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Issue #6

King County

Holland’s first term at Port a tangle of problems

Seattle Port Commissioner Rob Holland

Rob Holland ran for Port Commission in 2009 as a promising new candidate: a progressive, with a master’s degree in public policy and a union family. He pledged to bring a middle-class voice to a board traditionally populated by wealthy business interests. He raised money from minority business owners and unions, hired one of the state’s most prominent political consultants, and, at age 35, won the seat with 56 percent of the vote. But what seemed to be a bright political future has been clouded by myriad personal and professional problems. Seattle Times, 2-9-13.

Boeing’s real problem with the Dreamliner: Bean counter vs. engineer

Aerospace industry analyst Richard Aboulafia

Aerospace industry analyst Richard Aboulafia characterizes the Dreamliner problem: “Last summer, Boeing’s top management axed the engineer CEO who had been turning around BCA and making it better again. They replaced him with a non-engineer CEO. Then, management got into a confrontation with the engineer’s union  . . .  Then Chicago put off the very promising 777X until the next decade, which, from a customer perspective, might as well be an indefinite postponement. These moves were on top of a 787 development model that de-emphasized in-house engineering and relied on industry partners for much of the development work.” Atlantic, 2-7-13.

Squak Mountain timber plan concerns conservationists, neighbors

Squak Mountain
Squak Mountain

High on Squak Mountain, pink plastic strips tied to trees mark 216 acres of forest as a timber harvest area. Since a timber company purchased the forest and started the process to permit logging on the site, conservationists and nearby residents mobilized to fight the proposal to clear cut the land. The logging opponents said cutting trees on the land could lead to more flooding downhill, damage sensitive fish and wildlife habitat, and add a timber harvest site near conservation lands. Issaquah Press, 2-8-13.

The State

Op-ed: Playing politics with Workers’ Comp

Brendan Williams

The Senate is going on one ideological jihad after another, which will make reconciliation impossible with the House and governor. If an initiative passes, for two years afterward a super-majority vote is required for legislators to change it. An irony of our Constitution, however, is that if an initiative fails legislators are free to ignore voters. And so they have with workers’ compensation. In 2010, our state’s century-old industrial insurance system was challenged by Initiative 1082 — which sought to partly privatize the system and rescind worker protections. Voters in every county, 59% statewide, rejected arguments that the system was going broke, and accepted the defense of that system. Brendan Williams, in the Everett Herald, 2-9-13.

Op-ed: UW students find an ally in Rep. Gerry Pollet

Rep. Gerry Pollet (D-46)

State Rep. Gerry Pollet (D-46), in his two sessions in the House, has become a major ally for students and their families. The current vice chair of the House Higher Education Committee, Pollet has not only supported the higher-education system by proposing a bill to increase funding by raising the estate tax; he has also sponsored two student-friendly bills that are opposed by the UW’s powerful lobby. Bill Dow, UW Daily, 2-10-13.

Bill would put tight restrictions on drone use in state

Rep. David Taylor (R-15)

A new bill introduced by Rep. David Taylor (R-15) would put strict restrictions on how law-enforcement agencies and state departments can buy and deploy aerial drones. Taylor’s extensive bill, HB 1771 (which enjoys broad bipartisan support), covers the purchase of drones, data collection by the unmanned aerial vehicles, search-warrant requirements and mandated audits. Seattle Times, 2-8-13.

Goodman says bill seeking child support payments for victims of vehicular homicide is dead

Rep. Roger Goodman (D-45)

If Rep. Roger Goodman (D-45) had his way, Washington courts could order those convicted of vehicular homicide due to alcohol or drugs to pay child support to the victims’ minor children. To prove it – much like he did with a similar bill last session – Goodman made it the basis for HB 1151.   But after a question-filled hearing Thursday in the Public Safety Committee – which Goodman chairs – he conceded that his effort has once again been futile. Seattle Weekly, 2-8-13.


The Nation

Penny Pritzker for Commerce Secretary? Rumors give unions heartburn

Penny Pritzker and Arne Duncan
Penny Pritzker and Arne Duncan: Few fans in labor

In recent days, multiple news outlets have reported that Chicago businesswoman and Obama fundraiser Penny Pritzker is a top candidate to become the president’s next Secretary of Commerce. “We’re of the mind that working people aren’t going to be happy about it,” said Jackson Potter, staff coordinator at the Chicago Teachers Union. “The union leaders we’ve talked to are pretty aghast at the prospect.” Huffington Post, 2-8-13.

Conservative judges’ ruling would have invalidated hundreds of GOP recess appointments, not just Obama’s

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruling—a unanimous decision by three Republican-appointed judges—that President Obama’s NLRB recess appointments were invalid is far broader than Obama’s critics have allowed, and would have invalidated appointments by some of their favorite presidents. If the ruling holds, future presidents will find their ability to fill key posts over Senate objections drastically reduced. Mother Jones, 2-6-13.

To Think About

Op-ed: The secret to fixing bad schools

Emerson Middle School, Union City NJ
Emerson Middle School, Union City NJ

What would it really take to give students a first-rate education? Some argue that our schools are irremediably broken and that charter schools offer the only solution. The striking achievement of Union City, N.J. — bringing poor, mostly immigrant kids into the educational mainstream — argues for reinventing the public schools we have. Public schools in such communities have often operated as factories for failure. This used to be true in Union City, where the schools were once so wretched that state officials almost seized control of them. How things have changed (without charters, without TFA, without standardized testing!) New York Times, 2-9-13.


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