing Center at the Idaho National Laboratory in passed the House on Tuesday with overwhelming support, the Post Register reported (http://bit.ly/2mPQ947). Fourteen lawmakers voted against the resolution.

Officials expect the centers to create 500 high-paying tech jobs and about 1,000 temporary construction jobs.

The Cybercore Integration Center will serve as a research, education and training facility for cybersecurity work, which the laboratory sees as a career with major future growth opportunities. The Collaborative Computing Center will house a supercomputer for scientific simulations and modeling which lab officials said will be available for state universities to use for research and education.

Read more: http://magicvalley.com/ap/state/lawmakers-approve-million-for-new-research-centers/article_13bfa2e1-2733-5af6-98f7-63593619b876.html

Idaho lawmakers approve food tax repeal, advance new funding plan for roads

The Idaho Legislature inched closer to adjournment Monday with action on tax cuts and transportation funding, setting up possible session-ending final votes for Tuesday.

A revised, roughly $320 million funding package for roads squeezed through a Senate committee by one vote and moved to the Senate floor.

In the House, lawmakers concurred with a Senate-amended bill to eliminate the sales tax on store-bought food and the accompanying grocery tax rebate.

The food tax repeal now heads to Gov. Butch Otter, who has opposed it but has not indicated whether he would veto it. The bill passed in both houses by veto-proof margins, although just barely in the Senate.

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article141132073.html

Legislature OKs $126 million plan to buy Hewlett-Packards Boise campus

The Idaho House and Senate have approved a measure authorizing the state to buy the Hewlett-Packard campus in Northwest Boise for state offices.

But the Senate has not taken up a related House bill that would prohibit local property-taxing districts from getting other taxpayers to make up the revenue the districts would lose from a state takeover. That bill appears likely to die if the Legislature adjourns its 2017 session as now expected on Wednesday.

HP pays about $1.5 million in taxes per year to the city of Boise, the West Ada School District and other taxing jurisdictions.

Idaho plans to sell bonds to raise the $110 million it expects to pay for the HP campus. The state plans to spend an additional $16 million for renovations.

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article141320373.html
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