Thursday, September 13, 2012
► At SeattlePI.com — Seattle Chamber: Surprise “no” on Eyman’s initiative — The Seattle Metro Chamber of Commerce, in a break with major business interests, has voted to oppose Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1185, which would impose a “super majority” requirement on raising revenue and closing tax loopholes. The chamber, representing 2,2000 companies in the Puget Sound region, cites its own strategic plan, which includes plans to break transportation gridlock and invest in the state’s neglected K-12 schools and public colleges.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Kudos to the Seattle Chamber for having the common sense and courage to defy the right-wing neo-cons that populate the board of the state’s Chamber, the Association of Washington Business. More business groups and individual employers that oppose the slow strangulation of our state’s education, transportation and social service systems should follow the Seattle Chamber’s lead and oppose Eyman’s initiative. (Boeing? Microsoft?) Voters need to be reminded that perennial state budget cuts are harming our business competitiveness.
ALSO at The Stand — Supermajority requirement kills jobs and harms state, study finds
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Teachers unions cut spending in charter fight — The WEA’s $100,000 contribution to the opposition campaign is only a fraction of what it spent in the battle in 2004. Moreover the NEA and the union locals haven’t given a dime to the political committee WEA formed to fight Initiative 1240.
► In today’s Columbian — Benton continues to outraise, outspend Probst in Senate race — “I recognized I’m running against the ranking Republican on the banking committee, and he’s going to have a lot of money,” Democrat Tim Probst said. “We only need to raise enough to get our message out.”
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Boeing to make full offer to Boeing engineers today — Some 11,430 engineers and technical workers at the Boeing Co.’s Everett site will find out today whether the company’s initial contract offer meets their needs. Boeing’s offer, to be conveyed at a negotiating session this morning, is unlikely to be the company’s final one, but the reception it gets could indicate whether a strike is brewing for members of SPEEA/IFPTE 2001. As the past has shown, a work stoppage would no doubt hamper Boeing.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing’s Conner says engineers add ‘critical value’ — Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief executive Ray Conner sent a message to all employees Wednesday offering a pointed retort to the leader of the engineering union, which is currently in testy contract talks with the company.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Let’s see if today’s contract proposal rewards that “critical value.” For more information see the SPEEA Negotiating Team’s opinion column in The Stand — SPEEA seeks contract recognizing members’ role in Boeing’s success
► In today’s NY Times — Investors wary over giant aerospace deal— Shares of the European aerospace giants EADS (the parent company of Airbus) and BAE Systems tumbled on Thursday as investors reacted negatively to the announced merger talks between the two companies.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Not so fast, say foes of SoDo arena deal — A group of maritime-business leaders and the Seattle Mariners renewed their objections to a proposed sports arena in Sodo on Wednesday, a day after city leaders revealed a revised agreement they say addresses those concerns.
EDITOR’S NOTE — The entire staff of The Stand would like to renew our objections to the last-place Mariners’ lineup and their decade-long (and counting) absence from the playoffs.
► In the (Aberdeen) Daily World — Economic development advocate points to paper mill and plywood plant — The new Harbor Paper Co. has now hired about 100 full-time employees and steam is streaming from the Hoquiam facility again as it begins paper production for the first time in more than 15 months. On the other side of town, the already reopened Hoquiam Plywood plant has exceeded employment projections, with about 84 people now working full time.
► From AP — School spending report almost ready for state Supreme Court— The Legislature’s first report on its progress toward paying the full cost of basic education for kids in public school won’t tell the justices anything new, but the draft report does offer a nice overview of what the Legislature has been up to these past few years.
► From AP — ‘A lot of progress’ made in talks over Chicago teacher strike— The Chicago Teachers Union and the nation’s third-largest school district expressed optimism for the first time late on Wednesday that a strike could end soon, after they made good progress toward an agreement on education reforms sought by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. But negotiators said there was still much work to do on a deal and teachers would stay out of school for a fourth day on Thursday.
► At CNN.com — My view from the picket lines (by Chicago teacher Xian Barrett) — Some critics reminded me that this needs to be about the students. They are 100% correct. So I ask you to think of your own son or daughter or sister or brother sitting in a Chicago Public Schools classroom. You wouldn’t want your kids in 96-degree classrooms. You wouldn’t want them without books or teachers for the first month of the year. You wouldn’t want them tested over and over again instead of taught. You would want their teachers evaluated, but you wouldn’t want their favorite teacher bullied or fired due to an inaccurately measured test. By striking, we are trying to get the mayor and our school board to face the problems in our neighborhood schools and provide us with the support we need to help our students.
► In today’s NY Times — Push to add charter schools hangs over strike — Of the issues that remain to be settled in the Chicago contract dispute between the teachers’ union and the city, expanding charter schools is not officially on the table. But the specter of those plans — an oft-cited goal of Mayor Rahm Emanuel — hangs heavily over the teachers’ strike.
► In today’s NY Times — Labor fight poses risks to coalition for Obama — Democrats left their convention in Charlotte, N.C., with an unusual amount of unity and enthusiasm, but the three-day-old strike by 26,000 teachers in Chicago has quickly deflated some of that enthusiasm — and could, some political analysts say, ultimately put some sizable cracks in the coalition that President Obama hopes to ride to re-election.
► At Huffington Post — Romney attacks Obama over Libya crisis — Hours after the deaths of four U.S. diplomats, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Mitt Romney put his campaign on the line by attacking President Barack Obama and the besieged diplomats in the Middle East.
► In today’s Washington Post — Romney’s rhetoric on embassy attacks is a discredit to his campaign (editorial) — J. Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, was a skilled and courageous diplomat who repeatedly placed himself at risk to support the cause of a democratic Libya. His death, along with those of three other Americans, during an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on Tuesday is a tragedy that should prompt bipartisan support for renewed U.S. aid to Libyans who are struggling to stabilize the country. That it instead provoked a series of crude political attacks on President Obama by GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney is a discredit to his campaign.
► At TPM — When you learn they’re not ready (by Josh Marshall) — Politics is hardball. But campaigns are also a prism into the judgment and steadiness under pressure of a person who would be president. This was amateur hour for the opposition campaign last night. Romney’s moment was… rash and shameful. Not worthy of a president. Crass, undignified and troubling on many levels.
► At Huffington Post — Ryan budget proposal could cost some school districts millions — A new analysis of Paul Ryan’s budget proposal to cut federal spending by 20% finds that 77% of the 1,500-plus school districts that rely on federal funds for 20% or more of their annual revenue could wind up losing millions. But the districts most at risk of losing more than 10% of their annual revenue are smaller ones — enrolling between 100 and 2,000 students — that rely heavily on the federal government for education funding.
► In today’s NY Times — Fewer uninsured people (editorial) — The number of Americans who lack health insurance declined last year, the first drop since 2007. This is, in large part, the result of the health care reform law and better coverage under public programs like Medicaid. This also shows why repealing the health care law or revamping and shrinking Medicaid, as many Republicans want to do, would be disastrous moves.
► From the Center for American Progress — Unions are necessary to rebuilding our middle class (by David Madland and Nick Bunker) — The declining share of income received by the nation’s middle class has been driven by stagnant incomes for middle-class earners coupled with rapidly rising incomes for the highest earners. It’s a major shift brought about by many factors — factors that have either led to slower growing middle-class incomes, such as increased globalization, and factors that increase the pay of those at the top, such as the increasing financial benefit of a college education. And then there is another often overlooked dynamic: the decline of labor unions.
As this chart shows, over the past several decades, the decline in the unionization rate tracks almost perfectly with the decline in the share of income going to the middle class.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 9 a.m.