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Seattle arena deal, ‘no confidence’ at Boeing, why ACA matters…

Tuesday, September 11, 2012




► At today’s Seattle Times — City Council reaches revised arena deal — The Seattle City Council has a tentative agreement with investor Chris Hansen to build a $490 million state-of-the-art basketball and hockey arena in Sodo — and make road improvements with a cut of the tax revenue. The deal, sources say, addresses objections by the Port of Seattle and manufacturing interests, who complained that traffic generated by an arena would choke already clogged Sodo streets, jeopardizing maritime industries and jobs. The agreement is expected to be announced today.

PORT COMMISSION MEETS TODAY — As controversy continues to swirl over Port of Seattle CEO Tay Yoshitani’s side income with a company that moves goods through the Port, a deeply divided Port Commission will convene TODAY at 1 p.m. at Pier 69 (2711 Alaskan Way) to debate his future. Public testimony will be taken.  Yoshitani ignited a major public controversy when it was discovered that in addition to his public-sector Port job — which pays more than $365,000 a year — he has lined up a new and lucrative side gig as a director at Expeditors International, which pays more than $230,000 annually.

(Meanwhile, the CEO-cophants on the Seattle Times editorial board weigh in AGAIN in support of Yoshitani and executives’ rights.)

► At Slog — Port’s board may launch probe of their own CEO, while CEO stays away — We’re hearing that commissioners intend to introduce a resolution to further scrutinize the CEO’s side job that many say presents a potential conflict of interest.

► In today’s Columbian — Grain shippers expect to reach deal with dockworkers, avoid interruptions — The talks between the grain shippers group and ILWU have garnered attention, in part, because of separate contracts hammered out between employers and union members at shipping terminals in Longview and Kalama. In both of those cases, the new labor contracts include concessions that favor the employers.

► At today’s Spokesman-Review — Local firefighters battle blazes across state — Firefighters from across Washington have been summoned to fight five fast-growing wildfires ignited over the weekend. The flames have forced evacuations, burned thousands of acres and threaten to raze hundreds of homes. “I can’t think of a time when we’ve had so many simultaneous mobilizations,” said Spokane Fire Department Assistant Chief Brian Schaeffer, who coordinated the region’s effort to assist.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Albertsons store in North Marysville to close — Supervalu Inc. last week said it will close 60 underperforming stores as it pushes to turn around a struggling business, including 27 Albertsons locations in California, Washington and Oregon — one of them in Marysville. The company was notifying employees at the targeted stores but did not say how many people would be affected.

► At today’s (Longview) Daily News — Union contracts spark heated discussion at county commission forum




► At today’s News Tribune — Boeing union pilots vote “no confidence” in management — In a unanimous vote, members of the union representing Boeing’s pilots have approved a resolution of “no confidence” in their managers at Boeing’s Training and Flight Services division. Members of the Airplane Manufacturing Pilots Association (a unit of SPEEA) said they’re concerned about the company’s hiring of temporary pilots to deliver Boeing aircraft and to train crews of airlines buying Boeing planes.




► From AP — Liquor sales picking up in state— State officials attribute the jump in sales to consumers, as well as bars and restaurants, buying again in July after skipping some purchases in June. Tax revenues have also increased, say a state official, who also notes that studies from other states show that when liquor is more available to people, they buy more. In Washington, consumers are buying more at this point, despite higher prices.

EDITOR’S NOTE — When liquor is more available to people, they steal more, too. As the Bellingham Herald reports today that a 16-year-old girl was accused of shoplifting three bottles of vodka (and biting a Walmart employee in the process). We wonder whether anybody is bothering to determine the increased costs of liquor privatization to local law enforcement.

► At the (Everett) Herald — Elderly face shortage of dental care (by Robby Stern, WSLC Vice President) — Washington’s oral health care infrastructure is coping with decay. And it’s putting seniors in serious pain. Part of the solution to create better health is for state lawmakers to create a licensed dental practitioner — a new kind of dental provider that can enhance dental care the same way physician assistants and nurse practitioners have diversified the field of medicine.




► At — New poll: Inslee ahead in Washington gov race— The latest KING-TV SurveyUSA poll shows Democrat Jay Inslee out in front of Republican Rob McKenna by 5 points in the tight contest.

► At today’s Seattle Times — Children’s Alliance backs pot initiative on ballot — I-502 got an unexpected vote of confidence from the Seattle-based advocacy group with more than 100 social-service agencies as members.




► At today’s NY Times — In standoff, latest sign that unions are under siege — In community after community — even in major cities with strong pro-union traditions, like Los Angeles and Philadelphia — teachers’ unions have faced a push for concessions, whether it is to scrap tenure protections or to rely heavily on student test results to determine who gets a raise and who gets fired. And now comes this high-profile showdown in President Obama’s own hometown, a labor stronghold. Rahm Emanuel, the Democratic mayor and Obama’s former chief of staff, is demanding a raft of concessions that are anathema to union leaders and their members. At the same time, with many teachers and their unions already viewed unfavorably by many Americans, the union is taking a gamble by engaging in a battle over changes that some education advocates believe are needed to improve the nation’s schools.

► At today’s Washington Post — Chicago teachers’ strike reverberates nationwide, in presidential race — The bitter dispute with Mayor Rahm Emanuel is reverberating across the country as the issues at the core of the conflict — teacher evaluations tied to student test scores, a longer school day and other education policy changes — are being hotly debated from Hawaii to Maine.

ALSO at The Stand — Why Chicago teachers went out on strike




► At today’s NY Times — The deafness before the storm (by Kurt Eichenwald) — The direct warnings to President George W. Bush about the possibility of a Qaeda attack began in the spring of 2001. By May 1, the C.I.A. told the White House of a report that “a group presently in the United States” was planning a terrorist operation. Weeks later, on June 22, the daily brief reported that Qaeda strikes could be “imminent,” although intelligence suggested the time frame was flexible.

But some in the administration considered the warning to be just bluster. An intelligence official and a member of the Bush administration both told me in interviews that the neoconservative leaders who had recently assumed power at the Pentagon were warning the White House that the C.I.A. had been fooled; according to this theory, Bin Laden was merely pretending to be planning an attack to distract the administration from Saddam Hussein, whom the neoconservatives saw as a greater threat. Intelligence officials, these sources said, protested that the idea of Bin Laden, an Islamic fundamentalist, conspiring with Hussein, an Iraqi secularist, was ridiculous, but the neoconservatives’ suspicions were nevertheless carrying the day.

In response, the C.I.A. prepared an analysis that all but pleaded with the White House to accept that the danger from Bin Laden was real.

A RELATED STORY — Mitt Romney foreign policy team: 17 of 24 advisors are Bush neocons 

► At Huffington Post — 9/11 responders still waiting for relief promised in 2010 — It’s been 11 years since terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center towers, and more than a year-and-a-half since President Barack Obama signed into law a bill meant to compensate responders and survivors sickened from exposure to the hazardous debris and toxins of Ground Zero. But they’re going to have to wait a while longer — perhaps more than a year — before most of them start to see any of the money authorized in the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.




► At today’s Washington Post — Outlook grim for middle-income workers, report says — Middle-income workers have endured a “lost decade” of stagnant wages and are teetering on the brink of another, the consequence of both the recent recession and a long series of policy choices that have eroded their leverage in the job market, according to the Economic Policy Institute’s latest “State of Working America” report.

► At AFL-CIO Now — Ford to add 1,200 workers to Detroit-area plant — The U.S. auto industry is in the midst of its strongest growth period since 1996, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis said at Ford’s Flat Rock assembly plant in Michigan. Ford just announced it will be adding 1,200 new workers to the Detroit-area plant in expectation that the revamped Fusion sedan will see an increase in sales this fall.

► At today’s NY Times — The shallow end of the campaign (editorial) — Voters trying to understand the policies of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are going to have a harder time than ever.




► When Travis Turner was 12 months old, he was so sick he almost died. Just three months into his treatment for hepatoblastoma, a rare form of liver cancer, his family’s health insurance company kicked him off because the cost of his care had reached $1 million. Since then, Turner, whose father Craig is a member of United Steelworkers Local 7248, was covered by Medicaid while his parents continued to fight for health insurance coverage. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, which Mitt Romney plans to repeal if elected president, 7-year-old Travis is now able to get back on his father’s health insurance.



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