Hello Loyal Readers,
It is time, once again, for my weekly Odds and Ends. These posts cover all the news that is fit to print, but just not big enough to justify their own post.
First, two big election results out of King County. It looks like both the $15 minimum wage initiative for Seatac, and Kshama Sawant, the socialist running for Seattle City Council, have prevailed by razor thin margins. Personally, I’m excited for both of these but not necessarily because of ideology.
States are supposed to be laboratories for democracy where we try out new ideas and explore what does and does not work. We are already leading the way with marijuana legalization and our Lean Government initiative. Let’s see what sort of improvements paying a better wage will bring.
Even though Sawant is one socialist among
six eight capitalists on the Seattle City Council, will she be able to wrangle significant investment in mass transit? I am curious to see if one dissident voice can change the tenor of the conversation and move our political discourse to new solutions.
Speaking of dissident voices, the state Republicans felt the need to remind everyone last week how they feel about women. Susan Hutchison had been elected chair of the state party, the first woman to hold that post since Jennifer Dunn in 1992 (barring the few months Nona Brazier held it as a placeholder). What did they do to recognize this?
Slashed her pay by 25%. Yes, that’s right, they wanted to make sure that she literally made 75% of what the man before her made. It wasn’t an issue of funding because Hutchison had personally fundraised more than enough to cover the difference from her leftover campaign list. Disappointing behavior to say the least.
I wonder if they would have cut the pay for Luanne Van Werven if she had triumphed in the race for state chair. Is this internal politics or just old fashioned sexism?
All eyes are turning to the state legislature. I’ll be covering this more in depth next week with a couple of interviews with our state legislators, but right now there are several balls in motion. The workers at Boeing need a fair deal but the legislators are desperate to keep Boeing’s business in state without betraying their solidarity with the workers. The Republicans have enough votes to kick Dem turncoat Rodney Tom to the curb but they might keep him in case one of their own bails.
Some of those decisions will be made by the new Senate Minority Leader, Sharon Nelson, a moderate Democrat from Maury Island. She replaces Ed Murray who has departed the legislature to assume his role as mayor of Seattle. She is left with the difficult task of holding all the Democrats together while attempting to peel off Republican votes from their majority caucus. My suggestion would be to take Doug Ericksen out for a free meal. I hear he is into that sort of thing.
Meanwhile, there is the state of our crumbling infrastructure (see: bridge, Skagit) that desperately needs to be replaced. Last year, the Republican-controlled senate killed the transportation bill that would have funded infrastructure projects across the state. Now, everyone is working overtime to develop some sort of proposal to fill that gap.