Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

third time’s a charm? gary locke for commerce secretary

225px-Gary_Locke.jpg
who wants to be a commerce secretary? gary locke, photo via wikipedia [#]

The Obama administration continues to plunder Washington’s political riches in filling out the admin: first Ron Sims for a top spot at Housing and Urban Development, then Kerlikowske to run the Office of National Drug Control Policy [nyt], and now Gary Locke for Commerce Secretary. [gawker]

Remember those heady few hours when the northwest blogoverse suspected the cabinet post might be going to Christine Gregoire when she disappeared for top secret weekend foray to visit the troops? In a weird way the rampant speculation has now been remedied by generality — a Washington governor might become Commerce Secretary. That is, if his nomintation doesn’t get sidetracked like the previous two contenders who withdrew after fundraising investigations (Bill Richards) and discovery of deep-seated Republican fiscal conservatism (Gregg).

As long as he comes across better than he was awfully portrayed in Battle In Seattle he should be just fine.

Want a say in where the stimulus dollars go?

Browsing Consumerist this afternoon, I came across this. Drill down to Seattle, and you can browse “shovel-ready” projects that the state has requested federal stimulus dollars for.

This is a completely volunteer built site and there is no official interaction with the Obama Administration, but sometimes sites like this do catch the right eye and can actually make a difference. At the very least, browsing the various projects and voting is a great way to waste a little time this afternoon.

I’m personally a little amused that the most negatively rated project is the Provision of Handheld Ticketing Devices to Traffic Enforcement Police Officers.

On the concrete, talkin’ ’bout the government…

Today, the White House released a state-by-state fact sheet detailing impacts of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan currently being played with by the Senate. 40% of Washington’s jobs are in Seattle/King County, so the plan, if passed (and if it works), would have a direct affect on the Seattle-metro area. The White House estimates the impact of the plan for Washington is:

* 79,700 jobs created or saved, 90% in the private sector
* Tax cuts of up to $1,000 for 2,450,000 workers and families
* $2,500 partially refundable tax credit for 4 years of college, for up to 67,000 families
* An additional $100/month in unemployment insurance benefits to 404,000 unemployed workers
* Extended unemployment benefits for another 44,000 laid-off workers
* Funding to modernize at least 138 schools
[LINK]

John Boehner, House Minority Leader and speedbump on the road to recovery.

John Boehner, House Minority Leader and speedbump on the road to recovery.


And now, we wait. Or, if you are me, you send annoyed emails to every Republican in the House and Senate. I’m not so good at waiting.

Domestic Partnership Expansion in WA State

Yesterday on the Seattle Times site, attention was brought to the recent proposition expanding our state’s domestic partnership law. Described as “everything but marriage“, the expansion is being sponsored by Senator Ed Murray and Representative Jamie Pederson.

“Murray and Pedersen, two of the Legislature’s five openly gay lawmakers, said they had the support of Democratic leadership for the measure. And while Gov. Christine Gregoire hasn’t yet seen the bill, she is supportive of expanding the domestic-partnership law, spokesman Aaron Toso said.”

A related story on the Times site summarizes the rights bestowed by current domestic partnership legislature, passed in 2007 and also sponsored by Senator Ed Murray, as well as what would be gained by the proposed bill including “property and guardianship rights”.

“The overriding theme for this package is the financial security of domestic partners and their families,” Pedersen said. “A lot of this is tied to letting people organize their affairs so they are secure financially.”

Equal Rights Washington will be hosting an Equality Day on March 12th in Olympia advocating “anti-discrimination legislature and marriage equality”. Visit their website for more details. Click here to send a message to your district representative.

Special Election: Director of Elections

Director Of Elections Ballot

Director Of Elections Ballot


A few weeks ago I received a King County special elections ballot in the mail. Curious, I opened it and discovered only one race on this ballot. Disgusted with this waste of tax payer dollars ($3million estimated spent on this alone), I tossed the ballot in the stack of mail designed “To Be Sorted Later” and promptly forgot about it. Well, that is until I read a recent article about this election essentially depicting the candidates as a group of nit-picking, name-calling, dirty-trick-pulling children.

To summarize:

  • Sherril Huff: the reluctant incumbent. Denies misleading anyone. Heavily encouraged by Ron Sims to run for the seat, rented a house in the county limits the day before registration ended though didn’t move in until the week afterward. Due to Clifford’s allegations, there is a lawsuit pending over whether Huff is eligible to run or not.
  • Julie Kempf: running because someone left a nasty note on her car. “It’s a really, really bad day when people don’t run for office when some scum is running around leaving notes on windshields.” Arrested in an investigation of forgery, theft, criminal impersonation and assault, fired from her job as elections superintendent in 2003 (article). Kempf declares that she was never charged with forgery, theft, et al.
  • Chris Clifford: declares Kempf to be a liar and the other 4 candidates gutless.
  • David Irons: apparently hit his mother, though he dismisses this as routine family squabbling. He has put nearly $100,000 of his own money into the race.
  • Pam Roach: reprimanded in 2003 by a Senate committee over the resignations of two of her legislative aides; it also was reported that she had pulled a gun on an aide, though she claims that the event was different than what was claimed by others. She sponsored the “top two” primary bill.
  • Bill Anderson: first time running for office.

I think I will still throw my ballot out. This race is a joke.

Celebrating the Inauguration in Seattle


Christmas 2009 by Seattle Daily Photo via our group pool [#]

While Slog has been busily indexing a list of inauguration parties in Seattle, those of us over at Metblogs have been quietly coming up with our own list of celebrations surrounding Obama’s swearing-in tomorrow. Here’s the list of events that us Metbloggers are hoping to check out tomorrow:

Paramount Theatre will be opening its doors at 7 a.m. for a free showing of the inauguration on the big screen. Concessions to be sold include “Malia Scones with Bright Cherries and Almond Crunch,” “Banana-bama Bread,” and “Sasha’s Carroty Goodness Muffins” from Dahlia Bakery. KOMO 4 and the Seattle Theatre Group are co-hosting.

Aster Coffee Lounge is playing the inauguration on a big-screen TV, while serving red, white and blue waffles (strawberries, blueberries and whipped cream) and mimosas, according to MyBallard (#).

88 Keys in Pioneer Square will have a brunch buffet for $10.90 starting at 8 a.m. (doors open at 7 a.m.), as well as AM1090 and Lee Callahan on hand to ring in the new presidency.

– Every single Starbucks with a flat-screen TV will be showing the inauguration live. The locations are listed in an attachment at the bottom of this post.

King Cobra is throwing an inauguration party tomorrow starting at 4 p.m.

– At The Corson Building in Georgetown, $25 will get you a party with wood fired pizzas and oysters. 6 p.m.

– The Obama Ball is being thrown at the Armory complete with big band, soul food, and “keynote speakers.” Casual or formal, the ball costs $22 for individuals, $44 for couples, free for children, and begins at 6 p.m.

– Happy hour at Moe goes until 8 p.m., and then there’s the FuturObama 3D Inauguration Bash at Sole Repair, with Johnny Fever, among others, DJing, starting at 9 p.m.

Rebar is having a Return To Camelot inauguration ball with Ade and Nick Garrison and Sylvia O’Stayformore starting at 8 p.m., $10 or $5 if you’re in formal wear.

High Dive in Fremont will be having an Inauguration Celebration featuring RA Scion from Common Market with Vunt Foom Vunt Foom, with Diztortion and I-Adjust 10th and Commerce starting at 8 p.m. $6 cover.

Three Imaginary Girls is throwing an Inauguration Celebration with H is for Hellgate, Friday Mile, Benjamin Bear and Ed Wang at Chop Suey starting at 8 p.m. Cover is $7 and the event is 21+.

– Or, you could take a cue from one Metblogger, and break out that magnum-sized bottle of champagne that you’ve been saving. :)

Let us know which event you’re heading to, and we’ll add it to the list!

Yesterday’s Rally

So, as I posted yesterday morning, MoveOn.org hosted a rally at the Seattle Federal Building in support of Obama’s economic recovery plan. I’m a solution-orientated person so I visited, listened to a few stories, took a few pictures, and left feeling… disappointed.

Before I went yesterday, I had sent a few emails to the Seattle area hosts (there were several of these rally’s set up by MoveOn through out the country) asking for information on how, we, of the Pacific Northwest, could expect to benefit from the recovery plan. The response I received told me that they had not received that kind of specific information. I didn’t exactly arrive at the event with very high expectations.

Nevertheless, this kind of impersonal activism seems to be the downfall of… this kind of impersonal activism. Each region of this country tends to be suitable for a different industry therefore affected by the economic crisis in it’s own unique way. When the passing of Obama’s economic recovery package promises the creation of “green” jobs through the promotion and development of sustainable energy, I have to wonder, where will those jobs be created? Here in Seattle? How will our economy benefit?

Sign from MoveOn rally at Seattle Federal Building; Jan 14, 2009

Sign from MoveOn rally at Seattle Federal Building; taken by Madeline on Jan 14, 2009

There were maybe 30 people milling around, several of them spoke through a muffled megaphone held by a older gentleman with very shaky hands. I stood in front of the Federal Building yesterday and listened to four different individuals share their muffled, shaky stories. The purpose of their speeches: to be something we hear and relate to. “I could be you.” “You’re just like me.” These individuals are suffering as is the rest of the country. We share a similar problem. However, when being asked to blindly support a national economic recovery plan, are we certain we share a similar solution?

(FYI: City elections are coming up. Get informed of the campaigns and what can be done, right here in Seattle!)

list of lists: inauguration parties [tuesday morning drinks]

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photo by zeebleoop [flickr] via our group pool [#]

(originally posted 12 january; last update: thursday 15 january)

George W. Bush held his very last press conference this morning [wonkette] and in a week you’ll be going to sleep preparing to spend the next morning watching onetime Capitol Hill resident [chs] Barack Obama getting himself inaugurated. If, like most of us, you got turned down for tickets, thought it was ecologically or financially unfriendly to fly to D.C. to stand out in the cold on the Mall while watching on a distant big screen television, you’re probably still in the market for a morning party.

Here’s an incomplete list of what I’ve seen floating around so far:

MORNING/WATCHING THE INAUGURATION:

  • the Stranger’s party/brunch at the Triple Door is SOLD OUT, but if you have a connection to some secret tickets e-mail me. [slog]
  • the Paramount is hosting a free party in partnership with KOMO. It’s free with a bunch of Obama-themed concessions from Tom Douglas like “Malia Scones “, “Banana-bama Bread”, and “Sasha’s Carroty Goodness Muffins” paired with the “Obama-Mama” specialty cocktail for sale in the lobby. [theparamount].
  • Party with Jean Godden while feasting on selection from the Dahlia Lounge’s new brunch menu at the Palace Kitchen Ballroom. [voracious]
  • Central Cinema parts with their usual pizza party theme for a champagne toast with various brunch options. [capitolhillseattle]
  • the party at the SLU Discovery Center is free, though you might leave tempted to buy a condo. [thesouthlake]
  • Kerri Harrop and WorldChanging are hosting a free Seattle Weekly party at Spitfire. [dailyweekly]
  • AM1090 is hosting a $10.90 brunch with 10 television screens and dueling pianos. [88keys]
  • The Baltic Room will have big televisions, a bloody mary bar, and breakfast buffet. [baltic room]
  • There are 40 televisions at Sport playing the inauguration. [moveon]
  • The City of Seattle is hosting a “Celebration of Hope” viewing party from 8 am until the inaugural parade at the Center House; the audio will also be broadcast from the International Fountain, which should make for a trippy experience if kids are playing in the water and fog. [seattlecenter]
  • Brunch at Martin’s Off Madison. [seattlegayscene]
  • Starbucks is simulcasting the inauguration to 650 of its stores, including some in Seattle. Perfect for latte liberals! [nytimes]
  • MSNBC is commandeering Lincon Square Cinemas to show their coverage of the event. [msnbcevents]
  • MOE kicks off the new era in style with twelve happy hours beginning at 8 am: $2 Wells, $2 PBR & High Life, 2 flat screen TVs on all day, breakfast from Pike Street Fish Fry, Mimosas and Bloody Marys in the morning, Whiskey and Jager at night. And biznik will be there; so maybe you’ll network your way into a new economy job? [moe]

I’m sure there are others (for instance a search of online political type sites [moveon][pic2009] yields many events large and small all over the place); leave a comment or send a note to seattle.metblogs at gmail.com and I’ll keep updating this list.

What are you doing on your lunch break today?

MoveOn.org is hosting a rally for Obama’s economic recovery plan down at Federal Building today at noon. The goal being to “make clear to Congress and the media that there’s overwhelming public support for investing in green jobs, health care, and clean energy.” After the rally, members of MoveOn will deliver petitions to congress members pleading the case for support.

Well, I’m all about it and am planning to run down there for bit on my lunch break to hear some first person accounts of the economic crisis from fellow Seattle residents and support the event by showing up.

Economic Recovery Congressional Action
When: Wednesday, January 14, 12:00 PM
Where: Federal Building, Seattle
915 2nd Ave
Seattle, WA

Can we be heard here?

Snow Span

Snow Span

I must admit, I’ve been firmly on the side that thought things ran pretty smoothly during our snowstorm. Hospitals remained open, police and fire personal were able to make the rounds, and many people had days of sledding on closed (or not closed) streets. What could better define a fairly successful response to the series of snow days we had recently?

Then I read Joel Connelly’s column in the Seattle PI a few minutes ago. It somehow gave me a glimpse of perspective that numerous blog posts didn’t give me. See, I was home bound anyway during the entire situation, both at my apartment at the top of Capitol Hill and at my mother-in-law’s on Whidbey Island. I had knee surgery on December 12th, less than a week before the snow fell, and I had pretty much planned on being home during this time anyway. So to me, it didn’t seem that bad that Metro couldn’t handle it’s routes or that Seattle wouldn’t salt and properly plow the roads.

Well, anyway, Connelly describes the process that the City, services, and government offices will undergo to upgrade preparation for the next storm. During this process, there are only two opportunities for members of the public to give feedback. I had thought, especially after reading CHS’s post about a Capitol Hill Snowstorm Impact Forum, that the public would get more of a say in the matter. Apparently, again, I was wrong. It seems that the public is only an afterthought in this process. As Connelly states in his article: “It (city council) should face a basic question: Has city government become so beholden to bossy ideologues, and so smitten with mayoral “vision” projects, that it has lost sight of basic services?” If this is how the situation will be dealt with, it’s time we exercised our right to be heard. This is the contact info for the Seattle City Council. If you feel that the city handled the recent snow situation badly, contact them via email or phone and demand a more open public forum process.

Edit to add: Andrew Taylor posts to CHS with the dates/times for the two forums that include public comments:

Tuesday, January 6 at 9:30 a.m. – Joint Meeting of the Transportation and Environment, Emergency Management, and Utilities Committees: Briefing and Discussion with Seattle Department of Transportation, Human Services Department, Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle City Light, Office of Emergency Management and King County Metro Transit. Time will be available for public comment.

Friday, February 20 at 9:30 a.m. – Joint Meeting of the Transportation and Environment, Emergency Management, and Utilities Committees: Establish a detailed Action Plan for improved response. Time will be available for public comment.

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