State Rep. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard, and state Sen. Nathan Schlicher, D-Gig Harbor, were the focus of a KING-5 piece on Sunday. The (Tacoma) News Tribune’s Jordan Schrader were also asked about the race. The video follows …
State Rep. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard, and state Sen. Nathan Schlicher, D-Gig Harbor, were the focus of a KING-5 piece on Sunday. The (Tacoma) News Tribune’s Jordan Schrader were also asked about the race. The video follows …
Friday morning Jan Angel and Nathan Schlicher sat down with Mark Wright at KING-5 for a segment that will air Sunday morning.
Wright also invited Tacoma News Tribune political reporter Jordan Schrader and me to weigh in once the candidates left.
Both spots will air sometime between 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. Sunday. Each segment was around five minutes.
Schrader and I were in what I think you would call a “control room” while the candidates talked. I don’t want to provide any spoilers, so you’ll have to watch it to see it. What won’t be on air, though, is the candidates apparently kept on debating well after the cameras stopped rolling. Everything I’ve heard secondhand and could see on the monitors suggested it got a little testy. Nothing too outrageous, but oh, how I wished I could hear what they were saying.
In the control room one of the directors wearing headphones said afterward that they were still talking, like it was a surprise. Another one said they were laughing, but the first director then said that it was “awkward.” They both were out of there before Schrader and I taped.
Enjoy it, if five and five minutes of political talk is your thing.
State Rep. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard, conducted a press conference Thursday in which she called on She’s Changed PAC, the committee advertising against her, to return $455,000 to Thomas Steyer, the California billionaire who is spending heavily throughout the country.
Here is the audio:
Angel and the state Republican Party argue a $3 million donation Steyer made to his own PAC was illegal. She called on Democratic state Sen. Nathan Schlicher, D-Gig Harbor, to call on She’s Changed PAC to return the money. She also wanted Steyer prosecuted by the Attorney General’s office and the Public Disclosure Commission.
The PDC has since spoken with representatives from Steyer’s PAC and were assured, even before the donation, that the group would be spending no more money in Washington.
Lori Anderson, PDC spokeswoman, said the PDC is fine with that.
The Secretary of State’s office has issued an FAQ on the tax advisory votes on your ballot. Voters have a chance to weigh in on $200 million in new revenues the Legislature approved this year. The advisory vote provision was part of Initiative 960.
The ballots ask voters if the Legislature should maintain the new revenue or repeal it. Here is one of the questions answered in the secretary’s FAQ:
Q. So if a majority of the public vote goes for the “repeal” option, the tax will go away?
A. No, the vote is nonbinding. That means the Legislature can take note of the public vote — or not. There is not an automatic repeal, as could happen with a regular referendum or initiative process.
The full version of the FAQ can be found at the Secretary of State’s blog “From Our Corner.”
The state Republican Party is asking the Public Disclosure Commission to file an injunction against the NextGen Climate Action Committee sponsored by Thomas Steyer to prevent the committee from spending $3 million Steyer donated on Friday.
Lori Anderson, PDC spokeswoman, said within the final three weeks of an election the most a political committee can receive from a single source is $5,000, unless the committee is addressing a ballot initiative.
The committee will have the opportunity to address the complaint. “We will send the complaint to the committee that’s alleged to have received the contribution and they have to defend what they’ve done,” Anderson said.
State GOP Party Chairwoman Susan Hutchison said in a statement, “Senator Nathan Schlicher needs to answer this question: will you repudiate this illegal spending by an outside donor or do you want the people of Pierce and Kitsap County to be represented by someone bought and paid for with illegal out of state money?”
“I would hope that everyone follows the PDC’s rules and that they don’t spend money on our campaign or any campaign in the state. I agree that everyone should follow PDC laws.” Schlicher said. “No one should participate in illegal spending.”
Schlicher said the WSRP’s release trying to link him to the donation is in line with other attacks, such as a mailer that went out suggesting that Schlicher is no longer a doctor and was practicing law again. “This is just another unfortunate attempt to exaggerate and mislead the public and I hope people see through this,” he said.
NextGen now reports $9.3 million in donations. The GOP is probably correct that $455,000 of it has gone to the Schlicher-Angel contest, (I found $400,000 and the party connected other dots and was probably correct.) far more NextGen money has gone to campaigns in other states. I don’t know that this is unprecedented, but it’s not something I’ve seen a lot, if at all. I’ve contacted NextGen’s rep in Sacramento for a response to the complaint and an explanation of the committee’s reported spending elsewhere. If I receive a return call I’ll report it here.
UPDATE: Angel just announced she’s having a press conference Thursday morning on this subject.
UPDATE II: NextGen responded:
NextGen Climate Action released the following statement today:
“Jan Angel is trying to distract from her positions that are harmful to the health of kids and families in Washington. Our lawyers spoke with the Public Disclosure Commission prior to making the contribution and they agreed that the 21 day rule does not apply to FEC registered committees. We are in full compliance with all Washington election laws.”
Lewis also confirmed that none of the money donated on the 18th will be spent in Washington. “We’re not concerned about the legal issues at all,” he said.
More as it develops.
Seattle native Reid Wilson wrote a blog piece for the Washington Post. Given that it’s aimed at a national audience that hasn’t paid a whole lot of attention to our state’s race, the piece goes over pretty much everything that has been covered here.
Except for one thing.
Reid mentions that both parties are polling and showing the race to be “virtually tied.”
This could be attributed to both parties wanting to make sure none of their faithful stay home. In other words, they could be lying. But I have heard this before in more than one off-the-record conversation.
Angel won by nine points in the primary. After that win I looked at past elections to see if a primary loss that large was insurmountable. Schlicher would need the needle to move five percentage points in his direction to win (because that would also mean the needle was moving five points away from Angel). Tim Probst did it in the 17th District in 2010, turning a six-point primary loss into a six-point general election win. It can happen. It doesn’t happen often, but it can.
State Rep. Jan Angel, the Port Orchard Republican running for a state Senate seat against appointed incumbent state Sen. Nathan Schlicher, a Gig Harbor Democrat, issued a press release Tuesday explaining that she will do interviews with the media. She listed four television appearances she will be making in the coming days.
This follows our story Sunday, As 26th campaign winds down, Angel silent to media requests, and declined invitations to KUOW and the Associated Press. I knew Angel had declined AP’s request, but didn’t put it in the Sunday story in case she changed her mind before the AP story ran Monday.
We wrote the Angel/media story, not out of any personal indignation. People refuse to talk to us all the time. It doesn’t happen often in a political campaign, so we thought it an interesting strategy for a campaign to be silent to the media. We talked to a couple of political experts who weighed in, one who provided several reasons why that would be the preferred option.
Angel’s press release from
Wednesday Tuesday states, “Rep.
Jan Angel’s position on accommodating media interviews remains
As mentioned before, last week Angel turned down requests from the Associated Press, KUOW and us. The press release doesn’t mention those interviews, but references a move made by KOMO-TV’s Keith Eldridge on Monday. Eldridge apparently showed up at campaign headquarters and her house asking to talk to her. Part of that story included this exchange:
Keith Eldridge: “There was a complaint that she’s dodging the
Keith Schipper (Angel’s campaign spokesman): “I’ve heard that complaint. It’s not true at all.”
To be clear, I did not show up at her doorstep, figuratively or literally, when I tried to get her to talk to me for a story for Sunday. I called her cell phone on Wednesday, hoping to speak to her for 15 minutes on Thursday. When I didn’t hear anything I e-mailed Schipper on Thursday at 10:34 a.m.:
“Keith, I left a message on Rep. Angel’s cell phone and have not heard back yet. I’d like to meet with her today for about 15 minutes for a Q&A story. I could do this over the phone if necessary, but in person would be cleaner audio and I would like to record it.
“The plan is to have a Q&A story on Sunday and include the audio on the Kitsap Caucus blog. I’m meeting with Schlicher at 3 p.m. today in Gig Harbor. What time other than that one would work for Jan? I can be reached at 360-792-3343, or 360-620-9630. If we do this by phone I will give you another number, a Google Voice number that I use to record calls. Thanks.”
He replied four minutes later:
“Steven, Jan isn’t doing any press interviews at this time. With ballots dropping over the next few days, she is 100% focused on using any spare time she has on our grassroots efforts during these last few weeks of the campaign.. I apologize for any inconvenience this may present,”
I read that to mean she would not be doing media interviews for the rest of the campaign. “At this time,” did not suggest that. ” … she is 100% focused on using any spare time she has on our grassroots efforts during these last few weeks of the campaign,” did.
At 10:41 I responded:
“We are going to do the interview with Schlicher and write a story and in that story we will indicate that Jan Angel was not doing press interviews.”
At 1:16 p.m. Schipper responded:
“I understand where you’re coming from, but Jan sat down and was filmed by your editorial board for an hour, you’ve interviewed her in the past, and you’ve attended their forums, so it’s not as if she hasn’t been available and you should be able to get plenty of great answers from those. Also, I am always available so please use me as a resource if you have any other questions on this race as well. This campaign is going to be won in the field, and that is where we’ve set our attention to right now. Again, I apologize for any inconvenience.”
That afternoon I recorded the interview with Schlicher. The next afternoon I e-mailed questions to Schipper and he responded within a few hours, so we had the Q&A story for Sunday to go along with the media story.
Sometime around 2 p.m. Tuesday Jordan Schrader at the Tacoma News Tribune posted an update to an earlier story about the media silence, that Angel had called him and said she never intended to shutdown the media entirely.
At 3:55 p.m. the campaign emailed the press release saying her position on media interviews was “unchanged.”
The press release states that Angel needed time with constituents to clear up issues with ads from Schlicher and the committees campaigning against Angel saying that her backing a bill removing state mandates would have cut off funding for mammograms. I’ve made a request to get clarity from the campaign on that particular issue.
In a Facebook post on Oct. 18, state Rep. Jan Angel, running to unseat appointed incumbent state Sen. Nathan Schlicher in as the 26th Legislative District’s senator, wrote:
“Don’t allow this man to buy this election—mark the box by Jan Angel–I have lived and worked right here for over 30 yrs and no California dude can buy this seat unless you allow it!! Time to fight back 26th District!!”
The “dude” in question is Thomas Steyer, a California hedge fund manager who has since become a bigtime contributor to environmental causes. Angel links to this story from the Washington State Wire, which does a pretty good job of explaining who Steyer is and where the $6.3 million he put into committee named “NextGen CLimate Action Committee Sponsored by Thomas Steyer” can and cannot go. More recent Public Disclosure Commission reporting shows that of the $6.3 million Steyer put into the committee, all but about a half million has been spent, the bulk of it on out-of-state causes. What’s more is that NextGen cannot put a donation greater than $5,000 into the legislative races anymore.
Why so much money is reported in Washington is unclear. I tried to contact Steyer and got no response. Lori Anderson, PDC spokeswoman, said it’s possible Steyer is just operating his overall political spending operation here for convenience sake, because he has to report here anyway.
Steyer has put in $525,000 into two Washington committees. She’s Changed PAC, the organization doing all the advertising against Angel, has received $250,000. Washington Conservation Voters has received the rest. That committee then donated $150,000 to She’s Changed PAC, meaning Steyer has spent $400,000 to defeat Jan Angel.
Before getting to Steyer’s presence in Washington, it’s worth pointing out that most of the attention he gets recently has been for his opposition to the Keystone Pipeline. He has done plenty of work elsewhere to suggest his environmentalist leanings are legitimate, but one element of his opposition against Keystone provides easy fodder for his critics. He made the bulk of his money with Farallon Capital, which owns a boatload of stock in Kinder Morgan, which owns the Canada-U.S. West Coast pipeline that would be a major competitor to Keystone. If Keystone is blocked, Steyer’s critics argue, Steyer stands to benefit financially in a huge way. He has since said he will divest his portfolio of “dirty energy” holdings within a year.
A New Yorker story on Steyer and his opposition to Keystone is a great read, and shows that some of Steyer’s allies on other environmental issues are not solid with him on Keystone.
That story also illustrates some of what might be moving Steyer to invest in Washington.
Steyer wanted to test (former Al Gore and Bill Clinton operative Chris) Lehane’s theory that traditional campaign politics—the world of Super PACs and field organizations and TV ads—was the best way to spend his money. “Once politicians start to become aware that this issue can either help them or hurt them, you begin to change the conduct and behavior of those who are in elected office,” Lehane insisted. “Politicians very rarely lead, despite the fact that they talk about leadership in every speech. They typically follow.”
Where that first showed itself was in the Massachussetts Senate race to replace John Kerry, who had been named Secretary of State. Edward Markey opposed Keystone and Steve Lynch supported it. Both were Demcorats and faced each other in the primary.
Steyer’s group spent $1.8 million attacking Lynch and backing Markey. Lehane said they used the same “formula” that had been successful in California: an “enemy” oil company pursuing its own self-interest was hurting the state. Markey won, and went on to victory in the general election. Steyer began looking for his next opportunity.
Schlicher and Angel don’t appear in the New Yorker story, but Steyer’s financial presence just very will might owe itself to the success Steyer saw in Massachusetts and in his philosophical compatibility with Inslee.
In May the online site ClimateSolutions.org reported on speeches Inslee and Steyer gave at the Climate Solutions annual breakfast in Seattle. Both said the West needs to lead the way in battling climate change.
“What are we on the West Coast going to do about the bigger picture of climate change?” Steyer asked during his keynote address. “I think the solution is pretty straightforward: the West Coast needs to lead. And we will do so by exploiting every opportunity in the proposition process, the electoral process and the legislative process. It’s a big task.”
Remarks from Steyer paralleled earlier comments from Governor Jay Inslee. “The West Coast of the United States does not have to wait for the District of Columbia to move forward on strong climate policy,” the Governor stated. “I believe we are a laboratory of innovation and I believe we have the power to set a deadline for reducing our CO2 admissions, and to lead the world as we have done in so many ways.”
That Facebook post wasn’t the first time Angel referred to Steyer as a “dude.” Two days earlier she wrote:
“Rumor has it this billionaire dude putting all this money against me has had meetings with the Governor and perhaps swapping deals/favors –this is all starting to smell real bad!!!!”
I don’t know what deals/favors Angel has heard Inslee and Steyer might be swapping. I contacted Jay Inslee’s spokesman, David Postman, to see if the governor would like to respond to Angel’s comment. Postman wrote back, “Thanks for reaching out, but I’m not going to have a comment.”
Were the 26th Legislative District not the only district with a two-party race this year, it’s unlikely all of Steyer’s money would be in it. As it is, it’s the only real party challenge in the Legislature this year, and it’s between one legislator who has a lifetime score of 11 (out of 100) from Washington Conservation Voters against another who during the first half of the 2013-14 session scored a 100, according to WCV officials. Steyer advocated “exploiting every opportunity in the proposition process, the electoral process and the legislative process,” so in that context it should no longer be a surprise that Steyer is making good on his claim that the West should lead the way on climate change and that he is backing up that claim with his money.
On Oct. 17 state Sen. Nathan Schlicher, D-Gig Harbor, agreed to participate in a Q&A session with the Kitsap Sun. Here is the recording of that conversation. An abridged version appears in print and on the main Kitsap Sun site.
The Kitsap Sun extended an invitation to state Rep. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard, to participate in the same format. She declined.
The two candidates are running for the final year of the state Senate position Derek Kilmer, who is now in Congress, was elected to in 2010.
Candidates in the 26th Legislative District state Senate race have both made comments publicly about state Rep. Jan Angel’s ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council.
You might not be surprised to know that both Angel, the Republican, and state Sen. Nathan Schlicher, the Democrat, have said things that are factually wrong at worst or unprovable at best.
In the Eggs & Issues debate on Sept. 3 Schlicher said a bill Angel sponsored that would have required drug testing for welfare recipients was a bill originally written by the American Legislative Exchange Council, often referred to in shorthand as ALEC.
ALEC is unquestionably conservative in its orientation, as is Angel. The organization can call itself “non partisan” without smirking, because it does have Democrats who take part. But most of the legislation it favors leans rightward. Angel leans to the right, so it shouldn’t be a shock that she serves as ALEC’s co-chair in this Washington.
The organization does write model bills. So do the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislatures and the Council of State Governments. So do lobbyists, political party staff members and lawyers representing organizations that want to see legislation. Legislators and their staffs write bills, too. I have no way of knowing what percentage of legislation is written by actual elected officials, but if you were thinking it was the vast majority, you are probably way off.
What scares those on the left about ALEC is that it is funded mostly by the likes of executives from Koch Industries and Exxon Mobil and much of its model legislation serves those companies’ interests.
ALEC has been fighting against the Affordable Care Act and counts as members of its Private Enterprise Council executives from GlaxoSmithKline and PhRMA, companies that contributed to Angel’s state Senate campaign. Also backing Angel’s campaign and serving on the council is Altria Client Services, the parent company to Philip Morris and two other tobacco companies.
Sclicher contended initially that the drug testing for welfare recipients bill was an ALEC model. I’ve scoured the web and can’t find proof. There are articles that make the same claim, but they don’t substantiate it. And I’ve found news pieces in which legislators deny the link. The organization has written several bills dealing with welfare and others for drug tests, but I can’t find the organization’s fingerprints on either of Angel’s drug testing for welfare recipients bills. As you will read later, though, this doesn’t mean her bills were not someone’s model bill.
Angel, in her letter to the editor defending her affiliation with ALEC, made what to many would seem to be a solid point about model bills. “If a bill gets through committees, passes the House and the Senate and is signed by the governor, perhaps it is a good bill!” she wrote.
“Good” might not be the right word for many people, but if a bill ends up getting signed by the governor then you can at least say it reflects the values of the people elected to represent its citizens, no matter who wrote it. “Good” depends on your position in relation to those values.
Angel wrote in her defense, “Mr. Bullock accuses me of sponsoring model bills, which is absolutely not true. My bill on drug testing for welfare benefits was written by me and my staff, and I can prove that.”
There’s ample evidence that if Angel and her staff wrote either of the two drug test for welfare recipients laws, they probably at least borrowed language from bills in other states.
In 2012 Angel sponsored a bill, HB 2424, that would require drug tests for all welfare applicants. The applicants would have had to pay for their drug tests. By that year at least 27 other states had proposed similar legislation. I did not search legislation from all 27 states, but it didn’t take much searching to find four — Florida, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Alabama — that used virtually identical language throughout their bills as Angel did in hers.
In 2013 Angel proposed a new bill, HB 1190, one that would require suspicion of drug usage before a test would be required. The language in that bill contained similar language to legislation in Utah that had passed prior to Angel’s legislation introduction.
Another part of Angel’s letter refuting the ALEC allegations stated that to her knowledge only two ALEC bills were proposed in the most recent legislative session, one of them being SB 5802, a bill requested by Gov. Jay Inslee. I contacted the governor’s office to see if that was true. I received the following response from David Postman, Inslee’s spokesman.
“That bill actually had nothing to do with ALEC. I asked the governor’s energy advisory — who did a lot of work on the bill — and he said he had never seen the ALEC bill. When he went to look at it at my request, he said that the ALEC bill is a very different approach to the issue. Among other things, the ALEC bill would study ‘benefits’ of climate change and calls for creation of an interstate research commission. They are both studies and both about climate change. But our bill was drafted with input from a variety of people and the staff’s experience in previous five-corner efforts here. We ended up with what we thought was a good bill. We were glad it got bipartisan support, though many of Rep. Angel’s Republican colleagues opposed it in the House.”
Angel voted for Inslee’s bill.
UPDATE: This post has generated responses that merit inclusion here.
First, Todd Myers with the Washington Policy Center responded to the statement from the governor’s office. The short version is that some of the governor’s bill did probably originate with an ALEC bill. Here is Myers’ response:
The statement from the Governor’s office is both incorrect and misleading, requiring people to believe in an extremely unlikely coincidence.
First, his description of the ALEC bill is incorrect. It does not look at “benefits” of climate change, nor does it set up an interstate commission. The “Environmental Priorities Act” examines the costs and benefits of environmental policy, prioritizing those which provide the greatest benefit for each dollar.
Similarly, at the center of the Governor’s climate bill, his signature legislation this year, is a study of environmental approaches that examines the “effectiveness” of climate policies measuring “the cost per ton of emission reduction.” This mirrors exactly ALEC’s bill, which the Washington Policy Center suggested to the Governor.
In a piece I wrote to the Governor in January, we recommended that his bill mirror ALEC’s Environmental Priorities Act, which we noted “is a way to make sure we aren’t spending huge sums of money on trendy, but ineffective, environmental policies that starve needed funding for projects with significant potential to help the environment.” Like the Governor, we emphasized the need for effectiveness and ensuring we measure based on how much it costs to reduce one ton of carbon. It was confirmed to us that the
Governor’s office read the piece. When the Governor released his bill later that month, this idea was specifically included. The inclusion of that language is why WPC testified in favor of the bill.
It is unlikely the inclusion of the language we suggested is a coincidence. Although the Governor wrote a book on climate policy, nowhere in the more than 200 pages of his book did he mention this particular approach. His bill was the first time this concept appeared. It is possible the Governor’s office did not know the language came from ALEC legislation, but that does not change the fact that the approach is the same.
Perhaps, however, it is merely a happy coincidence that the exact same metric and approach suggested by ALEC was used by the Governor in his bill. This would mean that Gov. Inslee and ALEC independently came up with the same idea. You would think that such a thing would be celebrated as a bi-partisan agreement on climate policy. Instead, the Governor won’t take “yes” for an answer and choose partisanship over agreement.
If climate policy is as serious as the Governor says, we should not let political games get in the way of good policy and good ideas should be praised, no matter what the source.
Environmental Director | Washington Policy Center
It seems the governor’s office is not referring to the ALEC model legislation that Angel would have been referencing. The model bill the governor’s office referred to is the one listed on the ALEC website as model climate change legislation. That bill does call for a study that calls for an “Interstate Commission on Climate Change,” charged with studying the effects of climate change, stipulating that “These influences may be beneficial or deleterious, and the Commission will specifically address both hypothetical eventualities in an evenhanded manner.”
The ALEC bill Myers is referring to is the Environmental Priorities Act.
Second, Angel said at the Eggs & Issues she has never sponsored an ALEC model bill. I haven’t found evidence otherwise. But Collin Jergens from Fuse Washington, the organization behind some of the ads against Angel, pointed to one bill that she co-sponsored, a bill that was an ALEC model. Co-sponsoring means your name is not the first on a list of sponsors, that the bill probably didn’t get to the Legislature through your office. I say “probably,” because legislators do sometimes hand off legislation from their office to other legislators.
Jergens provided a list of Washington bills that he described as “ALEC bills that have been introduced.” The one bill Jan Angel was the prime sponsor of was HB 2268. That bill would have required public school students to take a course in financial literacy in order to graduate. There were at least three Democrats who co-sponsored the bill from 2012 and it got a hearing in the House Committee on Education. While the intent of the bill seems to match the ALEC model, the language of the bill is not the same.
Kitsap County will receive part of a $743,580 award the federal government is giving to 16 Washington counties to assist with an electronic ballot system used by military members and overseas voters.
The county led the consortium of counties in applying for the funding, which will help pay for the system that allows voters outside the state to get ballots by email.
The Department of Defense issued the grant, along with grants to a King County five-county consortium, counties in Texas and Florida and to four states. The DOD money is specifically aimed at efforts to ease voting for members of the military and Americans overseas.
Kitsap’s share will be $30,000 for the five-year program, plus $10,000 to administer the grant for the 16-county group, according to Shawn Devine, elections division spokesman.
The county’s press release follows:
Read the rest of this entry »
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 Rep. Sherry Appleton, D-Poulsbo, plans to be the prime sponsor during the 2014 legislative session on a bill that turn possession drugs in small amounts into a misdemeanor.
Sensible Washington, an organization that has backed relaxed drug laws (but not Initiative 502, which voters passed in November) is pushing the bill and announced Tuesday that Appleton would be the primary sponsor in the House. She will be joined by Vancouver’s Jim Moeller, Joe Fitzgibbon of Burien, Chris Reykdal of Tumwater and Jesslyn Farrell of Seattle have agreed to be cosponsors. All are Democrats.
The bill would turn possession of more than 40 grams of marijuana and small amounts of other drugs into a misdemeanor, unless prosecutors can prove there was an intent to distribute the drugs. The maximum jail sentence would be 90 days.
Sensible Washington plans to find sponsors in the Senate to file a companion bill.
Over the years Appleton had sponsored multiple bills that would decriminalize marijuana.
Sensible Washington’s press release follows.
With Syria within sharp focus, Kitsap’s representatives in Congress remain undecided on whether they should vote to support U.S. military action in Syria.
In an email U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer sent out on Friday he tells constituents that he has not yet decided which way he would vote, what he is against and what questions he wants answered before he decides. The entire letter follows, but the main bullet points are that:
Kilmer asked for your feedback and receives email at WA06DKima@mail.house.gov or you may call any of his offices.
Sen. Patty Murray’s statement, in which she also says she is undecided, follows Kilmer’s and her contact page is at http://www.murray.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contactme.
I don’t see an official statement from Cantwell, but news reports show her as undecided.
The full statements follow.
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Wednesday marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. In January 2012 we published a story about state Rep. Drew Hansen’s treatment of the speech, which is on display in a book, The Dream: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech that Inspired a Nation, he wrote for the speech’s 40th anniversary.
This week Hansen gets to illustrate the speech’s significance again in a piece in The Globe and Mail, A Canadian national newspaper based in Toronto. The piece is an interactive exercise, allowing the reader to read King’s speech and click on highlighted segments that lead to context penned by Hansen.
Hansen highlights the speech’s focus on poverty, shows how King deviated from his prepared text and provides context for the realities related to the “I Have a Dream” portion of what is now King’s career-defining moment. The Globe and Mail piece is an instructive way to learn more about the speech and the era that surrounded it.
UPDATE: Hansen’s take on King’s speech has been all over the place this week. Today he has a column in the New York Times.
Hansen is referenced in a FoxNews piece and one in USA Today on former basketball coach George Raveling, who said he has the copy of King’s written speech. Hansen also has a column focusing on Bayard Rustin on Politico, and is referenced in another USA Today piece.
On Wednesday state Attorney General Bob Ferguson issued his opinion about whether hospitals in public hospital districts are obligated to provide reproductive services (contraception and abortion) if they are offering maternity care, even if they are operated by faith-based organizations.
The short version of his answer is “Yes.” This appears to have no impact in Kitsap County, because there are no public hospital districts here. It will have an impact in Mason County.
There are two public hospital districts in Mason County, in fact, and Harrison Medical Center is contracted by Mason County PHD #2 to provide a clinic and primary care services in Belfair, but not maternity care.
So there was a question of whether a hospital that is in a PHD anywhere is obligated to provide abortion services everywhere it offers maternity care, even if it is outside the PHD.
“Our reading of his opinion is that it’s just for public hospital districts that offer maternity care benefits,” said Mary Kay Clunies-Ross, Washington State Hospital Association spokeswoman. An ACLU spokesman agreed. So Harrison, which is in the midst of merging with Franciscan Health System, doesn’t even need to consider how to comply with the AG’s opinion.
Mason County PHD #1, which covers essentially everything in Mason County except Belfair, is another story.
Scott Hilburn, Mason County PHD #1 board president, said Mason General Hospital, which does offer maternity care, has never performed a scheduled abortion. The hospital has done them in emergencies, such as when the life of the mother was at risk.
Ferguson cited state law, RCW 9.02.160, which reads:
“If the state (defined elsewhere in the law as “municipal corporations.” A PHD is one of those.) provides, directly or by contract, maternity care benefits, services, or information to women through any program administered or funded in whole or in part by the state, the state shall also provide women otherwise eligible for any such program with substantially equivalent benefits, services, or information to permit them to voluntarily terminate their pregnancies.”
Hilburn said hospital officials will be meeting with its attorney and WSHA officials. “We’re going to go ahead and comply with the law to the best of our abilities,” he said.
You can read the AG’s opinion here.
Kitsap County finances appear to be stabilizing. County commissioners are in the process of negotiating new contracts with all employees covered by a collective bargaining unit, and although the meetings are conducted behind closed doors, commissioners have said publicly they’re offering a 2 percent cost of living adjustment for this year and next.
Pay raises are also coming to Kitsap’s District and Superior Court judges, the respective courts’ commissioners and Prosecuting Attorney Russel Hauge. The raises are on the county commissioners’ consent agenda for approval at the board’s regular meeting Monday night. The increases — there’s two — take effect Sept. 1, 2013 and Sept. 1, 2014.
Part of the resolution also restores the formula for how the prosecutor’s salary is calculated. Pay for the elected position is tied to the pay scale set by the state for Superior Court judges. All of the county’s non-judicial elected positions were once tied to this pay scale but in 2008 commissioners froze the pay of the assessor, auditor, clerk, coroner, prosecutor, sheriff and treasurer.
Recognizing the tough financial situation facing the county, the elected officials requested the freeze. At the same time county commissioners (and other elected officials) opted to pay for their health care premium expenses to find additional savings. County commissioners can’t change their salaries while in office, so this how they were able to reduce their overall pay. This practice continued through 2011.
The resolution set for approval Monday will return the pay of the prosecutor to a rate that is equal to the pay of a Superior Court judge. The county pays half the prosecutor’s salary and the other half is reimbursed by the state. It’s the same for Superior Court judges — the county pays half of the salaries and the state reimburses the other half. The only salaries covered in full by the county are for the District Court judges and commissioner and the Superior Court Commissioner. The court commissioner positions are set at 90 percent of the Superior Court Judge’s salary.
Here’s the breakdown of what the judges and Hauge are paid annually and the proposed increases:
Proposed increases for 2013, 2014: (The first number is for 2013, the second for 2014)
For comparison sake, the county commissioners — whose salaries are the same — make $112,049.60 a year as of Jan. 1, 2013. Under state law commissioners can’t change their salaries while in office, but they can change the salary for the next term. The salary for Brown’s position, along with the other county elected officials, are up for review either later this year or next year. The salaries must be set before the election.
It’s likely these positions will see a 2 percent cost of living increase similar to what is being negotiated with employees covered by a collective bargaining unit.
Real Clear Politics posted a column attempting to answer “How ‘Lawless’ is Obama?” It’s a cry conservatives have made about the president’s suspending the employer mandate for a year, some of his recess appointments and other executive actions.
The Seattle Times has a story about the state’s ad blitz on the health care exchange.
A story in The New Republic is provocatively titled, “The GOP Plan to Crush Silicon Valley,” and in it the author makes the case:
“Many people still cling to the idea that government is, without exception, a drag upon the private economy. Conservatives ‘know that when it comes to economic progress,’ Arthur Brooks, the president of the American Enterprise Institute, wrote last year in National Review, ‘the best government philosophy is one that starts every day with the question, ‘What can we do today to get out of Americans’ way?’ ‘ They imagine the United States as a land of plucky inventor-entrepreneurs (‘We built it!’ they cry) who work out of garages and depend solely on their wits. The problem is that this vision of American inventiveness is pure myth.
“Steve Jobs, who has nearly been beatified in his role as independent businessman, excelled at designing products based on government-funded inventions.”
I invite you Kitsap Caucus readers to read and discuss.
A Washington Post blog post on The Fix shows why what’s happening now in the 2016 presidential election race matters more than you might think.
Since 2006 Democrats have done better locally at getting out the vote than Republicans. So far this year that seems on the surface to be changing.
I don’t have solid data to back up my sense that Democrats have been better at it at least since 2006, but election data bears it out. Oh-six and oh-eight were Democratic years, so those are easy. In 2010, despite huge Republican gains nationally, Democrats held their own around here. In 2012 Kirby Wilbur, former Washington State Republican Party chairman, admitted his party did poorly in the entire state, blaming that in some part in the national party’s abandonment of the entire state.
Following Tuesday’s results Chris Tibbs, Kitsap GOP chairman, texted me, “The kcrp has mobilized in a way we haven’t since 1994.” Looking just at the race in the 26th Legislative District, it’s hard to argue against it. Republican Jan Angel, a member of the state House now going after the seat Democrat Nathan Schlicher was appointed to in January, won the night. But in Kitsap County her margin was huge, 56.9 percent to 42.8.
There are a lot of reasons to put off betting that Angel will win by the same margin in November, or that she will win at all, but Luanne Van Werven, interim state GOP party chairwoman, was counting it as a done deal. She released the following statement:
“With Rep. Jan Angel winning tonight’s primary by a decisive 9.5%, the message from voters in Kitsap and Pierce Counties is loud and clear: by supporting Governor Inslee’s liberal agenda, Nathan Schlicher has failed to represent his constituents. The Governor’s tax increase proposals, his decision to throw our kids in Washington’s education system under the bus, and his obstructionist D.C.-style of leadership in Olympia were soundly rejected as voters overwhelmingly casted their ballot for Rep. Jan Angel. Nathan Schlicher has sided with Seattle liberals over his own constituents 96% of the time during his brief tenure in Olympia, and it cost him big at the polls.
“Historically speaking, with a primary result such as Schlicher’s tonight, it is safe to say that Rep. Angel will cruise on to an easy victory in November. I look forward to finishing the job and electing her as the 26th member of the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus, and as the next state Senator of the 26th Legislative District.”
It is true that candidates who win primaries generally go on to win the general, so Angel has a certain advantage. Schlicher did better in Pierce County than in Kitsap, but he still lost. If nothing else, it puts Angel in the frontrunner position. This primary is technically meaningless, but there is no better polling available.
If Democrats are looking for help in November, the ballot itself offers little. There are two statewide initiatives, but one is dealing with how initiatives are treated and the other relates to genetically engineered foods. Neither would get out the vote like same-sex marriage rights. So Democrats get little help there.
Democrats can legitimately say, however, that they can pick up momentum. Angel has already spent way more than twice the money Schlicher has, in part because she has almost twice as much money as he does. Additionally, Republicans clearly made a primary win a priority here. I don’t see the same fire yet from Democrats. Jordan Schrader, reporter for the (Tacoma) News Tribune, wrote on July 31 that Democrats had not spent near the money on television, quoting Schlicher saying he didn’t think voters paid much attention to political television ads this time of year.
In the end the primary win should be seen as very good news for Republicans. But you have to wonder if someone who has been sleeping is going to wake up by November, and whether this might have been the alarm clock.
UPDATE: I wanted to test Van Werven’s assertion that Angel would “cruise” to victory in November. I’ll get to that. First, though, more comments from the candidates themselves.
Schlicher told the News Tribune he was happy with the results:
Schlicher’s glass-half-full argument is that he is cutting into the support of Angel, who won by 18 percentage points in November against a different rival in a much lower-spending House race.
“We’ve closed half the distance in a month. We’ve got three months until the general,” Schlicher, an emergency-room doctor, said in an interview. “This is so doable.”
Angel also spoke with the News Tribune, (This was their lead story. Ours was the Bremerton City Council race.) which you can read there. She also issued a written statement today expressing her optimism about the numbers.
“We have worked hard to get our message out about rebuilding our economy, strengthening schools, limiting taxes and meaningful government reforms. We aren’t done yet, there is still a November General election and tomorrow we go back to work.”
Now for some historical perspective. I went back and looked at the legislative races with just two candidates in the primary in 2008, 2010 and 2012. (In 2009 there was a single legislative race, but it had three candidates.)
In those three elections there were 31 two-person races in which the leader at the primary had less than 55 percent of the votes. Of those, two were overturned in the general election.
In 2008 Democrat Liz Loomis took 50.7 percent of the vote in the 44th Legislative Distict primary to Mike Hope’s 49.3 percent. In the general election Hope, a Republican received 50.1 percent to Loomis’ 49.9.
In 2010 Republican Brian Peck won the primary 53-47 in the 17th District, House Position 1 race. In the general election he was beaten 53.2 percent to 46.8 by Democrat Tim Probst.
Probst nearly did it again in 2012. State Sen. Don Benton, a Republican, won the primary with 52.1 percent compared to Probst’s 47.0 percent in the race for Benton’s 17th District state Senate seat. On general election night Benton was behind after the first votes were counted, but ended up winning by 78 votes.
In the same year, 2012, the race for the 47th District Position 1 seat in the House had Mark Hargrove with a 53.9 percent tally over Bud Sizemore’s 46.1. Hargrove, a Republican, ended up winning the general election by 157 votes, taking 50.2 percent of the final vote.
There was one other primary-to-general election overthrow in 2012. Mike Armstrong won the primary with 58.7 percent to Bud Hawkins’ 41.3 percent in the 12th Legislative District House Position 2 race. In the general election Hawkins managed to pull out the win. But Armstrong and Hawkins are both Republicans.
I may bust your New York Times paywall limit with a couple of stories I’m going to recommend you read. I’m also recommending one from the Washington Post.
The first story deals with health care reform. If you are skeptical that any government involvement in an industry could be beneficial, I would not try to dissuade from your skepticism. The news that follows was announced by supporters of the legislation, after all. Still, could this be good news? The Times reports Health Plan Cost for New Yorkers Set to Fall 50%.
State insurance regulators say they have approved rates for 2014 that are at least 50 percent lower on average than those currently available in New York. Beginning in October, individuals in New York City who now pay $1,000 a month or more for coverage will be able to shop for health insurance for as little as $308 monthly. With federal subsidies, the cost will be even lower.
Stephanie Marquis, spokeswoman in the office of Mike Kreidler, state insurance commissioner, said state officials here are encouraged by what they’re seeing from insurers, but rates would be unlikely to drop as much here as they appear to have in New York. Different states have different rules for what gets covered under health insurance programs, and Washington has about 15 times the number of people buying insurance on their own. That might be one reason. Still, state officials are encouraged. Here’s Kreidler’s statement on the subject:
“When the rate filings started coming in, we were pleasantly surprised,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. “We’re not seeing the double-digit rate increases some of the insurers predicted. In some cases, people will pay the same or slightly lower for much better benefits. How much you pay will largely depend on the plan you select, your age, whether or not you smoke and where you live. People should have plenty of plans to choose from both inside the new WashingtonHealthplanfinder, Washington’s exchange, and in the regular insurance market. Premium subsidies also may be available for people buying coverage inside the exchange, depending on their income.”
Washington insurance officials will be able to comment more specifically after July 31, Marquis said.
The second NYT story is an inside-baseball story about D.C. politics, but the players’ own admissions are stunning, if not refreshing. The U.S. Senate reached a deal that would stop Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid from blowing up the chamber’s filibuster rules. The entire story is worth reading, but these three paragraphs floored me, in a good way.
The agreement came after a meeting on Monday night where 98 Senators vented for over three hours. Members of both parties admitted some culpability in the political fighting, with Democrats conceding that their headlong drive to alter the rules may have been overly aggressive.
“We’re not without sin,” said Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri.
Many Republicans admitted their efforts to hobble executive agencies by denying confirmation of their leadership was wrongheaded. “Cordray was being filibustered because we don’t like the law” that created the consumer agency, said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina. “That’s not a reason to deny someone their appointment. We were wrong.”
The final story comes Al Kamen’s “In the Loop” column at the Washington Post. In case you hadn’t heard, someone pulled a prank worthy of a Porky’s (I’m dating myself here. I never saw the movie, but heard of the name gag.) movie and convinced a Bay Area TV channel of the names of the Asiana Airlines pilots involved in the crash were Asian names that when spoken should have been obvious to anyone were a joke. (I won’t put the names here. It shouldn’t be too hard to find out if you’re that curious.)
The one saving factor for the TV station was they went to the trouble of confirming the names with the National Transportation Safety Board, and someone from the NTSB did confirm it. The agency said it was an intern, one who no longer has an internship with the NTSB. Kamen writes:
Good strategy! Blaming the intern for cringe-inducing faux pas is a time-honored tradition. Interns, after all, make the perfect fall guys, with their not-always-fair reputation for cluelessness and laziness, and their status somewhere underneath the lowest rung on the Washington ladder. It’s not easy to earn respect when the most infamous alum is Monica Lewinsky.
But is it fair to turn eager young public servants into the equivalent of the dog who ate Washington’s homework? Joe Starrs, director of U.S. Summer Programs at the Fund for American Studies, which places Washington interns, said it’s an employer’s job to provide those young, inexperienced (and often unpaid) workers with guidance and a supervisor. “To throw the intern under the bus is the ultimate in abdicating responsibility,” he says.