Mayor stumbles in attempt to resolve dispute with city attorney
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn sought Wednesday to stem his public battle with City Attorney Pete Holmes over police reforms, but Holmes said he wouldn’t accept the offer until McGinn “withdraws and disclaims” accusations attacking his integrity. McGinn declined to accept Holmes’ demand, prolonging a deadlock that has roiled the city for more than a week. Holmes has asserted that, as the elected city attorney, the City Charter gives him “supervisory control” over the city’s litigation — including negotiations with independent monitor Merrick Bobb to reach agreement on a plan to curb excessive force and biased policing required under a settlement agreement with the Department of Justice. McGinn, citing his role as the city’s chief executive officer, has insisted he has final authority to approve or reject Bobb’s proposals. Seattle Times, 3-6-13.
Kevin Quigley: a ‘disruptive force’ picked to head DSHS
Kevin Quigley has worn a lot of hats — state senator, satellite company lawyer, Internet company executive, and for the past decade, president of an Everett shipyard. But he had no experience in social work or running a government bureaucracy. Quigley, 52, is arguably the most out-of-the-box Cabinet pick Inslee has named to his nascent administration, which has been largely filled with government veterans and political advisers. Seattle Times, 3-6-13.
House Democrats offer up symbolic bill that creates ‘training wage’ for legislators
House Democrats plan to introduce legislation that would create a “training wage” for freshman members of the Legislature. The largely symbolic move is a jab at a Republican-backed measure proposed in the Senate that would allow some employers to pay 10 percent of their employees a wage set at 75 percent of the state minimum wage or the federal minimum wage, whichever is greater. It would apply to the employee’s first 680 hours. “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” Rep. Mike Sells (D-38) said during a press conference organized by the advocacy group Fuse Tuesday. “What we get out of the Republican Senate is attacks on minimum wage, attacks on prevailing wage, attacks on sick leave and nothing on how we are going to fund education. We are going to suggest something that strikes at the heart of those people suggesting we lower the minimum wage.” Capitol Record, 3-5-13.
Richland flower shop turns away gay couple
Robert Ingersoll and his partner, Curt Freed, of Kennewick are planning their September wedding as a small, tasteful affair for close friends and family. It seemed natural to the couple as they made plans that they’d use Arlene’s Flowers in Richland as their florist. After all, they’ve bought flowers there during their entire nine-year romance. But they were disappointed Friday that Barronelle Stutzman, the flower shop’s owner, turned them away because of her religious beliefs. “Rob came into the store and was talking about getting married. I told him because of my relationship with Jesus Christ that I couldn’t do his wedding,” she said. Stutzman’s refusal to provide flowers for a same-sex marriage may be against Washington law. Referendum 74, passed by voters last November, affirmed a law passed by the Legislature in February 2012 that removed the last barriers in state law toward gay couples getting married — and having all of the legal rights that come with marriage. Tri-City Herald, 3-6-13.
Op-ed: Why Tim Eyman should, at last, run for public office
The state Supreme Court last week threw out Eyman’s “supermajority” initiatives, which have hamstrug state tax policy. The only way a state constitutional amendment can ever get on the ballot is by attracting a two-thirds vote in both house of the Legislature. The only way that’ll happen is with more pro-Eyman legislators. With “thousands” of followers, it would seem time for the leader to lead. The Seattle Times editorial page carries water for Eyman initiatives. It should flow naturally that Fairview Fannie would get behind him. Run, Tim, run! Joel Connelly, Seattle P-I, 3-5-13.
Brewer rallies support for Medicaid expansion plan
The battle over Medicaid expansion heated up Tuesday as Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) led a rally outside the Capitol in support of her plan, joined by some of the state’s top medical professionals but dogged by a dozen placard-waving protesters. Facing opposition from key lawmakers in her party, the Republican governor reiterated her key reasons for embracing expansion: Broadening eligibility for the state-federal insurance program for the poor under federal health reform would save taxpayer money, save lives, and ease the burden on hospitals caring for a growing number of uninsured patients. But opponents at the rally, many of them local GOP officials dressed in black to signify mourning, said the governor has betrayed her party and warned Republican lawmakers that supporting Medicaid expansion could end their political careers. Arizona Republic, 3-6-13.
McDonald’s Guest Workers Stage Surprise Strike
Alleging unpaid wages and repeated retaliation, McDonald’s workers in central Pennsylvania launched a surprise strike at 11 this morning. The strikers are student guest workers from Latin America and Asia, brought to the United States under the controversial J-1 cultural exchange visa program. Their employer is one of the thousands of McDonald’s franchisees with whom the company contracts to run its ubiquitous stores. “We are afraid,” striker Jorge Victor Rios told The Nation. “But we are trying to overcome our fear.” The J-1 visa program is officially intended to promote educational and cultural exchange. But advocates allege that J-1, like the other guest worker programs that collectively bring hundreds of thousands of workers in and out of the United States each year, is rife with abuse. The National Guestworker Alliance (NGA), the organization leading today’s strike, charges that such programs—whose future is intimately tied up with the fate of comprehensive immigration reform—offer ample opportunities for employers to intimidate workers, suppress organizing and drive down labor standards. The Nation, 3-6-13.
To Think About
Award-winning principal: ‘I was naïve about Common Core’
Here’s a powerful piece about how an award-winning principal went from being a Common Core supporter to an opponent. This was written by Carol Burris, principal of South Side High School in New York. She was named the 2010 New York State Outstanding Educator by the School Administrators Association of New York State. She is one of the co-authors of the principals’ letter against evaluating teachers by student test scores, which has been signed by 1,535 New York principals. Washington Post, 3-4-13.