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Thursday, November 1, 2018




► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Ballot returns top 100,000 in Spokane County — Spokane County voters continue to send in their ballots in record numbers, with the totals received through the mail and from drop boxes topping 105,000 earlier than any previous election. That includes presidential elections as well as midterm elections such as 2018.

► From My Northwest — King County primed for biggest midterm voter turnout ever — Midterm elections don’t typically bring in many voters, but 2018 has proven itself to be a contentious year politically, both in-state and nationwide. That being so, some predictions claim voter turnout in King County could very well end up breaking records.

► In today’s Bellingham Herald — With Whatcom voter turnout like this, you’d think it was 2020 already — Ballots for the Nov. 6 midterm election are being returned at a pace closer to a presidential contest, which historically sees the highest voter turnout, officials said.

ALSO at The Stand — FIVE DAYS until Election Day: Volunteer to GOTV statewide — There’s a GOTV phone bank in Spokane tonight. And on Saturday there are GOTV neighborhood walks planned in Yakima, Mount Vernon, Ferndale, and a biggie in Auburn for MLK Labor’s Player’s Choice! Get details.

► From the AFL-CIO — Get Out the Vote: What working people are doing this week

► In today’s Bellingham Herald — Has your vote been counted? Here’s how to check in Washington state — Washington is one of three states that send ballots in the mail to all registered voters. Here is how you can check if your vote has been counted.




► In today’s Spokesman-Review — At least one of Rep. Matt Shea’s campaign donors wants money back — At least one contributor to state Rep. Matt Shea’s re-election campaign has asked for its money back since the polarizing Spokane Valley Republican took credit last week for a document titled “Biblical Basis for War.” The political arm of the Northwest Credit Union Association, which represents 180 credit unions in Washington, Oregon and Idaho, gave $1,000 to Shea’s campaign this year but recently asked the campaign to return the money. On Tuesday, a spokeswoman told Spokane Public Radio the association had reviewed Shea’s social media activity and determined “his beliefs do not reflect the views and values of our organization, member credit unions or customers.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — Here’s a list, courtesy of the Public Disclosure Commission, of some of the corporate interests that have contributed to Shea and presumably share his “views and values”: Altria (tobacco), Anheuser Busch, AT&T, Avista, Boeing, BNSF, BP, Farmers Insurance, Geico, PhRMA (drug companies), Puget Sound Energy, Weyerhaeuser, and the Washington PACs for the state associations of Realtors, optometrists, hotels & restaurants, hospitals, homebuilders (BIAW), CPAs, dentists, beer & wine distributors, and auto dealers, among several others.

As shareholders or members of any of these companies/organizations, do YOU have the First Amendment right to withhold the portion of your money — which the Supreme Court has told us is your free speech — that goes to candidates with whom you disagree? No. You do not. You are compelled to finance crazy fascists like Rep. Matt Shea.

Perhaps a lawsuit is in order.

PREVIOUSLY at The Stand — It’s up to Republicans to hold Rep. Matt Shea accountable




► In today’s Olympian — North Thurston Public Schools workers authorize strike but stay on the job for now — Office staff at North Thurston Public Schools are ready to strike after months of contract negotiations. At a general membership meeting Tuesday of the North Thurston Association of Office and Technical Professionals, 78 percent voted to authorize their bargaining team to call a strike, according to union co-president Kristi Ashmore. The union represents 137 workers at district offices and schools. Their contract expired Aug. 31 and they have been negotiating a new contract since June.

► In today’s Peninsula Daily News — Tentative contract set with Sequim paraeducators — After six months in negotiations, Sequim paraeducators could receive a 15.9 percent increase in salaries in the next two years. They recently agreed to a contract with Sequim School District that is up for School Board approval Monday.

► In today’s News Tribune — Tacoma kids with special needs without rides for third day with 22 bus drivers out sick — Some Tacoma Public Schools students with special needs had no bus service for a third day as 22 bus drivers called out sick. Drivers have said the sick-out is a response to labor issues such as hours and pay.

► In today’s News Tribune — Sound Transit CEO who makes $328,545 is in line for new deal. Pierce County leaders are rightly concerned (editorial) — Sound Transit’s leadership must be subject to thorough oversight and full transparency — especially as plans speed forward to renew the contract of CEO Peter Rogoff by the end of 2018.




► From HuffPost — Health Insurance Exchange enrollment is back. Here’s what you need to know. — It’s open enrollment season again for Americans who shop on the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchanges to buy coverage. Health care — the ACA in particular — has been fodder for political debates this election year. But the ACA is still the law, and it still comes with benefits and responsibilities. Here are some basic facts about the exchanges, how they work, how to get financial help for insurance and how to find out about other options.

EDITOR’S NOTE — In Washington state, open enrollment in Washington HealthPlanFinder also begins today. Get more info.

► In today’s Washington Post — The big secret about the Affordable Care Act: It’s working just fine (by Ezekiel Emanuel) — Despite the Trump administration’s best sabotage efforts, the exchanges are succeeding. Indeed, by almost every metric, the exchanges are now stable and even thriving. Just days before an election in which health care is a top issue, this important point has been almost totally ignored.

► From Vox — Trump’s stunning hypocrisy on preexisting conditions (by Sarah Kliff) — President Donald Trump wants voters to believe that Republicans are the party protecting Americans with preexisting conditions. But in bills, lawsuits, and regulations, they’ve worked to do the very opposite. Trump’s own administration imposed new rules just last week that would make it easier for insurance providers to discriminate against sick consumers. On the same day news broke about the change, Trump didn’t even blink as he told an audience he held the exact opposite view. “We will always protect Americans with preexisting conditions,” he said. Republican candidates have followed Trump’s lead. Missouri Senate candidate Josh Hawley is telling voters that he supports “forcing insurance companies to cover all preexisting conditions.” But here’s the thing: It isn’t true. Republicans are lying about their position on preexisting conditions, and voters have a right to know that.




► From AP — Locked-out union workers reach agreement with talc plant — Locked-out union workers have approved a three-year contract with the owners of a talc milling plant in Montana after 90 days on the picket lines. The 35 employees of the French-owned Imerys Talc America are scheduled to go back to work at the plant in Three Forks on Nov. 11 after a week of paid, off-site training, said Randy Tocci, president of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local D-239.

► From Reuters — Google workers walk out to protest office harassment, inequality — Hundreds of Google employees and contractors in Asia staged brief midday walkouts on Thursday, with thousands more expected to follow at offices worldwide, amid complaints of sexism, racism and unchecked executive power in their workplace.




► From Medium — Confessions of a U.S. Postal Worker: “We deliver Amazon packages until we drop dead.” — The USPS arrangement with Amazon has also increased the amount of work without also expanding the full-time career workforce. In addition to working Sundays and holidays, part-time employees are called on to cover career carriers’ regular routes if they are on vacation or out sick. These workers are paid less, have fewer benefits, and are beholden to more chaotic scheduling than their full-time counterparts; meanwhile, the increasing number of Amazon packages means more — and more difficult — work… In early 2018, President Trump called for an investigation of the USPS deal with Amazon, the results of which will reportedly not be made public until after the midterms. In response, Amazon and other retailers formed a lobbying group, the Package Coalition, issuing a barely veiled threat that any changes to the arrangement would have consequences. The implicit threat has even been internalized in the Postal Service itself. “I’ve heard that from my supervisors,” the rural carrier told me. “‘If we upset Amazon, they’ll pull out, and we need their help… I feel like I work for Amazon. I feel like my life depends on Amazon.”


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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