Kitsap Caucus

A blog about politics and government in Kitsap County as well as Washington state political news as it relates to Kitsap County.
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A local exception to the ongoing Obamacare narrative

November 20th, 2013 by Steven Gardner

Amid the persistent drumbeat of stumbles and fumbles with the roll-out of a new healthcare system, there is one local example being held up as how the new program can work well.

Brad Camp of Kingston has seen his name in an editorial penned by three governors and distributed across the country starting with The Washington Post.

Camp, who co-owns the Olympic Photography Group business and does freelance assignments for the Kitsap Sun, received notice that the private plan he had enrolled in for this year would be canceled at the end of the year. He had that coverage for himself and his children. His wife has insurance through her work, he said, but covering the entire family through her work policy would have been “prohibitively expensive.”

So Camp went through Washington’s Health Insurance Exchange and (eventually) found a plan to cover himself and his children for about $550 a month. That’s about $70 more than he was paying this year, but he is getting far more coverage. And he is getting no subsidy, so there is little (I say “little” because I hesitate to be absolute about anything.) chance that the state could come back to him and say there was a miscalculation.

For another $45 a month Camp added dental coverage.

Subsidy miscalculation is justifiably all the rage among Obamacare opponents. On Tuesday they trumpeted the story from Washington State Wire about the Federal Way woman who was held up by Obama as a success story, but thanks to the news she’s not getting the subsidy she originally thought she decided she won’t get health insurance. The story is quite comprehensive and highlights the problems here in Washington, even though Washington’s online program has been held up as an example of health care enrollment going well.

Camp, who is a success story now, had big problems with the site initially. “If I judged it by the website I would have given it an ‘F,’” Camp said. “The first three weeks it was tough to even get the website to acknowledge I was there.”

Once he got insurance though, Camp revealed his good fortune via Facebook.

So, just got a monthly raise starting in January–FINALLY, got thru on the WAHeath site and was able to sign up for insurance.
*As a small business owner that had no corporate plan available, benefits for me and the kids was VERY expensive.
For $600 LESS a month (no subsidy) , we have for the first time in 5 years:
-full office visit coverage (before is was max 4x a year)
-Prescription coverage (had to pay full freight before)
-Vision AND dental. (had NO benefit before)
-we get to KEEP our current provider and all doctors.
—-Politics and other BS aside, Our coverage is deeper, more comprehensive and much, much less costly.–
Brad Camp and Family. Now fully insured.

The post had more than 60 “likes,” and found its way to Gov. Jay Inslee’s office. Inslee included Camp’s story in an editorial he co wrote with the governors of Kentucky and Connecticut. Camp was also interviewed for a Seattle Times story.

The governor’s office asked Camp if he would be available to go the other Washington, in case someone there wanted to highlight his health care exchange success. Camp is willing to tell his story in Washington, but has no interest in entering the political debate, he said. He just knows that the coverage he has now is superior to what he had this last year and it is far superior. “I’m not taking a political side on this issue,” he said. “There is so much passion on the health care act. All I can talk about is my situation. This health care plan for my family worked out pretty well.”


One more TV spot on the 26th

November 4th, 2013 by Steven Gardner

In case you needed just one more television look at the candidates for the 26th Legislative District, here is KBTC’s Northwest Now take. If you’re tired of all this television, you can probably rest assured that none of our districts will get this much attention next year.


Jan Angel and Nathan Schlicher stick to the issues on TVW

November 1st, 2013 by Steven Gardner

TVW’s “Impact” did a half-hour show on the 26th Legislative District Senate race. State Sen. Nathan Schlicher, D-Gig Harbor and state Rep. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard, both stick to issues and their own strengths. In other words, neither talks about the money or slams the other candidate.


Kilmer town halls north, south, west

November 1st, 2013 by Steven Gardner

U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor will host three town hall meetings between Nov. 1-8. All the meetings are open to the public. Those attending get an opportunity to ask questions. Doors open a half hour before the start time.

The first event is in Sequim from 4:30-6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1. On Monday he will be at Peninsula High School in Gig Harbor and on Friday, Nov. 8 he will be in Grays Harbor.

Sequim Town Hall
Friday, November 1, 2013
4:30pm – 6:00pm
Guy Cole Convention Center
202 N Blake Ave.
Sequim, WA 98382

Purdy Town Hall
Monday, November 4, 2013
5:30pm – 7:00pm
Peninsula High School Auditorium
14105 Purdy Dr. NW
Gig Harbor, WA 98332

Grays Harbor Town Hall
Friday, November 8, 2013
5:30pm – 7:00pm
Ocean Shores Elementary School
300 Mt. Olympus Ave
Ocean Shores, WA 95869

For questions, call Rep. Kilmer’s office in Tacoma at (253) 272-3515, in Bremerton at (360) 373-9725, or in Port Angeles at (360) 797-3623.


Hooray! More mostly bogus advertising in the 26th LD race!

October 30th, 2013 by Steven Gardner

We’re less than a week away from seeing election results, but the ads keep on coming. Assuming there might be someone still undecided out there it seemed worthwhile to look at some of the claims and see how much truth we can find. Some of the claims are in new ads. Some are classics.

First, a couple pieces of advice.

  • 1. Question any ad that makes a conclusion based on one piece of legislation.
  • 2. Question any ad that makes a claim based on one part of a single piece of legislation.
  • 3. Question any ad by a politician or group characterizing the opposition’s views.
  • 4. Know that many of the details in campaign ads are true, but they don’t necessarily tell a true story.
  • 5. Assume every single campaign advertisement could be lying to you.

CLAIM: “SHAMEFUL: Schlicher Takes Advantage of Senator’s Choice to Breastfeed”
THE STORY: There is a true story here that doesn’t make Democrats look good even under the most flattering lights. Party leaders deny the worst accusations about the incident, and how much Schlicher was to blame for it is a bigger question. This ad comes from the state Republican Party. The Good Government Coalition also funded a similar ad. I refer you to Washington State Wire and Crosscut stories that discuss the incident. The short version is that a Republican senator who regularly took breaks to nurse her baby was excused from the floor. On one occasion Democrats took advantage of her absence to push a Schlicher-sponsored bill dealing with administrative costs for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge to a vote. The bill had the support of 11 of 12 senators in committee. The ad says Schlicher “helped lead an effort by his party for a power play.” It was his bill, sure. He certainly would have benefited politically had it passed. And the Democrats issued a press release after the incident in which Schlicher was quoted. But another Democrat, Seattle’s David Frockt, was the one blamed for pushing the vote. He and other Democrats said they didn’t know the absent senator was off breastfeeding. If you’re skeptical of that, I can’t blame you.

CLAIM: Jan Angel chose tax loopholes for deceased multi-millionaires over education for our kids.
THE STORY:
Angel is a “no new taxes” enthusiast, which gives an organization like She’s Changed PAC, the advertiser here, ample fodder to make statements like Angel likes (insert bad thing here) more than (insert good thing here). Angel’s side employs the same technique. Angel is unlikely to vote for any new tax on the belief that the state can fund its priorities with existing revenues. In this case Angel was opposed to the Legislature’s decision to change state law in response to a state Supreme Court ruling that would have forced the state to refund $160 million in estate taxes to people who can legitimately be called multi-millionaires. The money the state held onto did go to education, so there’s the link between rich people and our kids. The problem is that Angel might be right that the state could eventually have to pay back this money. The Legislature essentially clarified the intent of an older law and applied that clarification retroactively.

CLAIM: Representative Jan Angel chose tax loopholes for Big Oil companies over our kids’ schools.
THE STORY:
This is essentially a new version of the anti-Angel claim above. She’s hawkish on taxes, and considers closing loopholes a new tax. The argument on a She’s Changed PAC flyer makes a lucid and issue-driven argument against Angel’s position on tax loopholes for oil, except for where it definitively links that position with schools. Again, Angel says “Fund education first,” then fund everything else, so she could be for that money, but not when it comes from that tax. Most either/or arguments like this are “either” misleading “or” false. Fund education first, she says, satisfies the state constitution. Schlicher counters that there are other funding mandates required under the constitution, too, so Angel’s suggestion for a funding formula puts other constitutionally mandated programs at risk.

CLAIM: Schlicher opposes the voter-approved 2/3rds majority to raise taxes.
THE STORY:
People for Jobs, Enterprise Washington uses an email Schlicher sent to a constituent. At least most of the ads get it right that Schlicher thinks the Supreme Court was right to overturn the voter initiative, but they leave out the rest of his position. Here’s the quote from a letter he wrote to Kelly Haughton: “While I do agree with the court decision that the initiative was unconstitutional, the message was clear: taxes should not be the default solution of the government in times of fiscal crisis. I support the will of the people to consider a constitutional amendment on the issue and will vote for a reasonable version of an amendment.” Where Republicans can take bigger issue is that he doesn’t think corporate tax loopholes that don’t provide a benefit to the state (And that is the reason to establish a loophole.) should be subject to the 2/3 standard.

CLAIM: “Nathan Schlicher voted against a bill for early intervention to help all students read by the 4th grade, instead favoring the special interests of a campaign contributor.”
THE STORY:
This references Senate Bill 5946, which in part addressed reading skills for third graders. The original version of the bill had no funding provided to local districts, yet directed districts what they were to do. In other places that’s called an “unfunded mandate.” One of the solutions suggested for kids in third grade was discussing whether the student should stay in third grade. Schlicher argued that keeping kids in third grade would be the default solution, because the bill provided no money for anything else. The bill passed by four votes in the Senate, went to the House and came back to the Senate. The final bill had funding. Schlicher voted for that version, which passed the Senate in a 46-2 vote.

CLAIM: “When insurance companies wanted to eliminate basic care like mammograms and maternity care, Jan Angel sponsored House Bill 1804 that would cut our benefits.”
THE STORY:
We’ve addressed this one before, but it keeps coming up in part because Angel has expressed so much outrage over the claim, citing her own personal history of having one third of her breast removed. The Seattle Times ruled that a TV commercial saying Angel “led efforts to eliminate coverage for mammograms,” was “Mostly false.” The Times was right on that ad. But wait, there is more. Angel co-sponsored a bill that would have removed all state mandates on insurance coverage, conditions and services government requires insurance companies to cover. The bill would have exchanged state rules for the mandates under the Affordable Care Act. Had the bill passed, mammogram coverage would have still been required, but only for women 40 and above and not for immigrants. Some women would have lost coverage under the bill. Men get breast cancer, too. The state requires coverage for their mammograms and the ACA does not. Additionally, Angel has stated she is against the Affordable Care Act, even though her voting record is mixed on funding state implementation of the federal law, according to the (Tacoma) News Tribune. So, Angel is against the Affordable Care Act, yet she voted to remove state mandates in favor of ACA rules. This becomes a question of whether Angel supports any government mandates about health insurance. In a campaign questionnaire she wrote that she favored a free market, “menu driven/choice plan.” So if she had her way and insurers got to offer the plans they wanted, would they all stop covering mammograms? In theory they could, but insurance companies wouldn’t stay in business if they didn’t cover anything. Is Angel absolute about her thoughts on insurance companies? I’ve asked and I can’t get an answer. I tried to ask her after the Oct. 3 forum in Gig Harbor if the state mandate bill had passed and Obamacare went away, would she want government somewhere to require insurance companies to cover mammograms? She said she couldn’t answer a hypothetical question. I’ve forwarded a similar question, “Should any government tell insurance companies what they have to cover?” and have received no answer. So, yes, details in this claim are wrong, but until Angel definitively says she is for or against mandates I have a hard time raising the finish flag on the issue.

Cheer up. There’s only one more week of this. It will be months before it all starts again. In these final few days if you’ve seen any other claims you question, let us know and we’ll see if we can dig into it.


Video of Angel, Schlicher and reporters on KING-5 from Sunday

October 28th, 2013 by Steven Gardner

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 …

Read the rest of this entry »


KING 5 hosts Angel and Schlicher, and a couple of reporters

October 25th, 2013 by Steven Gardner

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.


Audio from Angel’s press conference

October 24th, 2013 by Steven Gardner

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.


State helps explain tax advisory votes

October 24th, 2013 by Steven Gardner

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.”


UPDATED: State GOP says late Steyer donations to his own PAC illegal

October 23rd, 2013 by Steven Gardner

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.”

Matthew Lewis
spokesman

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.

Read the rest of this entry »


All tied up in the 26th?

October 23rd, 2013 by Steven Gardner

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.


Jan Angel is talking to the media again

October 22nd, 2013 by Steven Gardner

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 unchanged.”

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 media.”
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.

Read the rest of this entry »


Thomas Steyer’s interest in the 26th Legislative District race

October 21st, 2013 by Steven Gardner

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.


State Sen. Nathan Schlicher Q&A

October 19th, 2013 by sitedude

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.


UPDATED: ALEC the focus of incorrect campaign arguments

October 7th, 2013 by Steven Gardner

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.

Todd Myers
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.

The bill Jergens referenced was HB 2772 in 2010 and has the identical language as ALEC’s Climate Accountability Act. Angel is a co-sponsor.

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.


County receives grant for military and overseas voting

October 3rd, 2013 by Steven Gardner

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 »


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

September 12th, 2013 by josh farley

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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?


Appleton chief name on bill to remove felony tag on possession of small amounts of drugs.

September 10th, 2013 by Steven Gardner

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.

Read the rest of this entry »


Kilmer, Murray on Syria

September 9th, 2013 by Steven Gardner

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 does not support sending in troops;
    He does not support starting something that will create a larger regional fight;
    He does not support empowering extremists;
    Kilmer wants to know what success looks like;
    He wants to know what the effect will be in the short, medium and long terms;
    He wants to know what the price of inaction is.

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.
Read the rest of this entry »


Canadian paper gives Kitsap legislator a forum on the eve of 50 years since MLK’s ‘Dream’

August 27th, 2013 by Steven Gardner

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.


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