Daily Clips will not publish Wednesday, February 27 so that the editor can attend the monthly meeting of the King County Democratic Central Committee. See you there.
Many questions, some answers, in SPD’s first West Seattle briefing on surveillance cameras
One month after Seattle Police-managed, Homeland Security-funded surveillance cameras were installed, unannounced, along Alki, SPD reps came to West Seattle to talk with beach residents about the system’s intent and extent. When asked how it happened that there were no public meetings before the cameras were installed, the cops’ answer, in effect, was “Well, we meant to.” West Seattle Blog, 2-25-13.
Dembowski to chair County Council’s Regional Transit Committee
The Metropolitan King County Council Monday completed its 2013 reorganization with the appointment of Council member Rod Dembowski as chair of the Council’s Regional Transit Committee. Dembowski’s District 1 seat represents Bothell, Kenmore and parts of Kirkland. Dembowski was appointed to the Council on February 11 to fill the vacancy created when Bob Ferguson was elected Washington state Attorney General. Kirkland Reporter, 2-25-13.
Catholics are taking over local hospitals, imposing their faith on your health care, and planning to deny certain treatments for patients who are pregnant or dying. Catholic institutions across the nation are merging with secular hospitals, clinics, and even small private practices at an unprecedented rate. Optimists explain that the consolidation and shared infrastructure help reduce costs. Pessimists point out that the aggressive mergers come at a time when Catholic bishops are exerting and expanding their authority. “I see it as a conscious effort to achieve through the private market what they failed to achieve through the courts or at the ballot box,” says Monica Harrington, a San Juan Island resident who’s spent the last year fighting a Catholic hospital in her town. Stranger, 2-20-13.
Washington restaurant owners say they are balancing higher minimum wages with business reality
Washington’s minimum wage, $9.19 an hour, the nation’s highest, is already more than President Obama’s target for 2015. And the state has seen its minimum wage increased yearly based on rising living costs – just as the president is proposing – for more than a dozen years now. The restaurant industry, which has fought against these changes every step of the way, is recycling, as if we have never heard them before, its tired arguments that they are now employing fewer minimum wage workers. “There’s just less money available to reward the cooks and the managers,” said Jeff Iverson, president of Lakewood-based Ram Restaurants, which has 30 restaurants in the Northwest and other states. Tacoma News Tribune, 2-24-13.
Another ALEC bill from “Democrat” Rodney Tom? Senate committee explores shift to 401(k)-style plans
Many workers in Washington state government would be shifted out of pensions and into a 401(k)-style retirement system under a bill heard Monday in the Senate Ways and Means committee. The plan developed by Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom (“D”-48) would put new workers and those under 45 into defined-contribution plans funded mostly by the employees. Tom said the idea is designed to give government workers more flexibility with their retirement savings and (get this!) ease concerns of some taxpayers who may not want to fund defined-benefit plans that are becoming less common in the private sector. Olympian, 2-25-13.
Supreme Court lets ban stand on direct corporate campaign donations
The Supreme Court Monday decided, in Danielczyk vs. United States, 12-579, against reviewing the century-old ban on corporations making direct contributions to federal candidates. The court without comment declined to hear an appeal from two men who said the court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which allowed corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts on elections, must also nullify the ban on campaign contributions. Washington Post, 2-25-13.
States can cut back on Medicaid payments, administration says
The Obama administration said Monday that states could cut Medicaid payments to many doctors and other health care providers to hold down costs in the program, which insures 60 million low-income people and will soon cover many more under the new health care law. The statement of federal policy infuriated health care providers and advocates for low-income people. But it may encourage wavering Republican governors to go along with the expansion because it gives them a tool to help control costs. “There is no general mandate under Medicaid to reimburse providers for all or substantially all of their costs,” the administration said. New York Times, 2-25-13.
To Think About
Resolved: President Obama doesn’t (really) care about campaign finance reform
Here’s a novel concept: For all of the rhetoric he has devoted to the need to reform how campaigns are funded, President Obama has done little to, you know, actually bring about those reforms. And, it can be argued relatively convincingly that Obama has actually done plenty to exacerbate the influence of money in politics. Chris Cilizzza, Washington Post, 2-25-13.