Posted by: sweeneyblog | April 11, 2014

Friday Odds and Ends: Bullpucky and Bocce Ball

Hello Loyal Readers,

Thank you to everyone who participated in my reader’s survey, the results were mixed but you all seemed to agree on one thing – no pop culture articles! I’ll be putting together a modest proposal and see if there is any interest. Thank you for your patience – this blog is one part labor of love, two parts trial and error.

Speaking of errors, Rep. Jason Overstreet dropped a big pile of bullpucky in his latest constituent newsletter. In the newsletter, he said,


Jason Overstreet

In an effort to lead by example while saving taxpayer dollars, I declined to participate in the state’s legislative pension system for the second time in as many terms, and also refused the $1,800 raise in per diem issued to House members during the 2014 legislative session. Leadership in the House agreed to raise per diem up from $90 a day to $120 at the beginning of the session.

By declining participation in the state’s pension system, taxpayers have seen savings of $6,000 in each of my two terms and approximately $12,000 total since I was first elected in 2010.

Refusing the per diem is all well and good, Sen. Doug Ericksen received plenty of criticism for double-dipping from that fund last year. However, Overstreet is actually forbidden from taking the state’s legislative pension because he is already part of the public retirement system as a Seattle Firefighter.

While it is fine to let people know how much money they are saving because you are ineligible for your retirement benefits as a legislator, it is a bit disingenuous to claim that it is an effort to, “lead by example” and that you “declined to participate.”

In more positive news, the Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center is holding its 12th annual bocce ball competition Saturday, April 19th at the Sportsplex. The WDRC provides fantastic services in our community, reducing the burden on local courts and helping community members resolve problems peacefully. Find out more information here.



  1. Is there some big Democrap Do on Saturday? (Don’t worry, I hassle Republicritters, too. I’m an Independent Liberal Conservative, remember?) By the way, I’m in the 42nd District, meaning that I must be a constituent, and didn’t know Shitbird HAD a Constituent Newsletter? Wonder if Jessica writes it for him. Yeah, I know, that’s unfair. Jason, apart from politics, can be a fairly nice guy to be around. As a firefighter. They used to have a little coffee place (and I do mean Little) in Blaine. I would vote for Sarah Palin before I’d vote for him, though – for anything.

    • You are right, the Democratic County Convention is from 10-3 this saturday at Bellingham High School. All Democrats welcome.

      • Us libertarians aren’t welcome?

  2. This is the second time Overstreet’s done this. He gets to be more and more like a TV preacher all the time, bending the truth to suit his manipulative needs.

  3. You expect something other than bullpucky?

    • From Obama?

  4. Riley,

    From what I understand Jason had his choice of which pension he participated in, so saying he was ineligible was misleading (as in an error of omission of the facts).

    I am sorry the optics of the whole thing caused you to jump to conclusions. But since you are a Democrat I will give you a pass.

    • Both are taxpayer funded pension plans, and he is only able to collect one. Whichever choice he makes, he is still ineligible for the other one.

      • Stop the double-speak Riley. Re-read Jason’s “quote”. He could have participated in the state’s legislative pension system but instead chose to “participate” the public retirement system as a Seattle Firefighter.

        Why make things so difficult for mere mortals to comprehend?

      • Thanks for pointing out the obvious Riley.

      • Jason Overstreet’s response:

        Hello Mr. Galt,

        Yes, it is true that I declined the House per diem increase and did not opt to receive state pension benefits as a legislator through the two avenues possible for someone already in a state pension program. The options, according to House Accounting, are these: opt out of LEOFF 2 and into PERS or elect to have my legislative pension benefits payed into my LEOFF 2 retirement account. I have declined to engage in either during both of my two terms. During the legislative session I have consistently taken an unpaid leave of absence, meaning that no retirement benefits are being earned or accrued from either source. It is my privilege to lead by example, saving state taxpayer dollars in the process.

        The same fallacious argument was made in 2012 when I first announced that I did not take retirement benefits as a legislator. Something tells me this is from the same author(s). I’m sorry that you were misled and not told the truth by the folks who wrote this and knew better. You deserve the truth.


        Jason Overstreet, Representative (42nd – LD) Washington State House of Representatives

      • It sounds to me like he is saying the same thing we are – he is forbidden from collecting both so he is choosing to forgo his legislative pension.

      • So why are you attacking him for doing the “right” thing?

      • A distinction without a difference is a type of logical fallacy where an author or speaker attempts to describe a distinction between two things even though there is, in fact, no actual difference.

      • I’m just saying that it is disingenuous to claim that you are turning down the pension when you are legally unable to collect it. It is the same as being allergic to ice cream and then bragging about how you never have ice cream because you are watching your weight.

      • Riley,

        Are you saying that “under no circumstances” Jason could taken his state’s legislative pension if he opted out of his union’s pension?

      • No, I’m just saying because he is getting his big government pension from the Seattle Fire Department, he is ineligible for his big government pension as a legislator. So bragging about turning it down is a bit disingenuous.

      • Are you the political policeman in these parts?

        When I go on to your “blog” I am expecting to learn important items, and not be subjected to petty nitpicking. Shame on you.

      • I’m sorry to disappoint but I write about what I feel is newsworthy.

      • I guess “feel” is the operative word.

        I am looking forward to some “newsworthy” writings (to include any indiscretions by the Democrats-maybe you should add a “national political news” section to your blog as you would have many “newsworthy” items to include) down the road.

      • I deliberately pass on many national stories because there are plenty of other sources for news. Locally, there are very few news sources so I focus my efforts here. If you are looking for articles critical of local Democrats, I suggest checking out my material on the City Council’s Red Light Cameras debacle, the banning of marijuana, Dan Pike’s campaign tactics or anything I’ve written about Pete Kremen. There is plenty to find there.

  5. Thanks for setting things straight, John Galt. I know that a God-fearing man such as Jason would never try to deceive his fellow man. Refusing the per diem is pretty impressive in any event. It costs a lot of money to maintain an additional residence down there during session.

    • Your welcome Bob, I am glad you concur with my analysis.

      • I am enough of a maverick, John, to agree with the analysis of anybody who makes sense, irrespective of labels that they put on themselves or that others put on them.

  6. “Disingenuous” is an understatement. Wow.

    • Agreed. Pretty misleading to say the least.

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