Thursday, June 7, 2012
► In The Stranger — Our long unconstitutional nightmare may almost be over — A majority of Washingtonians in 2010 may have liked the idea of making it nearly impossible for our legislature to raise taxes (by requiring a two-thirds supermajority of lawmakers in order to do so), but the initiative they approved wasn’t legal, said King County Superior Court Judge Bruce Heller. It’s the state’s founding document, not the initiative process, that makes the rules for what size majority the legislature needs to do various things. “It’s been incredibly frustrating,” said Rep. Jamie Pedersen (D-Seattle), speaking of life under I-1053. “The only thing we can do when we have a budget shortfall is cut services. So we’ve just done that over and over again. It’s discouraging, heartbreaking, depressing.”
► From AP — Some Washington liquor buyers head for the border — Oregon liquor stores near the state line report an uptick in business from Washington residents who say they’re paying more for spirits, not less, since the privatization of the state-run sales system took effect June 1.
► In today’s Seattle Times — State lawmakers says stores should list full cost of liquor — Rep. Gerry Pollet (D-Seattle) says private retailers aren’t doing enough to prevent sticker shock among consumers under Washington’s new liquor-privatization law.
ALSO at The Stand — Liquor privatization’s false promises exposed (255 “likes”!)
► In today’s Seattle Times — Can Suzan DelBene close gap in 1st district? — DelBene’s spokesman says the campaign is ramping up its ground game, bringing in field organizers and organizing tele-town hall events. Early polls simply reflect name recognition. “I truly think you’re going to see a shift” in the polls, he says. “There’s not been much voter contact yet.”
► In today’s NY Times — Opponents of gay marriage face tougher test in Washington state — As groups opposed to the state’s four-month-old gender-neutral marriage law filed their petitions here — the first salvo in a battle to repeal the statute at the ballot box in November — independent polls suggest that the playing field, at least here, may be leveling.
► At Slog — Could a Sodo arena sink the Port of Seattle (by Goldy) — Maintaining a competitive seaport is absolutely crucial to our economy, and in fact should take priority over other land uses in the Sodo neighborhood, regardless of how much we might want an NBA and/or NHL team. The question is whether these two goals are mutually exclusive, and that’s a question that’s not quite as easy to answer as both sides in this debate insist.
► In today’s Bellingham Herald — Cantwell seeks probe of West Coast gas prices after Cherry Point fire— West Coast oil refiners cut gasoline production after a fire earlier this year at the BP Cherry Point refinery, creating a supply shortage that has left West Coast motorists paying very high gas prices at a time when the rest of the nation is seeing prices plunge, says U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell.
► In today’s Seattle Times — McDonald’s finally gets the OK for restaurant at SeaTac — Port the commissioners had misgivings about McDonald’s for all kinds of reasons — they were concerned about the timing of the proposal, the restaurant’s wages and the effect on surrounding merchants.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — K-C mill set for demolition as soon as July — Kimberly-Clark hopes to have the demolition of the 66-acre waterfront site completed by the beginning of next year.
► At TheOlympian.com — WFSE: Wisconsin is no caution to Washington — WFSE’s Tim Welch says Washington’s collective bargaining law is less vulnerable to attack in part is because it is of more recent vintage than Wisconsin’s — which means it is less rigid and has built-in safety valves not seen in other states. And, he noted, Gov. Chris Gregoire and labor were able to bring about concessions through bargaining that in other states is a far more difficult maneuver.
► At NPR — What’s in store for unions after Wisconsin recall? — Robert Siegel talks with the AFL-CIO’s Thea Lee about Tuesday’s result in Wisconsin and what it might mean for unions in November.
► From ABC News — Unions, Dems renew criticism of Citizens United following Walker recall win — “Texas billionaires” and “multinational corporations” can “spend unlimited money to sway an election,” says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, adding that this fundraising change holds “serious repercussions for our democracy.”
► In today’s Washington Post — Wisconsin’s dangerous result (by E.J. Dionne) — For the left, conservative hubris would be the best outcome from Wisconsin. Nothing would do more to push swing voters the progressives’ way. But liberals and labor are operating in a difficult environment. They need to pick their fights carefully and match their energy with a new discipline and a cool realism about the power arrayed against them.
► In today’s NY Times — The message from Wisconsin (editorial) — From the beginning, the money behind Governor Walker was intended to turn a once-reliable blue state into a laboratory for Republican ideas, where business could grow free of union fetters, taxes could be cut and thousands of people could be removed from Medicaid rolls. Labor, so long in decline in the private sector, is also losing its clout in states and cities, unable to match or withstand the unfettered bank accounts of industry. The people who kept Walker and his policies in power are just getting started.
► ALSO at The Stand — Don’t let Rob McKenna Wisconsin-ize Washington state — Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna has abandoned his previous attempts to portray himself as a moderate Republican on the issue of unions and collective bargaining. If McKenna is elected this fall, he will pursue his own “divide-and-conquer” agenda attacking unions and aiming to silence the voice of Washington’s working families. What can you do? Make a commitment TODAY to working Labor Neighbor volunteer shifts beginning this month across the state.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Politics putting jobs at risk (editorial) — Transportation spending bills have traditionally enjoyed strong bipartisan support, because building such infrastructure is good for business and is such an obvious role of government. This potential standoff looks like a microcosm of the current fiscal stalemate in Congress, but it shouldn’t be. The stakes of inaction are immense and immediate. House Republicans need to put electoral politics aside and join their Senate colleagues in approving a two-year transportation bill and putting Americans to work — now.
► At Politico — Secret talks under way about ‘fiscal cliff’ — A growing number of lawmakers are alarmed that Congress’s do-nothing posture ahead of the year-end fiscal cliff could provoke a massive voter backlash and economic catastrophe if they don’t start laying the groundwork right now to cut a deal. So behind the scenes, there’s a scramble taking shape.
► In today’s NY Times — San Diego, San Jose lead way on pension cuts — The city’s residents voted to cut not just the benefits of future hires, but also those of current city workers.
► At Yahoo! News — Miss me yet? No. George W. Bush still unpopular — He’s the only living president with a favorable rating that’s under 50%.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Amazon workers cool after company took heat for hot warehouses — This time last year, Amazon had ambulances parked outside its Breinigsville, Pa., warehouse complex on hot days, with emergency-medical personnel ready to take workers suffering from heat injuries to nearby hospitals. Today, after media scrutiny and criticism of the company prompted installation of a new cooling system, Amazon warehouse workers say the facility is refreshingly cool.
► In today’s Olympian — Failed pay vote a disservice to all (editorial) — The U.S. Senate botched an opportunity Tuesday to support a commonsense bill to ensure women are given equal pay for equal work. The Paycheck Fairness Act needed 60 votes to move forward, but was blocked by Republicans on a 52-47 vote. It’s a disservice to the working men and women of this country when partisan politics stymies legislation aimed at pay inequities in the workplace.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 9 a.m. These links are functional at the date of posting, but sometimes expire.