Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Penoyar for Judge


In addition to the conservative attempts to sandbag the state Supreme Court, there seems to be a similar effort to unseat a quality judge at the Appeal Court level in Southwest Washington. Judge Joel Penoyar is facing off with Brent Boger, who had been given a plus rating by the Faith and Freedom Network and is the former head of the Pacific Legal Foundation's Northwest office.

Like the Supreme Court races, Appeal Judges can be unseated in the primary. Penoyar is a judge in Division II, District 3 (which covers Clark, Cowlitz, Lewis, Pacific, Skamania and Wahkiakum counties).

In addition to not liking the Faith and Freedom Network and the PLF, I have personal reasons for preferring Judge Penoyar, probably over most other candidates. I met Judge Penoyar when I was covering a small town controversy for the Montesano Vidette. The case of a McCleary Mayor that had been accused of stealing from the city was moved out of Grays Harbor and into Pacific County, where Judge Penoyar was then a Superior Court judge.

While I and my colleague waited for court to start (we got their early) Judge Penoyar chatted with us in his chambers. Somewhat about how he expected to behave (within the bounds of reason), but mostly he quizzed us about our impressions of college and how we'd come to choose ours. We were both young, and recently out of college. I was actually still working towards my degree at Evergreen, and it was odd feeling to be asked for advice from a judge. A really judgy looking judge too.

A year or so later I was back in South Bend covering a high school football game for the Aberdeen Daily World. I was walking up to the press box when I passed Judge Penoyar, this time in his civies. He recognized me and we chatted. His son had chosen a school (I forget where specifically, but I think it was a small liberal arts college in the midwest), and that he'd chosen it so he could play soccer (not a bad reason). Since I was a sports reporter (technically) at the time, Judge Penoyar also took the opportunity to suggest that the Daily World make an extra effort to cover more soccer games in Pacific County.

In my two run-ins with Judge Penoyar I always got the impression that he was a genuinely nice guy and a fair person. That he is a judge makes sense to me. That he is now being challenged by a far right lawyer feels offensive.

Here is what I can find out about Boger so far:
  • Former PLF Lawyer. The PLF is a right wing, property rights law firm that fights the bad fight on many environmental and land use fights in the West.
  • Plus rating by the Faith and Freedom Network. While Judge Penoyar declined to fill out their questionnaire, Boger got a plus rating by saying he supported the "U.S. Supreme Court, Boy Scouts can deny leadership positions to homosexuals" and for sending out a press release this year supporting the Supreme Court's "defense of marriage" ruling.
  • His "bi-partisan" endorsements include: Supreme Court Justice Jim Johnson, Dino Rossi (who gave him $100), and Senator Slade Gorton.
  • Two of his top contributions include $1,400 from the 49th LD Republicans (no Democratic organization gave him money) and $1,400 from the Washington Affordable Housing Council, the PAC of the Building Industry Association of Washington.

Mike McGavick's new mea culpa ad

First there was the ad covering the dust-up over the entire skateboard through the window thing. Now the new ad.



Find it here.

Sen. Tim Sheldon to be opposed by state party, officially

From email:
...please be advised that State Party Chair Dwight Pelz is convening a press conference at 10 AM tomorrow morning at our campaign office (506 SW Columbia) to announce the Washington State Democrats' endorsement of Kyle Taylor Lucas in the 35th LD Senate primary race against incumbent Tim Sheldon.
And, our county party is also putting down a lot of money on Kyle Taylor Lucas, Sheldon's opponent:
Thurston County Democrats Vote to Provide $15,000 to Kyle Taylor Lucas' Primary Campaign

At its monthly central committee meeting tonight, the Thurston County Democrats (TCD) voted unanimously to donate $15,000 from the local party to 35th LD State Senate candidate Kyle Taylor Lucas. Ms. Lucas is vying for the seat currently held by incumbent Senator Tim Sheldon, who's also running as a Democrat.

TCD Chair, John Cusick, stated "It's amazing how critical this primary race is to our membership and, from what I'm hearing, Democrats across Washington state. Our members recognize Kyle, unlike the incumbent, doesn't have big corporate contributions contributing to her primary election bid. Their long-standing, deep frustration with the incumbent's votes against the interests of the district's working men and women and their families, coupled with his outright support of George Bush and the Republican party compelled them to do whatever they could to help ensure she can get her message out to more voters during the next several weeks."

Each of the local party organizations within the 35h LD has voted to support Lucas' bid to gain the Democratic nomination during this season's primary election.
More on Tim Sheldon:
Tim Sheldon Lied, he gave $10,000 to the GOP

Which Democratic candidates did Sheldon help beat in 2002?

Tim Sheldon fails to get campaign services from Thurston County Democrats

More Tim Sheldon thoughts: "shouting down"

Tim Sheldon loses endorsement of 35th District Dems

TC Blue: Sheldon and voting the represent the district
Flummo: Oly chat
Flummo: Recall the Hillbilly!
Evergreen Politics: Kyle Taylor Lucas: Sheldon-Slayer?
Chase's blog: A New Letter That I Have Written

Monday, August 28, 2006

More Re: "Suppression of Dissent in Mrs. Gregoire's Amerikkka"

I wrote about this earlier here. But, now I have some questions about the headline.

What does Gov. Gregoire have to do with the restatement of a Legislative Ethics Boards decision from 2004?

What does any of this have to do with the Klan?

RE: SP's "Suppression of Dissent in Mrs. Gregoire's Amerikkka"

They... won't... let... him ... post... Legislative press releases on his campaign website! Oh my freaking God, what a travesty!!

Turns out Rep. Toby Nixon wants to cut and past some press releases written for him by his legislative staff onto his campaign website. Also turns out this is against the rules (for Democrats, Republicans and theoretical Libertarians) and he is being asked to take them down. Turns out that the legislative caucus websites basically become blank during campaign season so as not to run imply that state money is being used for campaigns.

Stephan casts this as a "public information" sort of bad thing, that by asking Nixon to take the state-funds written press releases down, they're also asking him to take information away from the public. Oh, ok. Because there is no other way for people to find out what their legislators are doing, other than through legislative caucus press releases.

Two possible ways they could get around this one.

1. Get a nice eager Young Republican intern (or paid staffer) to rewrite the press releases. This isn't that hard, shouldn't take anyone very long. In most circles its called plagiarism, most students these days are familiar with the technique. Shouldn't be a problem.

Take these rewritten press releases and then post them on your website. For of course they were actually written by your campaign staff, but were based on publicly available information.

2. Understand the Internet. Just because something is taken off a website, doesn't mean it is gone. Both Google Cache and the internet archive are really good at finding old versions of websites, such as the House Republican Caucus newspapge. In this case, Google Cache wins though.

For example: House approves loans for public works projects benefiting East King County communities

While they're copies of the original works of state employees, they aren't actually hosted on state servers, possibly getting around the letter, if not the intent, of the law.

UPDATE: Here's Nixon's letter and press release on the topic. Nothing new to add, but it was funny to see him mention the difference between a paper society and a digital one. FYI, Michael O'Connell and Emmett O'Connell, no relation.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Blogging ranked choice in Pierce County

Ealier I wrote a bit about the Ranked Choice amendment in Pierce County. Kelly Haughton of the Charter Review Board is writing a Ranked Choice blog. And, it isn't half bad.

Will the Grange non-partisan initiative turn into IRV?

Could the Democratic majority in the legislature and the Democratic governor get the Grange to put their guns down and craft a deal on elections in Washington? The end result being an Instant Runoff Voting system?

For more information on how IRV works, go here.

Assume two things happen by December:

1. The Democratic Party maintains its lead in both the state House and Senate.

2. The Grange puts together a campaign and files an initiative for a totally non-partisan primary.

I'm not that well informed enough to know if the first is going to happen, but what I haven't heard there is much of a chance of Democrats losing our majorities.

And as for the second, from what the Grange folks have been saying, they're on their way to developing their initiative, either for 2007 or 2008. Seattle Times:
"This is our most viable option, no party designation," said Dan Hammock, spokesman for the Grange

...

"Now is the time for the voters of this state to unite to take control of elections back from the political parties," state Grange President Terry Hunt said. "The Grange will go forward with the top-two initiative, and follow the court's direction by removing any and all party designations on the ballot."
But, instead of pushing for a Top Two non-partisan qualifying primary, what if the Grange dropped its guns and joined the Democratic Party majority in the legislature to craft an Instant Runoff Vote bill? While it seems the Grange is dead set on resurecting the original 1935 Open Primary, Democratic activists across the state seem to like the idea of IRV.

IRV has the unique position of actually being what the Grange would like (allowing anyone to vote for any candidate) and being a political possibility with at least one of the parties in the state. For example at least two county Democratic parties included IRV in their platforms recently (Whatcom this year and Thurston in 2004).

Also, famous rocker, Granger and Democrat, Krist Novoselic is a big supporter of IRV (his post at Washblog here), and could help make this happen.

In terms of convincing legislators on and IRV system, it is a matter of convincing them that first the Grange's non-partisan primary initiative would actually be filed and win. Given the above quote, the Grange is going to do it. Whether it would win or not, remember I-872 won by over 60 percent and won in every county Washington.

And, two they would need to think that IRV would have to be a system they could live with. Given number one would be true, would they rather live in a world where their political affiliations didn't appear beside their names? I'm not a legislature, I don't really know, but I have an idea.

Sort of a preview of this possibility, an IRV charter amendment is on the ballot in Pierce County this fall. It uses the same type of language that you would assume the next Grange iniative would use "Want Something Different than the Pick A Party Primary?" and "Any Candidate, Any Party."

It also has the support of a diverse and bi-partisan group of Pierce County politicians, including two sitting county council members (on Dem and one R) the Republican auditor candidate, a couple of Democratic PCOs and a Bonney Lake city council member. If Proposition 3 ends up passing, it would say a lot about whether IRV has broad support.

Democratic Party Builder

A year or so ago when I wrote about meetup.com starting to charge for their services, I complained that the DNC needed to come out with their own out of the box solution. Since then DFA launched theirs, Townhall did so too and some private sector replacements have sprung up.

Yesterday, though, the DNC launched their own package, including a meetup type application, Party Builder:

Over a year ago, a few of us here in the DNC's Internet department started talking about devolving our technology to users. After all, you're Democrats too, so why were we the only ones with a blog on Democrats.org? Well, after a lot of work by a lot of people, now you do -- along with a lot of other things.

We're pushing out a group of tools today we call PartyBuilder. A literal name for obvious reasons: the Party belongs to you, and it's built upon the work and passion so many of you have put into things like door knocking, phone banking and, yes, contributing. Now, we're giving you the tools to build it online.

There's a lot here. Social networking, grouping, a community blog, the events tool you've used for things like the 50-State Canvass or the Democratic Reunion, personal fundraising tools, and a petitions and letters section that we're going to expand on. You should take a minute to look through it...it's exciting stuff.

I'd like to tell you more, but I can't seem to log in. I know I have an account with democrats.org, it won't let me create a new account with my email address, but it also won't let me sign in with it. Even when I request a new password. Weirdness.

Anyway.

This is a good description of the different tools. I'm mostly interested in the local meeting tool, friends tool (which could replicate the "getting the newbies involved" greatness of meetup) and the My Friends tool (kind of like MySpace for Democrats?).

One thing I hope happens is that the CIOs of the various state parties and the tech geeks at the county and local parties latch onto this and try to meld as much of what we're doing to what is going on at the national level. Actually, that would be something tell you could happen if I could sign in. A great idea would be to have an RSS feed based on a search of local events from democrats.org. That feed could be published on the sites of local Democrat clubs. Would be pretty cool.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Which Democratic candidates did Sheldon help beat in 2002?

When Sen. Tim Sheldon sent $10K to the Republican Senate Campaign Committee in 2002, $7K of it came before the election when the Republicans took back control of the Senate. While $10K may not be a lot in the grand scheme of things, it may have actually swung the election, it was so freakin' close.

Said Chris Vance in 2002:
The post-election lay of the land is this: Republicans lost two seats in the state House and are in a 46-52 minority. In the state Senate, however, the GOP came from behind to capture a 25-24 majority

...

In the campaigns for state Senate, on the other hand, Republicans showed the strength of our get-out-the-vote drive. Of the seven competitive Senate races, the GOP won six. Winning the majority in one chamber of the state Legislature — while the House and governor's office are still controlled by the Democrats — is no small feat. It means Republicans will be able to help set the agenda for the upcoming legislative session.
So who were the Democrats that lost to Tim Sheldon and the RSCC in 2002?

Laurie Dolan lost to Jim West (yes, that Jim West) by less than 2,000 votes out of almost 50,000 cast in LD 6.

Betty Ringlee lost to Robert Oke 49.5 percent to 50.4 percent up in Kitsap County. This is the same seat that Rep. Derek Kilmer has a good chance at winning this year, if Sheldon doesn't ship money off to his opponent, Lois McMahan (yes, that Lois McMahan).

Yvonne Ward lost to Pam Roach (yes, Pam Roach) by just over a thousand votes and a couple of percentage points in LD 31.

Georgia Gardner lost in the 42nd to Dale Brandland, where a Green Party candidate pulled enough votes that would have put Gardner on top.

Phil Doerflein (47 percent) lost to David Schmidt (53 percent) in LD 44.

Deborah Jacobson (45 percent) lost to Stephen Johnson (55 percent) in LD 47.

The Democratic Party shouldn't have sued to overturn the Top Two primary

It would have been thrown out anyway, because I'm sure the Republicans would have taken it this far too. But, that isn't my real reason.

In 2004, political participation spiked. But, not in a way that benefited organized politics or parties.

More people tried to influence how others voted:



















A lot more people put a sticker on their car or wore a button:



















But only a small amount of additional people attended political meetings in 2004. This increase probably has to do with the increase in non-traditional meetings available (such as meetups) that the parties never intended to happen:


















And the percentage of people who actually "worked" for a candidate during 2004 stayed exactly the same as in 2000, 2002 and in 2004:


















Even though more people were engaged in 2004 it didn't translate into the deep sort of engagement that turns people out during March of an off season to build the party. Our local and state parties couldn't translate increase participation in 2004 into increased participation later on because we aren't built to catch those kinds of citizens.

So, what does this have to do with the Top Two primary?

The most blistering attack on the Top Two is that it hurts parties, and therefore hurts democracy. I'd agree that parties are good for Democracy, but the kinds of parties that are built for closed primaries are not the kinds of parties people are seeking to join. In essence, we need parties that are built for people that tried to get their friends to vote a certain way and put bumper stickers on their cars, but didn't attend a political meeting.

As politics is becoming less traditional, moving out into the world of personal relationships, so do the parties (or at least the Democratic Party does, I don't really care what the Republicans do).

I like the ideas of the Blue Tiger Democrats in this regard. They say the local parties should be as interested in civic engagement on the local level as they are with winning elections. The more people see the Democratic Party itself as a force for good, the way you see the Shriners or the Lions, and less as an organization that sues to overturn a popular initiative and win elections for the sake of winning elections, the better.

Granted, the Top Two primary is gone and was obviously unconstitutional. But, I would have loved to see the party that thrived under those conditions. How would you have built a party, with broad participation, if you had an open primary system?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Tim Sheldon Lied, he gave $10,000 to the GOP

UPDATE: Which Democrats did he help beat in 2002?

From the Olympian chat today:
Sal, Olympia: Why do you still believe you can call yourself a Democrat when you voted for George Bush and gave $10,000 of your surplus campaign funds to the GOP?

Sheldon: I certainly call myself a Democrat. I'm a member of the party. I voted for Bush, but I also voted for Patty Murray. I voted for Dino Rossi and also Brad Owen, a Democrat. I didn't give $10,000 to the GOP. I do give money to organizations that may have supported Republicans. I also give money to organizations that do support Democrats.

From the Public Disclosure Commission:
SENATE REPUB CAMP COMM
11/18/2002
$3,000.00
G
SHELDON TIMOTHY - SURPLUS FUNDS ACCT
HOODSPORT WA 98548
ST. SENATOR SURPLUS FUNDS

SENATE REPUB CAMP COMM
10/09/2002
$2,000.00
G
SHELDON TIMOTHY - SURPLUS FUNDS ACCT
HOODSPORT WA 98548
SURPLUS FUNDS SENATE

REPUB CAMP COMM
10/16/2002
$2,000.00
G
SHELDON TIMOTHY - SURPLUS FUNDS ACCT
HOODSPORT WA 98548
ST. SENATOR SURPLUS FUNDS

SENATE REPUB CAMP COMM
10/04/2002
$1,500.00
G
SHELDON TIMOTHY - SURPLUS FUNDS ACCT
HOODSPORT WA 98548
SURPLUS FUNDS

SENATE REPUB CAMP COMM
10/11/2002
$1,500.00
G
SHELDON TIMOTHY- SURPLUS FUNDS ACCT
HOODSPORT WA 98548
SURPLUS FUNDS
You can find the same information by going here, choosing the Senate Republican Campaign Committee, and sorting by contributor name and then amount.

The Senate Republican Campaign Committee may have given money to Republicans? You're kidding.

While the SRCC may not the "GOP" by the strictest definition, it is a GOP organization, and that kind of parsing is trying to get away from saying "I support Republicans" while still being able to do it.

Sheldon is trying to win a closed Democratic primary, and as long as he still calls himself a Democrat, he should at least try to act like one.

Top Two down again

The 9th Circuit agreed with Zinny, the I-872 Primary system does too much harm to political parties. I'll probably write about this later some more, but this leaves me with two thoughts for now:

1. We missed our chance. The Democratic Party didn't have to join with the Republicans to overturn the system. I-872 was passed overwhelmingly by Washington voters. Us who are active in party politics have to ask ourselves the hard questions of why this is.

Why don't people want to be associated, good or ill, with a party label? Why don't more people get involved in party politics? I don't think its them, I really think its us.

2. What will the Washington State Grange do next? In Oregon they think they had an idea that would have passed court muster (it didn't end up getting on the ballot) and in Pierce County they're putting non-partisan elections on the ballot.

I don't know if there is actually a middle ground for the Grange to howe here, but they might just go all the way to statewide, non-partisan.

Tim Eyman is a woose and hates democracy

All three of the Democratic state legistors in Tim Eyman's district (the fightin' 21st) are not facing anyone come September 19th or in November. Not even token Republican opposition. Even here in the flumoxin' 22nd, one of the safest D districts in the state both of our state representatives are facing token Republicans.

What is even worse is that Eyman was asked to run:
Sen. Eyman? Hewitt says he pressured Tim Eyman, the state's foremost initiative sponsor, to challenge Democrat Shin. He says Eyman declined, choosing to stay an outside activist.
Eyman tries to point out through his initiatives how out of touch state legislators are from the people. That his efforts are a blow to this disconnection between electeds and the electors. That may be true (I happen to be a fan of the intiative process, but not Eyman or his ideas), but the worst thing about his point is that he is doing nothing to solve the problem.

Rather, he is taking advantage of this disconnection. He could run for office and be an example of the right kind of elected official. The initiative process is our last fail safe for when the legislative process doesn't work. But, Eyman isn't willing to give the legislative process a chance before going to the backup.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Tim Eyman and unopposed legislators

Tim Eyman makes pretty good hay knocking around legislators, so why are the three Democratic legislators in his district not facing any opposition? (I know this is my second post on the same article this morning. Sue me, I'm unimaginative).

I know Eyman has used the excuse before as to why he doesn't run for office that he is more effective running initiatives, but isn't this also true:

Seattle Times:

Competition "is a very important part of the process. It makes us better public servants to be questioned and challenged," he said. "And I have seen a number of times when somebody is not expected to have a chance and they end up winning. That's not happening much anymore because they [the parties] don't field candidates."

Critics contend the lack of competition can lead to a less-responsive Legislature because politicians who don't have to worry about getting kicked out of office are less likely to listen to their voters.

If what Eyman wants is a more responsive legislature, wouldn't it be important for people to run against office holders?

Don't worry if you don't have a choice

Seattle Times:
"I wouldn't say people should worry," he said. "I think in Washington state, Democrats and Republicans are competing on the issues and are posing viable alternatives to the people."

But he speaks from a position of comfort. Most of the unopposed candidates are Democrats, and the party already controls the state House, Senate and governor's office.

...

There's no consensus whether the trend will continue.

"All of this is speculation on all of our parts," said Diane Tebelius, chairwoman of the state Republican Party.

Of course they don't mind, not having an opponent is good for political parties, not so good for democracy though.

The lack of competition in many legislative districts throughout the state is one of the few reasons that I disagreed with the Democratic Parties choice to sue to overturn the Top Two primary. Unlike closed primary apologists like Andrew, I think having only one choice in November is bad. Even if the competition comes from inside your own party, it is better than not having a vote at all.

It is only slightly better to have a very underfunded opponent running a token campaign, which is the case in even more LDs, including my own.

An even better idea than opening up competition by opening the elections, would be erasing the financial advantage many incumbents enjoy by passing a statewide public financing law, like in Maine or Arizona.

Democrats, Republicans and freedom for other people

This will be a long rambling post that's been rattling in my head since high school. You don't have to read it, even if you like me. I just wanted to write it, and now I will be writing it badly. Oh well, someone should tell me one of these days that I'm not a foreign policy expert.

Alan's post over at the NPI's official blog about the recent election in Mexico, and the Democratic party's lack of response to the possibility that Mexican votes may not have counted reminded me of something. Both parties really don't care about Mexican votes, and I'm almost positive Alan wouldn't be complaining about our lack of response had the conservative candidate been at the losing end in Mexico.

On the Republican end, I got into a short tiff with McGavick's bloggers (over email and comment) about his call for FIFA to not allow Iran into the World Cup not because Iran isn't a democracy, but because of their stance towards the United States and their neighbors. And the holocost, he had a good point about the irony of the holocost and the Nurenburg Stadium.

Anyway, if McGavick had drawn his line in the sand on civil and electoral liberties, Saudi Arabia, Angola, Cote d'Ivoire, Togo and Tunisia wouldn't have been able to compete either. While I guess Democrats not wanting to comment on freedom overseas is bad, at they don't use it as a blanket when they talk about countries they simply don't like.

Take Egypt for example. We seem to like Egypt, despite that Egypt is pretty un-free right now. And, unlike Iraq and Afganistan, we don't care so much about freedom in Egypt:

Last year U.S. pressure impelled Mubarak to hold Egypt's first presidential election. U.S. pressure also led to a relaxation of constraints on freedom of speech, press and assembly that began to change the quality of public life in Egypt. Given this momentum, it was expected that Mubarak, once reelected, would allow further liberalization. Instead, 2006 has brought a wave of repression and brutality... The regime's goons have bloodied and arrested peaceful protesters doing nothing more than expressing solidarity with the dignified protests of Egypt's judges. Spurred by the persecution of its leaders for exposing election irregularities, the extraordinary judges' movement has sprung to the forefront of agitation for reform.

In response to these abuses, U.S. press spokesmen have issued formulaic criticisms, and Nour's conviction on patently bogus charges led Washington to postpone trade talks. But the mild tone of U.S. protests, the low level at which most have been delivered and the admixture of warm gestures toward the regime -- such as the meetings Vice President Cheney and other top officials held with Mubarak's son and hoped-for heir, Gamal, last month -- have combined to create the impression that the Bush administration has begun to pull its punches on Middle East democracy.

Egypt is an important sidekick in the war on terror. We can send them people to torture, and they'll take care of it for us.

Democracy, it seems, doesn't always serve our interests, and where it doesn't, we don't care about it. Despite what the President says during speeches. I linked to the President's inaugural speech there, and I think it's worth pointing out that following that speech, that his adminstration pointed out that they weren't actually changing things. Our focus on democracy was the same before all of his flowerly talk as it was after.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Bob MacLeod and Dan Venable (and a few more things)

I'm not going to vote for Kevin O'Sullivan, not a chance in heck. But, I'm thinking twice about my vote on the primary ballot between Bob Macleod and Dan Venable. I don't have any problem with Macleod. I voted for him four years ago and almost fully plan on voting for him again. But, my main problems with county government may never be adressed by him. Venable, though, seems able to hit them on the head.

Take this answer from the Olympian's Capitol Chat:
I agree with Bob on I-933, pretty much straight through. It's a bad initiative that will cost the county a lot of money. I am a property-rights individual, I'm strong on property rights, but I-933 isn't the answer to the issues we're faced with today, like growth. There are other ways of working through it. There are some circumstances within the county -- in rezoning -- where some people will be severely and negatively impacted. There are some people who will be impacted less than others but still it may not be their preference.

I think it's for the good of the whole overall county, and as Bob has said, we have a lot of other things the county needs to do to sustain the growth here. We haven't been keeping up with that where we're at now. I'm against I-933 as it stands. I think we need zoning regulations. We're under state mandate to protect our resources. The city of Olympia has gotten eminent domain for the brewery water, then was joined by the cities of Lacey and Tumwater, which means somewhere along the line they weren't thinking ahead about their water issues when all this growth was happening, and I think the county also needs to take a look back and see what it could have done better in the past four years.
...

I would like to say about the meetings conducted to get public input on the rezoning -- I've attended three, Aad it seems as though, from a resident's point of view, they're getting a lot of lip service from the county. They say they want to hear what we have to say, but when it comes out, none of the resident's thoughts are reflected in it.

It seems like it's a pacifier, not a real problem-solving task. It seems like "tell us what you think and we're going to do what we want." That's the opinion I'm getting from a lot of people and one of the reasons I decided to run for County Commission.
I know, long quote to get to what I think was the main point. The county seems to treat the public process like something they need to get through, not something that can actually do something. A lot of the controversy surrounding the new county critical area's ordinance could have been avoiding if they'd started with a more inclusive public process.

It isn't like the board of commissioners isn't thinking in this direction. The Citizen Priorities for Thurston County Government seems to be a good start, but there are problems with it.

One, it was a one year project, it seems. These kinds of projects, if they really want to develop an understanding of how citizens want their money spent, should happen every year. At most, you get a snap shot of one year. At worst, you get a distorted view. By engaging, in depth, you not only create trust between the board and citizens, you start to see a trend in what people are thinking.

Two, the website for it sucks. There is some basic information in .pdf files (of all things... was their something about html that was problem?) on the process, but in terms of actually engaging via the web, there is nothing there.

The step to send packets to 2,400 random voters in the county was a great step. Inviting "the public" into a process like this invites the same old activist folks to make their case, and you really don't get anything new. Phone interviews with 600 randomly chosen of the original 2,400, even better.

Better yet would have been allowing a web version of the same interview. Even better would have been to have sit down discussions with these folks too.

Three, The actual public process was six hours over three days. You expect to get a broad view of how we want to spend almost $400 million in three nights?

Anyway, to get back to my first Macleod/Venable topic, it seems like Venable realizes their is a public involvement problem at the county. If I do end up voting for him, it will be because of this.

Get your No'Sullivan right here

Don't like O'Sullivan? Want No'Sullivan intsead? Get your bumbersticker or shirt here.

No doubt the most important race in Thurston County this year is between Democrat Bob Macleod and former Democrat Kevin O'Sullivan for county commissioner. Four years of O'Sullivan gave many people in Thurston County reason not to want four more, and he was soundly defeated in the Democratic primary. Now, he's back as a Republican, and O'Sullivan is working hard to make the issues around I-933 the center of his campaign.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Blue Tiger Dems on DailyKos

Brian Keeler passes on a diary post from the founder of the Blue Tiger Dems. Pretty good observation on why Lieberman/Lamont is so important. And, it has very little to do with the Iraq War, but rather about our party:

In reality, the Lamont candidacy is signaling something far more important for the Democratic Party.

Lamont's candidacy is an indicator of a homecoming for "progressives" as they return to work within the Democratic Party at the local level versus criticizing it from the outside.

The fact that Lieberman has now chosen to run as an independent signals his complete lack of understanding of how important people feel it is to make the Democratic party relevant again, a party that stands up strongly against the Republicans on an array of issues, not just the war. In short, Lieberman is out and the progressives are moving back in.

...

Over the years, the word "Progressive" has come to represent activists who are uncomfortable identifying and associating with the Democratic party. Lamont and Keeler are examples of progressives moving from criticizing the Democratic Party from the outside, to rejoining it and running for office.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Democratic Party was hot and activists debated and fought within the party over priorities such as the Vietnam War, civil rights, the environment and women's rights. By 2000 the same issue oriented activists were working outside the party rather than within it. This was problem was exacerbated by McCain-Feingold, which forced activists to find alternative methods of financing outside of the party. The party literally could not coordinate with "progressives". This has moved energy away from the party structure, creating a larger chasm between voters and local Democratic organizations, once the backbone of the party.

...

With Lieberman running as an independent, he again misses the big picture as he did when he aligned himself too closely to the Republicans on the war and other issues. Lamont has won the Connecticut primary. He should be supported by all Democrats, because the most important goal is to bring independents and progressives back to the Democratic party.
That Bill Samuels will be posting at DailyKos kind of answers my question from this morning. And, this perspective on the Conn. Senate race answers something else I had stewing about being more specific about how the lessons of the 19th century can apply to today.

McGavick: Stay the course

McGavick may like to use his way-back machine to become a Senator and vote against the Iraq War, but for now he's all about staying the course.

Why no Blue Tiger Dems blog?

I just realized something was missing over at my new fascination, Blue Tiger Democrats. No blog.

Not that I'm criticizing, I'm just curious. There are already more than one animal based Democratic blog. The DNC's used to be called "Kicking Ass," though the animal reference was probably more of a wink than a nod. And the DLC even has a blog zoo with a New Donkey and a Bull Moose. This isn't really the point though.

Blue Tiger employs some folks from here, a pretty webby firm, and their idea seems to be built for speed on a media like the internet. Getting local Democratic groups to become agents of civic engagement isn't something you can do from afar. They obviously know this, they've already hired folks to work in three states.

Also, despite my track record, I'm not some who just suggests at the drop of a hat to anyone who doesn't have a blog, "oh, you should have one," because they really aren't for everyone, and not everyone would benefit, do it well, or even see the point in it.

But in terms of spreading the gospel of the Blue Tiger, even if it is a thin, internet gospel, to local Dems like me, a blog would be a good start. Maybe with an obvious "submit YOUR stories" section. Just an idea.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

"Ron Sims' growth machine"?

There's an interesting post on local growth management over at the Sound Politics Public blogs. One would assume that it would detail the unfeeling environmental bureaucracy over at King County, how they roll over rural landowners who just want to do with their land what they want. Rather, its a short example of how often times when landowners want to preserver the rural feel of their community, there is nothing local government can do about it. Despite what some folks say.

Read the entire post, but here's the good part:

With my councilmember gagged within the convenient "quasi-judicial" straightjacket surrounding land use decisions, forbidding her to even discuss related issues with here constituents, it's clear that Mr. Spohr is just one more cog in Ron Sims' growth machine. Citizens still have no means to challenge the systemic wrongdoing within this government that occurs every day. The creation of the new Rural Ombudsman is just the latest cruel joke in support of King County's false interest in responding to rural concerns.

Quadrant, KCDOT and King County DDES have sued the King County Hearing Examiner over his recommendation to the King County Council to deny Redmond Ridge East and rescind its 2002 traffic concurrency certificate. Several King County DOT whistleblowers are currently in Federal Court alleging, among other things, retaliation against them by their managers after they refused to go along with what they believed were improper and even illegal acts committed by the King County Concurrency Group to help Quadrant obtain a certificate to allow 800 more homes along Novelty Hill Road east of Redmond. Novelty Hill Road has been operating above design capacity for several years now.

"Ron Sims' growth machine"? That isn't what some would have you believe:
King County government has stolen our land, our money, our trust, our votes, our freedom and our liberty. How 15,000 people can work for such corrupt leadership is beyond me. Ignorance and apathy are the only pillars that hold up the administration of Executive Ron Sims and his council and DDES.
So, if I-933 gives developers more leeway with local government, how many more situations like what the Sound Politics blogger above described will come down the pipe?

Dems more united behind Cantwell than Republicans behind McGavick

Well, that's that I guess.

Ninety percent of Dems say they'll vote for Cantwell next month and 66 percent of Republicans will vote for Mike McGavick. The much lower number for McGavick isn't surprising since his biggest challenge seems to be getting the unknowns down (19 percent). It isn't like there is a serious challenger for him, aside from people not knowing who he is.

The threat of a real Cantwell dissenter, or even anyone breaking 10 percent against her in the primary, seems to have faded as well. Even Mike Goodspaceguy Nelson got more (3 percent to 2 percent) than the leading anti-Cantwell candidate.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Netroots Agenda (Washington State)

It is here.

Noemie has a good post on it here.

Roughly based on Sinced Sliced Bread, it is intended (from my point of view, I'm not talking for the other folks helping organize this) to build something constructive from the netroots. Let me know what you think.

And, if you have an idea, for pete's sake, post it.

Civic (engagement) Democratic Party -- Blue Tiger Dems

Cross posted at MyDD.

For the last few months I've been thinking about this concept called civic republicanism, a sort of catch all counter philosophy for the overarching theme of the Republican Party (which is I got mine). A "greater good" philosophy would cover all the typical Democratic bases, and bring them together in a way that

The argument for a "greater good" philosophy for the Democratic Party has been focused around what kind of politics we should believe. I've even started keeping notes on what I think would be included in a civic republican platform (wiki here).

Last week though, I stumbled on the Blue Tiger Democrats, a group that is convinced (without using the civic republican term) that such a move should go beyond a platform of beliefs, but into how the Democratic Party operates as an entity locally.

It used to be that the Democratic Party was engaged in the local communities where Democrats lived. They supported the poor, acted as a conduit to local government, and provided services to those who needed them. The party acted as a social glue among its members.

From their website:

Blue Tiger Democrats believe that civic engagement must be the first and foremost priority of local Democratic and Progressive organizations across the country.

We advocate channeling the massive volunteerism seen during the 2004 election and recent periods of crisis towards civic engagement just as Democrats did historically from the mid 1800s through World War II.

Far too much Progressive political giving goes to funding 30-second commercials.

Our mission is to encourage you to invest a portion of your funds in strengthening the roots of party organizations at the local level through civic engagement.

By performing civic engagement, local party organizations will regain respect in their communities and therefore be able to play a larger role in vetting and grooming new Democratic candidates and workers.

Blue Tiger Democrats are putting into words something that I've been feeling for awhile now. Even our local Democratic clubs are becoming essentially campaign committees, the main focus is to get Democrats elected, and not necessarily do the things that political parties have traditionally done. Its no question why people see politics are being shallow and self serving, the parties are focused on one thing, getting people elected. If other good acts are taken up, they need to feed directly into what we really know is the real purpose.

I think we should shed this single focus for the local parties, and bring up a second purpose: civic engagement. The party itself needs to do good things, not just encourage others to do good. And, our good acts shouldn't just be cover for our real intent, they should be part of our intent.

Another Blue Tiger Dems post

Here at Better Donkey. Ironic writing about Tigers at a Donkey blog, but they're all donkey blogs.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

libertarians, their party and why they'll never take over the government

Well, they don't like government. So, why would they associate with it?

This is a post I've been meaning to write for awhile now, told someone I'd right over a week ago (Emmett, Emmett, Emmett), and have now just been reminded to get on the stick.

So, Jack says:

Mark posts a comment in his own blog that spells out exactly why I’d rather be a “little l” libertarian than be a Libertarian party member. Quoted in its entirety, Mark said:

I don’t agree with Free Libertarian that the “true home” for libertarians is the Libertarian Party. Most people seem to think that the only way to change society is through political means, i.e., through party politics. That only shows that most of us are addicted to politics. What is needed for a free society is the elimination of political influences on our lives. Politicization of decision-making in all areas of life is the collectivist way of running a society.

Joining the Libertarian Party is joining the political process. As in all parties, the end result will be political careerism and political deal-making. Capital-L Libertarians are not necessarily different from any other political operatives. They are subject to (and many will acquiesce in) the pressures on all politicians to keep their jobs and take money for favors.

Relying on the political process to free us from the corrupting and anti-liberty consequences of the political process is a fundamental mistake and a contradiction of libertarian principles.

IÂ’m still learning my way through all this nonsense, but I can always count on Mark to codify something that IÂ’ve been thinking about. Now he just needs to post about the meaning of life and IÂ’ll be set.

So, here's the conundrum: for all libertarians (and some Libertarians) and some Republicans (the kind that are sort of like libertarians), if you think you can't trust government, what are you doing getting involved with a political party? Of course, I come from a civic baphilosophicallysophicaly, so I think "getting involved" is the only path to really good government, so I'm coming to this question from a different path.

While I don't like "political careerism and political deal-making" any more than the original blogger, I think about them as perversions (at least in perception) of the real civic deal: constant citizen engagement (whether or not you get paid) and really listening to other people. It seems that libertarians have the same aversions to government that many of us have, including a lot of Democrats. We don't like government becrottens wrotten, there seems to be a lot of self serving people running for office under many different party banners and no one really believes in anything.

But, to believe that these are fatal flaws of our system of government is short sighted and is seeing the perversion of the system as the system itself.

I'd like to see a world though where people get involved and stay involved and where people hold core beliefs, but are also willing to see the world through the eyes of someone else if that means something gets done.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

933: Measure 37 to the extreme (and get involved)

Eric has a great post article in the Oregonian on 933. I like this point the best:
I-933 would short-circuit community. Despite deceptive language to the contrary, I-933 jeopardizes common-sense laws that are decades old. For example, in order to qualify for flood insurance, communities often must prohibit development in flood plains. But under I-933, communities that need insurance may be forced to pay property owners not to build in known flood zones.
Also, if you want to learn how to be an advocate for the good side No on 933 is holding a "Speakers Training and Day of Action" in several places around the state.

RIP Bernie Friedman, one of my all time favorite Olympians

Seattle PI:

Bernard Friedman spent part of his career as a risk manager for the Department of Social and Health Services, trying to improve one of the most controversial state agencies. Those who knew him say he was tough, straightforward, got the job done and was not afraid to take unpopular positions.

But Friedman was also a big man with a big heart, the liveliest man at stuffy law functions and a proud Duke Blue Devil.

He died from a heart attack Aug. 3 in Olympia. He was 63.

My best memory of Bernie Friedman was back in 2000 when he was the first person to use the Washington News Council to challenge a newspaper. He had run for Olympia City Council the year before against Mark Foutch, and the Olympian wrote a misleading (even according to Foutch) editorial endorsing Foutch. In it they said that Friedman had been distruptive during a city council meeting, even to the point that a police officer had to be called.

The actual exchange was more like:

Bernie: I would like to talk about this.

Council person: Oh, we're going to talk about that later.

Bernie: Can I still say what I want to say now?

Council person: Maybe later?

Bernie: How later?

Council person: Uhmm... half hour or so?

Bernie: Okie Dokie.

And, there just happened to be a police officer in the room. Or, as Bernie described it:
In the fall of 1999, I was a candidate for Olympia City Council. During the campaign, The Olympian published an editorial about me that was factually inaccurate and woefully misleading concerning an incident involving me that had happened two months prior to the editorial at an Olympia City Council meeting. That incident was so insignificant the reporter for The Olympian, who was at the meeting, and her editor, did not see fit to print a news story about it. Yet the subsequent editorial purported to describe the incident, described it inaccurately, and concluded from it I lacked the "civic deportment" to qualify me for office. As the election transpired, a swing of 700 votes would have won it for me. It seems likely the unfair editorial could have accounted for that many votes.

Blue Tiger Democrats: Civic Engagement is key

Blue Tiger Dems have it right. More right than anyone else:
Democratic organizations, particularly in urban areas, have a rich history of Civic Engagement. Unfortunately, a great deal of this history has been forgotten by the Party and it has shed its Civic Engagement mission.

Democrats must go back to the future. Consider getting involved, helping your community and contributing to civic engagement projects.

With $1.6 billion spent on political ads during the 2004 presidential election and very little money devoted to support civic engagement projects to aid individuals in their communities, it is no wonder that we have begun to lose our connection with individuals at the local level.
I'm a bit peeved that I learned about Blue Tiger Democrats from Joho the Blog, not from the tens of Democrat/Liberal blogs I read, but in a way it makes sense. What Blue Tigers are talking about is more interesting to someone who writes about social technology than folks who write about elections.

About a year ago, I started reading Bowling Alone (here and here), and struck on something that hit me again when I read Involve's book on "Post Party Politics" (in the UK) (my reaction here). Political Parties in the United States are not about communities or getting people involved in their own government, they're about winning elections.

The more the party itself strays away from not just local organizing, but local involvement, the worse of we are, and not just as a party, but politically in general. One quote from their (I guess you would call it a) manifesto points out a reflection from a middle 19th century Democratic ward healer that the party was a social benevolent society for 364 days of the year and a political organization one day of the year. They point out that as late as the 1930s, local Dem clubs made it a point to do good works in their communities, making such activities a focus, rather than campaigning.

The social and community benefit roles of local party organizations have suffered because we focus too much on how to win elections.

It is interesting to note that Blue Tigers and the 50 State Strategy are on the same track, that we need to focus on local organizations and not simply buy ad time. It seems though that the Blue Tigers are taking the same logic going a bit more extreme, which is fine with me. It isn't just an electoral strategy or a 50 State Strategy, but a Tens of Thousands of Communities Strategy. All of which will of course benefit the electoral strategy.

Another topic that I hope they expand on is the "Place to Go" topic. The more we can expand so called "Third Places" -- not the first place of home or the second place of work -- the better. Democratic Clubs used to be open places for anyone in the community to come, socialize and maybe get some help. Local Democratic Clubs should retake that mission, maybe not opening local open door Democratic Clubs, but working to expand third places in our communities.

Blue Tiger Democrats, they have some good ideas. Here are some other posts on them:
Yay, Democrats!
Michigan Liberal: Blue Tiger Democrats

Sunday, August 06, 2006

I'm glad Mike! is so open about things

Ken has a great post on what has been so good about the Open Mike! tour:
1. Mike! is open to a $28 million golden parachute/ campaign contribution from his former employer Safeco (which is now getting him sued).

2. Mike! is open to selling out to Ted Stevens and Big Oil to drill in ANWR.That’s the same Ted Stevens who wants to send supertankers into Puget Sound to affect my quality of life.

3. Mike! is open to giving people like Paris Hilton a financial break, while sticking it to working men and women, and to making Bush’s tax cuts for the richest 1% permanent.

4. Mike! is open to teaching intelligent design in our schools. (Shouldn’t he be running for Senator in Kansas?)

5. Mike! is open to staying the course in Iraq (which is working so well), with no timetable for bringing our troops home.

6. Mike! is open to gutting the Endangered Species Act.

7. Mike! is open to privatizing higher education (specifically UW & WSU). Note to Mike!: In Washington, we already have SPU, UPS, Gonzaga, Walla Walla, Whitman and PLU, so there is a choice for students among private colleges and universities.

8. Mike! does his best to portray a nice-guy, moderate image (much like that wolf in sheep’s clothing Dino Rossi) but Mike! is open to the right-wing agenda, particularly when the righties get people to open their wallets for him.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Why does Netroots mean: "lefty on the internet"?

Netroots as a word doesn't imply liberal, progressive or big D Democratic. As a word outside any context it means "wired grassroots." It could imply any type of political affiliation from socialist to anarchist. But in the past year or so it has shed any non-partisan meaning it have once held and attached itself firmly to folks promoting Democrats.

Eric's post at Soundpolitics and the conversation following it got me going on this subject. I've been wondering about it for awhile though, why Republicans have so quickly rejected the term as a self identifier, and have started making fun of the "nutroots," as an ineffective wing of the Democratic Party. Most of the people who throw around the term netroots are themselves bloggers, so its hard for me to understand why they would mock a term that technically (at least) included them as well.

This is so much so that ABC PAC has launched an effort called "Right Roots," an effort to seemingly counter the work on the lefty netroots to promote a list of candidates and raise money for them over the internet. Rightroots though, doesn't really mean anything.

It means the same thing as "Right-wing grassroots," and aside from sounding like "netroots," doesn't imply any sort of internet component to it at all.

I think a better reaction to the lefty dominance of the term "netroots," would be a right-wing reclamation of the term. Sort of like telling us that we don't own the word (not that I've ever claimed ownership of it), and that it should cover any online political engagement, not just those coming from the left.

Friday, August 04, 2006

McGavick on Maria's minimum wage vote, a tale of two letters

In attacking Maria Cantwell on her vote yesterday on the bait and switch minimum wage vote, Mike! McGavick referenced a letter from the Department of Labor:
Contrary to Sen. Cantwell's claim, the bill would not lower the wages of employees receiving tips below Washington state'’s minimum wage of $7.63 an hour. In response to Democrat claims, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a letter stating that the department interprets the bill as protecting the current minimum wage in Washington state.
I guess this is a matter of who you believe. Two letters, with two very different meanings, were written on the minimum wage/tips topic.

The DOL letter was written by former GOP congressional staffer Victoria Lipnic to Senate Leader Bill Frist, MD. It essentially said that while the bill wasn't very specific, for now they'd interprit it one way. But, really, we should tighten up that language since someone could easily see it another way. Seattle Times:
In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., a Labor Department official said the department would interpret the bill's language as protecting current wages for tipped employees in the seven states. Victoria Lipnic, assistant secretary of labor for employment standards, offered in the letter to work with lawmakers to clarify the intent of the legislation — something that several Republican senators, including Norm Coleman of Minnesota, said Wednesday they intended to do.
The other letter, from the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, says the opposite:
...a memo by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service on Wednesday backed up the Democrats' position. Under the bill's language, the seven affected states "would seem to be prohibited from enforcing the minimum-wage rate provisions of their laws with respect to a tipped employee," the memo said.
So, do you believe a political appointee or a non-partisan research office?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Andy's wanderings #3 (and #3.5): Minimum wage and Maria

Well, because you can't talk about female politicians without being the least bit sexist (or just a bit insulting), to start off:
...you can probably look for these two to respond with the intelligence of hung over sorority girls faking being awake at an 8:00 am history class without having read the assigned chapters.
But, you could always just be wrong. Basically, Andy, in Washington State we passed an initiative to pin the minimum wage to inflation and protect tip-earning baristas and doormen. Sorry, if Maria Cantwell and Patty Murry (Pati-cakes? Come on Andy...) don't let the DC GOP run over our state on this one.

Oh, yeah, 3.5: If you really do want to comment on one of Andy's posts, since he doesn't let people post over the TP, he sometimes cross posts over at the Sound Politics Public Blog. For example, this post about Mark Shattuck being the dark horse in the 35th.

I happen to agree with Andy on this one, I've always been surprised that the Mason Co. GOP couldn't get their act together enough to put a real horse in those races. Maybe if Mark raises enough money, he might have a change. Though in all of his other races, he never raised (or at least never claimed he raised, according to the PDC) a red cent. The 35th LD GOP better hope its not a vanity race.

Ashdown as the new model of legislator (in defense of Pete)

Peter Ashdown is the Democratic candidate running against the seemingly unstoppable Sen. Orin Hatch of Utah. Ashdown would likely be a side note in a very interesting year for Western upstarts taking Repblicans if it wasn't for Ashdown doing something very interesting.

At the start of his campaign, Ashdown started a campaign wiki, asking folks to chime in on his platform:
This is where you have the power to influence my Campaign for U.S. Senate. You can help work on policy, strategize in an open forum, or simply see what needs to be done. Don't be afraid to make a mistake, I'm covering new ground every day.

This site is not an official pronouncement of the policies endorsed by Pete Ashdown. Instead, it is public forum where we, the people, can help create what we feel is good policy. Every page can be edited by you or anyone else, and each edit is tracked, so everyone can view each change and input to each discussion, no matter what content gets changed or overwritten. (Vandalism is quickly reverted and vandals banned.) Pete uses the input from these pages to form his official policy, which can be found on his official campaign web site at issues.
Some people though, have taken it that he doesn't know what to think and needs some guidance from the people (to put it lightly):

Ashdown's views undecided

Pete Ashdown is campaigning for a Senate seat in Utah, and he wants you to define his stances on major political issues such as abortion, foreign relations, taxation, etc. Shouldn't he have made these decisions for himself long before deciding to run for office?

I would be reluctant to vote for any candidate who hasn't already built a strong ideological foundation backed up by substantive experience.

Ashdown should do his own homework on the issues. Utahns shouldn't have to do it for him.

Brooke Ann Smith

Lehi
The point isn't that Ashdown will believe whatever you and your friends want him to believe (yeah, let's start a killing puppies page on his wiki), but rather politicians don't solicit your input, usually. Using a wiki is a way for politicians to not only get people to speak up, but for people to do it in public and together.

Of course, people will write their representatives and say what they want them to do. In terms of crafting a collaborative policy on anything though, we leave that up to committees, bill writers and, essentially, the professionals.

A paper by Policy Consensus challenges the contemporary view of (in this case) state legislators. Our representatives, rather than marching up to the hill in Olympia with a cross between what they know our district wants and what what they believe -- and translating that into bill sponsorships and votes -- should be bringing people together to tackle issues.

From Legislators at a Crossroads: Making Choices to Work Differently:
This new role is that of convener. A convener is someone who brings a diverse group of people to the table to resolve problems collaboratively. Legislators are beginning to recognize the role of convening as a way they can take action, or facilitate action, without waiting for the legislature to act. Legislators have the power, by virtue of their elected office, to summon people to work on and resolve issues at the community level, without the need to go to the legislature at all.

By acting as a convener, legislators are able to be more responsive to the public. In the traditional legislative environment, legislators may feel stymied in their attempts to solve problems. But those who see themselves as conveners—those who pull different interests together to work toward solutions—feel more like effective problem solvers.
From a broad point of view, Ashdown is already doing this. Instead of asking for input and then putting the pieces together himself, he's asking supporters (and I assume detractors) to help him put the pieces together.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Too late on the Gary Locke/Safeco/McGavick's golden 'chute thing

I probably should have taken some wonderful advice from a commenter and emailed Gary Locke a few weeks ago. Now that a lawsuit has been filed, how many folks think he would email me back with a "Oh, Hey Emmett.... Well, the reason I voted (didn't vote) to give McGavick a big chunk of change as he was running to unseat Maria Cantwell was..."

Oh well:
A shareholder sued Safeco's former chief executive — U.S. Senate candidate Mike McGavick — and its board of directors on Tuesday, claiming they violated securities laws by awarding McGavick about $28 million in stock and other perks when he left Safeco earlier this year.

The lawsuit was filed by Emma Schwartzman, 27, a former waitress studying at the University of Washington who says her great-great-grandfather was a founder of the company that became Safeco.

The suit contends McGavick and the board "committed corporate waste" and made false statements to investors about the nature of McGavick's financial package.

...

Former Democratic Gov. Gary Locke, a member of the Safeco board, is listed as a defendant, too.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Reichart and the sales tax rebate and "Reichart joins with DC Republicans to outfox Washington"

Reichart votes to allow our sale tax rebate ($500 million for Washingtonians) to be held hostage by the estate tax. I know he can claim he was voting for our sales tax rebate, along with a minimum wage increase, but it also speaks to his willingness to go along with the Republican leadership's sneakiness.

Of course, then there is this video with Rep. Zach Wamp pretty much delivering a nice tag line for an anti-Reichart ad. "Reichart joins with DC Republicans to outfox Washington State."