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Archives: Aug. 2011


Evergreen State College workers face 3 percent pay cuts

We have a story in today’s paper that details the choice being faced by more than 300 Evergreen State College workers – custodians, groundskeepers, librarians, campus police and others – of whether to take a one-year, 3 percent pay cut.

Classified employees at a dozen community colleges, including Tacoma and South Puget Sound, also are voting on a 3-percent, one-year cut. Their counterparts at Central Washington University have approved a similar deal.

Read full post.


Washam recall supporters turn in signatures

Staff writer

Backers of a campaign to recall Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer Dale Washam shot their final bolt Tuesday. Now it’s all about the math.
Puyallup resident Robin Farris and her supporters turned in a final batch of recall petition signatures to the Pierce County Elections Center, just as the clock ticked down on an Aug. 30 submission deadline.

“I’m relieved,” Farris said. “I’m really almost kind of sad that it’s over, because we’ve met so may cool people. But I’m really more than anything just relieved, and I’m feeling confident, too.”

Washam did not respond to a voice-mail message left Tuesday with his assistant. He has faced the active recall effort since March 4, when the state Supreme Court ruled that the recall charges against him, if true, met standards of legal and factual sufficiency.

To qualify for the Nov. 8 general election ballot, recall backers must deliver at least 65,495 valid signatures, representing 25 percent of voters in the 2008 election that brought Washam to office.

Read more »


Washington Public Disclosure Commission selects Andrea McNamara Doyle as new executive director

A longtime government manager and legislative staff attorney has been selected as the new director of the state’s campaign finance watchdog.

Andrea McNamara Doyle is currently a member of the combined Shoreline Hearings Board, the Pollution Control Hearings Board and the Environmental and Land Use Hearings Board. She has also been an attorney with the Seattle firm of Davis, Wright, Tremaine and a non-partisan staff attorney for the Washington State Senate.

“We were fortunate to have many good candidates apply for the position,” said Barry Sehlin, chairman of the Public Disclosure Commission. “Andrea has the right mix of integrity, intellect, and innovation to carry out our vision of building public confidence in the political process and government and keep the PDC on track as a national leader in campaign finance disclosure.”

Andrea McNamara Doyle (photo from the Office of Environmental Hearings

The other finalist for the job was Alan E. Rathbun, the Washington State Liquor Control Board licensing and regulation director.

Doyle replaces interim director Doug Ellis who said he will retire from the agency later this year. Ellis, in turn, replaced former director Vicki Rippie.

The PDC is the state’s campaign finance agency, receiving finance reports from campaigns, political committees and lobbyists. It also receives personal financial statements from office holders and candidates as a way of identifying possible conflicts of interest. It was created by Initiative 276 which passed in 1972 with72 percent of the vote.

The PDC has a staff of 20 and the director will be paid $113,000.

Here’s the release from commission staff: Read more »


Tacoma Narrows bridge to start reading transponders

A state contractor has agreed to install new machines on the Tacoma Narrows bridge that can read the latest Good to Go transponders, state transportation officials said today.

One lane was outfitted with the new readers Tuesday for testing and the other three Good to Go lanes will be switched by mid-September, state tolling director Craig Stone said. Tests look good so far.

“It will be a great relief to us. It will be a great relief to our customers,” Stone said.

The state will pay $300,000 for the

Read more »


If you’ve crossed Tacoma Narrows without paying since July 7, expect a ticket

After complaints from drivers that they had been fined despite keeping a balance in their Good to Go accounts, the state was forced to dismiss thousands of valid tickets along with the mistakes. So plenty of people crossed the bridge for free.

But now the Department of Transportation says contractor Electronic Transaction Consultants Corp. has resolved problems and is about ready to start sending out tickets.

They hit the mail around Labor Day. The state must issue fines within 60 days, so the tickets will go to drivers whose license plates were caught on camera since July 7.


Read more »


Start of 520 bridge tolls, Tacoma Narrows photo tolls set for December

It was supposed to start this spring or even before, but the next generation of tolling in Washington has a new timetable. It starts in December, state officials said today.

It’s the latest of several delays, but the Department of Transportation says it’s now confident of having the Route 520 floating bridge over Lake Washington ready to toll, which will also allow the start of photo tolling on the Tacoma Narrows bridge.

Once photo tolling is in place, cameras that recognize the licenses of drivers crossing the Narrows without paying cash or carrying a Good to Go pass will mail them a bill for the $5.50 toll, rather than a notice of a $52 fine — and the money will go to the bridge, not the courts.

Testing on 520 has provided good results, officials said.

“The system is in good shape, so that gives us a lot of confidence that we’ll be able to deploy in December,” said Craig Stone, director of the state Toll Division.

Here’s WSDOT’s news release. More to come on just what contractor Electronic Transaction Consultants will be paying for the delays.

SR 520 bridge tolling to begin in December Read more »


Preliminary September economic forecast for Washington state is depressing, as expected

State economist Arun Raha and his staff at the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council have been signaling this for the last two months as state revenue collections have soured. But seeing it in black and white makes it clear that the next quarterly forecast will add to the state’s budget problems.

The preliminary forecast is reviewed by the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors on Sept. 2 and both reports go into the actual forecast of revenue that will be presented September 15 to the state revenue forecasting council made up of legislators and the governor’s budget director and revenue director.

Read more »