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Politicians and 9/11: A time to remember, but not dwell?

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

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This year’s 9/11 anniversary in Kitsap County was perhaps more poignant than in recent years, as a new monument commemorating the attacks drew thousands to Evergreen Rotary Park in Bremerton.

Dignitaries Wednesday included Fred Lewis, a 100-year-old World War II veteran, as well as local politicians including Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent, whose city hosts the memorial.

As part of the dedication of Kitsap’s 9/11 memorial, Lent told the crowd they’d invited three special guests. She said they heard back from two.

George W. Bush, president when the attacks occurred, was asked to come. He declined, in a letter through a spokesperson.

Rudolph “Rudy” Giuliani, mayor of New York City the day two planes crashed into the World Trade towers, wrote a letter back thanking Bremerton and Kitsap County for creating a memorial (which you can read on our web site.)

The mayor’s office sent Gov. Jay Inslee an invite through the governor’s web site and by mail, but they did not hear back, she told me before the event.

Inslee spokesman David Postman said that the office wasn’t able to attend 9/11 events “due to scheduling issues.” He said they did reply, to Corrine Beach, a member of the Kitsap 9/11 memorial committee. He sent me a copy of their letter as well.

Inslee issued a state proclamation declaring Sept. 11 “a day of service and remembrance” in Washington, and for “the people of Washington to honor the lives and memories of those lost through participation in community service and remembrance ceremonies on this day and throughout the the year.”

Inslee did also ask “that Washington State and United States flags at all state agency facilities be lowered to half-staff on Wednesday, September 11, 2013, for national Patriot Day, the annual memorial to the victims of the 2001 tragedy.”

Other governors, including Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber and California Gov. Jerry Brown, like Inslee, issued proclamations.

Leading politicians closer to Ground Zero participated in events this year. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo rode a motorcycle with Billy Joel to the site Wednesday.

Some out west did too. Idaho Gov. Butch Otter recited names of 66 fallen soldiers at a courthouse memorial on Wednesday, though it was not specifically tied to 9/11. Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval attended a 9/11 event in Fallon, one of Nevada’s strongest military towns.

In previous years, former Gov. Christine Gregoire, from what I can find, attended at least three 9/11 events: On Sept. 11, 2005, she attended the Washington State Fire Academy for a ceremony there. In 2011, she attended a commemoration ceremony in Auburn. In 2008, she attended an event at the firefighter’s memorial in Tacoma.

I made this inquiry to our governor’s office not as a criticism, but a curiosity. For instance, at 12 years after the tragedy, is it just not a priority for a governor of a state on the opposite side of the country to go to such events? What do you think?


State payout to local counties $800,000 for election to replace Inslee in Congress

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Kitsap County received $55,706.21 for its share of last year’s election to replace Jay Inslee in Congress for a month.

Jerry Corn at the (Everett) Herald has the story revealing the final amount the state paid to local counties to add an election to replace Jay Inslee in Congress.

Inslee resigned for his seat in Congress early in 2012 to focus on the governor’s race, which I’m guessing most of you know he won.


Beer tax video from both sides of the debate.

Monday, April 8th, 2013

In preparing Friday’s story on local brewers’ reaction to a proposed beer tax I created a video. Technical difficulties (i.e. operator error) prevented me from getting the video up sooner. I still think it’s worthwhile, especially posted alongside Gov. Jay Inslee’s comments on the issue. So first, here’s Inslee discussing the tax during his March 28 press conference on the budget. That’s followed by the views of Valholl Brewing’s Jeff Holcomb, part owner and head brewer at the Poulsbo business.

The third video is more Inslee specifically addressing the tax.
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Fallout from Inslee’s resignation

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

The announcements from both parties were politically predictable in the wake of Jay Inslee’s decision to quit being a member of Congress for the rest of the year.

“It’s shameful of Congressman Inslee to lie to his constituents and the people of Washington about his intentions,” said WSRP Chairman Kirby Wilbur.

“It was a difficult decision, but what I need to do right now is focus all my attention on talking to people about what’s really important – creating jobs and growing our economy,” said Inslee.

The reaction from traditional allies on the left, however, has not been kind. Joel Connelly at seattlepi.com and Nina Shapiro at SeattleWeekly.com compared his decision to Sarah Palin’s resignation as Alaska governor. There is other precedent for it being a successful move. Neil Abercrombie left Congress to run for governor of Hawaii.

For locals the bigger impact is half of Kitsap County will not have a member of Congress to vote for them for the rest of the year and a few days into 2013. His staff will continue to work to help constituents. I don’t know how much heft is loss when those staff members don’t have a member of Congress.

Some members of the First District will have a member of Congress for the month between election certification and inauguration. Whoever wins the First District race in November will begin serving the district as soon as the election is certified. That new member of Congress however, will be serving in the new boundaries drawn up as part of redistricting. That means about half of all Kitsap residents will still have to wait until Jan. 3, 2013 when the new Sixth District member of Congress is sworn in.

Because of redistricting, it also means that some Washington residents will have two members of Congress, wherever the new First and the old districts overlap. Lucky them, I guess.


Election 2012: This may or may not matter

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

Everything shared here could be considered moot by the end of the year, depending on what the redistricting commission comes up with. If we lose the First Congressional District completely, then this won’t really matter to a Kitsap audience.

Speaking of redistricting, in California 29 of the state’s 53 incumbents were drawn into new districts. A member of congress does not have to live in the district being represented, but it’s usually kind of a good idea.

The point here was to discuss the names of candidates seeking to replace Jay Inslee. According to the Federal Elections Commission, four candidates have filed to run for the First District seat in 2012. Republican James Watkins will try again and is for now the only Republican.

On the Democratic side state Rep. Marko Liias of Edmonds is running, as is Sammamish state Rep. John Goodman and business owner Darshan Rayniyar.

In the Sixth District Republican Jesse Young hopes to improve on his third-place finish in 2010 and will be joined by fellow Republican Robert Sauerwein in a bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks of Belfair.


Are you wondering whether Jay Inslee is running for governor?

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Now that Gov. Chris Gregoire is about to make it official she will not seek a third term, you may be wondering whether fellow Democrat, Bainbridge Island Congressman Jay Inslee would announce his intentions today.

He won’t.

That’s what his campaign contact Joby Shimomura said to me just moments ago. She also said the suggestion that now that Gregoire has announced that Inslee isare not true.

“That is not the case,” she said. He is still considering it. “He’ll make his decision known shortly.”

If you’d be surprised if Inslee decided to not run, you would not be alone.

UPDATE: Here’s the official statement from Inslee’s office: “I appreciate the Governor’s service during these difficult economic times. Today is her day. I will make my intentions on the Governor’s race known shortly.”

President Barack Obama issued this statement: “I applaud Governor Gregoire for her decades of outstanding service to the people of Washington. From Seattle to Pullman, Gov. Gregoire has demonstrated relentless determination in her efforts to foster economic growth, strengthen the communities she serves and improve the lives of millions of Americans. As a fierce advocate for American businesses, she continues to work tirelessly to promote American goods, open up new markets and strengthen American businesses abroad. As chairwoman of the National Governors Association, Gov. Gregoire not only fosters strong bipartisanship among her colleagues, she helps build common-sense solutions to some of our nation’s toughest problems. Michelle and I, along with the people of Washington, will miss her outstanding leadership and thank her for her years of service.”


Redistricting and the peninsula

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

During the conversation yesterday with state Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, I asked him about other whispers he’s hearing down in Olympia about the impact of redistricting.

By the way, I called Sheldon because he has been through two of these before.

Sheldon mentioned that he thinks Brinnon could become part of the 35th District because the area is part of the Mason County Public Utility District.

In years past there have been conversations about extending the 23rd District into Jefferson County. I don’t think it has been seriously considered by the group of redistricting commissioners, but there is some sentiment that Port Townsend is a good match with Bainbridge Island. Geographically it is a stretch.

What may make more sense to some is linking Bainbridge to a district in Seattle. Still, not very likely, and one commenter on the story thought the notion ridiculous.

I read our stories from 1991 and 2001 and in both cases there was a large group who thought Kitsap should only have two legislative districts. I’m not sure why that would be better politically for this area. At first glance it does seem like more is better. Bremerton itself is represented by nine different legislators, even though not one legislator is actually from Bremerton.

One of the impacts of redistricting worth watching is that 35th District swing. The district will still likely take in all of Mason County. It’s the fringes that are worth taking notice of.

The reason I believe we are more likely to lose the 35th District, or at least part of it, is because of where the incumbents live. Sheldon (Potlatch) and state Rep. Kathy Haigh (Shelton) both are in Mason County. Fred Finn lives near Olympia in Thurston County.

Several months ago I did another story on redistrictings and spoke with the man many agree is the state’s foremost expert on the subject, Dick Morrill. By e-mail he told me, “The commission’s first unwritten rule is to protect incumbents.”

So you would think, assuming what Morrill said is true, that the 35th District’s emphasis in the redistricting plan would favor Thurston County over Kitsap. I don’t know specifically where the population growth has happened in Thurston County, so it could be that the 35th won’t change much at all. Sheldon said he thought not many incumbents will find themselves in a new district.

Sheldon also said state Rep. Marko Liias, D-Edmonds, is considering running for Congress should Jay Inslee run for governor, as practically everyone is assuming. What isn’t so clear, however, is what district Liias will live once redistricting is done. If Inslee does announce he’s running for governor, there’s no incumbent to protect, so the First Congressional District could see wild swings.

This again goes to the idea that all of Kitsap County could be in one congressional district represented by Norm Dicks. Imagine that. And if Bainbridge were lumped with Seattle legislatively, we could have 12 legislators representing the county.

Here’s a cliche for you: The possibilities are endless. Actually, they’re not. They pretty much range from Kitsap having one or two members of Congress and two-four legislative districts. That’s not exactly endless, is it.


Inslee, McKenna getting out there

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

The two elected officials who have earned top-two status well before there is even a top-two primary were out on the public speaking trail last week. We can’t officially call it a campaign trail yet, because doing so would mean someone would have to file papers somewhere in Olympia.

Rob McKenna, attorney general, gave a speech last Wednesday that sounded the same as the one he gave Thursday in Port Orchard. In both he called for a “performance culture” in Washington state government.

From the Seattle P-I story:

Sounding very much like the gubernatorial candidate he is expected to soon become, Attorney General Rob McKenna told a Seattle audience on Wednesday that the state needs to change the way it evaluates and manages employees to reward the best and weed out the worst.

Inslee was in Yakima, focusing on family, community, education and workers.

From the Yakima Herald-Republic story:

Congressman Jay Inslee shared his beliefs and dropped hints of an impending run for governor in a speech Saturday night at the Yakima County Democrats’s annual Roosevelt Dinner.


Inslee ‘darn close’ to announcing governor run

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Jerry Cornfield at the (Everett) Herald reports U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Bainbridge Island, sent out an invitation for a Sunday fundraiser in Mukilteo advising:

“We know it’s early in the cycle, but the Congressman is trying to put some funds in the bank early for his Congressional race and also if there is an opening to run for Governor”

Cornfield checked with the stat’s Public Disclosure Commission to see if what the invite said was enough to require Inslee to file as a candidate for governor. Cornfield said it was “darn close,” but not quite enough of an official announcement.

The “opening” for Inslee would come if Gov. Chris Gregoire decided not to run for a third term, which most are predicting won’t happen.


Anticipating the 2012 governor’s race

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna, in an interview on KCTS, said he will have to decide sometime this year, and not too late, whether he plans to run for governor in 2012.

The most often mentioned potential opponent, Bainbridge Island Democratic Congressman Jay Inslee, will be speaking to the island Rotary club tonight. The Kitsap Sun’s Tristan Baurick will be there. I would not expect Inslee to make any kind of announcement tonight. It might be too soon after the most recent election and the current governor has not officially made her plans known yet.


Federal spending will not go down

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

The State of the Union speech to be delivered this (Tuesday) evening by President Obama is likely to call for a couple of things aimed at the budget.

First, he’ll join Republicans in calling for an end to earmarks.

Second, he’ll call for a five-year spending freeze on non-security discretionary spending.

On the second point, “The problem there is you’re talking about 13 percent of the federal budget,” said George Behan, spokesman for U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair.

Dicks’ position of leadership even though he is again in the minority party is spelled out pretty well in a (Tacoma) News Tribune story by McClatchy Washington Bureau reporter Rob Hotakainen.

The story also references the call for no earmarks and the problems locally (think Port Orchard) that presents.

“I (Dicks) may have done it,” he said in an interview in his office on Capitol Hill last week. “I’ve been here 34 years. I may have done the best I can.”

Behan said Dicks takes issue with the president’s apparent willingness to leave defense out of the spending cut picture. Dicks gave a speech on the House floor Tuesday (The video appears below.) referencing $78 billion in defense cuts recommended by Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Behan said that in times like these, Dicks believes cuts need to be made everywhere. “He’s as strong as anybody on defense but he doesn’t believe you should exempt the Pentagon,” Behan said.

Incidentally, Dicks still doesn’t have a copy of the president’s speech, late by Washington standards. An excerpt of the Republican response to the speech has been posted on Facebook.

Non-discretionary spending is far and away the big chunk of the federal budget, items in defense, Medicare and Social Security. An overall freeze of spending would cap all spending at whatever it is this year, but the federal government would have a tough time doing that, because spending on defense, Medicare and Social Security go up every year just by maintaining the same level of service. That’s why a freeze is essentially a cut. Cutting non-discretionary spending is harder to do, Behan said.

Also part of the president’s speech tonight is . U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Bainbridge Island, spoke to that this morning on the floor of the House.

“As we’re coming out of this very deep recession, many of us believe that one of the brightest spots on our economic horizon is our ability to develop hundreds of thousands of new jobs in this country, so that America can fulfill its detiny of leading the world in clean energy development.”

The entire speech follows, as does the one from Dicks.

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Census Says: One More Washington District

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Washington is getting a 10th congressional district, which will likely be placed somewhere in Western Washington. We’re planning on having a story on the issue posted online later today and running tomorrow in print. We have also written about this before, suggesting that while the state might gain a member of Congress, Kitsap County could feasibly lose one of its two.

In the meantime, you can read the press release that follows from the Secretary of State’s office.
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Inslee onTax Compromise

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Bainbridge Island, will be on KUOW to discuss his opposition to the tax compromise crafted between Republicans and President Obama at 12:20 p.m.


Brian Baird Could Be Angling for First District Congressional Seat

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

The future of congressional representation for this area could see major changes, thanks in part to redistricting and Bainbridge Island Democrat U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee’s political ambitions.

This one got away from me when it first came out. Les Blumenthal with McClatchey wrote a story headlined, “Packing up after loss, Democrat Baird spares no one criticism.” I packed it away in the “B” file as in to BE read later. The story is about soon-to-be former U.S. Rep. Brian Baird, D-Vancouver.

What I missed was this gem:

He also hints that his political career may not be over, even though he decided not to seek a seventh term in order to spend more time with his twin 5-year-olds.

Baird has roughly $450,000 in his campaign account. He can’t keep it personally, but can donate it to charity or other campaigns. There’s one other alternative.

“I could use it for another race,” said Baird.

Baird is moving to Edmonds, Wash., in the 1st Congressional District north and east of Lake Washington currently represented by Democratic Rep. Jay Inslee. If Inslee were to run for governor in 2012 as many expect, the congressional seat would be open.

You’ve got everything (Inslee rumors and a suspected successor) in there except redistricting, as in new congressional boundaries being drawn thanks to the 2010 Census. Baird moving to Edmonds is a different kind of redistricting.

You might recall the earlier post where it was speculated that the entirety of Kitsap might become part of the 6th Congressional District. This obviously becomes easier to do if Inslee does run for governor, because it would reduce any political machinations aimed at keeping Bainbridge Island in the 1st. It might not stop it completely, because I do think Kitsap officials like being able to lobby two members of Congress. It is questionable, however, how much political muscle this county has in the allocation of congressional seats.


A Theory on Redistricting

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Dick Morrill at Crosscut makes the case that Olympia is the most likely central location for the next congressional district Washington is likely to get as a result of the Census. If his postulation is correct, that has huge implications for us.

Morrill writes:

The new Tenth, with Lewis, Pacific, Wahkiakum, and Thurston counties on its south, would need to add the Olympic peninsula counties of Clallam, Jefferson, Mason, and Grays Harbor, plus 80,000 or so, probably from Pierce County rather than from Kitsap.

Some of that territory is currently in the Sixth Congressional District. So Morrill writes:

The Sixth (Democrat Norm Dicks), having lost the peninsula counties, might logically combine most (or all) of Kitsap and western Pierce, including Tacoma.

It is worth noting that these theoretical maps contain the possibility that both of our current members of Congress would be in new districts. Norm Dicks, whose official residence is in Belfair, would be part of the new 10th. Jay Inslee would become part of the Sixth if all of Kitsap was pushed. Political realities, as Morrill acknowledges, would seem to come into play here, unless Dicks and Inslee were to suggest that where they live should not play into the redistricting conversation. That could happen, I suppose, if Inslee is intent on running for governor and Dicks decides to retire. Otherwise, I don’t see it. And I would also think there would be some resistance within Kitsap County about losing one of two members of Congress with whom to ask for favors.


Jay Inslee and James Watkins on Lies and Political Point Scoring

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

During the congressional debate between incumbent Democrat Jay Inslee and Republican James Watkins last week Inslee made the case there in the American Legion Hall on Bainbridge Island that he had sponsored the bill that renamed the post office in Rolling Bay after John “Bud” Hawk.

Watkins criticized Inslee for not being at the actual dedication. Inslee asked if that wasn’t a low blow, given that he was fulfilling his constitutional duty voting in D.C. Watkins said no it wasn’t a low blow, that if he, Watkins, had passed that bill, he “damn sure would have been there when they were dedicating it, too.”

Later, Watkins posted a press release saying that Inslee at the debate was “exposed as a liar,” because the same day as the post office dedication, Inslee was in Seattle speaking to “corporate CEOs.” On Factcheckjayinslee.com, Watkins’ campaign wrote, “What a dishonor to Bud Hawk!”

Several blogs have taken the information and called Inslee a liar for his comments. I’ve had people e-mailing and calling me on the phone asking about it.

Inslee did come to Seattle that same day to speak to the Prosperity Partnership, which does have “corporate CEOs” as members, probably many of them. On the organization’s board are an official from Boeing, Microsoft and Uwajimaya.

On that board there is also someone from the Washington State Labor Council AFL-CIO, the University of Washington, Washington State University, Seattle Community Colleges, the mayor of Everett and the YWCA. Additionally, Bremerton, Bainbridge Island, four members of Congress and Washington’s two senators, Dick’s Drive-In, El Centro de la Raza, Kitsap County and the Group Health Community Foundation count themselves as a small portion of organizations listed as partners.

The group focuses on economic development for the region.

In addition to the press release, Watkins’ campaign published a video on YouTube with Inslee and Watkins going back and forth on the Hawk dedication. Both appear below.

In writing the House story this weekend, I noted that Inslee said he was voting, that he had spoken to the Prosperity Partnership that day. That was true. I did not write, as Watkins did, that Inslee was lying, because I was allowing for the idea that Inslee either didn’t recall what he was doing, or that voting had actually gotten in the way. I didn’t watch the Prosperity Partnership video of Inslee speaking at the luncheon until Tuesday.

What Inslee said at the debate sounded like during the Bud Hawk event he was on the floor voting in D.C., which was not true. It was true, however, that voting the night before went late enough that he would have missed his scheduled flight home. Had he made that flight, he would have had time to attend the Bud Hawk event, then get on a ferry to get to the Prosperity Partnership luncheon. So, the message that voting got in the way of him attending the Hawk ceremony was correct and not a lie.

Joby Shimomura with Inslee’s campaign said voting the day before, Feb. 25, went later than expected. The last vote was taken at 7:46 p.m. and congressional records show Inslee voted. The last flights out of Ronald Reagan or Dulles to Seattle leave around 5:30 p.m. Inslee was too late for those, so he boarded a flight the next morning that got into Seattle around 11 a.m. The Bud Hawk event started at 10 a.m. “For Watkins to suggest that Jay lied about that is incredibly infuriating,” Shimomura said.

The luncheon was, surprisingly enough, at lunchtime. Inslee made the lunch, not the dedication. If you watch the Prosperity Partnership video, it is clear that he flew into Seattle that morning. Inslee makes specific reference to the weather flying in. “I saw this fog and cloud bank,” he said.

For his part, Hawk said he wasn’t bothered by Inslee not being there. “People do what they can. If they can’t be there they can’t . . . I’d like to have shared the occasion with him, (but) it didn’t bother me,” he said.

Watkins, hearing Inslee’s explanation, ceded no ground. He said there are red-eye flights from DC to Los Angeles that can get someone to Seattle earlier than when Inslee arrived. “He could have been there had he wanted to, but he chose not to,” Watkins said. “He chose other things instead of going to the ceremony for Bud Hawk.”

Assuming the planes were not full on Feb. 25, Inslee could have flown to Atlanta, then caught a flight to Seattle and arrived early in the morning, spending the night in airports and on planes. Chances are it also would have cost more to make that kind of change in plans. Since I am not the regular traveler I once was, I don’t know. If it does cost more, it comes out of the congressman’s travel allowance, provided by you and me in our taxes.

Instead, Shimomura said, Inslee called Hawk the day before to let him know it was unlikely he would make it, and that Hawk was fine with it. I asked Hawk, a World War II hero, but he didn’t recall too many details about the event, blaming it on age. He’s 86. “I’ve got my name written down here somewhere,” he joked. Someone somewhere threw postponement into the conversation, but invitations had been sent, Shimomura said.

Besides, “This whole thing was about Bud Hawk, not Jay Inslee,” Shimomura said. “He (Hawk) should be bothered that James Watkins is using it as a political issue.”

In Inslee’s official statement, he said much the same:

“When I called Bud to tell him that I couldn’t be there he appreciated that I got this bill passed to honor him.  What I don’t appreciate is anyone using this war hero to prop up their failed campaign. I couldn’t attend the opening because of votes and I was on a plane during the event, not at a lunch. The event was about Bud Hawk, not Jay Inslee or James Watkins.”

On Tuesday I received an e-mail that read in part: “If you will review the tapes of the night that were posted on Watkins’ website and forwarded to me, Inslee lied to the crowd. If the facts are born out he was at a luncheon with Mullaly and some others in Seattle at the time of the dedication. I have no problem with him not being there but I do have a real problem with his moral outrage when, if the facts are correct, he lied outright.”

Later I was out stalking neighborhoods for campaign signs when I received a call from the 425 area code. A nice man identified himself as a Watkins volunteer and wanted to address the “lie.” I told him what I knew to that point about late voting, etc. From my impression he still believes that Inslee was “exposed as a liar.”

Recently I have heard people say that this is the worst election season ever for peddling bull and negative ads. I typically don’t believe it anytime someone says something is the worst or best ever, but this time I wonder. The Murray-Rossi ads, the initiative commercials and the stuff we get in the mail all seem to have at least been designed to take kernels of truth and distort them so that we will believe something that is not certifiably true. I have to admit; this election season has made me wearier than I can ever recall.

If you use truth to get me to believe a lie, it’s a lie, and you’re a liar. If you know what you are saying is not true, then you are a liar. If you don’t know, then maybe you’re just wrong. Maybe you are careless, but you are not a liar. If what you are saying is true, you are not a liar, even if I misinterpret what you said.

Inslee and Watkins debated important issues that night: health care, job creation, deficit spending and energy. They have real differences on those issues. Inslee has a voting record and Watkins has made his priorities clear. Their opinions and their actions could have a real impact on you and me.

So given the fact that the candidates are clearly different on the big issues, who are the people who would vote differently based on what was said about the Bud Hawk ceremony? Was anyone leaning toward Inslee, but now will vote for Watkins, because you are so disgusted by Inslee’s inartful explanation for missing it? On the other side, is there anyone who was leaning toward Watkins, but is now disgusted by how he has played up this issue?

The Watkins press release and the video follows.

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Google Alert Irony on Politics

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Gardner here.

If I miss a couple days work, as I will Thursday and Friday in order to work Saturday and Sunday, my return nets me at least 200 e-mails. A fair number are Google alerts, the search engine’s way of informing any particular subject matter appears on the Internet. I’ve got one for all our electeds and a few other terms.

The following resulted from a Jay Inslee alert. See if you can spot what struck me as funny.


Inslee in Kingston Town Hall on Monday

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

U. S. Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Bainbridge will host five town-hall meetings in the next couple of weeks, the most notable to readers here being the one in Kingston on Monday. Here’s the entire schedule:

Mountlake Terrace Town Hall Meeting
Saturday, May 8, 2010, 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
The Gym at Mountlake Terrace Elementary
22001 52nd Ave. W.
Mountlake Terrace, WA 98043

Kenmore Town Hall Meeting
Saturday, May 8, 2010, 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
The Cafeteria at Inglemoor High School
15500 Simonds Rd. N.E.
Kenmore, WA 98028

Kingston Town Hall Meeting
Monday, May 10, 2010, 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Kingston High School Commons
26201 Siyaya Ave. N.E.
Kingston, WA 98346

Maltby Town Hall Meeting
Saturday, May 15, 2010 11:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Hidden River Middle School
9224 Paradise Lake Rd.
Snohomish, WA 98208

Mill Creek Town Hall Meeting
Saturday, May 22, 2010 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Jackson High School Gym
1508 136th St. S.E.
Mill Creek, WA 98012


Congressional Candidate Launches Fact-Check Site on Incumbent

Monday, April 12th, 2010

James Watkins, one of two Republicans signed up to do battle with U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Bainbridge Island, unveiled Fact Check Jay Inslee Monday.

In it he invites people to post communications they get from the congressman. The press release follows.

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Early, in Some Cases Way Early, Campaign Maneuvers

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

In general, we don’t make a lot of fuss over most endorsements or advertising. On endorsements we’ll usually provide a list of them, but we don’t write a story every time a candidate is endorsed by Washington Ichthyologists or the ASB President at Klahowya. For negative ads there might be a story or two, say when a candidate’s photo is doctored to make him or her like the victim of bad plastic surgery or it’s alleged that the candidate wants to sterilize sections of Poulsbo.

On Thursday we received notices that cause us to make two exceptions. Attorney General Rob McKenna has endorsed one of Jay Inslee’s challengers. The other is a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee ad highlighting alleged negatives of someone who has not publicly stated an intention to run. Both developments make sense, but it doesn’t mean there’s little surprise.

The DSCC’s Web site, Dirty Deals Dino for Senate charges that Dino Rossi has profited mightily from his campaigns even though he lost.

“In 2004, after I lost my first race for governor, I was sitting around feeling sorry for myself – until I realized that this was not a political setback, but a business opportunity! I had lots of great ideas – and a rocking stump speech. Why not use those things to make a tidy little profit? The “nonprofit” Forward Washington Foundation was born. Forward Washington – which is what I called my campaign, too – was supposed to improve the state’s business climate. And it did! Without Forward Washington, my former political aides might have been out of work, and I would have had $75,000 per year less to live on! Of course, those whiny Democrats complained that I was evading campaign-finance disclosure laws. They were just jealous that the state’s Public Disclosure Commission found that the foundation had raised a whopping $360,000 from unidentified donors. When I left my foundation to run for governor again, I worried about my income loss, but it helped that the foundation spent nearly $10,000 on copies of my book to give to donors. Thanks, guys!”

The site doesn’t just focus on Rossi’s defeats. The committee argues that Rossi was put into politics by shady types and benefited from industries he supported when he was in office.

That I know of, there are no other negative ad campaigns against any of the announced candidates. The reason is simple. Scroll down the list of the dozen or so candidates who have announced they’re running against Democrat Patty Murray and see if you find someone who has better name recognition than Rossi. See anyone who immediately is a stronger bet against the incumbent?

McKenna’s endorsement of Republican James Watkins surprises me only because there is another Republican in that race. Why it makes sense is because it’s clear that McKenna is the favorite to carry the Republican banner in the governor’s race, while Inslee has been emerging lately as a strong possibility among the Democrats. Inslee has been blistering McKenna lately over the AG’s decision to challenge the constitutionality of the health care reform legislation just passed.

Horsesass.org posted a video of Inslee calling out McKenna. The video appears in a blog post longing for Inslee vs. McKenna in 2012.

Watkins’ press release references that potential race in announcing McKenna’s endorsement.

“We’ve shown that Congressman Inslee is vulnerable, and Congressman Inslee has shown us that he’s not terribly interested in being the 1st District’s representative, but is already itching to start his 2012 campaign for governor. (See here and here)

“With the support of Attorney General McKenna and people throughout the 1st District who want change in Washington, D.C., I look forward to retiring Mr. Inslee this November so he can devote himself full-time to seeking yet another political office.”

McKenna, for his part, is quoted only in endorsing Watkins.

“James has the real-world experience and solid principles to be a great congressman working for the 1st District,” said McKenna. “He will make a big difference in D.C. and help put our nation on a better path.”

Still, if Inslee were to lose his congressional seat, it would seem to hurt his chances to be the Democratic ticket bearer in 2012. If you’re one to believe there were political machinations in McKenna’s decision to challenge health care reform, it would not be a stretch to see it here, too.

About Watkins’ point that “We’ve shown that Congressman Inslee is vulnerable,” you may recall we took a look at that claim made by Watkins using a survey he commissioned.

The owner of the company that performed the survey was mentioned on another site.

Finding out who paid for the poll also is critical, said pollster Bob Moore of Oregon-based Moore Information. If a candidate has paid for it, then the numbers can’t be taken at face value, he said, and reporters should do everything they can to speak to the pollster about the results, not someone working with the campaign.

“The pollster may get some numbers that the campaign doesn’t like, and won’t release,” Moore said.

I contacted both the pollster and the campaign. The pollster told me I’d have to get the information I wanted from the campaign. A staffer from Watkins’ campaign contacted me Thursday by e-mail, stating in part:

“Since the poll has some information we would prefer not to have the Inslee campaign get wind of, we’re not going to release all the details.”

So that means either Watkins got some info the campaign is saving to lob onto Inslee later, or the pollster got some information the campaign didn’t like. Either way, without that information I don’t know how we can assume the conclusion “Inslee is vulnerable” is any more credible than an ad suggesting a candidate for the House wants to dump Hanford nuclear waste into the Columbia River.


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