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Voting rights, weak Cathy, ‘thinly disguised lobbying’…

Monday, August 8, 2016




WA-voting-rights-act► From AP — Pasco’s voting system weakens Latino voice, ACLU suit charges — A similar ACLU lawsuit against Yakima forced that city to switch to district voting, and last fall, Yakima elected three Latinas to the City Council — the first time it had elected any. Unlike Yakima, though, Pasco officials are welcoming the lawsuit. They say they want to change their election system so Latinos are better represented on the City Council, but state law prohibits them from making those changes.

EDITOR’S NOTE — If Republicans in Washington state hadn’t blocked consideration of the Washington Voting Rights Act — for the past four straight years — maybe Pasco could have resolved this issue outside of the courtroom and saved some money.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Court fines total $36M in McCleary school-funding case. But will they ever be paid? — The Supreme Court lowered the boom last year when it levied a $100,000 daily fine against Washington for failing to adequately fund its public schools. The total is now $36 million, but it exists only on an accountant’s ledger.

jackson-flando► From — Washington National Guard mourns loss of Air Guard Lt Col — The Washington National Guard is mourning the loss of Lt Col Flando Jackson, 45, who died Aug. 4, 2016 while serving in Southwest Asia.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Jackson was a Community Corrections officer with the state Department of Corrections and a member of King County DOC Local 308 (WFSE/AFSCME).




► In the Tri-City Herald — DOE says it is strengthening whistleblower protection at Hanford, other sites — The Department of Energy has taken the initial step to make clear that it has the authority to fine contractors or subcontractors at nuclear sites including Hanford if they retaliate against workers raising nuclear safety issues.

► In the Spokesman-Review — Spokane Public Schools reach tentative contract with SEA — Teachers and other Spokane Public Schools workers are poised to vote on a three-year labor contract that includes a pay raise, benefits and workplace issues.

► In the Bellingham Herald — Fred Meyer, QFC hiring hundreds of workers across region — Fred Meyer and QFC are planning to hire up to 800 workers in Western Washington with a job event on Tuesday, Aug. 9.




mcmorris-rodgers-L► In the Spokesman-Review — McMorris Rodgers’ lower primary numbers may reflect voter frustration — If Cathy McMorris Rodgers is elected in November to her seventh term in Congress, she’ll have to overcome a historically weak primary performance and an electorate clamoring for change. She garnered just under 42 percent of the vote based on ballots counted through Thursday, her lowest share of ballots cast since posting 30 percent in the September 2004 primary that propelled her to Washington D.C.

► In today’s Seattle Times — A look at big names hosting Trump for Seattle fundraiser Aug. 30 — Hosts of the event will include longtime Seattle real-estate developer Martin Selig, Vancouver-based developer Clyde Holland, and Vancouver-area billionaire Ken Fisher, founder of Fisher Investments.

► In the NY Times — Trump’s economic team: Bankers and billionaires (and all men) — He may rail against Wall Street and business elites at his campaign rallies, but that has not stopped him from turning to many of them for economic advice.

elitist► In today’s Washington Post — Elitism won’t defeat Trumpism (by E.J. Dionne) — There should be no ignoring the real distress Trump voters have experienced. As a practical matter, we will not ease the divisions in our country that his candidacy has underscored if we do not deal with the legitimate grievances of his supporters. As a moral matter, writing off Trump voters as unenlightened and backward-looking is to engage in the very same kind of bigoted behavior that we condemn in other spheres. Eric Hauser, strategic adviser at the AFL-CIO, said that both parties need to face the obvious: that “there is a lot of rage in this country.”

“People have been angry for more than a generation about their difficulty in moving ahead despite their best efforts,” Hauser said. Noting that most policy proposals on behalf of workers are too timid, he added: “There has been too much acceptance on the part of elites, including Democrats, that a little bit of trying is good enough.”

► From TPM — Trump is giving Dems the edge in even their tightest Senate races — If Democrats are having a harder time than expected in a few marquee races in 2016, none of it may matter in the time of Donald Trump. This week, polls showed the Republican presidential candidate’s campaign in free fall that even the strongest senatorial candidates likely won’t be able to weather.




johnson-signs-voting-rights-act► From AFL-CIO Now — On the 51st anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, now is the time to restore it to its full power — One of the most sweeping civil rights laws of the 20th century, the VRA was designed to combat discrimination in voting. In 2013, in Shelby County v Holder, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key section of the Act, so we are entering our first presidential election in 50 years without the full protection of the VRA. Meanwhile, states formerly covered by stricken sections of the VRA have launched an all-out assault on voting rights, boldly removing any mask on the discriminatory intent of legislators.

► From Politico — Obama’s favorite jobs stat died in the July jobs report — The U.S. private sector is now credited with a net loss of 1,000 jobs in May 2016 — officially the first month since February 2010 that the private sector didn’t gain jobs. The current streak is over because of a statistical fluke: Nearly 40,000 striking Verizon workers were temporarily counted as lost jobs in May.

► In today’s NY Times — Time to borrow (by Paul Krugman) — Right now there is an overwhelming case for more government borrowing. Big needs for infrastructure and other public investment, and very low interest rates, suggest not just that we should be borrowing to invest, but that this investment might well pay for itself even in purely fiscal terms. How so? Spending more now would mean a bigger economy later, which would mean more tax revenue. This additional revenue would probably be larger than any rise in future interest payments.




► From the BNA — UFCW, grocers in California reach tentative pact for 48,000 workers — United Food and Commercial Workers members working at grocery stores owned by Kroger Co. and Cerberus Capital Management are scheduled Aug. 8-9 to vote on a proposed bargaining agreement for 48,000 workers at about 300 supermarkets in Central and Southern California.

► In the Hollywood Reporter — SAG-AFTRA mobilizes against Telemundo over non-union stance — The initiative, dubbed #SAGAFTRAUNIDOS, seeks to end what the union blasted as “double-standard practices in Spanish-language television,” in which NBCUniversal has agreed to SAG-AFTRA contracts for English-language outlets such as NBC and other NBCUniversal properties but not for Telemundo.




► In today’s NY Times — Researchers or corporate allies? Think tanks blur the line — Think tanks, which position themselves as “universities without students,” have power in government policy debates because they are seen as researchers independent of moneyed interests. But in the chase for funds, think tanks are pushing agendas important to corporate donors, at times blurring the line between researchers and lobbyists. And they are doing so while reaping the benefits of their tax-exempt status, sometimes without disclosing their connections to corporate interests.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Examples of corporate-funded think tanks in Washington state that pursue a legislative agenda that benefits those corporations include the Washington Research Council and the Washington Policy Center.


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