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November 11, 2013 at 6:00 AM
In New Jersey last week, Gov. Chris Christie’s re-election provided a shining example of how Republicans nationwide might woo more women and Latino voters. (Here’s a link to a New York Times report on that race.)
Two days later, I was reminded why those two voter blocs tend to lean toward Democratic candidates when former Washington GOP Chairman Kirby Wilbur posted this message to his Twitter account:
iI missed all the fun at State HQ today as the left wing witches and hags protested and got arrested. They look so old and ugly…#wagop
— Kirby Wilbur (@KirbyWilbur) November 8, 2013
Wilbur’s low-blow comment followed the arrest last Thursday of 33 women after they staged a non-violent sit-in at the Washington State Republican Party’s Bellevue headquarters. As The Seattle Times’ Lornet Turnbull reported, Mayor Mike McGinn’s wife, Peggy Lynch, was among those arrested after calling on the state’s GOP congressional delegates to urge a vote on comprehensive immigration reform before year’s end.
When asked by Seattle Times reporter Jim Brunner whether his tweet was appropriate, Wilbur responded, “Yup.” Someone give this man a clue. This is not how you bring new voters into the party.
Women have played a critical role in keeping the immigration reform debate alive in recent months. For good reason, too. Women and children make up three-quarters of the country’s immigrant population, according to We Belong Together co-chair and OneAmerica founder Pramila Jayapal. (Read this Colorlines report on how women have more to lose if reform efforts go nowhere.) Jayapal warns women immigrants are more susceptible to abuse from partners and employers. Without legal status, crimes against them often go unreported and victims lack access to critical services.
Thursday’s act of civil disobedience in Bellevue would not have occurred in the first place if lawmakers just did their job to discuss ways to fix the country’s broken immigration system. With 16 days left in the session, the House is on the verge of squandering a bipartisan opportunity to pass landmark reforms. Washington’s Republican delegates must join the three other members of their party who’ve already spoken up to urge a vote.
Here’s an excerpt from our board’s Saturday editorial in The Seattle Times, which supports a House Democratic effort to pass the Senate’s version of a comprehensive immigration package that includes a path to citizenship:
While U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Medina, is a leader in the House Democrats’ effort as a bill sponsor, disappointingly none of Washington’s House Republicans are agitating for immigration reform.
Religious leaders, business owners and farmers are on board. A statewide survey released in September by KCTS 9 and Latino Votes shows 73 percent of 800 respondents support allowing law-abiding workers a process to come out of the shadows.
Yet Republican U.S. Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Spokane, Dave Reichert of Auburn, Jaime Herrera Beutler of Camas and Doc Hastings of Pasco remain strangely ambivalent on an issue that has major implications for each of their districts.
They should urge the House Republican leadership to schedule a vote.
October 1, 2013 at 8:15 AM
In “Breaking Bad” a Washington state drama, Walter White’s blue meth would’ve been the bomb 10 years ago.
That’s when, by some measures, meth peaked as the drug of choice. It was an “epidemic” in news reports (including mine).
But meth’s decline has skipped notice. Like Walter White (no spoilers), meth skipped town, but is still dangerous.
The Department of Ecology spill response section’s 20 years of data on methamphetamine contamination sites is the best single measure of the rise and fall of local meth production (above). When state troopers or rural cops bust a lab, the guys in yellow from the DOE show up (click here for county-level data). The past several years aren’t on the chart, but spill response manager David Byers reports that the trend continued: 95 in 2010; 46 in 2011; 84 in 2012; and 37 through August 2013.
Another measure — state hospital admissions with amphetamine diagnosis — tracks a similar pattern (right).
This trend reflects huge emphasis and resources — and a smarter strategy than just busting down meth-lab doors. Local police tracked meth-lab cooks as if they were mafia kingpins. And Washington in 2010 joined at least 18 other states in a national effort to track, via pharmacy sales, the precursor ingredients used to manufacture meth.
All this is not to say meth has vanished, like Saul Goodman’s vacuum-cleaner guy’s deluxe package. This report from University of Washington’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute shows that meth is the fourth-leading drug cited as primary for King County treatment admissions in 2012 (alcohol 3,438; heroin 2,064; marijuana 1,834 and meth, 955). But the curve has been bent.
You know what hasn’t changed? Government’s willingness to spend money fighting a shrinking meth trade. Sen. Patty Murray “saved” the state meth initiative in 2010 with a $2.2 million federal appropriation.
DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Hank Schrader would be proud.
August 13, 2013 at 11:55 AM
Big, if belated, news this morning is Washington state’s victory before the Washington, D.C., Circuit Court of Appeals in its efforts to get the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission to follow the law on a long-term nuclear waste repository.
In its 2-1 ruling, the appeals panel ordered the NRC to resume its work on whether Yucca Mountain, Nev., would be a viable site for the long-term storage of the nation’s commercial nuclear waste now stored on nuclear plants around the country. Besides the waste stored at Washington state’s lone nuclear plant, Columbia Generating Station in Richland, Washington state is acutely affected because the Hanford Nuclear Reservation contains more than 50 years of Cold War-era nuclear defense waste, also intended for long-term disposal at Yucca Mountain.
The Obama administration and its NRC violated the law when they unilaterally stopped work on studying the Yucca Mountain site, which Congress designated the nation’s long-term repository in 1987. About $10 billion has been spent studying and preparing the site.
This episode is rife with political gamesmanship, as I detailed in this 2010 column. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has bitterly opposed the Yucca Mountain site in his home state, and candidate Barack Obama, in 2008, campaigned in Nevada against the site. Reid, a Democrat, was able to get his former aide, Gregory Jaczko, appointed NRC chairman, which began a sorry episode in the commission’s long history as a reputable and regulatory agency. Jaczko stopped the work before a much-anticipated study, known as Volume III, was to be released. The study is said to contain technological data that could shed light on whether Yucca Mountain was viable as a longterm site.
In the majority opinion, Circuit Chief Judge Brett Kavanaugh, wrote:
This case has serious implications for our constitutional structure. It is no overstatement to say that our constitutional system of separation of powers would be significantly altered if we were to allow executive and independent agencies to disregard federal law in the manner asserted in this case by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Our decision today rests on the constitutional authority of Congress, and the respect that the Executive and the Judiciary properly owe to Congress in the circumstances here.
If the NRC follows the court’s ruling and the law, at the very least, the agency should be able to release the critical Volume III study to shed some actual technical light on this critical public policy issue that has been so utterly obfuscated by political shenanigans.
May 28, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Tuesday’s editorial argues there’s a difference between health systems that merge and those that are setting up a new working relationship. I urge us all to resist painting UW Medicine‘s latest community hospital ally, PeaceHealth, with the same broad brush that many might be tempted to apply to the entire Catholic hospital system.
The UW Medicine-PeaceHealth “strategic affiliation” announced last week is more or less a referral network that is intended to serve two major purposes. First, officials say their goal is to provide patients of all backgrounds with seamless care in an age of complex health care reforms that will demand better outcomes. Second, we’re looking at an opportunity to train the next generation of doctors, nurses and hospital employees.
The public should not confuse this “strategic affiliation” with the other emerging trend in Washington state that will soon lead to half of all hospital beds being run by Catholic-affiliated hospitals. I certainly have some concerns about this, as previously expressed by Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat and tracked by MergerWatch.org. I believe patients in publicly-subsidized hospitals deserve to have access to the full range of health services — including abortion care, scientifically-proven stem-cell procedures and end-of-life services. At some point, lawmakers may have to set some parameters.
Of course, each hospital should be judged on its own merits. After spending considerable time on the phone with the key players in this “strategic affiliation,” including UW Medicine Chief Health System Officer Johnese Spisso and PeaceHealth Chief Strategy Officer Peter Adler, I don’t believe this particular alliance is an attempt by the Catholic church to take over the university’s venerable teaching hospital and limit what future doctors and nurses are trained to do.
April 10, 2013 at 12:20 PM
Does a Richland florist have the right to provide service to a gay man for years, then decide she won’t do business with him when he tells her he’s using the flowers in his wedding ceremony to another man?
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson doesn’t think so. Discrimination is discrimination, and Washington treats the institution of marriage the same for all after the passage of Referendum 74 last November.