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WA elects women ● Amazon HQ2 (and 3… and 3½) ● We choose to pay more for drugs

Tuesday, November 13, 2018




► In today’s Seattle Times — Looming Seattle City Council vote on police labor contract generates political friction right down to the wire — The council vote over whether to ratify a tentative labor contract between the city and its rank-and-file police union is generating political friction right down to the wire, with former Councilmember Tim Burgess and Police Chief Carmen Best urging passage even as the local chapter of the NAACP announced it would oppose the deal.

► From Crosscut — Why the Seattle City Council should approve the police contract (by Tim Burgess) — I care deeply that police services in Seattle are delivered professionally and effectively, consistent with the Constitution and the laws of our country, state and city. I want all people, including the most marginalized, to be treated fairly and with dignity by our officers. And, I care about our police officers. I want them to be compensated appropriately and given the respect they so rightly deserve — after all, we ask them to serve in a job that most of us would never perform ourselves. This is why I believe the city council on Tuesday afternoon should approve the proposed collective bargaining agreement with our police officers.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Sound Transit CEO could get 11% raise, contract extension — Peter Rogoff, the chief executive overseeing Sound Transit’s multi-billion dollar expansion, could be in line for a contract extension and an 11% pay hike from $328,545 to $365,000 in base pay.

► In the Aug. 17 Seattle Times — A $550-per-hour coach is helping Sound Transit’s chief get along with his employees  — Sound Transit is paying a management coach $550 per hour to help Chief Executive Officer Peter Rogoff get along better with his employees. The sessions are part of the “leadership-development plan” that elected officials on the transit agency’s 18-member board required March 1 after members disclosed that Rogoff underwent internal investigation of alleged profanity, verbal aggression and sexism toward agency staff.




► From McClatchy — Washington state likes to elect women, and they just added more to its roster — Women will hold seven slots in Washington’s 12-member congressional delegation when the next Congress is seated, one of the highest gender ratios of any large state. It’s part of a trend that goes back to 1992, when Patty Murray was elected the state’s first female U.S. senator, campaigning as a “mom in tennis shoes” as she rose from a local school board to Congress in a few years. Since then, Washington has elected its second female governor and a second female U.S. senator.

► From Politico — Sinema wins Arizona Senate race — Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema has defeated Republican Rep. Martha McSally in the battle for the open Senate seat in Arizona, giving Democrats their second Senate pickup of the cycle. In addition to being Arizona’s first female senator, Sinema is the first Democrat to win a Senate election there in three decades.

► From Politico — How Democrats won over older voters—and flipped the House — The main reason for Democrats’ electoral success this year with older Americans is that in 2018, Democratic candidates stopped seeing health care as a liability and began seeing it as a political weapon.

ALSO at The Stand — Seniors’ swing left to expand social safety net (by Nancy Altman)

► In today’s NY Times — Inside the Republican strategy to discredit the Florida recount — The concerted effort by Republicans in Washington and Florida to discredit the state’s recount as illegitimate and potentially rife with fraud reflects a cold political calculation: Treat the recount as the next phase of a campaign to secure the party’s majority and agenda in the Senate… Beyond the Senate majority, there is also the matter of morale. Any reversal of an election that Republicans believe they already won in a state as symbolically important as Florida would be a blow to a party that had a net loss of at least 32 House seats and six governorships. Everyone from donors to rank-and-file lawmakers is determined to keep Democrats from notching another victory.

► From HuffPost — Republicans are casting doubt on normal election processes for the sake of winning — Election experts say there’s nothing unusual or nefarious about vote tallies changing days after an election. Instead of letting election officials count the ballots as usual, the comments from Rick Scott and Trump amount to an effort to undermine normal election processes.

► From HuffPost — Urging Florida to ignore military votes fits Trump’s true pattern with the troops — Two days after skipping a visit to an American military cemetery near Paris because it was raining, Trump called for effectively disenfranchising overseas military members voting in Florida, raising further questions about the draft-evading president’s commitment to the armed services.

► In today’s Washington Post — Federal judge delays certification of Georgia election results, citing concerns over provisional ballots — A federal judge has barred the Georgia secretary of state’s office from immediately certifying election results to allow more time to address problems with thousands of provisional ballots that voters were forced to cast last week.




► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Spokane’s Andy Billig to be Senate majority leader in 2019 — Spokane Democrat Andy Billig, a Spokane businessman who has pushed for better schools and more transparent elections, was named state Senate majority leader Monday as members of the caucus gathered to select new leaders for the 2019 session. Billig moves up from deputy leader to replace Sharon Nelson, who is retiring this year. The only Democrat in the Senate from Eastern Washington, Billig said the caucus “recognizes that bipartisanship and viewpoints from every corner of Washington are crucial in moving our state forward.”

MORE coverage in from the AP and the Seattle Times.




► From Politico — Wife of GOP megadonor to receive Presidential Medal of Freedom — Trump is set to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the nation’s highest civilian honor — to Mirian Adelson, the wife of one of the Republican Party’s most prominent patrons.

► From The Hill — CNN sues Trump administration over pulling Acosta press pass




► In today’s Seattle Times — It’s official: Amazon says Northern Virginia, New York will get HQ2 expansion — The company’s headquarters expansion will be in Arlington County, Virginia and the Long Island City neighborhood of New York, and Nashville will get a 5,000 person satellite office. Amazon said Tuesday that it plans to staff each of the two cities with about 25,000 workers in about 4 million square feet of office space, with an option to double that square footage sometime in the future. The company’s existing Seattle headquarters employs about 45,000 people spread over 10 million square feet of office space.

► From the New Republic — Amazon scammed America’s hurting cities (by Alex Shephard) — For over a year, Amazon dangled the prize of a second headquarters, or HQ2, in front of cities across the country, and then watched as they duked it out. The result was a sort of hypercapitalist Hunger Games, in which cities and states debased themselves in the hopes of reaping tens of thousands of jobs and several billion dollars in investment. The biggest bidders promised billions in tax breaks and subsidies, while smaller municipalities resorted to more creative measures: The mayor of Stonecrest, Georgia, offered to build a town named Amazon and to anoint CEO Jeff Bezos, the richest man alive, as its king…. But their new headquarters was never destined for anywhere but the country’s most prosperous metropolitan areas.

► In the San Diego Union-Tribune — San Diego hotel workers end 35-day strike with new contract — The vote to ratify a new contract by the Westin San Diego Gaslamp hotel’s housekeepers, banquet captains, servers and other employees represented by UNITE HERE Local 30 brings to an end a 35-day strike that union members authorized in hopes of securing improved pay and benefits.




► In the NY Times — Something happened to U.S. drug costs in the 1990s — There was a time when America approximated other wealthy countries in drug spending. But in the late 1990s, U.S. spending took off. It tripled between 1997 and 2007… Several factors could be at play in America’s spending surge. One is the total amount of prescription drugs used. But Americans do not take a lot more drugs than patients in other countries, as studies document. Another potential explanation is that Americans take more expensive brand-name drugs than cheaper generics relative to their overseas counterparts. This doesn’t hold up either. We use a greater proportion of generic drugs here than most other countries. Though Americans take a lower proportion of brand-name drugs, the prices of those drugs are a lot higher than in other countries. For many drugs, U.S. prices are twice those found in Canada, for example. Prices are a lot higher for brand-name drugs in the United States because we lack the widespread policies to limit drug prices that many other countries have.


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