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Posts Tagged ‘Christine Rolfes’

Angel at center of controversy over funding for homeless

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

State Sen. Jan Angel, the Republican elected to finish the final year of a four-year term, pulled a parliamentary move she is allowed to in her role as committee co-chair, prompting at least one howl from within her own party and a failed Democratic countermove in the main chamber.

At issue is a bill, House Bill 2368, that helps counties and the state fund programs for the homeless. Counties charge a $40 fee on real estate transactions and apply it toward state and county efforts to assist with rental housing payments, grants for transitional housing, emergency assistance, overnight shelters for young people, emergency shelters, and to help human trafficking victims and their families. Under the legislation originally passed in 2005 the fee was set to go down to $30 next year, and then to $10. This year’s bill would essentially make the $40 fee permanent.

Supporters of the bill argued that attaching the fee to documents related to real estate was appropriate, because reducing homelessness helps protect property values, keeps people out of jail and out of emergency rooms. Opponents contend that real estate fees are not an appropriate way to fund efforts to reduce homelessness and that the law was supposed to be temporary when it was written in 2005.

The bill was among those expected to be heard in a Senate Financial Institutions, Housing and Insurance Committee hearing, but Angel gaveled the meeting before the bill could be discussed. Once the gavel is hit, TVW stops recording video, but there was audio, (Start at 1:03:45) and the first voice complaining about the meeting’s quick conclusion is Republican Sen. Don Benton of Vancouver, who is hardly liberal lion. Benton, in fact, working with a Democrat from the House, had helped create the compromise bill the committee was supposed to consider. Benton asks about 2368 and Angel says, “The meeting is now adjourned.” Benton expresses disappointment. State Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, who co-chairs the committee said the bill was a bipartisan/bicameral piece of legislation everyone had agreed to, to which Angel said all parties are not in agreement. “We’ll continue to work on this during interim,” she said, to create a bill that works.

Hobbs told the (Tacoma) News Tribune that Angel was operating with orders from Senate Majority Coalition Caucus Leader Rodney Tom. Angel denied it, saying even if he had issued orders, “I work for the people of my district.”

On Friday Senate Democrats issued a statement that included comment from another Kitsap senator. “In my district, and in districts across the state, this is the most important source of funding we have to help the homeless,” said Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island. “People are playing politics with an issue that should be supported by everyone. There shouldn’t even be a second thought.”

The bill was an amended version that had passed out of the House with a 62-36 vote. All six Kitsap legislators in the House voted for the bill.

Democrats tried to pull a procedural move to get the bill heard on the main floor, but the majority caucus, including Benton, held firm in denying them. The News Tribune said the bill could be part of last-minute dealmaking before the session ends March 13.


Kitsap legislators (re)assume leadership posts.

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Kitsap legislators have received their leadership assignments for what’s supposed to be the short legislative session that began this week.

State Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, was named Senate Democratic floor leader. According to a Senate Democrats statement the floor leader’s role is to “help manage the action on the Senate floor, and to work across the aisle to ensure the debate runs smoothly. The floor leader is also the caucus point person on parliamentary procedure.” Rolfes is also the assistant ranking member on the Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee.

Potlatch state Sen. Tim Sheldon, one of two Democrats in the Senate Majority Coalition, returns as Senate president pro tempore, which means he runs the Senate floor from up front, wielding the big gavel whenever Lt. Gov. Brad Owen is not there. Sheldon is also vice chairman of two committees, Rules and Energy, Environment & Telecommunications.

New Sen. Jan Angel, elected in November, is vice chairwoman of the Senate Trade and Economic Development Committee.

Three Democrats in the House will chair committees this session. State Rep. Sherry Appleton of Poulsbo chairs the Community Development, Housing & Tribal Affairs Committee. Kathy Haigh of Shelton is chairwoman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education. Gig Harbor’s Larry Seaquist will chair the Higher Education Committee. Bainbridge Island’s Drew Hansen is vice chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

Republican Drew MacEwen of Union is the assistant ranking minority member on two committees, the Capital Budget Committee and the Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee.


Sheldon, Rolfes, take Senate leadership roles

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

We’ll have a full story on this. Senate Democrats are seeking a more cooperative chamber with Republicans this year. The party announced its leadership today. Republicans can object, and they’re scheduled to pick their leadership on Wednesday.

Locally the new Democratic leadership in the Senate means more work for state Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch. Sheldon said a couple years ago he was removed from an energy committee by former Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown. With Ed Murray in charge, Sheldon is back on that committee and is also the party’s pick for President Pro Tempore, which means he holds the gavel when Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen can’t.

Sheldon said Brown and Murray just have different styles.

State Sen. Christine Rolfes will chair the Environment & Growth Management Committee following state Sen. Sharon Nelson’s placement as Vice-Chairwoman on the Senate Ways & Means Committee.

The party’s press release follows:

(more…)


Rolfes shakes off final opponent as second candidate exits state Senate race

Friday, June 1st, 2012

Bret Treadwell, who filed on the last day to do so as a Republican running against state Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, has decided to not pursue the seat.

Because his decision comes after the deadline, which was May 21, his name will still appear on the primary and general election ballots.

Treadwell said he won’t be campaigning at all, however, and won’t have any information in voters’ guides. The former candidate said his decision to run was made quickly and up against a deadline. “It was kind of a last-minute decision with some folks kind of enrolling me in the last 12 hours,” he said.

When filing week ended Rolfes had two opponents. D.J. Sweet withdrew on May 21. With Treadwell’s all-but-official withdrawal from the race, it essentially leaves Rolfes running alone for election to the seat she was appointed to in July of 2011. Rolfes jumped from the state House to the Senate when former state Sen. Phil Rockefeller, another Bainbridge Island Democrat, resigned to take a position with the Northwest Power and Conservation Council.

Treadwell first indicated he was considering withdrawing after I contacted him for a story I’ll be writing about candidates with bankruptcy history. Treadwell filed for bankruptcy in 2009 while he was going through a divorce.

On Friday he said he filed for bankruptcy protection because the debts he incurred were part of a business he was going into. Rather than focus on that business, he said, he spent his energy getting joint custody of his two sons. He said he is still putting his life back together financially and is also engaged to be married to someone new. “I can’t see my message being heard over the drama of my own personal junk i’m dealing with,” he said. “I don’t want to put my family through this.”

Treadwell said he wasn’t interested in politics until started looking into the issues presidential candidate and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, was emphasizing. Treadwell said someday he might like to try again, taking that same emphasis and applying it on a state level.


A glimpse at the effort

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Chris Dunagan’s story about the Legislature’s help with cutting the cost of the purchase of 7,000 acres in North Kitsap has behind it a tremendous lobbying effort taken on by legislators and citizens just to get the bill heard in the state Senate.

Those involved shared e-mails. Someone shared with us the exchanges of e-mails and I’ve done the work to pretty much show them to you in the order they happened. I took out the names of the 67 people who were CC’d on the e-mails, in large part because we would love to continue receiving e-mails like this in the future if someone finds a string that illustrates a story like this. I found out a couple of years ago that legislator e-mails are not public record. There are local officials in the mix here, so all these e-mails would be public record, if you’re interested in doing a record request through the county or city of Poulsbo.

We’re including the e-mails to tell a story of what was happening behind the scenes, the events illustrated in the following part of Dunagan’s story:

Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, said the bill got hung up because it appeared to affect only a small group. But, with the clock winding down, lobbyists from timber companies, environmental groups and local governments joined together, along with many local supporters. They pushed Senate leaders to move the bill to a vote, which was unanimous in the Senate after only one dissenting vote in the House.

“It took teamwork,” Rolfes said, “but it was very easy to say that everyone wants this.”

Jon Rose, who is spearheading the land deal for Pope Resources, said the legislation shows how people can make things happen when they need to.

“This was one of the best examples of a diverse group of Kitsap County residents coming together for a positive result,” he said, “and I would like to see more of it.”

The evidence follows.

(more…)


Company Sued for Campaign Finance Violations Has Had Local Clients

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Beverly Woods was the subject in these critical 2006 campaign ads created by Moxie Media. The picture comes from the company's Web site.

In 2006 voters in the 23rd Legislative District received mailers asking the question, “Beverly Woods went to Olympia and what did we get?” Woods, a Republican, was first elected to the seat in 2000, beat Democrat Sherry Appleton by 4 percentage points in 2002 and in 2004 she won handily over a candidate who did not campaign with much intensity.

In 2006, though, she faced off against Democrat Christine Rolfes, a former Bainbridge Island city councilwoman. Rolfes ended up winning by 9 percentage points. A blog post just weeks after the election at the conservative site Sound Politics had in its comment string a conversation blaming Woods’ loss on her vote for a gas tax. Many people have said to me the same thing, that Woods lost her base when she voted for that tax.

However she lost, the mailer is the issue here, because it was created by a firm that finds itself in hot water with the Washington State Attorney General, Rob McKenna. Moxie Media is being sued by McKenna for the company’s under-the-radar efforts to oust a conservative Democrat in the 38th District in 2010. It’s the under-the-radar part that could get them in trouble, because the company allegedly created political action committees to temporarily hide the liberal money (labor, trial lawyers, etc.) that was pitching a conservative Republican who was not running a strong race. The effort helped put the incumbent, state Sen. Jean Berkey, in third place, virtually guaranteeing victory in November for Democrat Nick Harper, who as of Tuesday had received nearly 60 percent of the vote.

Moxie is not the only organization to run afoul of Public Disclosure laws in recent history. The Olympian’s Brad Shannon wrote, “The action against Moxie comes in the same season that the Republican-oriented Building Industry Association of Washington settled charges of concealing funds it later used to promote Dino Rossi’s 2008 gubernatorial campaign.”

The Washington State Wire has an explanation of what went on with Moxie and Berkey, explaining the money gets hidden.

Moxie Media’s anti-Bev Woods piece is one of several the company highlights in a portfolio on its Web site.

Of the campaign the company writes, “After many failed attempts by other Democratic campaigns to define State Representative Beverly Woods as too conservative for her district, Moxie Media ultimately helped defeat the three-term incumbent. We developed a series of five mail pieces that positioned Woods as ineffective and out-of-touch, helping to elect our client, State Representative Christine Rolfes, who has held the seat since 2006.”

The work Moxie did for Rolfes was pretty straightforward. Sure, some of it in 2006 was negative advertising, but there do not appear to be any obvious efforts to hide who was behind the ads. A search of Public Disclosure Records show that over three campaigns Rolfes has spent $61,625 for Moxie Media’s help.

Rolfes said the recent news does have her considering who she will employ in the future. “I had never seen them do anything that wasn’t above board. I’m disappointed to see how that company worked in another race,” she said.

Moxie’s work has showed up in other local races. In 2006 the company promoted Kyle Taylor Lucas, who tried to best state Sen. Tim Sheldon for the Democratic nomination for senator in the 35th District. The company was paid more than $50,000 from three different PACs, all of which had “Have Had Enough” in the name.

In 2006 the Harry Truman Fund, which supports Democrats, spent about $17,000 for ads against Republican Ron Boehme, who ran against Larry Seaquist in the 26th District.

In late October Bremerton Republican Trent England wrote on the Evergreen Freedom Foundation’s Liberty Live blog, “I happen to know that Moxie works for my own State Senator Derek Kilmer, who pretends to be a Berkey-style moderate, but somehow still gets props from the far left (draw your own conclusions about who is the real Derek Kilmer: the one familiar to his Moxie pals, or the one he presents to voters in his swing district?).”

It is true that Moxie shows more than $200,000 in receipts for Kilmer’s campaign between 2004 and 2006. There were none, however, in 2010.

Kilmer said he worked with John Wyble, who co-founded Moxie, but left in 2008 and formed his own firm, WinPower Strategies.

Kilmer took issue of England’s use of the word “works.” “Once again Trent England hasn’t done his homework,” Kilmer said, adding that the ads he pays for do not mention his opponents. “The way I approach campaigns is like a job interview. “I’ve never gone into a job interview and said ‘This is why you shouldn’t hire the other guy,’” he said.

Democrats generally have condemned what is alleged to have been done in the 38th. Berkey, for her part, is asking that the Legislature not seat Harper, saying the election was tainted, according to a (Everett) Herald story.

Rolfes, who did work with Lisa MacLean, the Moxie founder named in the Attorney General’s suit, said she hopes the discovery of what happened with Moxie is evidence that the system worked. “The whole point of the Public Disclosure Commission is to allow a forum for catching these kind of indiscretions and unethical and possibly illegal acts,” she said.


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