Tag Archives: Legislature

Keep those campaign ads and claims coming

During last year’s legislative race between Nathan Schlicher and Jan Angel we attempted to get to the truth or truthiness of the campaign ads sent by the candidates and their supporters. We also looked at claims made in debates and letters to the editor.

I hesitated for a few years to even embark on the task, because I feared fact-checking work would be an extremely challenging effort netting fuzzy results. I might have been right, but I believe the effort is worthwhile anyway. If nothing else, we provide context for the claims, and context is abundantly absent in campaign advertising.

One way 2013 was easier was that there was only one legislative race. And I had coworkers who lived in the 26th Legislative District who religiously delivered the ads that arrived in their mailboxes. One of those coworkers moved away and so far this year I’ve had one campaign ad put onto my desk. This year there promises to be plenty of advertising again in the 26th and maybe even more so in the 35th. The county races could include some ads, as will the congressional race.

So I’m asking for your help. If you receive an ad in the mail I’d love to see it. We then might engage in a fact-checking expedition, delivering our findings to you here on the Kitsap Caucus blog or in the daily paper.

There are a few ways you can deliver what you find.

1. Bring or mail the ad to Steven Gardner, Kitsap Sun, 545 Fifth St., Bremerton, WA 98337.

2. Email a scan of the ad, my preferred method, to sgardner@kitsapsun.com.

3. Email the text of the claim you wish to see vetted. Some ads include a citation (a bill, news story, etc.). Make sure to include those.

4. Call and leave a message with the ad’s content. I’m at 360-792-3343.

Thanks for your help!

Another challenger in the 26th

Stephen Greer, an attorney who formerly worked in the Kitsap County Prosecutor’s office, announced Wednesday he will run for state representative for the seat currently held by Republican Jan Angel. Greer, who lives in Gig Harbor, is a Democrat.

Greer joins Karin Ashabraner, a Gig Harbor Democrat, on the list of those challenging Angel.

Greer’s press release follows.

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Bring out your dead — Red light camera rules are in there

To be clear, nothing is ever dead in Olympia until the session is over. Even then, get enough fury behind an issue (such as a potentially departing major employer or sports team) and all issues can be revived.

Nonetheless, a key deadline passed Monday. Bills had to be passed in their chamber of origin on Monday. Technically the only bills that haven’t passed out of their first houses that can still be considered are ones that impact the budget.

This means bills that would have impacted red-light cameras are mostly dead. Jordan Schrader at the News Tribune/Olympian has a pretty good rundown of some of the more controversial items that missed Monday’s deadline.

Included was this paragraph, which tells you to watch for the red-light issue to come up some other way:

Cities opposed more sweeping changes such as public votes and extra time before lights turn red. Rep. Chris Hurst, D-Enumclaw, said cities were trying to protect a “cash-cow program,” but were “cutting off their nose to spite their face” because it’s likely that if the Legislature doesn’t act, some camera opponents will seek to eliminate them via the ballot.

PR on your dime

When the news business began to feel as safe as being an ornament on an aging Christmas tree, don’t think for a moment that those fat cat bureaucrat government public relations jobs did not look attractive. They did. I might have even applied for one or two. I don’t remember. If I didn’t, some of my colleagues did. If I did, I’m glad I wasn’t deemed worthy of an interview.

“Fat cat bureaucrat,” by the way, is the preferred term among government PR folks, I’m told by one, so no insult is intended.

The nagging issue each time one of those openings comes up, though, was that government was not exactly seeming like the safe perch it once was. I know a former PR type who was laid off during good times, so I was happy to hang on to my job here.

It seems the conversation is ramping up a little bit, with legislators asking why so many marketing and public relations officials are necessary. Jordan Schrader at the (Tacoma) News-Tribune has the story. In particular the question is why so many legislators are talking about executive branch PR types and not the ones working for them. The first three paragraphs in the story are telling.

Government is chock full of public relations pros, and I would agree that they do perform a necessary role. The question they seem to be asking in Olympia is whether there are too many, leaving some with little more to do than “advocate for their own existence and growth.”

Larry Seaquist Makes Leadership Play

Jordan Schrader at the (Tacoma) News Tribune posted a blog entry stating state Rep. Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor, threw his hat in the ring for House majority leader. It is the number two position in the House, behind the speaker. Whether Seaquist actually believes he has a shot or is doing it for other reasons is another question.

Speedway — Missed Opportunity or Bullet Dodged?

As we look at what’s going in at the South Kitsap Industrial Area, the New York Times has a story about a number of publicly financed stadiums that get demolished before the bills are all paid off. The Kingdome is in there. The story is mostly about Giants Stadium in New Jersey. The piece begins:

It’s the gift that keeps on taking. The old Giants Stadium, demolished to make way for New Meadowlands Stadium, still carries about $110 million in debt, or nearly $13 for every New Jersey resident, even though it is now a parking lot.

The reasons are complex and you might argue that comparing what New Jersey did with the Meadowlands to what International Speedway Corp. wanted to do in parts of SKIA is a faulty activity. Had ISC’s projections been correct about the number of people coming to Washington who otherwise would not have come here, then it is possible that a speedway could have been built without adding any additional tax burden on anyone in Washington.

For perspective on how NASCAR is doing, an ESPN column by Terry Blount provides an interesting assessment of how NASCAR schedules are made and what influences them. International Speedway Corp., the company that was going to sink millions into a track here, wants to shrink its workforce and other expenses. The sport is hurting from lower attendance. On the other hand and from a purely Northwest-selfish perspective, the article also points out ISC’s muscle in terms of scheduling. It’s unlikely the company would build a track and not have it host races. Given the scheduling shifts going on for 2011, you could rightly wonder how many people would show up here if we had races. It’s all the more interesting because 2011 would have been the year the track would have been ready.

The speedway’s possible economic benefit still has its former supporters bringing the idea up when, say, Chris Endresen gets appointed to the Puget Sound Regional Council and has as one of her responsibilities economic development. Endresen, as county commissioner, was tough on the track.

The Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal scoffed at the idea of Endresen’s new appointment, writing:

Endresen’s active opposition to NASCAR, which would have created hundreds of local unionized construction jobs — jobs which would be contributing heavily to our local economy at this point in the recession — as well as about 50 permanent jobs, was the overriding theme of local businesspeople contacted to comment for this story. Most didn’t want to be quoted, but all were vitriolic off the record, with several laughing out loud and asking if it was a joke.

You see, the recession we’re in gets used in arguments for and against the track. Those against it say NASCAR’s lagging attendance and its fans’ increasing willingness to be more budget conscious show that making any gamble involving public money a bad bet. Those who support it say at least now there would have been high-paying jobs going on right now at a time when such a reality would certainly be welcome.

It’s old news, and this question is likely to come up again, but I’m still interested in your thoughts. Did we turn down a golden goose, or did we wisely reject a deal with the devil? Have any of you changed your mind since we had this discussion three years ago?

Vote in the poll and leave your comments here if you like.

All 35th Races Contested

Linda Simpson from Bremerton has filed to run for state Legislature in the 35th District as a Republican against incumbent state Rep. Fred Finn, D-Olympia. That’s as much as I have right now, and it’s based on PDC documents.

This means only one of the eight legislative races in Kitsap remains uncontested. If someone is planning to run against state Rep. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, there has been no public declaration that I am aware of.

Filing week is June 7-11.

Health Care War Continues in Washington

On Tuesday the president signed the health care reform bill, which to some is a BFD, and I’m not talking about fire departments. Locals were talking about it. Also on Tuesday some state attorneys general, including ours, joined in a lawsuit questioning the constitutionality of some of the bill’s provisions.

In response the Legislature might write into the budget a provision limiting the AG’s ability to offer such a lawsuit.

It all made for interesting radio on KIRO Tuesday. State Attorney General Rob McKenna, Gov. Chris Gregoire and U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Bainbridge Island, were all on the Dave Ross show. McKenna made a repeat appearance on the Dori Monson show.

If you’ve got a few minutes, and if you’re here you clearly do, listen to the conversations. They’re available after the jump.

McKenna is clearly in the position that elements of the bill are unconstitutional, and he goes to some length to argue why. Gregoire and Inslee both say his interpretation is wrong, but spend more time talking about what impact it would have if McKenna’s case is ultimately upheld in the courts. If you’re a fan of the bill, that should worry you.

The U.S. Justice Department plans to defend the bill, so it isn’t as if no one thinks the bill passes muster. The problem comes, though, because the attorneys general could win. McKenna argues that they’re only going after particular elements of the bill, but Inslee and others argue that the elements they’re going after are pins that hold the whole thing up. Kill the mandate and you’ve essentially killed the bill.

The next question, then, is do Republicans really want to win this fight? If they do, will it give Democrats the opening to put forward something closer to a single-payer system? Dave Ross argues that if you turn this whole thing into a tax, rather than a forced entry into the market, you probably don’t get the same constitutional debate. At least those kind of cases have been argued and settled in the past.

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Bipartisan SEED Support in the 35th

This evening I attended one of the Kitsap Sun editorial board’s meetings with candidates from the 35th District. I missed the first one with candidates for the second seat (Baze, Daugs, Finn, Neatherlin).

In the first seat Democratic incumbent state Rep. Kathy Haigh from Shelton and one of her challengers, Republican Brad Gehring from Bremerton, met with the board. The other Republican, Belfair’s Marco Brown, opted to not attend.

One of the board members asked the candidates whether they’d continue financially supporting Kitsap SEED as a state legislator.

“We have already,” said Haigh. “And I will again.”

Haigh said Kitsap SEED is well placed and timed for Mason County as well as Kitsap. She said supporting the project is the right thing to do as gas prices go up and she’ll do everything she can to support it.

Gehring was more cautionary, but said the SEED project presents a “tremendous opportunity” to develop a business cluster. He said he would be willing to support getting the infrastructure for it. He said it’s “one good answer,” in a conversation in which he said much about the state supporting or easing economic development.

The caveat: “We’ve got to be careful that this doesn’t become a governmentally dependent agency,” he said.

I’m told the first group didn’t get that question.