Ryan Blethen has a column defending the fact that the ed board talks about the mayor of the city in its masthead and the speaker of the state house. As a frequent critic of the ed board, let me say: that isn’t the problem. The problem is that you’re wrong about them.
Even casual readers of The Seattle Times’ Opinion section have probably noticed two names: Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and state House Speaker Frank Chopp.
Yes. They are high profile elected officials. I expect the ed board of the largest daily paper in the state to mention them.
They are difficult to miss because we have been writing a lot about them. As the editorial page editor I believe it is important to be persistent on issues we feel strongly about or that demand a spotlight.
Does anyone say not to cover the legislature or city government?
We have been all over Chopp, a Seattle Democrat, for sitting on a bill to revamp workers’ compensation. Chopp’s resistance to the reform proposal became a serious threat to completing the state’s budget.
The bill is unnecessary to move a budget forward, so it’s anyone insisting that it be part of budget negotiations is holding up the budget. Also, we don’t need to revamp, workers’ comp. And if we did we should probably not do it in a corporate friendly way. But seriously, nobody says don’t try to hold Frank Chopp accountable. We’re just saying what you want him to do is dumb and there are better targets if you actually care about passing the budget.
But as always it’s McGinn who really gets under the Seattle Times’ skin. Ryan, start off with something I’m not sure if it’s a mixed metaphor or horrible pun:
McGinn has become a regular thanks to his tunnel vision on the replacement of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and numerous other issues. Last week’s McGinn editorial du jour was his hiring of the former advocacy director of the Cascade Bicycle Club. In an editorial we argued that David Hiller is not a great hire for a transportation and external communications gig. More important, though, was the way the announcement of the hiring was handled.
I literally can’t tell if “tunnel vision” is a joke or if he’s just trying to say McGinn is obsessed with one issue. In any event, you can’t have tunnel vision on “numerous other issues.” Tunnel vision means one issue, numerous issues means more than one issue.
Anyway, David Hiller is fucking rad. He helped turn the region more bike friendly. Right now, to take one example out of many, there’s construction on the Burke-Gillman trail in Lake Forest Park that Cascade helped bring about. Yes, he’s said some controversial things. Yes, he can be a lightning rod. Those are things that make an interesting story. The announcement aspect is so boring (not to mention piss poorly handled by the local media) that just thinking about it now, I’ve fallen asleep and am typing in my sleep zzzzzzz.
When the city is facing budget shortfalls, a mayor should know he needs to justify the hiring of a political ally in a well-paying job — even if that $87,500 job fills an existing opening. A clear explanation of Hiller’s hiring is not what the public heard. His job description was vague and the media were provided with a salary higher than the actual number.
*Re-reads this paragraph and decides to keep making fun of it*
Why should he get credit for significant cuts his office’s budget? Don’t you know that one specific hire is more important than the overall picture? (And I’m not even arguing that the amount he cut is right; the city probably should have kept the head tax, and it some of that money stayed in the mayor’s office, that’s fine by me.) Again, you’re allowed to look at the mayor’s office, but when you make dumb arguments, expect to get called on them.
Reporters rightly had questions because of the salary given and the lack of a job description. KOMO-TV was frustrated enough to send a reporter to McGinn’s house the evening Hiller’s hiring was announced. This angered the mayor and his staff. So much so that Aaron Pickus, the mayor’s spokesman, sent an email to the television stations telling them how far away they should stand from the mayor.
Because they have no idea how to contact him during business hours or at any of the multiple public events he does around town, KOMO were forced to go to his house after 9:00. And don’t give me that he’s a public official bullshit. We’re talking about a fairly routine hire.
Any politician with a taxpayer-supported salary should understand that reporters might show up in places they would rather be left alone. There is no Fortress of Solitude in politics.
If this was a major event, I’d agree. If, say, one of McGinn’s deputy mayors had got arrested and McGinn refused to talk about it, I’d be with you. Go to his house and demand answers. For David Hiller being hired, wait until the morning.
Anyway, how about going into super defensive mode and attacking a straw man?
One of the criticisms I often hear is that it is unfair for us to beat up on public figures. It would be if they didn’t have multiple outlets to voice their displeasure with us or support their cause. We are quick to offer up oped and letter space to the people we take to task. If a politician is frustrated with our stance they are free to complain about it to reporters, to us, or to unions or to business chambers.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that nobody has ever said it’s unfair for any newspaper to beat up on public figures. They may say your take is unfair. That you’re focusing on some public officials over others. Maybe someone has compared it to the embarrassingly fawning coverage Boeing and Microsoft get. Anyway, Ryan Blethen thinks he’s very brave for doing his fucking job. Poorly.
Neal Peirce’s excellent Seattle Times editorial on the violence in Mexico is currently the top link at the Reddit World News aggregator. Sadly, despite the importance of what’s going on in Mexico right now, it still barely gets mentioned on traditional media outlets. And even when it does, the connection that Peirce makes between American drug policy and the violence in Mexico is never discussed in a way that helps the viewer understand what’s really going on.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
Those of you who have been left behind, discuss.
At a recent Drinking Liberally, Goldy and I were discussing what the comment threads have become. I think regular open threads have kept most of the things that would otherwise be off topic out of the other threads (although not completely). And while the threads have always been pretty loose, since the 3 regulars are all part time, the enforcement of the comment policy has gone somewhat downhill.
So the question is: do we need a new comment policy now that Goldy isn’t posting, do we need better technology, or is it working fine now? Goldy said he would be willing to work on something with registration, but I’m not sure that he has the time, and I don’t know exactly what it would look like. I can step up enforcement somewhat, but between 8:30 and 4:30 (give or take depending on the day) on weekdays, that’s not going to happen, and I can’t really force the other posters to do anything.
A Very Special Saturday:
Liberal Viewer: Killing Bin Laden UnChristian, Illegal?
The Huckster Defers:
Young Turks: Conservative talk radio is dead.
Ann Telnaes: Speaker Boehner’s no tax increase for the rich.
Mark Fiore: Oil companies make America more American.
Thom v. Joe Hicks: Do liberals hate America?
Greenman: The “Temperature leads carbon” crock updated.
Obama on the Middle East:
Lawrence O’Donnell: Nutcase Bachmann’s presidential prospects.
Sam Seder: Supremes okay warrant-less searches.
Ann Telnaes: Romney’s market-driven health care system.
Koch Kontracts Konsidered:
Crazytown: Sarah Palin endorses Ryan budget.
George Takei takes on Tennessee’s “Don’t Say Gay” Bill:
Young Turks: Sarah Palin for 2010?
Maddow: Cheney’s book cover.
White House: West Wing Week.
Maddow: It’s okay to be Takei in Tennessee.
Thom: The Republican War on Art.
Young Turks: Santorum is the dumbest presidential candidate EVAR!
Last week’s Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza can be found here.
I couldn’t find it on the legislature’s web page, but Planned Parenthood Votes says the family planning bill that I wrote about yesterday passed the House Ways and Means Committee. I’m not sure what the prospects are for it passing, but Planned Parenthood has a handy tool to contact your legislator.
I know it’s not on the tunnel itself, but on the process. Still, Seattle will get to have at least a proxy vote on the tunnel.
Acknowledging that the issue before the voters is limited to whether the city council has the right to accept the agreements by notice, and that it “does not resolve the issue of whether or not there is going to be a bored tunnel,” Middaugh said that nonetheless, “The overriding goal is to make sure that the voices of the people are heard when a policy decision is made.”
“The people of the city of Seattle have the right to be involved in that process.”
However, Middaugh said, “No matter what happens today, this decision is not a referendum on whether we’re going to have a tunnel or not. … It is a decision about how you make that decision about whether we’re going to have a tunnel or not.”
The section of the ordinance Middaugh said can go on the ballot, known as Section 6, delegates authority to the city council to issue a notice to proceed on the tunnel after the final environmental impact statement is adopted.
But the idea of city government mandating paid sick leave, especially while small businesses try to recover from severe economic woes, is overbearing and tone deaf. If anyone is going to lead us out of the recession, it’s small businesses. This is the last thing they need.
Totally, let’s blindly trust business to do the right thing. For the economy’s sake. Also, there’s probably a public health concern here. Both with other employees and with the people those sick employees have to interact with (do you really want your waiter to have strep throat and no sick leave?). But anyway, it’s been done in several cities, how can we learn from their example? Did it hurt businesses? Were there measurable public health differences? Other consequences?
City Councilmember Nick Licata, who is proposing the idea, says San Francisco did something similar and did not experience a negative economic impact.
OK fine. Now, Joni, instead of addressing that please complain about the existence of San Francisco for like 3/4 of your opinion piece about sick leave?
Another proponent of the plan said, in essence, San Francisco is doing this, why shouldn’t we?
Good start, keep going!
For years, San Francisco has been the punch line for goofy liberalism. Citizens and government there do a lot of off-the-wall things Seattle need not emulate. This city decided to officially expand the name of pet owners to include pet guardians. More respectful, you know. In fact, Seattle should ban the argument that San Francisco is taking certain action and therefore Seattle should follow suit.
So your argument against mandatory sick leave in Seattle is that San Francisco calls pet owners “guardians.” Of course. Surely something about Happy Meals will seal the mandatory sick leave deal.
San Francisco has also effectively banned Happy Meals, or at least the toy given with meals that exceed set levels of calories, sugar and fat. I did not feed my children Happy Meals. I am as concerned as the next person about childhood obesity and junk food.
But come on. Where are the parents? Don’t they have work to do?
Because you need to hit certain nutritional requirements before you can add toys in with food in San Francisco restaurants, Seattle shouldn’t have mandatory sick leave. It makes perfect sense. Why didn’t I see it before?
Seattle doesn’t have to copy every bad decision San Francisco concocts. Indeed, Seattle should eschew that old saw, “San Francisco is doing it, why shouldn’t we?”
I like that the first time Balter used that phrase in the column, it was paraphrasing and by the end it’s in quotes. Either she forgot that she’s the one who made it up or she’s quoting herself. And it’s an old saw even though she made it up like 15 paragraphs ago (I skipped a lot of random SF nonsense for lack of jokes, you’re welcome).
NARAL Pro Choice Washington is pushing a bill in the special session to expand family planning services to 250% of the poverty line (it’s currently 200%). I’d like it to be for 100% of Washingtonians who want it, but this is a step in the right direction. It passed the state senate earlier this week, and has a hearing in the state house tomorrow. From their press release:
“This legislation is critical for women’s health,” said Lauren Simonds, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Washington. “In our current budget environment, expanding low-income women’s access to family planning care is a no-brainer. SB 5912 will save the state money, starting in the same biennium.”
“NARAL Pro-Choice Washington would like to thank the 30 senators from both parties who stood up for women and families and voted for this legislation,” she added.
Family planning funding is a smart investment. By increasing eligibility in the Take Charge program, the Medicaid Purchasing Administration’s most conservative estimate indicates net savings of at least $3.5 million over the coming biennium.
It has a hearing scheduled for the Ways and Means Committee tomorrow morning. You might want to see if you have a representative on the committee, and give them an email if you do. In this horrible budget cycle, there’s a chance for something positive.
Public Policy Polling has released polling results in the 2012 Washington state gubernatorial race. Their press release gets right to the point:
McKenna, Inslee basically tied for WA Gov.
[...]The most likely match up for Governor of Washington next year looks like it would be a barn burner, with Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna starting out with just a 40-38 lead over Democratic Congressman Jay Inslee. With 23% of Democrats and only 13% of Republicans undecided at this point that looks like a sheer toss up.
The main reason McKenna is ahead of Inslee at this point is slightly higher name recognition.
(The same poll finds Inslee beating Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA-08) handily, 42% to 36%.)
McKenna is the more recognized brand right now, with 60% of respondents having formed an opinion of him, whereas only 51% have formed an opinion on Inslee.
What I found interesting in the crosstabs is that, in a McKenna—Inslee match-up, groups likely to support Inslee have higher “uncertain” responses:
Thus it seems support for Inslee has the greater growth potential as name recognition improves.
- RIP, Harmon Killebrew.
- I usually don’t do videos in open threads (I just forward to Darryl). But I don’t think you’ll want to wait until Friday night to see Dorothy Parvaz talk about her detention. Thank goodness she’s been released.
- See you on the streets for Bike to Work Day, and I’ll probably go to the after party!
With the weather finally turning nice and more people commuting by bike, I thought it would be a good time to discuss biking through the red lights. I do it occasionally, but under pretty specific circumstances. Some people, God love them, don’t blow through any reds, and some people seem to barely notice that there are conditions (let alone the red itself) that might warrant not going right now.
First off, if you don’t want to ever blow a red, that’s awesome. It can be dangerous. It can mess with pedestrians. Even if it is safe, it’s still illegal. In a city that doesn’t jay walk much, I can understand the urge to sit at those lights. Also, one of my favorite things about riding a bike in the city is the interactions you get with other bicyclists while waiting for the light to change. They’re usually short conversations that don’t get much beyond “where are you going?” but it’s still fun to talk to like minded people for a minute or two, and you’ll miss a lot of it if you go through the light.
That said, I blow red lights occasionally. I also jay walk in much the same way: be safe and don’t be an asshole. So the main question is not when do circumstances warrant it, but when don’t they: Don’t ever go through a red if there’s traffic.* Assume they can’t see you. Even if they can see you, they quite reasonably aren’t expecting you to blow the light when they have the right of way. But even if you can reasonably guess how fast the next car is coming, and that you can make it, don’t blow the light. If traffic is coming in that circumstance, there’s still a good chance that you’ll force them to hit the breaks or slow down by taking their foot off the gas. If they have the right of way, they shouldn’t have to do that. Bicyclists demand that cars share the road; we ought to extend the same kindness to drivers.
Even when there aren’t cars around, you still have an obligation to be safe and not an asshole to pedestrians and other bicyclists. If there’s a reasonable chance you might hit them, just stay put until everyone is clear. If the pedestrian at the curb is looking like she might cross, but you’re not sure, stay put. Hell, get off your bike, so they know you aren’t going until they’re done.
After that, I say go for it.
Who could have guessed that sending far-right Republican ideologues to Congress would backfire for the people who need government programs like Medicare:
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) came face to face with this growing movement at a town hall in Vancouver, Washington last night. Dozens of protesters encamped outside the meeting, waving signs like “Save Medicare: Tax the Rich.” When she tried to defend her vote on the GOP budget that would effectively privatize Medicare, “a chorus of boos and catcalls and shouts of ‘liar’ erupted in the auditorium.” The congresswoman was repeatedly called out by what the local press called a “rough crowd.”
It amazes me that there are people out there who voted for Herrera Beutler, but are now surprised that she’s voting to take away Medicare. What the hell did you expect? What part of Republican governance for the past 30 years hasn’t been clear? Modern Republicans don’t think government should provide safety nets to you any more. That means no Medicare, no Social Security. It means if you didn’t make enough money over your life – or if you’re one of those unlucky souls who gets a long-term illness that costs lots of money to treat – you need to look in the mirror and ask yourself why you didn’t have a good enough stock portfolio.
Please join us tonight for an evening of politics under the influence at the Seattle chapter of Drinking Liberally. We meet at the Montlake Ale House, 2307 24th Avenue E. Starting time is 8:00 pm, but feel free to join some of us for an earlier dinner.
Not in Seattle? There is an excellent chance you live close to one of the 227 other chapters of Drinking Liberally.
I know…I shouldn’t pick on the pathetic. But I will anyway.
Two weeks ago, after an Elway poll came out with mixed news for Sen. Maria Cantwell, I did a preliminary assessment of Cantwell’s vulnerability to a Republican challenger. I didn’t find the minor weaknesses uncovered by the Elway poll overly concerning. The poll didn’t do head-to-head match-ups for a general election, but it did find 46% would vote to keep Cantwell in office, and 36% would vote to replace her—a result almost identical that at this point in the 2006 election cycle.
My non-concern also reflected evidence from a much richer series of data from Survey USA’s regular tracking polls. They show Cantwell’s recent approval bouncing erratically from about 40% to 55%, with the most recent one at 49%.
Now Public Policy Polling has released a new poll that sheds more light on Cantwell’s lack of vulnerability. The poll finds her with 50% approval and 36 disapproval:
Cantwell is pretty universally well liked within her own party, at 80/7 with Democrats. She’s also on narrowly positive ground with independents at 44/40 and has a 17% approval rating with Republicans, which is a decent amount of crossover support (we generally found Patty Murray with a single digit approval with GOP voters over the course of last year’s campaign.)
The Republican who comes closest to Cantwell is an old favorite- Dino Rossi, who trails 53-40. Susan Hutchison and Dave Reichert do next best, both trailing by a 49-35 margin. Clint Didier trails 51-35 and Cathy McMorris Rodgers has the largest deficit at 50-31. Cantwell wins independent voters by 5-12 points in all of the match ups and picks up 8-9% of the Republican vote while only losing 2-5% of the Democratic vote.
Wow…a 17% approval with Republicans!
The head-to-head match-ups suggest that none of the Republican challengers can do any better against Cantwell than Mike McGavick’s dismal 39.9% result in 2006.
The bottom line:
Cantwell’s reasonably popular and the GOP doesn’t have anyone good to run against her.
This pretty much validates my statement from two weeks ago, “given the absence of a strong opponent on the horizon, I am simply unwilling to fret over a single Elway Poll….”
This new poll illuminates the state of the state Republicans: their candidate pool is nothing short of pathetic. There are almost no Republicans with any statewide appeal. Attorney General McKenna is about it, and he’s looking for opportunities elsewhere.
Last year during the I-1068 signature gathering effort (the legalization initiative that fell about 50,000 signatures short of the required amount to make the ballot), I encountered a number of people in the comment threads here and elsewhere who were at a loss as to how they could help. With that in mind, and with my extra free time over the past two months, I’ve helped Sensible Washington put together a new online resource for folks to help get I-1149 on the ballot this year. You can visit the page here or just click the screenshot below.
This page allows you find businesses that have I-1149 petitions on site. It allows you to locate the Sensible Washington coordinator closest to you in order to obtain petitions or turn yours in. And it has a compilation of festivals, sporting events, concerts, and other events between now and July 4th weekend where you can stand with a clipboard and help us get this initiative on the ballot in November. Get involved, and let’s get it done this year in Washington!