King County

Seattle is No. 7 in U.S. cities for world trade

Seattle ranks No. 7 on the new list of top-25 U.S. cities for world trade, compiled by Global Trade magazine.  It is keeping pace, but the list indicates an intensely competitive environment in which growth is essential.

Seattle ranks No. 7 on the new list of top-25 U.S. cities for world trade, compiled by Global Trade magazine. It is keeping pace, but the list indicates an intensely competitive environment in which growth is essential.

Seattle gets a high No. 7 ranking in the latest list of top 25 United States cities for world trade, published this week by Global Trade magazine. But the list carries a message:  Grow, or quickly lose out to other ports. Seattle kept up with growth of trade in 2011 over 2010, but Port of Seattle leaders have delivered warnings. Houston is No. 1 on the top 25 list, mainly due to its role in the carbon economy, rooted in oil and coal.  Six cities on the Global Trade list are in the Lone Star State, with inland San Antonio in 10th place. Global Trade notes that the Emerald City has experienced booms, based first on wood products and fisheries, and later aircraft, and now on the output of the new technology economy. Seattle P-I, 8-28-13.

Winning in a Republican district: Why Shari Song may have the votes to win in South King County

Shari Song, Democratic candidate for King County Council's 9th District

Song

Democrats have been itching to oust Republican Reagan Dunn from the King County Council since he was appointed to fill fellow Republican Rob McKenna’s council seat in 2005. Yet the Hollywood-haired Dunn represents the county’s 9th District, a mountainous, sprawling, largely rural swath southeast of Bellevue. For years, the district has been pegged a Republican haven, and Dunn is a Republican’s Republican. He opposes all taxes—even those funding firefighters, law enforcement officers, and parks—on principle. Because of this conventional wisdom, Dunn’s challengers have largely been long shots, dismissed with little institutional support or money. But now Democrats think they have a chance at capturing Dunn’s seat, thanks to the changing demographics of the district and a challenger named Shari Song. Last year, the 9th District “voted for marriage equality, for Obama, and it’s pro-choice… and none of these are Reagan Dunn,” Song says. “The perception of this being a hardcore Republican district is wrong.” The Stranger, 8-28-13.

Hyatt workers urge boycott of Seattle hotels

Grand Hyatt Seattle

Grand Hyatt Seattle

Seattle Hyatt hotel workers and supporters have launched a boycott of the Hyatt at Olive 8 and the Grand Hyatt Seattle, denouncing difficult working conditions, unaffordable healthcare, and use of subcontracted workers. Seattle Hyatt workers also say the hotels’ local owner, Richard Hedreen, has refused to agree to a fair process for workers to form a union free from management intimidation — a process backed by Hyatt Hotelsin a recent national agreement. In response, workers are calling on customers to not eat, meet, or sleep at the two local hotels until the matter is resolved. Workers have called for a fair process to form a union. In July, UNITE HERE and Hyatt Hotels at the corporate level reached a national agreement on such a process, which has gone forward at other Hyatts in the U.S.  But to date, Hedreen has refused to implement the agreed elections process in Seattle. The Stand, 8-28-13.

BREAKING: Nickelsville finds new sites; eviction unnecessary

Eviction won’t be necessary – Nickelsville says it has secured three sites so that everyone can move. That’s according to an announcement minutes ago on the encampment’s official Facebook page:

Great news! Nickelsville has secured two more sites and will be moving this Sunday. We’re notifying the neighbors before announcing the two additional sites on Friday afternoon. There are many ways you can help with the move, either by helping us pack up the trucks, donating money to pay for our bills at this site, or donating materials such as 33 gallon trash bags, duct tape, basic tools such as hammers, or bringing food and water on moving day.

The one site that already has been announced is in the Central District, at 20th and Jackson. Also posted on the Nickelsville Works page, a photo of a flyer with packing/moving instructions for camp residents. More to come. West Seattle Blog, 8-28-13.

Despite looming eviction, Nickelsville population has increased

Outreach workers from Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission found between 100 and 120 people living at Nickelsville when they first headed into the embattled homeless camp on July 3. In the eight weeks since then, they have placed 37 people into transitional housing apartments in Burien or domestic violence shelter or addiction recovery programs, and bought bus tickets for another five to return to their home communities, some in Texas. And yet, residents of Nickelsville say the camp’s population is now larger than before the outreach began. These days, there are more than 150 people staying at the encampment. Nickelsville residents and their supporters say the half a million dollars allocated won’t clear out Nickelsville because there’s not enough housing and shelter for the more than 2,000 people who sleep on the streets in King County. The eviction date is September 1. Real Change, 8-28-13.

While the clock ticks for Nickelsville, the problem persists

We are left with some very messy realities. Nickelsville is bigger and more chaotic than ever. The outreach workers from Union Gospel Mission, with their $500,000 allocated by the Seattle City Council, have found placements for a minority of campers. UGM’s table at Nickelsville is viewed as enemy territory, and most campers don’t want to be seen talking to folks staffing it. This is what happens when solutions are imposed without consultation. Wrong approach. Wrong messengers. Wrong logic. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Tim Harris, Real Change, 8-28-13.

Kent teachers approve new contract

Kent-Meridian High School

Kent-Meridian High School

Kent School District teachers voted Tuesday night to approve a new three-year contract. The Kent Education Association voted to pass the contract with a 98 percent approval. The Kent School Board voted on the contract Wednesday night, after the Kent Reporter press deadline. The new contract covers several pay increases, reduces class sizes, and also requires teachers to update grades every two weeks, so parents can track their children’s progress. “This was one of the best contracts we’ve seen in years,” said KEA member Christie Padilla. “Both sides, the teachers union and the district put in some real effort to bargain amicably.” The Kent Association Educational Office Professionals (KAEOP) also approved a new contract with the district. Kent Reporter, 8-28-13.

The State

State Democratic chair ‘excommunicates’ former State Auditor

Washington Democratic Party chairman Dwight Pelz

Pelz

Former State Auditor Brian Sonntag

Sonntag

Congratulations to newly elected Washington State Republican Party chair Susan Hutchison for finally coming out of the closet and openly embracing her partisanship. But whether she can embrace partisanship as bluntly as her Democratic counterpart, Dwight Pelz, I sincerely doubt. In an email thread making its way through Democratic Party circles, Pelz responds to an email about the Freedom Foundation’s anti-union activities, by replying that “Brian Sonntag works for this union busting outfit.” Which is true. Sonntag, the former “Democratic” State Auditor, recently took a position as the right-wing Freedom Foundation’s “senior fellow for government accountability.” But Sonntag took umbrage at Pelz for questioning his Democratic/labor credentials, defensively responding to the long list of party and union stalwarts. David Goldstein, The Stranger, 8-28-13.

CRC: Kitzhaber promises new answers by September 15

The Interstate 5 bridge from the Oregon side looking northwest toward Washington.

The Interstate 5 bridge from the Oregon side looking northwest toward Washington.

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber has kicked his state’s review of an Oregon-led Columbia River Crossing into high gear, telling legislative leaders in a letter Wednesday that they’ll have answers on its feasibility by Sept. 15. That turnaround would allow for “potential legislative action” by Sept. 30, when Oregon’s financial commitment to the CRC expires, according to the governor. But it’s unclear whether lawmakers will actually reconvene in an attempt to salvage at least some of the project, declared dead two months ago. At the same time, Kitzhaber acknowledged the uphill climb he and other CRC backers face in their last-ditch effort to resurrect the beleaguered Interstate 5 Bridge replacement project. Vancouver Columbian, 8-28-13.

More from the ‘Couve: State grain inspectors say they feel unsafe when crossing longshore picket lines, threaten to quit

Local members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, locked out by United Grain Corp. at the Port of Vancouver, added a 12-foot-tall inflatable rat to their protest on Aug. 15 at the east gate of the port.

Local members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, locked out by United Grain Corp. at the Port of Vancouver, added a 12-foot-tall inflatable rat to their protest on Aug. 15 at the east gate of the port.

The Washington Department of Agriculture says it will soon stop providing grain inspection services at United Grain Corp.’s facility at the Port of Vancouver unless steps are taken to make it safer for its inspectors to cross picket lines to conduct their work. Don Hover, director of the state Department of Agriculture, outlined his concerns in an Aug. 19 letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As the behavior of pickets from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union “escalates, more staff are feeling unsafe in crossing the picket lines and are opting not to do so,” he wrote. Hover’s letter adds yet another twist to the continuing standoff between local longshore workers (locked out since Feb. 27) and United Grain. The feud, part of a larger conflict in the Northwest, has attracted a review by the NLRB, prompted letters from government leaders urging the parties to return to the bargaining table, and triggered concerns on the part of Eastern Washington grain growers who worry about getting their products to overseas markets. Vancouver Columbian, 8-27-13.

‘Hello, my name is Daniela … ’

Daniela Torres, 10, Wenatchee, makes calls to registered voters, hoping to get them to support a sweeping immigration-reform bill now facing a tough battle in the U.S. House of Representatives. She is part of a youth-dominated group that gathers for Thursday call nights at the local non-profit Community for the Advancement of Family Education (CAFE).

Daniela Torres

“Hello, my name is Daniela. I am a volunteer with the … She hung up on me!” If 10-year-old Daniela Torres was offended by the hang-up, she didn’t dwell on it. Her eyes returned to the computer screen in search of the next registered voter to call, to give her pitch for a sweeping immigration-reform bill now facing a tough battle in the U.S. House of Representatives. Wearing purple stretch leggings, a neat French braid and a navy-blue T-shirt proclaiming in fluorescent letters that she’d earned a A+ in “Being Awesome,” the young lobbyist stands out even among the small, youth-dominated group that gathers for Thursday call nights at the local nonprofit Community for the Advancement of Family Education (CAFE) in Wenatchee. Wenatchee World, 8-28-13.

The Nation

Women’s groups push Janet Yellen for Fed job

Women's groups are arguing strongly in favor of Janet Yellen as next Fed chair.

Yellen

Women’s groups are intensifying their opposition to the possible nomination of Larry Summers to lead the Federal Reserve in an effort to pressure President Barack Obama to choose Janet Yellen for the job. If that doesn’t work, they hope to set the stage for a tense confirmation battle this fall that would put many Democratic senators in the uncomfortable position of facing political heat from a usually friendly part of their base. Already, the groups have had representatives and donors voice concerns with the offices of at least 9 Democratic senators, according to sources, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee. (Murray? Cantwell?) Politico, 8-28-13.

Missouri nullifiers test administration, Constitution with gun bill

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon

Nixon

Unless a handful of wavering Democrats change their minds, the Republican-controlled Missouri legislature is expected to enact a statute next month nullifying all federal gun laws in the state and making it a crime for federal agents to enforce them here. A Missourian arrested under federal firearm statutes would even be able to sue the arresting officer. The law amounts to the most far-reaching states’ rights endeavor in the country, the far edge of a growing movement known as “nullification” in which a state defies federal power. The measure was vetoed last month by Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, as unconstitutional. But when the legislature gathers again on Sept. 11, it will seek to override his veto, even though most experts say the courts will strike down the measure. Nearly every Republican and a dozen Democrats appear likely to vote for the override. New York Times, 8-28-13.

Maine town official visited by Secret Service for racially charged Obama ‘shoot the n—-r’ post

David Marsters, a retired Massachusetts police officer and a candidate for selectman in Sabattus, Maine, posted a photo of Obama along with a link to a story about a Republican push to impeach the president at 8:17 p.m. Friday, writing

Marsters

A town official in Maine was visited by the Secret Service Tuesday after posting a message to Facebook referring to President Barack Obama with a racial slur and calling for him to be shot, the Portland Press Herald reported. David Marsters, a retired Massachusetts police officer and a candidate for selectman in Sabattus, Maine, posted a photo of Obama along with a link to a story about a Republican push to impeach the president at 8:17 p.m. Friday, writing “Shoot the Nigger” above it, according to the newspaper. Marsters told the Press Herald that after his Facebook post was flagged to local law enforcement by other residents, he was visited by both the Secret Service and the CIA. He said he told the Secret Service agents who questioned him that he didn’t intend to threaten the president. Talking Points Memo, 8-28-13.

To Think About

Judgment Day: A court ruling and changes to the initiative process raise questions about the people’s right to petition

Politicians, business lobbyists and citizen activists filled a courtroom last week to hear arguments over two local initiatives.

Politicians, business lobbyists and citizen activists filled a courtroom last week to hear arguments over two local initiatives.

Onlookers kept whispering, “It looks like a wedding,” with each family on one side of the aisle. On the left, in dark colors and suit jackets, were lawmakers and business advocates. Across the aisle, spilling into seats normally reserved for a jury, local activists in plain clothes braced for defeat. In the stuffy room at Spokane County Superior Court, the group watched a tepid legal back-and-forth that lasted barely longer than an hour, but, some say, was the latest in a series of blows to citizen involvement in local government. “What you saw on Friday was one of several hammers used to pound us back into submission,” says Brad Read, board president of Envision Spokane, one of two groups whose initiatives were blocked from the ballot last week. Pacific Northwest Inlander, 8-28-13.