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Internet revenue, Vancouver project, ‘safe’ death traps…

Tuesday, April 23, 2013




► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Transportation tax package clears first hurdle — Democrats steered an $8.4 billion transportation package out of the House Transportation Committee on Monday. The proposal relies mostly on higher car tab fees and a 10-cent gas tax hike to pay for roads, bridges, ferries and transit services throughout the state.

stop-school-budget-cuts► In today’s Seattle Times — Internet sales tax bill could boost state budget by $184 million — The U.S. Senate could vote this week to approve the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would end the longstanding tax advantage enjoyed by Internet retailers like over their brick-and-mortar competitors. That could mean a big windfall for the Washington state treasury — bringing in an additional $184 million for the 2013-15 budget, according to an estimate by the state Department of Revenue. That would rise to more than $567 million in 2015-17 as compliance ramps up, the state predicts. Cities and counties would also get a share — more than $278 million by 2015-17.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Pollution rules delayed after Boeing talks — Entering her final year in office, former Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire found herself in a difficult spot. Indian tribes, powerful supporters of the governor, wanted stricter water pollution rules. Meanwhile, her powerful supporters in the aerospace industry – spearheaded by Boeing Co. – were dead set against tightening the rules. Aerospace won.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — The false promise of education reform (by Brendan Williams) — In addition to unfunded reforms imposed upon an underfunded system, last year’s ballot brought an unfunded charter school initiative. Let’s fund our existing obligations before creating new ones. Let’s also learn from the Rhee debacle in D.C. before we create pressures to pad test scores and further reduce young learners to mere letters. Kids like mine should not be guinea pigs for social science experiments.




col-port-of-vancouver► In today’s Columbian — Port of Vancouver may host crude-oil facility — Tesoro Corporation and Savage Companies said Monday they’ve launched a joint venture to build and operate facilities to store, load and unload crude oil at the port. Under the venture, which requires approval by the port’s three elected commissioners and regulatory agencies, the companies would spend up to $100 million to construct the new facilities. Construction work would generate an estimated 250 temporary jobs, according to port officials. Operation of the crude-oil facilities, which the companies hope to launch in 2014, would create an estimated 50 to 80 permanent jobs.

► In today’s News Tribune – Winners of Tacoma longshore lottery announced — The long-awaited list of  the 226 people chosen in an April 8 lottery drawing to be available for entry-level Tacoma Longshore Union work is now available at the websites of the Pacific Maritime Association and ILWU Local 23.

► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Teachers union says they’ve been shut out of merger talks — Longview’s teachers had a clear message Monday for school board members considering closing Mark Morris High School: Scrap the plan and start over.

► In today’s Seattle Times — In historic vote, Bellevue approves light-rail route — The Bellevue City Council endorses a route for Link light-rail trains, more than four years after voters approved higher sales taxes to build three suburban lines.



► From AP — Testing of malfunctioning 787 batteries by NTSB continues — As airlines prepare to resume flying Boeing’s beleaguered 787 Dreamliners, federal investigators looked Tuesday at how regulators and the company tested and approved the plane’s cutting-edge battery system, and whether the government cedes too much safety-testing authority to aircraft makers.




bangladesh-graphic► At AFL-CIO Now — Death trap plants win ‘safe’ certification, new AFL-CIO report reveals — As two 2012 fires that claimed the lives of nearly 1,300 workers in Bangladesh and Pakistan show, the problem is especially acute in the garment industry that produces goods for well-known brands such as Faded Glory and retailers including Gap, Walmart and H&M. In the most recent fires, both factories had been certified as meeting working condition and safety standards by official-sounding groups financed by the very corporations profiting from the low-wage labor churning out the pants, sweaters, shirts and more destined for boutique stores and department store racks, according to a new report.

ALSO at The Stand — End death traps: Hear Sumi’s story about Bangladesh garment factories — Forums TODAY (Tuesday) at 9 a.m. in the Columbia Room of the Legislative Building in Olympia and at 6 p.m. in Room 260 of the University of Washington’s Savery Hall. Action TOMORROW at 10 a.m. outside Renton’s Walmart.

► A related story from Reuters — Walmart CEO’s pay jumps 14.7% to $20.7 million — Wal-Mart Stores Inc said on Monday that members of its board’s audit committee were paid more for the latest year due to extra work they had to take on to handle an ongoing investigation into alleged foreign bribery.

EDITOR’S NOTE — You just can’t make this shit up.

► In today’s NY Times — Flights delayed amid furloughs of air traffic controllers — Flights were delayed by up to two hours across the country on Monday, the first weekday that the nation’s air traffic control system operated with 10 percent fewer controllers. Pilots, gate agents and others were quick to blame furloughs caused by mandatory across-the-board budget cuts, but the FAA said it was too soon to tell.

AFA-no-knives-on-planes-petition► In The Hill — TSA delays allowing small knives on planes — The Transportation Security Administration has indefinitely delayed its proposal to allow travelers to carry small knives on airplanes after severe blowback from lawmakers, air marshals and law enforcement officials.

ALSO see the press release from the coalition flight attendant unions.

► At Huffington Post — Texas fertilizer plant’s hazards eluded regulators for nearly 30 years — No institution sounded the alarm, even as fertilizer piled up inside the plant, creating a potentially deadly tinderbox in close proximity to the town. No one effectively prepared for the emergency that eventually materialized, leaving this community uniquely vulnerable to the tragedy that unfolded last week when the plant caught fire and exploded, killing 14 people and ripping apart an apartment building, a school and dozens of homes.

► In The Hill — National security concerns in wake of bombing may delay immigration bill — Leading Republicans say the bill falls short in the area of national security, an argument that has gained political momentum in the aftermath of the bombing in Boston.

► In today’s Washington Post — Sen. Max Baucus to retire in 2014  — Adds Huffington Post: Voted Against DREAM Act, Background Checks… Sided With Banks… Backed Bush Tax Cuts… Linked To Lobbyists… ‘The Max Baucus Health Care Lobbyist Complex’… Recommended Girlfriend For Federal Job… Delayed Health Care Reform, Ditched Public Option Supporters, Negotiated BIG PHARMA Deal




krystle-campbell► At Huffington Post — Bombing victim’s funeral to be guarded from Westboro protesters by Boston Teamsters — Krystle Campbell, one of the three people who died in last week’s Boston Marathon bombing, will have her funeral protected by a “human shield” of Teamsters on Monday, in case protesters from the Westboro Baptist Church show up and rally as they said they intended to do. In announcing its attention to picket the funeral last week, Westboro said Massachusetts “invited this special wrath from God Almighty when it was the first state to pass same-sex marriage.”

UPDATE — Westboro didn’t show up, but hundreds of Teamsters and their families did. See the video.


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