- Are you staying cool? I’m decidedly not.
- I’m glad to read Joel Connelly’s piece on sidewalk closures. Here’s hoping Scott Kubly is up to the task.
- Do better, Democrats.
- Are you staying cool? I’m decidedly not.
- I’m glad to read Joel Connelly’s piece on sidewalk closures. Here’s hoping Scott Kubly is up to the task.
- Do better, Democrats.
Good on the Seattle Times editorial board for voicing support for US Senator Patty Murray’s efforts to protect reproductive health care from the Supreme Court’s dangerous Hobby Lobby ruling…
Republicans and other Democrats in the Senate and House need to step up to this legislation, and its basic protections. Does anyone really believe that employees surrender their religious beliefs and civic prerogatives to their employers?
Shuffle the demographics, ethnicities and roles a bit, and no doubt the GOP opponents would be outraged by some potential employer-employee scenarios.
Timely and appropriate legislation in Congress restates the history and intent of existing federal laws so it will be clear, even for the nation’s highest court.
Of course, Murray’s bill has no chance of passing the Republican-controlled House. So, you know, if they really cared about defending women’s access to reproductive care, perhaps the editors might want to stop endorsing so many goddamn Republicans for Congress? Just sayin’.
1 Corinthians 6:1-4
If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, do you ask for a ruling from those whose way of life is scorned in the church?
I’ve yet to see the exact numbers, and they don’t appear to be available online, but word is that King County Elections has reviewed about 4,000 of the approximately 19,500 signatures Forward Seattle submitted on their anti-$15 minimum wage petitions, and validated only 75 percent on the first pass. That’s far short of the 84.6 percent rate necessary to produce the 16,500 valid signatures required to qualify a referendum for the ballot.
I’ve no idea if those first 4,000 signatures were a random sample or a contiguous batch of petition sheets, but either way it’s bad news for Forward Seattle, which would now need an 87.1 percent validation rate on the remaining signatures to meet the threshold. That’s not impossible; all of the rates posted above are within the range of past experience. But 87.1 percent would be more of an optimistic outlier than the norm.
And that’s before considering the “hundreds” of signature withdrawals Working Washington tells me they collected.
Considering the lengths Forward Seattle had to go to generate signatures—you know, lying to voters about their petition—a 75 percent validation rate would not be surprising. It takes low standards to run a signature drive this way, and those low standards almost guarantee a degree of sloppiness and cheating.
In other words, you get what you pay for. A maxim the business owners funding Forward Seattle might want to take to heart in reconsidering how they compensate their own low wage workers.
Ann Telnaes: America’s selective righteousness.
Rubin Report: Easiest and hardest places to live.
Mental Floss: 20 misconceptions about sex.
John Oliver: Antartic tourism.
Boehner, Bachmann & Steinweitz: Attorneys against deadbeat Presidents:
Washington Goes To Pot:
Sam Seder: Fox and Friends humiliated by a child.
Pap with Digby: Corporate media enables Teabagger oddballs.
Mark Fiore: Blasy the Drone, To Protect and Swerve.
Jimmy Dori: Luke Russert’s stupid tweet.
Sarah Palin’s Comedy Corner:
Rubin Report: The reality of who actually earns minimum wage.
Grace Parra’s Pretty Strong Opinions: Batten down the snatches:
What’s the Matter With Kansas?
The NSA spying scandal.
Nutburger Immigration Conspiracy Theories:
White House: West Wing Week.
Pap with Abby Martin: Blackwater’s criminal history.
UCB Comedy: Senatorial Candidate for Human-Dog Marriage.
Ann Telnaes: Pandora’s Hobby Lobby box.
Last week’s Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza can be found here.
I mentioned in the last Open Thread that Governor Inslee has released a clean water plan. The piece I linked to had mentioned Senator Mark Schoesler’s objections. I’ve now read the relevant press release, and I’m not sure why they needed to quote it.
Water-quality standards need to increase and any new standards must balance a cleaner environment with protecting family budgets and jobs. Most people can’t afford to have their sewer bills jump to $200 per month. Any extreme increase in regulations jeopardizes jobs and hurts the poor. Extreme measures, like what we’ve seen in Oregon, won’t bring the balance we need to make this work for everyone.”
OK. So we’re looking to find balance. Just finding the right balance. Senator Schoesler and I would probably disagree about where that balance might be, but at least we can all agree that we should look both at environmental concerns and at economic and other uses of our waters.
Obviously, Governor Inslee did that. Senator Schoesler may disagree with where he found that balance. Hell, I might disagree. Let’s see what balanced questions Senator Schoesler is asking.
Well, it varies. I’m not much of a fish eater. But a lot of people eat a lot of fish. Of course you want to protect the people who eat more. There are plenty of people who eat more than 23 meals with seafood a month, and plenty who don’t.
So far, the balance of questions is 1 for less regulation and 0 for more.
Wait, to $200? What is it now? If it’s $199.99 that’s very different from if it’s free (to take two extreme examples). Also — and this will shock you from a GOP press release — there’s no link to the actual source. But I highly doubt that this is in relation to the governor’s plan given that the plan had been out less than a day when this press release was put out.
I’m all for municipalities figuring out how to make bills more based on people’s ability to pay than on just the cost of providing those services. But I don’t think we should wait until they figure that out to act on clean water.
Two questions for less regulation and zero for more. Balance.
Again, no source. And again, it’s not going to be perfectly balanced. Some people, people who fish or who look for local food in particular, are going to be affected by this decision more than people who buy imported fish. If we can figure out ways to protect them too, that would be great. But those are the people who eat fish who Washington State can best protect.
Balance update: 3 questions for less regulation, 0 for more.
I’m not 100% sure what the question is. Is it how does technology advance to meet needs or is it what if businesses and municipalities don’t want to pay for the technology? If it’s the first, you know markets tend to be pretty good at figuring that sort of thing out. If it’s the later, um, tough shit that’s why we have regulations.
Balance: 4 questions for less regulation 0 for more regulation.
The question assumes that nobody looking into those standards considered economic impact. Or perhaps, this is supposed to hang on the word “real.” You know: we should all assume that because some GOP press release wanted to know “the real impact,” that that any talk about the economic impact is fake. Also, toxic chemicals in the water may have negative consequences, even real economic ones.
So final count: 5 questions for less regulation, 0 for more. So “the balance we need” is just as little regulation as possible.
[C]ategorizing Freeman’s market philosophy as somewhere to the right of Rich Uncle Pennybags, well, that’s about as speculative as predicting a Seattle Times editorial endorsement. (November, 2012: “Rob McKenna for Governor; a different kind of Republican.” You mark my words.)
Rob McKenna is the best candidate to replace Chris Gregoire as governor of Washington. … McKenna has an independent mind. He is willing to work with Democrats and he is willing on occasion to buck his party.
I don’t lay claim to any peculiar powers of prescience. This is just who they are and what they do.
Hate to make HA all Seattle Times-bashing all the time,* but over at PubliCola, Josh deftly highlights how blatantly dishonest the editorial board’s Parks District “No” endorsement is, by dredging up the paper’s “No” endorsements against the previous two parks levies:
Isn’t it weird that … the Seattle Times editorialized this week that voters should reject this year’s permanent parks funding measure because they’d prefer Seattle’s traditional levy renewal funding approach, yet they came out against the last two levy proposals?
(No inconsistency, I guess, but to mangle an old phrase: They were against parks funding before they were against it.)
How can anybody take the Blethenites seriously?
* No I don’t.
Back in 2012, just for kicks, I got myself elected a Rick Santorum delegate from the 37th Legislative District Republican precinct caucus. How’d I manage that? I was the only “Republican” to show up from my precinct. That’s how much of a joke the GOP is in this overwhelmingly Democratic district.
Yet that didn’t stop the Seattle Times editorial board from hopelessly endorsing an unknown Republican against 8-term incumbent Democratic state Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos. I mean, what the fuck?
THE 37th Legislative District’s Position 1 needs a legislator willing to compromise and represent the best interests of a diverse district where many schools are struggling and persistent achievement gaps threaten to leave students behind.
That means turning out the incumbent in favor of the promising political newcomer, Daniel Bretzke of Seattle. The moderate Republican faces an uphill battle against a 16-year legislative veteran, state Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos, D-Seattle.
If by “uphill battle” they mean running face-first into the base of a sheer vertical cliff, sure.
See, here’s how this thing usually works. The Seattle Times will hold its nose and endorse a Democrat in an uber-Democratic district, because to do otherwise would make them look feckless, impotent, and stoopid. If there’s a competitive race for an open seat, they’ll generally go with the Democrat with the fewest labor endorsements, but otherwise it’s the incumbent. That way the editors can point to their handful of Democratic endorsements in safe Democratic districts as a defense against accusations of partisanship arising from, say, their endorsement of lifelong asshole Drew Stokesbary over his more qualified Democratic opponent in a swingish 31st Legislative District.
So what explains this astounding act of editorial futility?
The Democrat chairs the House Education Committee and is in a position to make a huge difference for kids. Yet, she has repeatedly used her power to stall meaningful education reforms opposed by the teachers union.
While Santos should be focused on the Legislature meeting its court-mandated obligations to fully fund education, she wants to make the challenge worse. She supports Initiative 1351, the teachers union-backed measure that requires class sizes across all grades to be reduced, the hiring of thousands more teachers and building of more classrooms. Yet, there is no funding mechanism in sight.
This past session, Santos ignored Seattle Schools’ plea for a change in the law to include some level of student test scores in teacher evaluations.
I’ve got my own problems with Santos, dating back to her stalwart defense of payday lenders. She refused to support last year’s minimum wage legislation, and she’s long scorned much of the environmental agenda as something that’s more of a concern for rich white people than her own diverse working-class district. She’s actually far less liberal than her district. But I appreciate her work as chair of the Education Committee where she’s been a strong opponent of charter schools and much of the rest of the Gates/Walmart backed corporate education reform agenda.
And that, of course, is what has the editors’s undies so tied up in a knot. They absolutely hate the teachers union, and by association, teachers. And so in their eyes, Santos’ support for “hiring thousands more teachers” is a transgression so unforgivable that they are willing to stake what’s left of their withered reputation on a challenger who I could outpoll with a half-hearted write-in campaign.
It is an oversized gesture of unabashed futility that demonstrates once and for all that when it comes to understanding or representing the values and interests of its citizens, Seattle has, alas, become a no-newspaper town.
Damn you, $15 an hour minimum wage!
If not for the city council’s job-killing, small-business-destroying socialism, it could’ve been 28!* Amirite?
* (But seriously, it sure does seem to be business as usual in Seattle despite the impending $15 minimum wage. Go figure.)
It’s no October Revolution, but kudos to socialist council member Kshama Sawant and her fellow traveler Nick Licata (literally a communist, in that he once lived in a commune) for fighting to make the city’s proposed Metro buyback funding package just a little less regressive.
Sawant and Licata propose replacing the 0.1 cent sales tax increase component of the package with an increase in the Commercial Parking Tax (from 12.5 percent to 17.5 percent), and a modest restoration of the Employee Hours Tax: $16.68 per employee per year, with small businesses exempted. That would cost a Seattle business only $1.39 per employee a month, about 8 cents an hour—hardly the type of burden that would drive jobs out of booming Seattle.
I won’t belabor the details here; Sawant has posted an informative FAQ on her council blog. Go read that. But I will take the opportunity to editorialize.
As I see it, there are two compelling reasons for the council to adopt the Sawant/Licata proposal: 1) It’s more fair; and 2) The resulting tax package would be more likely to pass voters.
On the first point, Washington already has the most regressive tax system in the nation, and by far. This tax swap doesn’t do a lot to reverse that, but at least it doesn’t add to it the way a highly regressive sales tax increase would. About 40 percent of downtown Seattle workers rely on Metro to commute in to work; all Sawant and Licata are doing is asking businesses to pick up a little bit of the cost of maintaining the bus service on which they rely.
On the second point, because the sales tax is so regressive, it is also highly unpopular, which surely contributed to the defeat of the countywide Prop 1 in April. If the Sawant/Licata amendment passes, the council would impose the Employee Hours and Commercial Parking taxes directly. Only the $60 car tab increase would go to Seattle voters in November. Considering how crucial maintaining bus service is to our local economy and the welfare of low and middle income commuters, the council should do whatever it can to best assure passage. Replacing the regressive sales tax component with more progressive alternatives will surely help.
The Sawant/Licata proposal will be debated at today’s Transportation Committee hearing, at 2 p.m., and possibly submitted to a final vote. If you can’t show your support in person, scroll to the bottom of Sawant’s FAQ and email council members. Also, sign this petition.
- Good luck to all the STP riders this weekend. It might be a scorcher.
- Some details on Governor Inslee’s clean water plan
- But the larger problem is this: We have concluded that some of our foremost and most influential theologians, pastors, and biblical scholars were utterly wrong about a monumentally important matter of biblical truth. Yet, because we choose not to explore why or how they were wrong, we are unable to learn from their grievous mistake. We have no way of knowing whether or not we are, in fact, repeating their mistake. We have no way of avoiding such a repetition.
- Apple is a private corporation and, I guess they can chose to let you inscribe whatever they want on your phone. But this is stoopid.
Were you one of thousands of Seattleites misled by Forward Seattle’s blatantly dishonest signature gatherers, tricked into thinking that their petition was in support of a $15 minimum wage rather than an effort to repeal it? Well if so, there’s still time to take your signature back!
Voters misled by Forward Seattle’s corrupt signature gathering tactics into signing a minimum wage repeal referendum they did not support can actually withdraw their signatures from the minimum wage petition. Signatures must be withdrawn in writing, and they have to be submitted before the close of business tomorrow (Thursday).
[...] Here’s the letter you can submit (PDF): http://bit.ly/withdrawsig
Again, it must be submitted in writing, and has to happen before the close of business.
In order to expedite the process, copies of the letter are available at SEIU 775 in downtown Seattle. If you stop by the SEIU 775 office in downtown Seattle — 215 Columbia St, Seattle, WA 98104 — you can sign the letter to withdraw your signature and we will make sure it gets to the appropriate place. If you want to withdraw your signature, please stop by no later than 3:00 pm THURSDAY (i.e. tomorrow) so we can ensure they get to the right place on time and your signature is successfully withdrawn.
By all accounts, Forward Seattle was just on the cusp of delivering enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. Don’t reward them for their dishonesty: withdraw your signature before it’s too late!
— Working Washington (@workingwa) July 9, 2014
The Seattle Times editorial board (many of whom’s members don’t actually live in Seattle) weighs in on Proposition 1, which would create a Seattle Park District to manage and fund the city’s parks and recreation facilities.
SEATTLE loves its parks, and should have access to beautiful, safe and well-maintained urban green spaces.
Yes we do!
But in the name of good parks, the Seattle City Council is asking voters to give them a blank check, with increased power and weaker oversight.
We just don’t want to pay for them!
Citizens should reject Proposition 1, the Seattle Park District measure. This is not merely a replacement for the existing parks levy, which citizens have generously passed every six years. (Currently, property owners pay about 20 cents per thousand dollars of assessed value per year — or about $88 on a home valued at $440,000.)
It isn’t? Then I suppose in the very next sentence you are going to effectively describe exactly what Proposition 1 is:
As pro-parks community activist Gail Chiarello so effectively describes Proposition 1: “It’s pretending to be a Bambi, when it’s really a Godzilla.”
Um, what? I’m pretty sure that’s a non sequitur.
With the support of Mayor Ed Murray, Proposition 1 proposes a new, permanent taxing authority controlled by the City Council. Collections in 2016 would start at a total of 33 cents per $1,000 of a home’s assessed value (about $145 on a home worth $440,000), but the council could more than double that amount to 75 cents per $1,000, or $330 per year — without ever having to check with voters.
That’s not entirely true. Once the initial levy rate is set, the parks district would be subject to the same absurd one percent annual cap on regular levy revenue growth that Tim Eyman’s Initiative 747 imposes on all taxing districts. It is unclear to me whether the Parks District would be born with banked levy capacity up to the maximum revenue that could have been raised under the 75 cent per $1,000 statutory cap at the time of the initial levy, but even if so, that banked capacity would not grow with property valuations. In fact, since property values generally appreciate at a rate much faster than 1 percent a year, the actual maximum parks district levy rate per mille will inevitably decrease over time without a voter-approved lid lift.
Either the editors are too stupid to understand that, or they are engaging in dishonest scaremongering, pure and simple.
Under state law, this district cannot be dissolved by a public vote. Neither would citizens be able to file initiatives against decisions they disagree with.
Which is true. But citizens already can’t file initiatives against parks decisions now! The mayor proposes and the council amends and adopts parks appropriations through the annual budget process. City appropriations are not subject to initiative or referendum. How the parks department subsequently goes about spending its appropriations is a purely administrative function. Administrative actions are also not subject to initiative or referendum.
Again, either the editors don’t understand the law, or they’re hoping you don’t.
Though a 15-member citizens’ committee would ostensibly provide oversight, the real control is with the City Council. The parks district essentially creates a shadow city government, run by the same Seattle City Council with the same borders as the City of Seattle, but with vast new authority to levy up to about $89 million in new annual taxes on the same Seattle taxpayers.
How is it a “shadow city government” if it is composed entirely of the actual city government? Its meetings and records are open to the public. Its members are directly elected by voters. What is shadowy about that.
In fact, if you read the interlocal agreement that is part of the formation of the Parks District, nothing at all changes about the way decisions are actually made. The city will continue to own the parks. The mayor will continue to propose parks budgets. The council will continue to amend and approve parks budgets (before passing it on to itself in the guise of the Parks District for a pro forma vote). And the city’s parks department will continue to operate the parks on behalf of the district. Other than adding a citizens oversight committee, the only thing that substantively changes is the taxing authority. Nothing else.
There are not enough safeguards to stop the council from diverting general funds to other causes, such as sports arenas.
No safeguards except, you know, the ballot, the same safeguard that already stops the council from diverting funds to unpopular causes. These are elected officials. They answer to voters. That’s the safeguard: democracy.
(Also, “sports arenas?” Really? Now they’re just making shit up. In editorial board interviews and other forums, Parks District opponents have gone as far as to raise the specter that a Parks District could build an airstrip at Cal Anderson Park! That’s how stupid these sort of paranoid fantasies are.)
Proponents promise yearly department audits, but only after the measure becomes law.
Because you can’t audit something that doesn’t exist. Duh-uh.
Why wait? The city should conduct a robust, independent performance and financial audit before even attempting to ask voters to trust them and sign a blank check.
The office of the Washington State Auditor conducts annual financial and accountability audits of the city—including the Parks Department—the results of which are all available online. There are no outstanding negative findings regarding parks operations. As for a performance audit, it couldn’t hurt; but neither have the state’s performance audits proven to help all that much either.
Citizens deserve to know how funds have been used so far, and how the city might invest limited parks revenue more wisely.
See, this is really the heart of the disagreement here. The editors believe that parks revenue should be limited, whereas Mayor Murray and the council disagree. All their talk about accountability is bullshit. What they are really arguing for is more austerity.
• According to The Trust for Public Land, Seattle Parks and Recreation is ranked second in the nation for the number of employees per 10,000 residents among the nation’s 100 most populous cities. City spending on parks ranks fourth in the nation. Yet, it faces a daunting maintenance crisis that has left some buildings dilapidated, pools unusable, bathrooms dank and even allowed a broken pump at Green Lake to leak raw sewage.
Shorter Seattle Times: It’s all the fault of those greedy, lazy parks employees!
To be clear, the Parks Department has eliminated 142 positions since 2008, about 10 percent of its workforce. Further, Seattle Parks & Recreations is almost unique in the nation in that it encompasses community centers as well as parks, thus skewing our employee per resident and revenue per resident numbers upwards. Indeed, if you read the TPL report in its proper context (instead of cherry-picking data and deliberately presenting it out of context like the editors do), what you see is Seattle’s parks rankings slipping year over year compared to similar-size cities, do to our lack of investment.
So let’s be honest. One of the reasons the Seattle Times consistently opposes raising taxes (again, taxes many of its non-Seattle-resident editors will never pay) is because they view every funding crisis as an opportunity to punish unionized public employees. Not enough money to meet our paramount duty to amply fund public schools? Fire teachers, cut their pay, and break their unions! Sales tax revenue shortfall threatening 600,000 hours of Metro bus service? Fire bus drivers, cut their pay, and break their unions! Initiative 747′s ridiculous 1 percent cap on annual regular levy growth strangling the city’s ability to pay for parks and other public services? Fire workers, cut their pay, and break their unions!
• Despite campaign rhetoric calling on voters to invest in fixing parks, Proposition 1 would dedicate only about 58 percent, or $28 million, of revenue in the district’s first year toward chipping away at the city’s $270 million maintenance backlog. Eight percent, or $3 million, would pay for maintaining facilities. More than a quarter of the budget is slated for new programs and expansion.
That’s 58 percent toward addressing the maintenance backlog and 8 percent toward avoiding adding to it. Yes, a big chunk of the remainder goes to “expanding” programs… but only within the context of several years of program cuts. For example, we’re talking about restoring community center hours and routine park maintenance and service that had been cut during budgetary lean years. Over anything longer than a one-year time frame, that’s not an expansion.
As for new programs, the proposed budget would develop and maintain parks at 14 sites the city had previously acquired, but never had the funds to develop. Also a new program: performance monitoring! The editors oppose spending additional money on the exact sort of accountability they insist must be delivered before spending additional money! Imagine that.
Seattle needs to care for current assets before amassing more. It also ought to expand partnerships with nonprofits and private groups willing and ready to help sustain recreation programs.
Or, hell, why not just privatize?
Preserving parks is critical to quality of life and public health.
But paying for it is not.
The mayor and council members are understandably eager to create dedicated parks funding and free up room in limited levy capacity for other worthy programs, such as universal preschool. But they have failed to make a case for a Seattle Park District that gives elected officials so much additional, unfettered power to tax and spend.
Again, bullshit. The power isn’t unfettered and there’s zero loss of accountability. What the editors are really opposed to is “free[ing] up room in limited levy capacity for other worthy programs, such as universal preschool.” They want to drown city government in a bathtub.
By rejecting Proposition 1, voters send a strong message to city leadership: We love parks, but return with a levy or alternate measure that prioritizes park needs, holds officials more accountable and preserves citizen participation.
Actually, it would send the opposite and most obvious message: that we don’t love our parks. And they know that. But the anti-tax/anti-government/anti-Seattle editors just couldn’t give a shit.
Let’s be 100 percent clear: For all the over-the-top vilification, the proposed Seattle Municipal Parks District is little more than an accounting maneuver. For a hundred years, this latent taxing authority has been left untapped because a prosperous Seattle didn’t need it. But I-747′s ridiculous 1 percent cap (less than inflation let alone population-plus!) has left the city unable to grow revenues commensurate with its needs.
A parks district would provide a stable and adequate alternative revenue source while freeing up taxing capacity for other crucial services like universal pre-school. And it would leave the parks department just as accountable as it is now, if not more so.
What the Seattle Times is arguing for is what its editors always argue for: a slow and steady decline and erosion of the public sector. Tell them to go fuck themselves: Vote “yes.”