The Seattle Times is earning well-deserved kudos for its three-part exposé of abuse and neglect at adult family homes… which is kinda ironic considering how vociferously its editorial board has opposed an initiative that would require adequate screening, training and certification of long-term-care workers.
Initiative 1029 was overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2008, securing 72.5% of the vote statewide, and passing by better than 20-point margins in all 39 counties. According to King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, writing in its defense, the measure was intended to do two simple things:
- It requires FBI criminal-background checks for all long-term-care workers.
- It requires home and community-based long-term-care workers to complete 75 hours of training — the national standards for nursing-home workers — and pass a certification exam to demonstrate basic competence.
Yet despite the glaring need for better qualified long-term-care workers, and the unparalleled popularity of the measure, the Times, our state’s paper of record, urged voters to reject the initiative before the election, and has repeatedly argued for its repeal several times since, including just days after it passed:
Voters’ good, compassionate intentions were abused by the sponsors of Initiative 1029, which purported to ensure higher-quality long-term-care workers for the elderly and people with disabilities.
This measure, which passed handily, is nothing more than an artfully worded ballot measure that belies the bad public policy it is and the serious blow it will give to our state’s troubled budget — about $30 million over the next three years. … The Legislature and the governor should exercise their right to overturn this initiative immediately.
Tim Eyman’s tax-limiting I-960, which passed with a bare 51% of the vote, that the Times argues should be inviolable. But I-1029, the first statewide measure ever draw over 2 million votes… well… voters were hoodwinked or something, so the Legislature should just toss that one right out.
Why? Well, the Times argues that we just can’t afford $28 million over three years for training and certification. Oh, and the Times liked a supposedly “bipartisan” bill better.
But if you read through its several editorials on the subject, one pattern quickly emerges:
“The SEIU spent $650,000 of union funds to promote its proposal as I-1029.”
“Workers already organized would be trained by the SEIU and paid by the state.”
“Then the SEIU drafted this union-building, state budget-busting initiative and played off voters’ good intentions to get a better deal.”
SEIU this, SEIU that. This isn’t about responsible budgeting or a deliberative legislative process — and it certainly isn’t about the welfare and well being of seniors. No, the Times editorial board’s vehement and relentless opposition to I-1029 stems mostly from its vehement and relentless opposition to SEIU, and organized labor in general.
See, if it’s supported by labor, it’s opposed by the Times, the painful, puss-filled, oozing bedsores of neglected seniors be damned.