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Archives: 2010


Swecker, Becker seek more voice with new committee roles

South Sound Republicans are gaining clout in the state Legislature in January. Sen. Dan Swecker of Rochester is taking over the ranking minority role in the newly named Senate Government Operations, Tribal Relations and Elections Committee. And Sen. Randi Becker of Eatonville is moving into a similar ranking role on the Senate Health and Long-Term Care Committee.

Swecker had been ranking Republican on transportation issues but also has been on the government and elections committee. He takes over for Sen. Pam Roach, the Auburn Republican who tangled with Senate Republican leadership in recent

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Family of fallen soldier warmed by letters from friends and strangers, stung by slights from U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell and President Obama

The parents of a Yelm soldier killed in Afghanistan earlier this month have received cards from friends and strangers expressing condolences, and they’re grateful for the support.

“As a father of someone killed, it is overwhelming,” said Lt. Col. Patrick Collins (Ret.). His son, Sgt. Sean Collins, was buried Wednesday at the Tahoma National Cemetery.

Among that outpouring of empathy, two politicians inadvertently stung the family.

One slight came in a letter of condolences the family received from the office of Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.

At first, the Collins family appreciated that Cantwell had taken the time to send a

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A fascinating blog debate on the notion of using expanded gambling and booze to help solve Washington’s budget woes

On one side is David Meinert who wrote an essay for Publicola titled “An Adult Conversation about Adult Entertainment and Budget Deficits.”

Meinert is a Seattle music promoter and the owner of the 5 Point Cafe in Belltown. He argues for a wide-open set of laws to increase the number and hours of liquor stores, get rid of the 2 a.m. closing time, allow slot machines and negotiate revenue sharing with tribal casinos.

For Washington State, gaming and liquor are two revenue sources begging to be expanded. In Seattle, we’re squandering millions of dollars in potential revenues. Our current elected politicians are willing to sacrifice jobs, education, and health care in order to avoid an open discussion on how to make money from things they publicly find distasteful. It’s time we had an honest and open, mature conversation on adult entertainment.

On the other side is David Goldstein who produces the blog HorsesAss.org but who published his response – Stupid Budget Tricks – on The Stranger’s Slog blog.

In his passionate reply, Goldy notes not only that state voters have rejected both expanded gambling and more-liberal liquor laws but that Meinert doesn’t consider the social costs that would result. He also reminds his readers about the myth of free tribal gambling money that was perpetuated by the GOP in the 2008 gubernatorial campaign.

Fortunately, Washington voters have better sense, repeatedly rejecting at the polls both gambling expansion and state store privatization measures, most recently, Tim Eyman’s loathsome 2004 slot machine initiative in a nearly a two to one landslide, and this year’s decisive defeat of privatization in all but three out of 39 counties.

Which in the end is why I’m more than happy to give Meinert’s self-serving proposals the “adult conversation” he says he craves. In fact, I’d even support putting his proposal before voters… as long as voters are also given a reasonable alternative.

Please note that this particular adult conversation includes some adult language. If your ears are too sensitive for that, don’t follow the links.

Goldy links to his own explanation of the facts about revenue sharing and tribal gambling. Here’s what I wrote on the same topic during the 2008 campaign: Read more »


Olympia Rep. Sam Hunt wastes no time in filing bill to close Pierce County polling places

Sam Hunt, an Olympia Democrat and chairman of the House State Government and Tribal Affairs Committee, has long had the state’s remaining polling places in his sights.

Twice he has passed a bill in the House to end all polling place voting and shift all state voters to mail-only voting. Twice the bill has failed in the Senate. Since he began his quest, all counties except Pierce have opted to go all-mail on their own. So now his House Bill 1002, the third bill filed for the 2011 session, would effect only the 29,000 or so voters in the state’s

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Washington state gets badly needed cash as reward for its Apple Health for Kids program

It’s tough to find good budget news these days so Monday’s announcement that the state qualified for a performance bonus for its program to insure children from low-income families is especially welcome.

As one of 15 states to earn a bonus, Washington will receive $17.6 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. While it can be spent however the Legislature chooses, backers of the program known as Apple Health for Kids are urging it be kept in the program to protect it from budget cuts.

Gov. Chris Gregoire had suggested she might have to call for an

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Assessor-Treasurer Dale Washam wants Pierce County to pay his legal bills in recall effort against him

Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer Dale Washam, facing a recall effort, is asking the County Council to approve payment of his legal bills in the case.

Pierce County Superior Court Judge Thomas Felnagle ruled last week that there are sufficient grounds in a recall petition to allow the effort to move to the signature-gathering phase.

Washam wants the county to pay the expenses associated with an appeal of that decision to the Washington Supreme Court, according to a note he sent to County Council members today.

The request isn’t unprecedented. The county paid the legal bills associated with recall attempts – filed

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Redistricting may split Reichert’s district

It’s all speculation at this point. But some think the state’s new 10th Congressional District could be put east of Seattle to include the suburbs of Bellevue and environs, and this could help Republican U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert hold onto his 8th district seat.

Geographer Dick Morrill has written that Olympia is likely to be at the center of any new 10th district. But the P-I.com had this story that quotes former state GOP chair Chris Vance on the-10th-could-go-on-the-Eastside theory.

The Census confirmed Tuesday that Washington gets a 10th district, which an independent Washington State Redistricting

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Tim Eyman celebrates 45th birthday by cutting budget, cake

Fresh off the victory of tax-limiting Initiative 1053 in November’s election and a favorable legal ruling that it will apply to ferry fares and bridge tolls, professional initiative monger Tim Eyman called a press conference Wednesday to celebrate his gains in 2010 and look forward to 2011. He also celebrated his 45th birthday by cutting a cake decorated with a bar chart of ever-growing state budgets. (State employees – if you forgot like we did there’s still time to drop by the Walgreen’s to pick up something nice.)

Dueling commentary on Eyman:

Paul Jacob/TownHall.com: America’s No.

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