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Archives: 2008


Home care workers’ union also sues governor over contract

As I reported last week, the Service Employees International Union 775NW joined the 40,000-member Federation of State Employees in suing Gov. Chris Gregoire for not forwarding the contract with its members’ pay raises to the Legislature. They filed the suit today.

The SEIU seems to be on more solid footing than the Federation. The collective bargaining law for them flatly says any contract approved by an arbitrator must be sent to the Legislature.

And Victor Moore, the governor’s budget director, said last week he would need several changes in state law to implement the governor’s budget.

Her budget proposal would freeze salaries for state workers, quasi-workers like the 23,000 home care workers and public school employees (the state portion of their pay.)

Here’s the story I wrote last week.

Home Care Workers File Lawsuit, Charge Governor’s Budget Illegal

Federal Way – SEIU Healthcare 775NW filed a lawsuit today with the Washington State Supreme Court today charging that Governor Gregoire violated state law by failing to include funding for the home care worker union contract in her proposed 2009-11 budget. The contract provides a modest raise – 25-cents in 2009 and 22-cents in 2010 – to 23,000 low-wage workers who earn less than $11/hour to care for vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities.

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‘Modest’ fee possible for Tacoma kayak launch

A reader asked if there would be a cost to use the public kayak launch that’s expected to be installed and ready to use by spring along the Thea Foss Waterway.

The answer: Probably.

The Foss Waterway Development Authority has not made a decision, but I’m told that officials there are trying to determine what they think it will cost to keep the float clear of goose droppings and generally to maintain it.

There may be a “modest” fee to cover the cost of maintenance.


Should DNA be collected upon felony arrest or only upon conviction?

Piggybacking on Joe’s post about whether DNA samples taken upon felony arrest or only upon conviction — I thought I’d throw the question open for voting.

Joe had a story on the topic in Sunday’s paper:

Federal authorities will start collecting DNA samples next month from everyone they arrest on felony charges, a step farther than the Washington Legislature is willing to go – so far.

Washington law requires

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Almond Roca vs. Aplets& Cotlets for Washington’s official candy

Here’s the real interesting thing about this story: The prime sponsor of the bill that would make those apple-and-apricot things the official Washington state candy is Rep. Mike Armstrong, R-Wenatchee.

This is the same Mike Armstrong who holds the current record for weight loss over the 2008 interim. He shrank from 325 pounds to 255 pounds. His 70-pound loss is more than the 63 pounds shed by state Sen. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor.

What is Armstrong doing sponsoring any bill that deals with promoting candy? Huh? I see a relapse

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Collecting DNA from felons upon arrest (instead of conviction)

This is a follow-up to a story in Sunday’s paper. I wasn’t able to get in touch with Jayann Sepich over the holidays but she sent me an e-mail today.

Sepich is the New Mexico woman who is trying to get all states — there are 15 now, she said — to pass a law to allow collection of DNA samples from people who are arrested on felony charges. (Washington does so for those who are convicted.)

The John Walsh she refers to in her e-mail is the host of America’s Most Wanted.

She told me that on Dec. 19, her organization at www.katieslaw.org mailed out some 3,000 DVDs featuring Walsh. They went to every legislator in every state that does not yet have a law that allows DNA collection upon arrest, she said.

She has testified in favor of such laws in Michigan, South Carolina and Nevada, but has no plans to come to Washington for legislative hearings on any such proposal, although it is possible in the future.

Dear Mr. Turner:

I am so sorry that I didn’t get your voice mail or read your e-mail until this morning.
I found the article that you wrote, so this is probably way too late.

To answer your questions – John Walsh is very much in favor of taking DNA upon felony arrest.

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Tacoma City Club to host legislative preview next week

This year’s legislative session begins Jan. 12 and Tacoma City Club will be hosting a preview of the 105-day session on Jan. 7 at the University of Puget Sound.

News Tribune columnist Peter Callaghan will be joined by National Public Radio and KPLU reporter Austin Jenkins and Associated Press state capital bureau chief Rachel La Corte.


Peter Callaghan and Friends

Tacoma, WA – December 26, 2008 – The popular columnist from The News Tribune and his panel of pundits return for the time-honored City Club tradition of presenting their 2009 political prognostications.

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Eastern Washington state Rep. Steve Hailey died Sunday

Steve Hailey, R-Mesa, announced only two weeks ago that he planned to resign Jan. 11, 2009 to focus on his cancer treatment.

The Associated Press reported at the time:

In a letter to Gov. Chris Gregoire, Hailey says he can’t fully represent his constituents while continuing to battle colon cancer. Hailey, 63, was diagnosed in January. He’s a farmer and rancher.

Hailey’s 9th District covers the state’s southeastern corner. Local Republican officials will choose three nominees to replace him, with the finalist selected by county commissioners in the district.

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Former state Sen. Barney Goltz, 84, died on Christmas Day

From our colleagues at the Bellingham Herald:

By John Stark
Bellingham Herald

Barney Goltz, a former state senator and beloved figure in Whatcom County civic life, died Thursday, Dec. 25.

Goltz suffered sudden cardiac arrest during a Christmas dinner with friends and family in Olympia. He had suffered from Parkinson’s disease in recent years.

Goltz, 84, was elected to the state House as a 42nd District Democrat in 1972. He was elected to the state Senate in 1974 and served three terms, becoming president pro tem of the Senate before his retirement in 1986.

During his years in Olympia, he was known for his gentle wit and a no-hard-feelings political style.

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