Author Archives: Steve Zemke

Eyman’s 2015 I-1366 is a Repeat of Eyman’s 2014 I-1325

Initiative 1366, sponsored by Tim Eyman, is a citizen’s initiative for the Nov 2015 Election. It is a refiling of Initiative 1325 from 2014 which Eyman failed to get enough signatures on to qualify. Here are a couple of comments from last year  about this proposal.

Spokesman Review – Jan. 10, 2014 Editorial – “Eyman’s Tax Initiative Looking for a Problem”

Tim Eyman has a new idea, his worst ever, and that’s saying something.
The watch salesman turned initiative promoter submitted a proposal to the Washington Secretary of State on Monday that would compel the Legislature to enact and pass along to voters a constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds vote by state lawmakers or voters on any tax increase.
How compel?
Initiative 1325 would cut the state sales tax rate to 5.5 percent from 6.5 percent. The change would reduce annual revenues by about $1 billion. But the reduction would not occur if the Legislature endorses the amendment by April 15, 2015.
In other words, the initiative puts a $1 billion gun to the head of legislators.
Eyman calls the incentive “oomph.” Blackmail is more like it.

This is not about protecting taxpayers. I-1325 is about keeping Eyman in business.

Crosscut, Feb 6, 2014 – “A 2/3 vote for tax bumps?  Tim Eyman will rise again” - article on a vote by the Legislature for a constitutional amendment for a  2/3 vote for revenue to be placed on the ballot. It received a vote of 25 to 21, far short of the 2/3 needed to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot.

“Minority Democrats countered that the Legislature struggled to meet financial requirements when the two-thirds requirement was in effect. They unsuccessfully tried to remove the two-thirds requirements to close tax breaks and to allow majority approval of some fund transfers covered by the supermajority requirement in Roach’s bill. The Democratic attempts failed.
Also, Democrats pointed to the need to comply with a 2012 Supreme Court ruling to upgrade education and to restore a frequently suppressed voters initiative to provide cost-of-living increases to teachers.
Democratic Senate budget chief James Hargrove of Hoquiam noted that it took two extra special sessions in 2013 to close two tax breaks to balance the state budget — with a simple majority rule in place. He said 17 senators — 12 percent of the entire Legislature  — could hold the budget hostage in order to get their pet bills passed. “It’s called the rule of 17, a super-minority,” said Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Kent.

From the Washington State Secretary of State’s website:

Ballot Title
Initiative Measure No. 1366 concerns state taxes and fees.

This measure would decrease the sales tax rate unless the legislature refers to voters a constitutional amendment requiring two-thirds legislative approval or voter approval to raise taxes, and legislative approval for fee increases.

Should this measure be enacted into law? Yes [ ] No [ ]

Ballot Measure Summary
This measure would decrease the state retail sales tax rate on April 15, 2016, from 6.5 percent to 5.5 percent. The sales tax rate would not be decreased if, by April 15, 2016, two-thirds of both legislative houses refer to the ballot a vote on a constitutional amendment that requires two-thirds legislative approval or voter approval to raise taxes, and majority legislative approval to set the amount of a fee increase.

View Complete Text PDF

Initiative 1366 is an Ted Cruz style of coercion measure, threatening to remove $1 billion a year in revenue from the state budget. It would severely cripple funding for education in this state.  It is a libertarian ant- government, anti-tax initiative intended  to lock in tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy and severely limit funding of public services by requiring a 2/3 vote to raise revenue or repeal tax loopholes.

Do not sign or support or vote for Initiative 1366!

I-1366 – Another Eyman Initiative to Help Corporations and the Wealthy

Initiative 1366 is another Washington State initiative attempt by libertarian Tim Eyman to help the wealthy and corporate America avoid taxes and tax reform. With the most regressive tax structure in the country it is  a blatant attempt to prevent the Legislature from engaging in tax reform or eliminating tax exemptions that do not benefit the state or its citizens. It proposes to use an extortion tactic reminiscent of Senator Ted Cruz’s trying to shut down the Federal government to overturn the Affordable Care Act.

I-1366 would eliminate $1 billion in sales taxes per year  from the  state budget if the Legislature does not vote to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot for a vote. Eyman’s proposed amendment would require a 2/3 vote by the Legislature to raise taxes or eliminate tax exemptions.

Eyman is not able to secure anywhere near the required 2/3 vote required by the Washington State Legislature to normally put a constitutional amendment on the ballot.  So he is attempting this extortion tactic which requires only a majority vote of the public to reduce the sales tax by a billion dollars unless the Legislature takes a 2/3 vote and puts his “corporate tax loophole preservation amendment” on the ballot.

Something just stinks about this sort of extortion style tactics to get what you want rather than following the normal political process.  Eyman of course is trying to sell this to low and middle income voters as a way to keep their taxes low. The problem is that the reverse takes place. Washington State has the most regressive tax structure in the country according to a 2015 report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

The ITEP report states that the lowest 20% of income earners (non-elderly) making less than $21,000 pay 16.8% of their income in state and local taxes. Meanwhile the wealthiest top 1% earning over $507,000 pay only 2.4% of their income in state and local taxes.

This is not the first year that Washington State held this distinction but it is an ongoing one because for many years Washington state has had a 2/3 vote requirement to raise revenue as well as repeal non-performing tax exemptions. Raising revenue as defined also includes the legislature changing a revenue source even if the overall revenue raised is neutral. This has made tax reform extremely difficult.

The 2/3 vote requirement first put in place by Initiative 601 in 1993, suspended several times and re-enacted several times by initiative until finally ruled unconstitutional in 2013 by the Washington State Supreme Court. The court declared that the 2/3 voting requirement to raise revenue violated Article II, Section 22 of the Washington State Constitution which stated that for a bill to become law it needed a majority vote.

Eyman uses the fear of tax increases by the legislature on those hurting the most by the regressive tax structure of our state. This fear recently saw another defeat of an income tax initiative – I-1098 which would have shifted more taxes to the wealthy and reduced the regressiveness of our  state’s tax structure.

Voters need to understand that 2/3 vote requirements like Eyman is proposing help the wealthy and corporations the most. They allow a minority of 1/3 of the Legislators in either Legislative house who are anti – government anti- tax to overrule a majority of Legislators that want both to enact a fairer tax system and also fund public services like educating our children and helping the needy. Eyman is motivated by an anti-tax anti-government libertarian agenda that puts wealth accumulation and concentration in the hands of a few.  There is no trickle down – it is more like a waterspout with only the rich having the buckets to collect the money.

Don’t sign I-1366 and if it gets on the ballot vote NO. Support tax reform to help end wealth inequality and tax regressiveness. Support raising the minimum wage. Don’t enact a law like I-1366 which will take a billion dollars out of funding for state education for our kids.  Don’t support passing legislation like I-1366 which helps corporations keep their tax loopholes and the wealthy pay a smaller share of their income in taxes than low and middle income earners.

 

Brad Owen Voids Republican Senate Rule as Unconstitutional

In a ruling on March 2, 2015,  Brad Owen, the Lt Governor of Washington State and presiding officer and President of the Washington  Senate did the right thing. He declared that the Senate rule passed by the Republicans in the Washington State Senate earlier this year to require a 2/3 vote to raise revenue was unconstitutional and thus void. As noted in a press release by the Northwest Progressive Institute, Brad Owen stated:

“The President has previously stated, The Senate cannot pass a rule that violates the state Constitution,” …: “Perhaps that statement should be clarified to read, The Senate may adopt an unconstitutional rule, but the President will not enforce it.”

The Washington State Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that requiring a 2/3 vote of legislators to raise revenue was unconstitutional because the Washington State Constitution said laws shall be passed by majority votes. As written in the Tacoma News Tribune at the time:

The language and history of the constitution evince a principle favoring a simple majority vote for legislation,” wrote Justice Susan Owens for the 6-3 majority (previous posts mistakenly said Chief Justice Madsen wrote majority). “The State’s proposed reading of article II, section 22 would fundamentally alter our system of government, and such alteration is possible only through constitutional amendment. Washington’s government was founded as a representative democracy based on simple majority rule.” “The Supermajority Requirement unconstitutionally amends the constitution by imposing a two-thirds vote requirement for tax legislation. More importantly, the Supermajority Requirement substantially alters our system of government, thus enabling a tyranny of the minority.”

Brad Owen based his decision on the Washington State Supreme Court decision. As reported by the Tacoma News Tribune :

“The state Senate’s presiding officer said Monday he won’t enforce a Senate rule making it harder to raise taxes. The rule violates the state constitution, Lt. Gov. Brad Owen ruled. With the ruling by Owen, a Democrat, the votes of 25 of 49 senators are required to move a tax through the Senate, the same 50-percent-plus-one majority as required in the House. The rule required a two-thirds supermajority to bring a bill to a final vote if the bill created new taxes. In invalidating it, Owen relied on a 2013 state Supreme Court ruling striking down voter-passed requirements for two-thirds supermajorities for taxes.”

Unfortunately the Tacoma News also gives a plug for libertarian anti tax Tim Eyman who for years pushed the unconstitutional 2/3 voting requirement in initiative campaigns. He is now pushing a “Ted Cruz style shut down the government stop educating our kids until I get my way” initiative. While he likes the 2/3 voting proposal when it suits his purpose, he hates it when it is an obstacle to get his way.
The Washington State Supreme Court said the only way a 2/3 rule could apply was if it was in the Washington State Constitution. But that’s the kicker – it takes a 2/3 vote of the legislature to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot. Eyman doesn’t have anywhere near what he needs for 2/3 since Republicans are his main base of support.  And they are in the minority in the House and barely 2 votes over a majority in the Senate.
Eyman’s answer –Initiative 1366 – have voter’s cut $1 billion from the state budget until they put a constitutional amendment on the ballot. Voters would be ill served by starting to hold the legislature hostage to ransom since voters would be the ones suffering by seeing public education and other services cut even more.
Many voters miss the connection that who really benefits are large corporations who don’t want to pay taxes like for cleaning up their pollution. Big oil companies like BP and Tesoro gave Eyman big money in the past so the Legislature couldn’t raise funds from them to clean up oil pollution. It the average individual and family taxpayers who suffer as a result because they have to pay instead of the polluters who are making huge profits.
In addition BP and other corporations don’t want to see their tax loopholes end.  While they only take a majority vote to enact, under the 2/3 proposal it would take a 2/3 vote of the Legislature to end them, even if they provided no benefit to the state. The 2/3 vote proposal actually puts the minority in charge of tax policy since 1/3 of the Legislators in either house could then block tax legislation.
All in all it is a bad dealer for working families and most taxpayers in our state. Corporations love the idea. Don’t be fooled.  Don’t support Eyman’s latest corporate benefiting initiative that would further damage education in our state. Don’t sign Initiative 1366. And don’t vote for it, if his paid signature gatherers help him make it onto the November ballot.

King County Legislative Town Hall Meetings March 14, 2015

This Saturday, March 14, 2015 is a great time to meet with your Legislators across King County and urge them to act on  Democratic priority legislation.  Most legislative districts are holding town hall meetings.  You can attend your own LD or any other you want. Take this opportunity to get updated on the current status of bills. Use it to ask questions about the issues and bills you are concerned about and support or oppose.

Use the King County Democrats 2015 Legislative Agenda to focus in on Democratic priorities. Use the latest  bill tracking status (updated 3/9/2015)  to check the status of specific bills the King County Democrats are following.  Then let Legislators know your priorities and ask them to work to pass specific bills.

Other things you can ask include:

Are you going to fund K-12 education as mandated by the Washington State Supreme Court?
Are you going to eliminate any tax loopholes?
Are you going to pass a capital gains tax?
Are you going to address carbon pollution?
Are you going to make rail transport of oil safer?
Are you  going to raise the minimum wage?

Legislative  Town Hall Meetings

Saturday March 14

1st District – Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, Reps. Derek Stanford and Luis Moscoso WhereNorthshore Senior Center in the Wellness Center, 10212 East Riverside Drive, Bothell, WA 98011 When: 10 a.m.. – noon

11th District  – Sen. Bob Hasegawa, Reps. Zack Hudgins and Steve Bergquist  Where:  King County Regional Communications & Emergency Coordination Center (RCECC) 3511 NE 2nd Street, Renton, WA 98056
When:1-3 p.m.

 30th District – Sen. Mark Milosca, Rep. Carol Gregory, Rep. Kochmar
Where:
  Federal Way City Hall, Council Chambers, 33325 8th Ave S,, Federal Way, WA  When: 10 a.m. – 11:30 am Where: Milton City Hall, 1000 Laurel St, Milton, WA When: 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm.

32nd District – Sen. Maralyn Chase and Rep. Cindy Ryu Where: Shoreline Fire Dept. 17525 Aurora Ave. N. Shoreline, WA 98133 When: 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m.

36th District – Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Reps. Reuven Carlyle and Gael Tarleton Where: Phinney Neighborhood Association, community room, 6532 Phinney Avenue North, Seattle, WA 98103  When: 10 a.m. – noon

37th District – Sen. Pramiia Jayapal, Reps. Tomoko Santos and Eric Pettigrew Where: Rainier Valley Cultural Center—3515 S Alaska St, Seattle, WA 98118 When 9-11 a.m.

41st District – Sen. Steve Litzow, Rep. Tana Senn, Rep. Judy Clibborn Where: Somerset Elementary School, 14100 Somerset Blvd, Bellevue, WA  When 10 a.m. – 12 noon

43rd District – Sen. Jamie Pedersen, Speaker Frank Chopp and Rep. Brady Walkinshaw Where: Erickson Theater, 1524 Harvard Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122 When:1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

45th District – Sen. Andy Hill, Rep. Roger Goodman, Rep. Larry Springer Where Woodinville High School Auditorium, 19819 – 136th Ave NE, Woodinville, WA When: 10 am – 11:30

48th District- Sen. Cyrus Habib, Reps. Ross Hunter and Joan McBride Where: Redmond City Hall, 15670 NE 85th St., Redmond, WA 98052 When: 10 a.m. – 12 noon

Please attend a town hall meeting this Saturday and urge legislators to pass our priority legislation.  There will be no LAC meeting this Sunday, March 15th because we believe directly talking with Legislators this weekend is the best use of your time.

Washington State Senate Republicans Again Want to Ignore State Constitution

“”The Republicans in the Washington State Senate when the Legislature convenes on Monday will try to bypass the Washington State Constitution calling for majority votes to pass legislation. Two Republicans – Doug Erickson of Bellingham and Mike Baumgartner of Spokane – have announced that they  intend to try to amend Senate Rules to require a 2/3 vote of the Senate to bring any  legislation calling for a tax increase to the floor for a vote. In a great display of hypocrisy, this vote will require by their calculation only a majority of Senators to pass it.

Republicans in the Senate have a 26 to 23 majority but it seems they are not content with even that – wanting to give 1/3 of the sitting Senators veto power over the other 2/3.  Thus a minority of 17 Senators, if this rule change passes, would have veto power over the wishes of 32 Senators – a clear coup of rule by the minority.  As the Spokesman Review’s Jim Camden notes ” This would cover bills with new taxes …, raises in existing taxes and reduction or elimination in tax exemptions, sometimes known as loopholes — unless they had a referendum clause that was sending them to the ballot for voter approval”

This rule would require that any attempt to repeal non performing tax exemptions or reduce the exemption would also need to have a 2/3 vote to come to the senate floor for a vote. In again a  twisted sense of majority rules it would only require a simple majority to pass a tax exemption.  All of the current 650 plus tax exemptions in place only required a majority vote. Yet even if the Legislature through its JLARC review process determined that a specific exemption was not resulting in any benefit to state taxpayers, like increasing state employment and jobs, 1/3 of the members of the Senate could prevent the exemption being cut. This is the power of minority rule – whereby even if a majority wants to eliminate a tax exemption because it is not benefiting the state or meeting state priorities, the minority position wins.

The framers of the US Constitution looked at this issue in the Federalist papers.  Alexander Hamilton in The Federalist Papers No.#22 noted:

“To give a minority a negative upon the majority (which is always the case where more than a majority is requisite to a decision), is, in its tendency, to subject the sense of the greater number to that of the lesser.” …

“…The necessity of unanimity in public bodies, or of something approaching towards it, has been founded upon a supposition that it would contribute to security. But its real operation is to embarrass the administration, to destroy the energy of the government, and to substitute the pleasure, caprice, or artifices of an insignificant, turbulent, or corrupt junto, to the regular deliberations and decisions of a respectable majority. In those emergencies of a nation, in which the goodness or badness, the weakness or strength of its government, is of the greatest importance, there is commonly a necessity for action. The public business must, in some way or other, go forward. If a pertinacious minority can control the opinion of a majority, respecting the best mode of conducting it, the majority, in order that something may be done, must conform to the views of the minority; and thus the sense of the smaller number will overrule that of the greater, and give a tone to the national proceedings. Hence, tedious delays; continual negotiation and intrigue; contemptible compromises of the public good. And yet, in such a system, it is even happy when such compromises can take place: for upon some occasions things will not admit of accommodation; and then the measures of government must be injuriously suspended, or fatally defeated. It is often, by the impracticability of obtaining the concurrence of the necessary number of votes, kept in a state of inaction. Its situation must always savor of weakness, sometimes border upon anarchy.”

Ironic isn’t it that Republicans who profess they want to uphold the Constitution would try to impose rules of legislative action that run opposite of what the framers of the US Constitution felt that government needed to do to be effective.  Majority rules for legislative action must be adhered to in passing legislation, not the imposition of rule by a minority to impose their will on the majority.

The Washington State Supreme Court has already ruled on the issue of majority votes being requires for passing legislation. It has ruled that requiring a supermajority like a 2/3 vote of all legislators is unconstitutional. This latest Republican proposed attempt to circumvent the Washington State Constitution shows the repeated hypocrisy of those that profess the need to adhere to the Constitution, in this case the Washington State Constitution, but repeatedly attempt to come up with ways to bypass it or ignore it to further their personal political agenda.

Voters need to take note of Washington Legislators like Senators Ericksen and Baumgartner who are not willing to abide by the intent and language of the Washington State Constitution and the Washington State Supreme Court and vote them out of office.

2015 Washington State Minimum Wage to Increase to $9.47/hr.

Washington State’s minimum wage will increase 15 cents on January 1, 2015 to $9.47 per hour.  Every year Washington State’s minimum wage increases based on inflation increasing the  Federal Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) over the last 12 months ending Aug. 31 of each year.  Initiative 688 passed by voters in 1998 was the first state in the nation to add the requirement that the minimum wage each year must be increased based on inflation.

The National Conference of State Legislatures  website has a list of all states and what their minimum wages will be next year. They note that nine states will have an increase based on their state laws requiring they be indexed to inflation. These state are Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, and Washington. Oregon will have the second highest state minimum wage after Washington State next year at $9.25 per hour.

The current Federal minimum wage is $7.25. Twenty nine states and the District of Columbia next year will have a higher  minimum wage than the Federal minimum wage. Attempts have been made in Congress to raise the Federal minimum  wage which is not indexed to inflation but have been rebuffed by Republicans who have taken the approach to oppose any legislation being pushed by President Obama.

The Federal minimum wage was last increased on July 24, 2009 – over five and a half years ago. The wage increase was part of passage of the Fair Labor Practices Act.  As the US Department of Labor notes “The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards affecting full-time and part-time workers in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments.”

President Obama has proposed raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. Republicans who are more concerned about supporting corporate America than working families  have repeatedly opposed such legislation. President Obama in a direct attempt to circumvent Republican’s negative approach to addressing America’s problems  like income equality hurting those on the bottom of the economic ladder, signed an executive order raising the minimum wage for those working for Federal contractors to $10.10 per hour.

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee and Climate Change

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee was a featured speaker at the Budget Matters 2014 Conference held Friday December 12, 2014 in Seattle Washington at the Washington State Convention Center. Remy Turpin, the Executive Director of the Washington State Budget and Policy Center asked the Governor questions in a conversation on climate and income inequality.

DSC_0703

Remy Turpin and Governor Jay Inslee

Governor Inslee started out by responding as to why he was concerned about climate change and pointed out a number of reasons. One reason Inslee said was personal – it was about what kind of world we were going to leave our grandchildren and this was at risk in fundamental ways. Another reason is about economic passion – how we grow jobs. But he said it was also about health issues caused by pollutants released from burning fossil fuels. He noted that asthma rates are high along heavily traveled roads and industrial sites. Asthma rates statistically go up closer to freeways. Children are particularly vulnerable and Inslee commented on a 14 year old he recently talked with whose friends all had asthma and thought it was normal until realizing that not all children had asthma.

Inslee also noted the impacts of carbon pollution on  increasing ocean acidification and its impacts on sea life. Warming associated with climate change is also increasing health risks by increased forest fires and the resultant air pollution.

Carbon pollution is particularly hard on low income people who live in lower priced homes next to freeways or in or near industrial areas releasing  pollutants from burning carbon based fuels. The current economy while growing is mostly benefiting those at the top and is not working for many working families leaving them more vulnerable.

Asked about what type of legislation he was going to propose to the Washington State Legislature on dealing with carbon pollution, the Governor said that to reduce carbon pollution it was necessary to internalize the cost.  The costs to the environment, peoples’ health and the economy are not currently borne by those making money off of carbon fuels but is passed back to everyone else.  Governor Inslee said there were two main ways to internalize the cost and they were to pass either a carbon pollution tax or a cap and trade system that puts a fixed cost per ton of CO2 produced.

While Inslee did not say which way he was going to propose, he seemed to talk most about the benefits of a cap and trade system. British Columbia has a carbon pollution tax but Australia’s right leaning government earlier this year repealed it’s carbon tax. California three years ago moved forward on implementing its cap and trade system  signed into law by former Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006.

Inslee noted that eight New England states participate in a cap and trade system that is legally binding, that is limiting the number of pollution permits and that operate by a market system that auctions the permits. Cap and trade was also successfully used 20 years ago in the east to limit sulfur dioxide from coal burning.

Some 20 European countries also have a cap and trade system. While there has been some controversy over the declining permit costs to emit carbon pollution, the goals that were purposed to be met look like it is working. As noted in a New York Times post by Stig Schjolset:

“…the European Union experience suggests that designed in the right way, in line with the polluter-pays principle and with a strong compliance regime, emissions trading systems will put an effective cap on carbon emissions – a cap that can be gradually tightened as politicians sign up to more ambitious reduction targets.”

Governor Inslee warned that any attempt to put a price tag on carbon pollution would result in a full court press by the carbon extraction industries that are creating the pollution. Inslee said it was time to make ” the polluting industries rather than poor people pay.”  He said the fight would be expensive and like that the tobacco industry launched-  full of nonfactual and untrue statements.  He said the fight has already started  but that this effort will create thousands of jobs and help build infrastructure for repairing highways and education as well as help clean the air we all breathe.

Rich Erwin Elected New King County Democrats Chair

 

Rich Erwin - Chair - King County Democrats

Rich Erwin – Chair – King County Democrats

 

Every two years the King County Democrats in Washington state elect new officers as do other county and legislative districts and the Washington State Democrats. On Saturday December 6th, 2014 some 208 King County precinct committee officers were present and signed in out of the 820 elected in the August Primary. The meeting was in south Seattle at the Machinists Hall.

Three candidates were running to succeed the previous Chair who decided not to re-run.  They were Rich Erwin – a former Chair of the 41st LD Democrats, Omaha Sternberg – Chair of the 33rd LD Democrats, and Betsy Walker – Chair of the King County Young Democrats. The meeting was full of surprises, including the power and lights going out during the election of the Chair and the extreme closeness of several votes. Rich Erwin after 3 votes was elected the new Chair.

In the initial vote for Chair the following results were obtained:

Rich Erwin 68

Omaha Sternberg 67

Betsy Walker 67

spoiled ballot 1

After much discussion of how to proceed a revote was taken with the following tally:

Rich Erwin 69

Omaha Sternberg 70

Betsy Walker 63

A third vote was then taken, dropping the lowest vote. The lights were  still out. The new tally was:

Rich Erwin 105 – elected Chair

Omaha Sternberg 89

Almost immediately after Rich Erwin was declared the new Chair, the  power and lights came back.

1st Vice Chair

Omaha Sternberg was nominated to be 1st Vice Chair and was elected by acclimation.

The 2nd Vice Chair election was as follows:

Joel Ware 108 – elected 2nd Vice-Chair

Roger Crew 54

The 3rd Vice Chair results:

Christina Lewis 116 – elected 3rd Vice-Chair

Julius Caesar Robinson 20

Linda Seltzer 23

The 4th vice-chair position drew 4 nominees.

Roger Crew 20

Sara Franklin 53

Julius Caesar Robinson  64

Linda Seltzer 7

Roger Crew withdrew and the vote was held on the top 2.

Sara Franklin 68

Julius Caesar Robinson 68

one spoiled ballot labeled Sara Robinson

A revote was taken:

Sara Franklin 62

Julius Caesar Robinson 65 – elected 4th Vice Chair

Other officers elected:

Javier Valdez was nominated and elected by acclimation as the male State Committeeman

Ann Martin was nominated and elected by acclimation as the female State Committeewoman

Dave Fish was nominated and elected by acclimation to be the Treasurer

Roger Crew was nominated and elected by acclimation to be the Secretary

news reports on elections:

Bothell Reporter

Mercer Island Reporter

 

WA 30th LD Democrats Nominate 3 Candidates to Replace Rep. Roger Freeman

On Monday, Dec 1, 2014 Democratic PCO’s in Washington State’s 30th Legislative District meet to nominate 3 candidates to be considered to replace Democratic Representative Roger Freeman.  Roger Freeman died several days before the November 4th, 2014 Election but still received enough votes to win the election. His death then commenced a process to replace him. In rank order the 30th LD Democrats nominated Carol Gregory, Richard Champion and Shari Song to be considered by the King and Pierce County Councils to replace him.

Carol Gregory

Carol Gregory

DSC_0530

Richard Champion

Shari Song

Shari Song

 

The replacement process under Washington State  law calls for candidates whose Legislative District straddles 2 counties to be selected from a list of 3 candidates nominated by Precinct Committee Officers of the same political party as the deceased candidate from the Legislative District. The State Central Committee then approves this list and forwards it to the respective County Councils who have 30 days to select a replacement person. If they do not agree on a candidate, the Governor then makes the appointment.

States vary in how they fill vacant legislative  positions caused by a death or resignation.  The National Conference of States Legislatures has a detailed list of how the various states do it. Twenty five states fill the seat by a special election. In five states the political party of the deceased candidate  makes the appointment. In eleven states the Governor makes the appointment. In one state the political party and the House makes the appointment. Seven states including Washington make the appointment of someone of the same political party as the last person to hold the office and delegate the final appointment to their county commissioners.  Besides Washington, the other states leaving the appointment up to county commissioners are Arizona, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Wyoming.

The Democratic Precinct Committee Officers of Washington’s  30th LD commenced the process by narrowing a list of 6 candidates down to a ranked list of 3 candidates as required by state law.  The following candidates in the order nominated as candidates to be considered fby the 30th LD Democrats for filling the vacancy. Richard Champion, Hope Elder, Roger Flygare, Carol Gregory, Shari Song, and Rose Osherin Edwards.

Richard Champion is the current 1st Vice Chair of the 30th LD Democrats and served in the past as a Vice – Chair of the King County Democrats. He was active in the SeaTac campaign for a $15 minimum wage and serves on the Board of PSARA – Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action.

Hope Elder is active in her local church and is on the Board of Fusion. She has been a Deputy Mayor of Federal Way and has been involved with the Community Supper effort.

Roger Flygare is a small businessman and has run for both the legislature and for the Federal Way City Council.

Carol Gregory is a former teacher and past President of the Washington Education Association. She has worked in the Governor’s Office, lobbied the legislature and ran for legislature twice before, losing her last attempt by only 301 votes.

Shari Song ran for the State Senate in the 30th LD in the 2014 election.  Previously she ran for a seat on the King County Council.  She has been active in a number of civic organizations and grew up in the district.

Rose Osherin Edwards is a nurse and has 3 kids She is a member of SEIU  and has been active in her kid’s PTA , including chairing the garden committee.

The first vote taken was to select the top ranked candidate:

Richard Champion 9

Hope Elder 1

Roger Flygare 7

Carol Gregory 8

Shari Song 4

Rose Osherin Edwards 0

Since no one received a majority, a second ballot was taken between the top 2 candidates.

Carol Gregory 15

Richard Champion 14

Carol Gregory became the #1 top ranked candidate

A third ballot was taken to select the #2 ranked nomination:

Richard Champion 17

Roger Flygare 6

Shari Song 6

Richard Champion became the #2 ranked candidate

A fourth ballot was taken to select the #3 candidate:

Roger Flygare 10

Shari Song  14

Hope Elder 2

Rose Osherin Edwards 2

Since no one of the candidates received a majority a 5th vote was taken between the top 2 candidates:

Shari Song 18

Roger Flygare 11

Shari Song was selected as the #3 ranked candidate.

The final decision is now up to a joint meeting of the King Country and Pierce County Councils.  No date has been selected yet for that meeting. Usually the top ranked candidate in the voting by the precinct committees officers in selected as the appointee by the Councils voting  but that is not always the case. Mia Gregerson now a Representative in the 33rd LD was not the top choice of the precinct committee officers but was selected in what became a controversial choice last year by the King County Council. The County Councils are not required by law to pick the top choice but must choose amng the three nominated by the precinct committee officers or the decision goes to the Governor.

 

GOP – the Party of the Grand Old Polluters

It seems that the GOP – the Grand Old Party has in recent years transformed itself into representing the Grand Old Polluters - the oil, gas and coal industries. It wasn’t always so. As Paul Krugman points out in a column entitled “Pollution and Politics” in the New York Times:

“…the reason pollution has become partisan is that Republicans have moved right. A generation ago, it turns out, environment wasn’t a partisan issue: according to Pew Research, in 1992 an overwhelming majority in both parties favored stricter laws and regulation. Since then, Democratic views haven’t changed, but Republican support for environmental protection has collapsed.”

Krugman says that party ideology, namely that government needs to be limited and not restrict free enterprise is one reason but that the most likely underlying reason is “rising inequality”:

“The basic story of political polarization over the past few decades is that, as a wealthy minority has pulled away economically from the rest of the country, it has pulled one major party along with it. True, Democrats often cater to the interests of the 1 percent, but Republicans always do. Any policy that benefits lower- and middle-income Americans at the expense of the elite — like health reform, which guarantees insurance to all and pays for that guarantee in part with taxes on higher incomes — will face bitter Republican opposition.” 

Krugman’s analysis of the Republican Party’s sleeping with the polluters is pretty much the same as what Naomi Klein is saying in her recent book, “This Changes Everything – Climate Vs. The Climate” The environment and the climate are being ravaged by the polluters who are resisting responding to climate change because it will ultimately repudiate their cash cow – the burning of fossil fuels to generate energy.

The polluter’s cash cow has unfortunately been producing and belching and expelling gases like CO2 and methane that Naomi Klein notes 97% of climatologists say is causing uncontrolled climate change that threatens the future of life on this earth. Climate changing emissions are continuing to rise, with drastic changes occurring, including increasing loss of glaciers, melting of the polar ice cap, rising sea levels and ocean acidification. Klein asserts that:

“…we have not done the things necessary to lower emissions because these things fundamentally conflict with deregulated capitalism, the reigning ideology for the entire period we have been struggling to find a way out of this crisis. We are stuck because the actions that would give us the best chance of averting catastrophe – and would benefit the vast majority – are extremely threatening to an elite minority that has a stranglehold over our economy, our political process, and most of our media outlets.”

Corporate globalism according to Klein has worked to

“…lock in a global policy framework that provided maximum freedom to multinational corporations to produce their goods as cheaply as possible and sell them with as few regulations as possible – while paying as little in taxes as possible …

The three pillars of this new era are familiar to us al: privatization of the public sphere, deregulation of the public sector, and lower corporate taxation paid for with cuts to public spending .. Very little, however, has been written about how market fundamentalism sabotaged our collective response to climate change, a threat that came knocking just as this ideology was reaching its zenith.”

Klein goes on to say much more and I urge you to read “This Changes Everything – Capitalism Vs. The Climate“. She is tackling the same issues that Progressive Democrats have been trying to address and suggests that drastic change is need. Too many Democrats have followed a line of accommodation and centralism and compromise, thinking that this was the way to move forward.  Unfortunately Republicans and the multinational corporations and the wealthy interests and people they represent have been more skilled at conning the American people and others around the world into believing that helping the multinational corporations would be good for them.

The greed mentality and profit triumphed  over the public good and a sharing of wealth  in the free market economic game. The resultant extreme income inequality that has resulted is only one of the major disasters of the unfettered free market free for all.  Worsening climate change and environmental degradation has also happened. The world under the free market system is now conducting a giant experiment on environmental change and degradation and the earth’s ability to adapt and survive. Unfortunately there are no referees to stop the experiment if it starts to spiral out of control. There are no rules it seems save increase profits. It is a rigged game that saner heads need to call an end to now. There are too many injuries to people and to the earth all for the increased profits of a few who have externalized the costs to the many.