NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, August 4th, 2020

Suburbs getting bluer, rural areas getting redder, early 2020 legislative results suggest

The 2020 Wash­ing­ton Top Two elec­tion served as a vet­ting exer­cise on Tues­day night, with ini­tial returns iden­ti­fy­ing the most endan­gered incum­bents in the Wash­ing­ton State Leg­is­la­ture of both major polit­i­cal par­ties.

The Leg­is­la­ture could end up slight­ly more Demo­c­ra­t­ic in Novem­ber after all the votes are even­tu­al­ly count­ed. If the Democ­rats were expect­ing a groundswell, how­ev­er, what they achieved was at best a frost heave.

The Democ­rats will have to fight it out with Repub­li­cans in famil­iar “pur­ple” dis­tricts. A new fea­ture, how­ev­er — Demo­c­ra­t­ic vs. Demo­c­ra­t­ic con­tests in dis­tricts out­side of the Seat­tle city lim­its — will car­ry over to Novem­ber..

Appoint­ed Repub­li­can State Sen­a­tor Ron Muz­za­ll trails Demo­c­ra­t­ic chal­lenger Helen Price John­son in the 10th Dis­trict. The Demo­c­rat is a pop­u­lar Island Coun­ty (Whid­bey, Camano) Com­mis­sion­er and League of Women Vot­ers activist.

The D’s stand an excel­lent chance of flip­ping the House seat of retir­ing Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Nor­ma Smith, with for­mer Island Coun­ty Com­mis­sion­er Ang­ie Homo­la the appar­ent nom­i­nee. She ran against Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor Bar­bara Bai­ley four years ago, and was smeared by direct mail­ings paid for by the state­house­’s busi­ness lob­by­ist. So far, this year, the Democ­rats are hold­ing their own.

In South Puget Sound, Demo­c­ra­t­ic activists have long fore­cast the demise of con­ser­v­a­tive Repub­li­can State Sen­a­tor Steve O’Ban in the 28th Dis­trict. O’Ban active­ly oppos­es repro­duc­tive rights and is a tire­less, tren­chant crit­ic of Sound Tran­sit.

O’Ban was trail­ing his Demo­c­ra­t­ic chal­lenger T’wina Nobles, the only black woman cur­rent­ly run­ning for the State Sen­ate, by about five hun­dred votes, an encour­ag­ing result for Democ­rats. Nobles is pres­i­dent of the Taco­ma Urban League and twice a mem­ber of the Uni­ver­si­ty Heights School Board.

O’Ban has recent­ly tak­en heat for a hit mail­ing sent out by a polit­i­cal action com­mit­tee sup­port­ing him. The mail­ing dis­tort­ed Nobles’ like­ness, dark­en­ing her face. O’Ban’s response was to claim igno­rance.

The coastal 19th Dis­trict in South­west Wash­ing­ton con­tin­ues to vex Democ­rats. State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Bri­an Blake, a weapons enthu­si­ast, is present­ly trail­ing Repub­li­can chal­lenger Joel McEn­tire by more than 1,000 votes.

Blus­tery Repub­li­can State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jim Walsh, a Tim Eyman col­lab­o­ra­tor, was sail­ing through the Top Two with more than fifty-six per­cent of the total vote in ini­tial returns. Walsh has par­layed Seat­tle bash­ing into polit­i­cal suc­cess.

The Democ­rats also have incum­bents in dan­ger of los­ing to mem­bers of their own par­ty in races car­ry­ing over to the Novem­ber elec­tion.

A backbencher’s back­bencher, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Steve Kir­by, was tak­ing just a third of the vote in Pierce Coun­ty’s 29th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict.

Kir­by trails Repub­li­can Ter­ry Hard­er by about nine hun­dred votes, and is only nar­row­ly ahead of pro­gres­sive Demo­c­ra­t­ic chal­lenger Sharlett Mena.

The 11th Dis­trict, of South Seat­tle and near­by com­mu­ni­ties, appears to have ren­dered a ver­dict: It is time for vet­er­an State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Zack Hud­gins to go. He trains chal­lenger David Hack­ney by 1,000 votes. A Har­vard Law grad, and main­stay of the Alliance for Gun Respon­si­bil­i­ty, Hack­ney rep­re­sents the promise of pump­ing new blood into the House Demo­c­ra­t­ic cau­cus.

Hack­ney and Hud­gins will be back on the bal­lot in Novem­ber.

So will two East­side Democ­rats: pro-busi­ness Demo­c­rat Sen­a­tor Mark Mul­let and union-backed chal­lenger Ingrid Ander­son, in the 5th Dis­trict of east­ern King Coun­ty. The dis­trict has total­ly “flipped” from red to blue in recent elec­tions.

Mul­lett has a race on his hands. Ander­son, a nurse, is run­ning three hun­dred votes ahead, with late arriv­ing and pro­gres­sive-lean­ing votes still to be count­ed. More than $1.1 mil­lion has already been spent on the race, with one of the defin­ing issues Mullet’s oppo­si­tion to a cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy.

As the night smiled on insur­gents, one hearty sur­vivor showed his met­tle.

Ex-House Speak­er Frank Chopp was tak­ing almost fifty-four per­cent of the vote in the left-lib­er­al bas­tion that is the 43rd Dis­trict.

But a close, inter­est­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic vs. Demo­c­ra­t­ic bat­tle is shap­ing up for the 36th Dis­trict House seat being vacat­ed by NPI’s Gael Tar­leton, who is run­ning for Sec­re­tary of State. Sarah Reyn­eveld and Liz Berry will face off again in Novem­ber.

If any­one has a long his­to­ry of polit­i­cal involve­ment in the Ever­green State, the elec­toral map of Wash­ing­ton is reveal­ing.

The East­side dis­tricts which were once the Repub­li­cans’ pow­er base – the 41st, 48th and 45th – have long since flipped, the last being the 45th when Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tor Man­ka Dhingra’s vic­to­ry in a spe­cial 2017 Sen­ate elec­tion flipped con­trol of the Legislature’s small­er cham­ber.

The Repub­li­cans’ fall from the exur­ban 5th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict was com­plet­ed in 2018, with state House seats chang­ing hands and Demo­c­rat Dr. Kim Schri­er cap­tur­ing a U.S. House seat held by Repub­li­cans for thir­ty-six years.

At the same time, how­ev­er, the rur­al con­ser­v­a­tive Demo­c­rat has become a species as endan­gered as the spot­ted owl. The 35th Dis­trict (Mason-Thurston) has an all-Repub­li­can del­e­ga­tion. The 19th Dis­trict is swing­ing right.

The Democ­rats have field­ed an out­stand­ing nom­i­nee, ex-State Dep­tart­ment offi­cer Danielle Garbe Reser, in the 16th Dis­trict of South­east Wash­ing­ton, ter­ri­to­ry where they used to win. She was tak­ing a lit­tle more than thir­ty-sev­en per­cent of the vote on Tues­day, while two Repub­li­cans piled up six­ty-two per­cent. They are vying for the seat of retir­ing State Sen­a­tor Mau­reen “Mo” Walsh.

The 42nd Dis­trict, a What­com Coun­ty dis­trict with­out most of lib­er­al Belling­ham in it, has become a major bat­tle­ground. Ultra­con­ser­v­a­tive State Sen­a­tor Doug Erick­sen, who is a lob­by­ist for the south­east­ern Asian nation of Cam­bo­dia, held his seat by forty-five votes in 2016. West­ern Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty econ­o­mist Sharon Shew­make defeat­ed a Repub­li­can for one of the district’s House seats.

Two years lat­er, Shew­make is trail­ing Repub­li­can oppo­nent Jen­nifer Sefzik by near­ly 1,200 votes. Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Luanne Van Wer­ven, who bare­ly sur­vived in 2018, is 2,44 votes ahead of Demo­c­rat Ali­cia Rule.

The bat­tle­grounds of 2018 – the 10th, 19th and 42nd Dis­tricts – will be fought over again. The 5th, 11th and 36th Dis­tricts will fea­ture con­tests between Democ­rats. Frank Chopp will like­ly remain a con­stant in state pol­i­tics.

Tuesday, August 4th, 2020

Washington’s next Lieutenant Governor will be either Denny Heck or Marko Liias, it seems

Two Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­dates are com­fort­ably ahead of their oth­er ten rivals in the twelve per­son race for Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor in ear­ly Top Two elec­tion results, which means that the office is pret­ty much guar­an­teed to remain held by the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty until at least the next pres­i­den­tial elec­tion cycle.

Retir­ing Unit­ed States Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Den­ny Heck and State Sen­a­tor Marko Liias are eas­i­ly out­pac­ing five Repub­li­cans, two Lib­er­tar­i­ans, and one oth­er Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date to claim the top two spots in the race to suc­ceed out­go­ing Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor Cyrus Habib, who is leav­ing pol­i­tics to join the Jesuits.

Heck is com­fort­ably in first place with 27.71% of the vote, while Liias has a firm grasp on sec­ond place with 16.6%. Repub­li­can Ann Davi­son Sat­tler is in third place, with 11.55%. The Repub­li­can vote is split between a total of five can­di­dates, as men­tioned above, with the oth­ers being Mar­ty McClen­don (10.8%), Dick Muri (9.9%), Joseph Brum­bles (7.58%), and Bill Penor.

Denny Heck and Marko Liias

Den­ny Heck and Marko Liias, can­di­dates for Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor (Cam­paign pho­tos)

The dynam­ics in this race mir­ror those in the 2016 Trea­sur­er’s race, which saw two Repub­li­cans advance to the gen­er­al elec­tion from the Top Two elec­tion due to three Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­dates (one of whom was Liias) each split­ting the vote almost equal­ly and com­ing in behind the Repub­li­cans.

In a real pri­ma­ry, vot­ers pick nom­i­nees to rep­re­sent each par­ty on the gen­er­al elec­tion bal­lot, so this sort of out­come would be unheard of in most oth­er states. Wash­ing­ton, how­ev­er, does not have a real pri­ma­ry.

That’s because Wash­ing­to­ni­ans vot­ed in 2004 to insti­tute a “top two” qual­i­fy­ing elec­tion sys­tem at the urg­ing of the state Grange and its allies.

The Top Two can be thought of as the first round in a mul­ti-round gen­er­al elec­tion, with the autumn elec­tion serv­ing as the final round or runoff. The pur­pose of the first round is to win­now every field of can­di­dates down to no more than two, and the law says it does­n’t mat­ter what par­ty they asso­ciate with.

That’s why a gen­er­al elec­tion bal­lot can fea­ture two Democ­rats and two Repub­li­cans, even in statewide races like this one.

The Top Two is an awful sys­tem, deny­ing minor par­ties bal­lot access and reduc­ing ide­o­log­i­cal diver­si­ty on Wash­ing­to­ni­ans’ autumn bal­lots, and deserves to be repealed. Hope­ful­ly, at some point in the 2020s, it will be.

The Heck vs. Liias out­come is sure to frus­trate Repub­li­cans, just as the Trea­sur­er race frus­trat­ed Democ­rats four years ago. Though Repub­li­cans were not like­ly to win any­way, they have no chance at all and no can­di­date to ral­ly behind in the gen­er­al because they did not cull the field of can­di­dates who want­ed the job.

The Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty clear­ly learned from its expe­ri­ence in the Trea­sur­er’s race, as it put up one and only one can­di­date for the posi­tion this year (Mike Pel­lic­ciot­ti), who is incum­bent Repub­li­can Duane David­son’s sole chal­lenger.

Both Heck and Liias are expe­ri­enced elect­ed lead­ers with broad sup­port behind their can­di­da­cies. Heck is endorsed by the state’s for­mer liv­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic gov­er­nors, most of his col­leagues in Con­gress, and by four term Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor Brad Owen, Cyrus Habib’s pre­de­ces­sor. Liias is endorsed by Habib and near­ly all of his col­leagues in the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate.

Both can­di­dates are backed by the Wash­ing­ton State Labor Coun­cil and the Wash­ing­ton Con­ser­va­tion Vot­ers, which dual endorsed.

Heck is cur­rent­ly win­ning every coun­ty in West­ern Wash­ing­ton except for Lewis Coun­ty, which is extreme­ly right wing. He’s also win­ning Whit­man and Wal­la Wal­la coun­ties. Liias is not win­ning any coun­ties, but will nev­er­the­less advance on to the gen­er­al elec­tion thanks to his per­for­mance in King and Sno­homish coun­ties.

Repub­li­can Mar­ty McClen­don is win­ning most of the small­er coun­ties east of the Cas­cades, though he has few­er votes over­all than Ann Davi­son Sat­tler.

The Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor of Wash­ing­ton State has three prin­ci­pal respon­si­bil­i­ties: pre­side over the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate, fill in for the gov­er­nor as need­ed, and serve as a bridge between the con­suls based in the cities of the Pacif­ic North­west and the gov­ern­ment of Wash­ing­ton State. (Con­suls are diplo­mat­ic offi­cials who rep­re­sent oth­er coun­tries, like Swe­den, Mex­i­co, or Japan.)

The Con­sti­tu­tion per­mits the Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor to cast a vote in the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate in order to break a tie. Ties are uncom­mon, since the Sen­ate had an odd num­ber of mem­bers, but they do occa­sion­al­ly hap­pen.

If Heck wins in the runoff, he could be spend­ing a lot of time inter­act­ing with Liias in the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate if Liias keeps his cur­rent posi­tion as Major­i­ty Floor Leader. It is the Major­i­ty Floor Lead­er’s job to bring pro­ce­dur­al and busi­ness motions on behalf of the cham­ber’s major­i­ty cau­cus, which entails apply­ing for (and receiv­ing!) recog­ni­tion from the Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor on a con­stant basis.

If Liias wins, he will need to resign from the Sen­ate (he’s mid­way through a four year term) to take the job he’s now seek­ing. A spe­cial nom­i­nat­ing cau­cus would be called to draw up a list of poten­tial suc­ces­sors, one of whom would be cho­sen by the Sno­homish Coun­ty Coun­cil to take Liias’ place in the Sen­ate. All names on the list would be Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­dates, sub­mit­ted by the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty.

Tuesday, August 4th, 2020

Governor Jay Inslee on course to easily win a third term as Tim Eyman crashes and burns

Wash­ing­ton State’s incum­bent Demo­c­ra­t­ic Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee is com­fort­ably posi­tioned to become the first per­son in almost fifty years to secure a third term as the state’s chief exec­u­tive, ear­ly elec­tion results indi­cate.

Inslee, six­ty-nine, has an out­right major­i­ty of the vote in bal­lots count­ed so far, which means he has more sup­port than every sin­gle one of his thir­ty-six chal­lengers com­bined. Inslee will prob­a­bly face Repub­lic police chief Loren Culp in the autumn gen­er­al elec­tion, as Culp is Inslee’s only chal­lenger above 10%.

Well behind Culp are Joshua Freed, Tim Eyman, Raul Gar­cia, and Phil For­tu­na­to. (The quin­tet are so far behind that the Asso­ci­at­ed Press has already pro­ject­ed that Culp will advance to the autumn bal­lot along with Inslee, as of 11 PM).

Top six fin­ish­ers in the 2020 guber­na­to­r­i­al race as of August 4th, 2020

Jay Inslee, Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty
649,074 votes | 51.86%

Loren Culp, Repub­li­can Par­ty
209,517 votes | 16.74%

Joshua Freed, Repub­li­can Par­ty
91,250 votes | 7.29%

Tim Eyman, Repub­li­can Par­ty
88,177 votes | 7.05%

Raul Gar­cia, Repub­li­can Par­ty
63,093 votes | 5.04%

Phil For­tu­na­to, Repub­li­can Par­ty
50,943 votes | 4.07%

The ear­ly results val­i­date the polling done in the gov­er­nor’s race by both Elway Research and Sur­veyUSA, which both found that Culp was Inslee’s strongest chal­lenger. Elway’s polling in par­tic­u­lar was very close to the actu­al ini­tial tal­ly.

As we report­ed here last month:

Elway’s sur­vey finds that Culp is now the lead­ing Repub­li­can in the race, with 14%. The Repub­lic police chief has been pro­mot­ing his extrem­ist can­di­da­cy with bill­boards and online ads; he is well known among the Repub­li­can grass­roots, and it looks like his mes­sage could be catch­ing on with the par­ty faith­ful.

The elec­tion was in progress at the time that poll was tak­en, of course, and it was appar­ent then that Culp was enjoy­ing a surge of momen­tum.

Culp cur­rent­ly has 16.74% of the vote, where­as all the oth­er Repub­li­can chal­lengers are stuck in the sin­gle dig­its. Joshua Freed, a for­mer Both­ell City Coun­cilmem­ber, has 7.29% of the vote, and scam­mer Tim Eyman has just 7.05%.

Upon learn­ing that he was in fourth place, Eyman hilar­i­ous­ly adopt­ed the mantra of let’s wait and see what hap­pens after all of the bal­lots are count­ed, which is the typ­i­cal pos­ture of a can­di­date behind in the count on Elec­tion Night.

Of course, in the weeks pre­ced­ing Elec­tion Night, Eyman was going around con­fi­dent­ly pre­dict­ing vic­to­ry for his can­di­da­cy.

“I firm­ly believe I will win the August 4th [elec­tion] and be the can­di­date cho­sen by the vot­ers to chal­lenge Jay Inslee in the fall cam­paign,” Eyman wrote in an July 15th email. “I’m con­fi­dent of that.”

The data, on the oth­er hand, showed that Eyman’s cam­paign was expe­ri­enc­ing neg­a­tive momen­tum and was head­ed for defeat in the Top Two elec­tion.

As we can see, the data was cor­rect, while Eyman was wrong.

The noto­ri­ous scam­mer and chair thief insist­ed all win­ter and spring that he would make the per­fect oppo­nent for Inslee, cit­ing his enthu­si­asm for sling­ing mud from the gut­ter. But vot­ers clear­ly aren’t inter­est­ed in his tox­ic “mosh­pit pol­i­tics”.

As I’ve observed here, it’s one thing to run cons against the vot­ers in the form of decep­tive bal­lot mea­sures with loaded ques­tions that give you a built-in struc­tur­al advan­tage. Sell­ing snake oil isn’t that dif­fi­cult when you have a coop­er­a­tive mass media that will ensure your dis­hon­est sales pitch­es reach a wide audi­ence.

But pitch­ing bal­lot mea­sures is very, very dif­fer­ent than run­ning for office as a can­di­date. When you’re run­ning for an elect­ed posi­tion, it’s your name and par­ty affil­i­a­tion on the bal­lot… and that’s it. If you don’t con­nect with vot­ers and earn their trust, you won’t do well, because peo­ple vote for who they iden­ti­fy with.

Tim Eyman has always pro­claimed that vot­ers are smart and they know what they’re doing. So I imag­ine Eyman is pret­ty frus­trat­ed tonight to see so many Wash­ing­to­ni­ans iden­ti­fy­ing with Gov­er­nor Inslee and endors­ing him for a third term, while Eyman lan­guish­es in the sin­gle dig­its.

Right wing radio host John Carl­son, who often has Eyman on his show as a guest, absurd­ly claimed last week that if Inslee gar­nered 45% of the vote or less, that would sig­ni­fy he was vul­ner­a­ble to a chal­lenge from one of the Repub­li­cans vying to defeat him, despite the Repub­li­can Par­ty’s forty year los­ing streak in guber­na­to­r­i­al races and its trans­for­ma­tion into a Trump wor­ship­ing cult.

It is prob­a­ble that in the days to come, Inslee’s share of the vote will grow while his oppo­nents’ com­bined share will shrink. Even going by John Carl­son’s yard­stick, Inslee is in excel­lent shape. He is well posi­tioned to win a third term.

It’s not a cer­tain­ty because noth­ing is a cer­tain­ty, but it’s extreme­ly like­ly.

Repub­li­can State Par­ty Chair Caleb Heim­lich non­sen­si­cal­ly tried to argue after the ini­tial returns were post­ed that Inslee is “still not that pop­u­lar with the vot­ers of Wash­ing­ton State.” That’s despite the fact that Inslee has con­sis­tent­ly improved his mar­gins of vic­to­ry as a guber­na­to­r­i­al can­di­date.

In August 2012, Inslee got 47.13% in the Top Two elec­tion against a bevy of oppo­nents; in August 2016, he got 49.3%, and now he’s get­ting 51.86%. Like­wise, Inslee did bet­ter in Novem­ber of 2016 than in Novem­ber of 2012.

All the evi­dence sug­gests that Inslee will do bet­ter against Loren Culp than he did against Rob McKen­na eight years ago or Bill Bryant four years ago. Inslee’s pop­u­lar­i­ty is going up, not stag­nat­ing or falling. So it’s absolute­ly hilar­i­ous that Caleb Heim­lich’s take on these results is that Inslee is “still not that pop­u­lar”.

Heim­lich is undoubt­ed­ly aware that polling by Sur­veyUSA shows that Inslee would get a whop­ping 60% of the vote in a head to head matchup with Loren Culp, which would be Inslee’s biggest elec­toral vic­to­ry of all time. Not even Repub­li­can oper­a­tives think Culp is a cred­i­ble oppo­nent for Gov­er­nor Inslee.

Culp has nev­er run for office before and holds extreme­ly mil­i­tant, far right wing posi­tions on every issue imag­in­able. He’s unques­tion­ably a dream can­di­date for Trump back­ers… and, amus­ing­ly enough, he is also a dream oppo­nent for Demo­c­ra­t­ic activists who’d like see Gov­er­nor Inslee secure one of the biggest vic­to­ries in the his­to­ry of Wash­ing­ton State guber­na­to­r­i­al races.

Monday, August 3rd, 2020

Crowded field vies to succeed Representative Denny Heck in Washington’s 10th District

In ear­ly Decem­ber of last year, U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Den­ny Heck of Washington’s tenth dis­trict announced his inten­tion to retire at the end of his term. Heck, who has rep­re­sent­ed WA-10 since the dis­trict was cre­at­ed fol­low­ing the last cen­sus, said that the par­ti­san divi­sions of recent years have left his “soul weary.”

As a senior mem­ber of the House Intel­li­gence Com­mit­tee, he has more rea­son to be wea­ry of par­ti­san fight­ing than most – his com­mit­tee was at the cen­ter of the polit­i­cal mael­strom sur­round­ing Don­ald Trump’s impeach­ment at the end of 2019 and it seemed like­ly that the issue would con­tin­ue to dom­i­nate head­lines all the way up to the 2020 gen­er­al elec­tion… before COVID-19 came along.

Con­gress­man Heck’s influ­en­tial posi­tion in the House was indi­cat­ed by the praise heaped upon him after his announce­ment.

Speak­er of the House Nan­cy Pelosi called him a “cher­ished” mem­ber of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty and said that “his guid­ance and friend­ship will be missed by his many friends in Con­gress.” In a sim­i­lar vein, Gov­er­nor Inslee praised Heck’s “tire­less advo­ca­cy” on behalf of Wash­ing­to­ni­ans.

While pro­gres­sives also laud­ed Heck – Prami­la Jaya­pal described him as hav­ing served “with hon­or and dis­tinc­tion” – his deci­sion to leave the House (he is now run­ning for Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor) is an oppor­tu­ni­ty for the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty’s base to elect some­one who’ll join the ranks of Jaya­pal’s House Pro­gres­sive Cau­cus.

The open seat cre­at­ed by Heck­’s depar­ture has attract­ed a large field.

Most of these can­di­dates are long-shots to say the least, either because they are polit­i­cal nobod­ies or because they are Repub­li­cans run­ning in a heav­i­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict (Heck won over 60% of the vote in 2018).

The three most promi­nent can­di­dates to replace Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Heck are all peo­ple with expe­ri­ence serv­ing in elect­ed posi­tions.

One is for­mer Taco­ma May­or Mar­i­lyn Strick­land, whose cam­paign mes­sag­ing has all the hall­marks of “Third Way” neolib­er­al­ism. Strick­land talks about “bring­ing the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tor togeth­er,” and touts her record of bud­get cuts (or “bal­anc­ing”) in the after­math of the Great Reces­sion as a sign of prag­ma­tism.

After leav­ing elect­ed office, Strick­land worked as the CEO of the Greater Seat­tle Cham­ber of Com­merce, and was involved in fun­nel­ing over $2 mil­lion into last year’s City Coun­cil elec­tions in order to defeat pro­gres­sive can­di­dates (with lim­it­ed suc­cess). Strickland’s cam­paign had raised $252,000 pri­or to the end of June.

Strick­land’s plat­form explic­it­ly men­tions uni­ver­sal broad­band as a pri­or­i­ty that she would focus on. While her broad­band plank does not explic­it­ly talk about restor­ing net neu­tral­i­ty, which was gut­ted by Ajit Pai’s FCC, it does call for reg­u­lat­ing broad­band as a util­i­ty as Tom Wheel­er’s FCC vot­ed to do in 2015.

“Like water and elec­tric­i­ty, fast and reli­able broad­band is a util­i­ty, and it should be reg­u­lat­ed as such,” Strick­land’s web­site says.

“In Con­gress, Mar­i­lyn will advo­cate for uni­ver­sal afford­able broad­band, focus­ing par­tic­u­lar­ly on low-income, under-served, and rur­al com­mu­ni­ties.”

Strick­land has not offered a bold cli­mate action plan as part of her cam­paign, instead empha­siz­ing far more mod­est envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion goals.

“In Con­gress, Mar­i­lyn will fight to stop Trump’s plan to expand off­shore drilling and work to increase fund­ing for Puget Sound restora­tion. She will work to rein­state reg­u­la­tions on emis­sions and pro­tec­tions for our pub­lic lands and will advo­cate for rebuild­ing the EPA, espe­cial­ly offices and pro­grams designed to track the health and envi­ron­men­tal impacts of pol­lu­tion in under-served com­mu­ni­ties.”

(It is inter­est­ing that Strick­land men­tions off­shore drilling. Don­ald Trump’s off­shore drilling plan will only need to be fought if Trump stays in pow­er, oth­er­wise it will be dead fol­low­ing Trump’s depar­ture from the White House.)

Strick­land is backed by The Seat­tle Times, The News Tri­bune, The Seat­tle Medi­um, for­mer Gov­er­nors Gary Locke and Chris­tine Gre­goire, and a long list of may­ors and local offi­cials from Wash­ing­ton and oth­er states.

Many in the pro­gres­sive wing of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty are uni­fy­ing around State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Beth Doglio. The fifty-five year old Doglio has a long record of polit­i­cal activism – she was the found­ing direc­tor of Wash­ing­ton Con­ser­va­tion Vot­ers from 1991 to 1995, and cur­rent­ly works for an NPI ally, Cli­mate Solu­tions, an envi­ron­men­tal and clean ener­gy advo­ca­cy group.

Beth Doglio addresses supporter (Photo: Beth Doglio @BethDoglio)

Beth Doglio address­es sup­port­er (Pho­to: Beth Doglio @BethDoglio)

Doglio has won a series of high-pro­­file endorse­ments from labor unions, pro­gres­sive orga­ni­za­tions, Prami­la Jaya­pal, and Sen­a­tor Bernie Sanders.

Doglio is unapolo­getic about her pro­gres­sive cre­den­tials.

She enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly sup­ports the Green New Deal and Medicare For All, among oth­er pro­gres­sive ideas. By the end of the first half of 2020, she had raised almost as much as her two main rivals, around $240,000.

“Con­gress needs more cli­mate cham­pi­ons – and we must not miss the oppor­tu­ni­ty to elect one in the 10th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict,” Doglio says. “If I’m elect­ed, I will approach this chal­lenge with the appro­pri­ate focus and lens: Cli­mate change affects every issue we care about – the econ­o­my, health­care, immi­gra­tion, hous­ing, social jus­tice, nation­al secu­ri­ty and of course, the envi­ron­ment.”

Doglio is also an enthu­si­as­tic backer of paid fam­i­ly and med­ical leave.

“Wash­ing­ton led on paid fam­i­ly and med­ical leave, and as a result we have one of the top rat­ed pro­grams in the coun­try,” Doglio’s cam­paign web­site points out.

“This should be a nation­al pro­gram, the way it is in almost every devel­oped nation in the world. Every­one ought to be able to take time off work and care for fam­i­ly after the birth of a child or a seri­ous ill­ness.”

Doglio wait­ed until after the leg­isla­tive ses­sion to declare her can­di­da­cy, unlike rival Kris­tine Reeves, who resigned from the Wash­ing­ton State House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives in late 2019 to focus on build­ing her con­gres­sion­al cam­paign. Reeves has the sup­port of U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Adam Smith (D‑9th Dis­trict), who used to rep­re­sent por­tions of the 10th pri­or to the last round of redis­trict­ing.

Also sup­port­ing Reeves are the Labor­ers, the Team­sters, sev­er­al SEIU locals, the Nation­al Edu­ca­tion Asso­ci­a­tion, the Puyallup Tribe of Indi­ans, the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, and the Lati­no Vic­to­ry Fund.

Reeves sup­ports expand­ing on the Patient Pro­tec­tion Act with a pub­lic option, say­ing that she wants to “make sure every­one has the oppor­tu­ni­ty to buy into Medicare if they so choose.” (This the same posi­tion that for­mer South Bend May­or Pete Buttigieg adopt­ed in his pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.)

While Reeves’ cam­paign does not empha­size tuition-free col­lege — anoth­er idea strong­ly sup­port­ed by pro­gres­sives — she does favor expand­ing stu­dent aid. She sup­ports “increas­ing the amount of Pell Grants that can be pro­vid­ed to stu­dents, raise the income thresh­old so more fam­i­lies are eli­gi­ble, and allow them to be used dur­ing sum­mer school months so that stu­dents can grad­u­ate on time.”

Reeves stress­es that her life expe­ri­ences have pre­pared her well for the job of Unit­ed States Rep­re­sen­ta­tive, a posi­tion often held by mil­lion­aires.

“As some­one who was raised in pover­ty, cycled in fos­ter homes and was even home­less for a time, help­ing those in need is per­son­al for me,” Reeves says. “I am not anoth­er lawyer or anoth­er mul­ti-mil­lion­aire, but Con­gress already has lots of those. Instead, I bring a unique per­spec­tive in that I under­stand what it means to strug­gle under tough cir­cum­stances, and that inspires my unwa­ver­ing com­mit­ment to help­ing oth­ers strug­gling through tough times like these.”

These three expe­ri­enced can­di­dates are by no means the only ones hop­ing for a vic­to­ry tomor­row, how­ev­er. Two of the oth­er can­di­dates are par­tic­u­lar­ly wor­thy of men­tion, as either would (if elect­ed) be the youngest mem­ber of Con­gress.

Twen­ty-eight year old Phil Gard­ner cur­rent­ly works as Den­ny Heck’s dis­trict direc­tor, which places him in a per­fect posi­tion to learn about his poten­tial future con­stituents’ needs. In an inter­view with News Tri­bune, he was per­haps a lit­tle over-enthu­si­as­tic in point­ing this out, say­ing: “Apart from Den­ny, I have the sin­gle best under­stand­ing of this dis­trict and its needs – that’s lit­er­al­ly my job!”

Gardner’s plat­form is a clas­sic exam­ple of tri­an­gu­la­tion. He says he sup­ports Medicare For All, but with qual­i­fi­ca­tions; he empha­sizes his plans for cli­mate action, but they fall far short of the kind of trans­for­ma­tive change the Green New Deal calls for. He pro­fess­es to be for police reform, but he only wants to “lim­it” (rather than end) the trans­fer of mil­i­tary weapons to police forces.

Twen­ty-six-year-old Joshua Collins couldn’t be a more dif­fer­ent can­di­date.

An avowed social­ist, he decid­ed to run before Heck declared his inten­tion to leave the U.S. House. Collins is a new­com­er to elec­toral pol­i­tics, though he has been involved in activism since his high school days. He worked as a long-dis­­­tance truck dri­ver before he decid­ed to run.

His plat­form is resound­ing­ly left-wing and his cam­paign is dri­ven by a large social media fol­low­ing on Twit­ter and Tik­Tok. Despite Collins’ lack of sup­port from even pro­gres­sive politi­cians – his only promi­nent sup­port­er is Seattle’s social­ist city coun­cil mem­ber, Kshama Sawant – he man­aged to raise over $200,000.

How­ev­er, his cam­paign began to recede into the back­ground fol­low­ing Heck­’s exit from the race. Collins did­n’t even show up to be inter­viewed by The Stranger, and its Elec­tion Con­trol Board endorsed Doglio instead.

While Collins and Gard­ner have ensured that youth are rep­re­sent­ed in the Top Two field, they will need to per­suade vot­ers much old­er than they are to back their can­di­da­cies to make it through to the next round.

Less than 10% of the 400,000 strong vot­ing pop­u­la­tion are under the age of twen­ty-five. Con­gress­woman Alexan­dria Oca­­sio-Cortez, cur­rent­ly the youngest mem­ber of the House, rep­re­sents a much younger dis­trict.

The qual­i­fy­ing elec­tion for this posi­tion will con­clude tomor­row. The top two vote get­ters, regard­less of par­ty, will pro­ceed to the gen­er­al elec­tion in Novem­ber.

Sunday, August 2nd, 2020

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (July 27th-31st)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Mem­bers of Con­gress vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Fri­day, July 31st.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress pho­to)

EXPANDING TAX CREDITS FOR CHILDCARE: Vot­ing 250 for and 161 against, the House on July 29th passed a bill (H.R. 7327) that would:

  • make the child and depen­dent care tax cred­it ful­ly refund­able;
  • cre­ate a new tax cred­it to help child­care providers pay rent, mort­gage and util­i­ty costs;
  • guar­an­tee $10 bil­lion per year over five years in infra­struc­ture grants to help child­care cen­ters address health haz­ards such as mold, lead paint and inad­e­quate ven­ti­la­tion;
  • des­ig­nate child­care per­son­nel as “essen­tial work­ers” eli­gi­ble for ben­e­fits includ­ing pay bumps because they per­form a haz­ardous pub­lic ser­vice dur­ing the pan­dem­ic,
  • … and reim­burse these essen­tial work­ers for their own child­care costs.

At present, house­holds fil­ing fed­er­al tax returns can claim a child and depen­dent care cred­it of up to $3,000 per child twelve years or younger or $6,000 for two or more chil­dren in the same age range.

In addi­tion, they can claim a $3,000 or $6,000 cred­it to off­set the cost of car­ing for spous­es or depen­dents old­er than twelve who are men­tal­ly or phys­i­cal­ly inca­pable of self-care. By mak­ing these cred­its ful­ly refund­able, the bill enables low-income work­ing fam­i­lies to receive Trea­sury checks of $3,000 per qual­i­fied indi­vid­ual (or $6,000 for mul­ti­ple indi­vid­u­als) even if they have no tax lia­bil­i­ty.

Richard Neal, D‑Mass., said to par­ents: “We have heard you loud­ly and clear­ly. This child­care cri­sis is… push­ing many of you to the break­ing point.…We are all in this togeth­er, and we have got your back.”

Adri­an Smith, R‑Neb., said he was “sad­dened” by such an “unre­al­is­tic” bill, and he com­plained that “no Repub­li­can input was sought” dur­ing the leg­isla­tive process.

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Sen­ate.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simp­son

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (5): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, Kurt Schrad­er; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Greg Walden

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (8): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Den­ny Heck; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Dan New­house and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 13 aye votes, 4 nay votes

PROVIDING $50 BILLION FOR CHILD CARE: Vot­ing 249 for and 163 against, the House on July 29th passed a bill (HR 7027) that would appro­pri­ate $50 bil­lion in Fis­cal Year 2020 to help child­care providers stay in busi­ness dur­ing the pan­dem­ic so that par­ents can return to work.

The fund­ing would be used to sub­si­dize in-home ser­vices as well as licensed child­care oper­a­tions of all sizes, and it could be used to prop up func­tion­ing cen­ters or reopen those forced to close because of the pan­dem­ic.

Jen­nifer Wex­ton, D‑Virginia, said the bill is need­ed because “near­ly half of all child­care providers have closed at some point dur­ing this pan­dem­ic, and those that have reopened are fac­ing increased costs to imple­ment new safe­ty mea­sures.”

Bradley Byrne, R‑Alabama, said:

“Child­care is essen­tial as par­ents begin return­ing to the work­place; how­ev­er, this bill spends too much tax­pay­er mon­ey and places an undue and unwork­able reg­u­la­to­ry bur­den on facil­i­ties, fed­er­al agen­cies and, yes, on fam­i­lies.”

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Sen­ate.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simp­son

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, Kurt Schrad­er

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Greg Walden

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (8): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Den­ny Heck; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Dan New­house and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 12 aye votes, 5 nay votes

DEFEATING REPUBLICAN CHILDCARE ALTERNATIVE: Vot­ing 195 for and 212 against, the House on July 29th defeat­ed (killed) a pack­age of pro­posed Repub­li­can changes to H.R. 7027 (above) that sought, in part, to qual­i­fy unli­censed child­care sites run by church­es and pub­lic camps to receive grants under the bill and require grant recip­i­ents to demon­strate com­pe­tence in rec­og­niz­ing and address­ing child abuse.

Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers, R‑Washington, said the pro­posed changes would “ensure we are focused on rec­og­niz­ing and address­ing child abuse and neglect.”

Johana Hayes, D‑Connecticut, said that because they are licensed, providers eli­gi­ble for fund­ing under the bill already would be trained in iden­ti­fy­ing and report­ing inci­dents of child abuse.

A yes vote was to approve the Repub­li­can child­care plan.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simp­son

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Greg Walden; Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Kurt Schrad­er

Vot­ing Nay (3): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, and Peter DeFazio

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (3): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Vot­ing Nay (7): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Den­ny Heck

Cas­ca­dia total: 7 aye votes, 10 nay votes

DEFUNDING PATIENT PROTECTION LITIGATION: The House on July 30th vot­ed, 234 for and 181 against, to deny fund­ing of the Depart­ment of Jus­tice’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in a law­suit brought by Repub­li­can gov­er­nors and attor­neys gen­er­al to over­turn the Patient Pro­tec­tion and Afford­able Care Act.

The suit is pend­ing before the Supreme Court, and the Trump admin­is­tra­tion has filed a brief there call­ing for the law to be struck down. The defund­ing lan­guage was added to a bill (H.R. 7617), lat­er passed, that would appro­pri­ate $33.2 bil­lion for the depart­ment along with more than $1 tril­lion to fund the bud­gets of numer­ous oth­er cab­i­net depart­ments and agen­cies in fis­cal 2021.

Lau­ren Under­wood, D‑Illinois, said “over four mil­lion Amer­i­cans have been diag­nosed with the coro­n­avirus, a new pre-exist­ing con­di­tion. Over 30 million…have lost their jobs, and over five mil­lion have lost their health insur­ance at the worst pos­si­ble time. And while this health cri­sis has been unfold­ing, the Trump admin­is­tra­tion will not stop until they destroy the Afford­able Care Act.”

Robert Ader­holt, R‑Alabama, said: “Unfor­tu­nate­ly, [the PPA] has been an unlaw­ful fail­ure, but for­tu­nate­ly, this admin­is­tra­tion remains com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing more afford­able health­care options to all Amer­i­cans… It is not appro­pri­ate for Con­gress to tell the exec­u­tive branch what posi­tion it should take in court. Lit­i­ga­tion strat­e­gy is [the] respon­si­bil­i­ty and pre­rog­a­tive of the Depart­ment of Jus­tice.”

A yes vote was to block the fund­ing.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simp­son

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, Kurt Schrad­er

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Greg Walden

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (7): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Den­ny Heck

Vot­ing Nay (3): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera-Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 11 aye votes, 6 nay votes

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Sen­ate cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress pho­to)

CONFIRMING TRUMP BUDGET OFFICIAL: Vot­ing 71 for and 21 against, the Sen­ate on July 30th con­firmed Derek Tai-Ching Kan as deputy direc­tor of the Office of Man­age­ment and Bud­get, putting him sec­ond in charge of an agency that directs bud­get and reg­u­la­to­ry poli­cies for the White House.

Kan joined the admin­is­tra­tion in 2017 to serve as a Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion under­sec­re­tary, and before that he was an Amtrak board mem­ber and exec­u­tive with the Lyft trans­porta­tion com­pa­ny.

A yes vote was to con­firm the nom­i­nee.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Maria Cantwell and Pat­ty Mur­ray

Cas­ca­dia total: 2 aye votes, 4 nay votes

Key votes ahead

In the leg­isla­tive week begin­ning Mon­day, August 3rd, Con­gress is ten­ta­tive­ly sched­uled to take up a coro­n­avirus relief pack­age that would, in part, renew expand­ed job­less ben­e­fits and a mora­to­ri­um on evic­tions that expired July 31st.

Edi­tor’s Note: The infor­ma­tion in NPI’s week­ly How Cas­ca­di­a’s U.S. law­mak­ers vot­ed fea­ture is pro­vid­ed by Votera­ma in Con­gress, a ser­vice of Thomas Vot­ing Reports. All rights are reserved. Repro­duc­tion of this post is not per­mit­ted, not even with attri­bu­tion. Use the per­ma­nent link to this post to share it… thanks!

© 2020 Thomas Vot­ing Reports.

Friday, July 31st, 2020

Scramble for the Senate: Democrats delight in forcing Republicans to play defense in Kansas

As the Unit­ed States grinds towards the Novem­ber gen­er­al elec­tion, it is becom­ing increas­ing­ly clear to polit­i­cal experts that Repub­li­can chances of hold­ing on to the White House, or win­ning the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, are rapid­ly van­ish­ing.

Nation­wide, Don­ald Trump is ten points behind Joe Biden and Biden main­tains a com­fort­able lead in all the key swing states.

Mean­while, esti­mates of the gener­ic House bal­lot show that Democ­rats have been ahead of the Repub­li­cans by around nine points for months.

The only ques­tion remain­ing for many Repub­li­can lead­ers – par­tic­u­lar­ly Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader Mitch McConnell – is whether the par­ty will be able to hold onto their major­i­ty in the U.S. Sen­ate. If the Democ­rats flip the Sen­ate in Novem­ber, they would con­trol all three branch­es of gov­ern­ment for the first time in a decade – and it could spell the end of the Repub­li­can Par­ty as we know it.

As things stand, the Democ­rats need to win four seats to flip the Sen­ate (or three seats, with Biden’s Vice Pres­i­dent act­ing as a tie-break­er).

They are cur­rent­ly giv­ing the Repub­li­cans heart­burn in a num­ber of races, most promi­nent­ly Ari­zona, Col­orado, Maine, and North Car­oli­na.

Both par­ties are pour­ing vast sums of cash into these races, but the Repub­li­cans are fac­ing a drain on their cof­fers from an unex­pect­ed source – the deep, deep red state of Kansas. Kansas is a citadel of Repub­li­can­ism and has not elect­ed a Demo­c­rat to the Sen­ate since the 1930s. In 2016, Don­ald Trump won the Sun­flower State eas­i­ly, beat­ing Hillary Clin­ton by twen­ty points.

How­ev­er, the Repub­li­can Par­ty’s grip on Kansas’ Sen­ate seat has been thrown into doubt by the retire­ment of Sen­a­tor Pat Roberts and the can­di­da­cy of a con­tro­ver­sial fig­ure: Kris Kobach. Kobach has spent his career whip­ping up con­tro­ver­sy both inside and out­side his state for his extreme­ly xeno­pho­bic views and his will­ing­ness to use his pow­er to enact that ide­ol­o­gy.

In the ear­ly 2000s, Kobach trav­elled the coun­try help­ing local author­i­ties to set up uncon­sti­tu­tion­al pro­grams to tar­get immi­grants. In 2010, he became Kansas’ Sec­re­tary of State and spent eight years in office dream­ing up ways to attack minor­i­ty com­mu­ni­ties. Dur­ing the time he was respon­si­ble for run­ning state elec­tions, vot­er turnout dropped by over 100,000.

Kobach has glee­ful­ly described him­self as “the ACLU’s worst night­mare” – inad­ver­tent­ly (or per­haps not) com­par­ing him­self to orga­ni­za­tions such as the Klu Klux Klan and the Amer­i­can Nazi Par­ty that the ACLU has famous­ly con­front­ed.

After two terms as Sec­re­tary of State, 2018 seemed set to be the biggest year of Kobach’s life. He was cho­sen by Trump to co-chair a nation­al inves­ti­ga­tion into so-called “vot­er fraud” and ran for gov­er­nor with the President’s endorse­ment.

But it all went wrong. His com­mis­sion was unable to present any evi­dence of vot­er fraud, and was dis­band­ed. While he whit­tled away his guber­na­to­r­i­al run chas­ing after phan­tom ille­gal vot­ers (and dis­en­fran­chis­ing a lot of legit­i­mate vot­ers along the way) his Demo­c­ra­t­ic oppo­nent, Lau­ra Kel­ly, ripped into the incum­bent Repub­li­can admin­is­tra­tion of which Kobach was part for dis­as­trous trick­le-down eco­nom­ic poli­cies that had ruined the state’s finances.

In Novem­ber, Lau­ra Kel­ly won by a com­fort­able mar­gin, humil­i­at­ing both Kobach and his par­ty in a state that should have been an easy win for them.

Many in the Repub­li­can lead­er­ship learned the les­son and swore nev­er to run such an incom­pe­tent, divi­sive can­di­date ever again.

Kobach had oth­er ideas. His entry into the race for the U.S. Sen­ate has thrown the Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry into tur­moil. The party’s estab­lish­ment has put their thumb on the scale in favor of State Sen­a­tor Roger Mar­shall, a reli­able fundrais­er who is deeply con­ser­v­a­tive and loy­al to Trump.

Kobach has sought to por­tray Mar­shall as a tool of insid­i­ous Wash­ing­ton D.C. inter­ests. Mar­shall hasn’t been helped by the fact that he is def­i­nite­ly the establishment’s sec­ond choice; Mitch McConnell spent almost a year unsuc­cess­ful­ly try­ing to per­suade U.S. Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo to enter the race before back­ing Marshall’s can­di­da­cy.

Kris Kobach speaks to voters at a recent campaign event – without a mask, of course

Kris Kobach speaks to vot­ers at a recent cam­paign event – with­out a mask, of course (Pho­to: Kris Kobach for Sen­ate)

In nor­mal cir­cum­stances, the back­ing of the Repub­li­can estab­lish­ment would be enough to put Kobach back in his box – the for­mer Sec­re­tary of State now has a record as a los­er in a state where Repub­li­cans almost nev­er lose, and is not the best at fundrais­ing – but a vari­ety of fac­tors have com­pli­cat­ed the sit­u­a­tion.

Kobach has received large dona­tions from groups with Demo­c­ra­t­ic links, who are try­ing to set Kobach up to be a more beat­able gen­er­al elec­tion can­di­date.

On the oth­er side of the polit­i­cal spec­trum, the Sil­i­con Val­ley bil­lion­aire (and pur­vey­or of dystopi­an sur­veil­lance sys­tems) Peter Thiel has thrown hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars at Kobach’s cam­paign, inspired their shared views on immi­gra­tion (Thiel, him­self a Ger­man immi­grant, is a “pull-up-the-ladder-after-you’ve-climbed-it” kind of guy) and a mutu­al friend­ship with the gen­uine­ly evil Ann Coul­ter. There are also a num­ber of oth­er can­di­dates in the mix, includ­ing a self-fund­ing mil­lion­aire and a for­mer Kansas City Chiefs foot­ball play­er.

All this con­fu­sion – made worse by a lack of reli­able polling – means that the nation­al Repub­li­can Par­ty and the groups affil­i­at­ed with it are being forced to pour resources into a state that should be safe for them.

Unlike the can­di­dates in the messy Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry, Demo­c­rat Bar­bara Bol­lier has an easy ride. The State Sen­a­tor is the only Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date run­ning for the seat, allow­ing her to hoard cam­paign dona­tions for the gen­er­al elec­tion while her Repub­li­can rivals blow their funds attack­ing each oth­er.

As a result, she is cur­rent­ly beat­ing the Repub­li­cans in fundrais­ing.

Bol­lier is not a can­di­date who will excite pro­gres­sives. In 2010, she was elect­ed to the state House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives as a Repub­li­can, and stayed with the Repub­li­cans until 2018, when she dra­mat­i­cal­ly announced she would cross the aisle to the Democ­rats. Her stat­ed rea­sons for leav­ing her par­ty were Trump’s lack of lead­er­ship and the Kansas Repub­li­cans’ oppo­si­tion to LGBT+ rights.

That leaves open the ques­tion why she didn’t leave in 2017, when Trump praised neo-Nazis and insti­tut­ed sys­tem­at­ic child abuse on the U.S.–Mexico bor­der.

Barbara Bollier hopes to be the first Democrat in 90 years to represent Kansas in the U.S. Senate.

Bar­bara Bol­lier hopes to be the first Demo­c­rat in 90 years to rep­re­sent Kansas in the U.S. Sen­ate. (Pho­to: Bar­bara Bol­lier, repro­duced under Cre­ative Com­mons license)

The tim­ing of her switch – just a month after the midterms, where Democ­rats swept through sub­ur­ban dis­tricts like hers – offers a more plau­si­ble rea­son for Bollier’s deci­sion: she saw which way the polit­i­cal winds were blow­ing.

Bollier’s asser­tion as she changed par­ties that the Repub­li­can was “hell bent on remov­ing mod­er­ates” sug­gests that her ide­ol­o­gy remains pret­ty much unchanged, and that all that’s changed is the let­ter next to her name. Rein­forc­ing that idea is the fact that she has promised to avoid vot­ing along par­ty lines – mean­ing that even if she wins, the Democ­rats can hard­ly rely on her dur­ing close votes.

Bol­lier faces steep odds in this elec­tion, regard­less of how the Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry turns out. In a year when Don­ald Trump tops the bal­lot and is run­ning ahead of Joe Biden by dou­ble dig­its (accord­ing to research by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling, NPI’s poll­ster), elect­ing a Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date to the Sen­ate will be dif­fi­cult.

Nev­er­the­less, pro­gres­sives can take plea­sure in the unusu­al sit­u­a­tion unfold­ing in the Sun­flower State. The more Repub­li­cans are forced to invest in a state they ought to be dom­i­nat­ing, the less resources they have to throw against bet­ter Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­dates in more uncer­tain races.

Friday, July 31st, 2020

As Top Two election nears, remember to take time to get up to speed on downballot races

The hikes, lakes and sun­set view­ing spots on Chuck­anut and Blan­chard Moun­tains, south of Belling­ham, are places that nur­tured this Wash­ing­to­ni­an’s love for nature and expe­ri­ences of long-ago teenage mis­be­hav­ior.

I found myself, years lat­er, using my posi­tion at the Seat­tle Post-Intel­li­gencer to pro­mote cre­ation of a 1,600 acre pre­serve atop Blan­chard Moun­tain.

The project was pro­mot­ed and nur­tured by con­ser­va­tion cham­pi­on Hilary Franz, Wash­ing­ton State’s charis­mat­ic Com­mis­sion­er of Pub­lic Lands.

It worked, although skies opened up on the vic­to­ry cel­e­bra­tion.

Hilary Franz talks about landslide safety

Wash­ing­ton State Com­mis­sion­er of Pub­lic Lands Hilary Franz empha­sizes the impor­tance of fund­ing geo­log­ic haz­ards research at an event in the Capi­tol State For­est (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

Our Depart­ment of Nat­ur­al Resources was once known as the “Depart­ment of Noth­ing Remain­ing” because of the vast clearcuts it autho­rized.

Log­ging debris clogged streams, and trashed ripar­i­an zones in such places as the Clear­wa­ter Riv­er on the Olympic Penin­su­la.

The pres­ence of a proac­tive Franz, com­bined with Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Ferguson’s mul­ti­ple legal vic­to­ries over Don­ald Trump, deliv­er a basic point about civics in Wash­ing­ton: Down­bal­lot races have a direct impact on our lives.

There’s a flip side, too.

Troy Kel­ley won elec­tion as Wash­ing­ton State Audi­tor in 2012 despite legal con­tro­ver­sies over his busi­ness back­ground. (He had the abil­i­ty to self-finance a tele­vi­sion ad cam­paign.) Kel­ley was indict­ed and con­vict­ed while serv­ing in statewide office. The 9th Cir­cuit Court of Appeals just upheld his con­vic­tion.

Kel­ley was not sub­ject­ed to much vet­ting by the press before the dead­line arrived for vot­ers to cast bal­lots in the August 2012 Top Two elec­tion. (Kel­ley secured one of the top two spots and went on to win in the Novem­ber gen­er­al elec­tion.)

That wasn’t the case when for­mer Insur­ance Com­mis­sion­er Karl Her­mann sought to regain his old office a few decades ago after hav­ing lost a reelec­tion bid.

Don McGaf­fin of KING TV broke the news that, in lit­i­ga­tion fol­low­ing an acci­dent, Her­mann claimed to have suf­fered brain dam­age. Our lawyers at the Seat­tle Post-Intel­li­gencer vetoed an edi­to­r­i­al head­line: “Her­mann has half a mind to run.”

Down­bal­lot offices hold great author­i­ty – or poten­tial author­i­ty – with vot­ers doing the hir­ing and fir­ing. Friends in British Colum­bia rib me about the mul­ti­tude of posi­tions we elect around here, includ­ing our nine statewide exec­u­tive depart­ment offices (the gov­er­nor­ship and eight low­er pro­file posi­tions). I counter: Vot­ers here have a direct say over state-owned lands.  When you protest the clearcut­ting of old growth forests in B.C., you must chal­lenge the full provin­cial gov­ern­ment.

As Attor­ney Gen­er­al, Rob McKen­na signed Wash­ing­ton up for a Repub­li­can law­suit intend­ed to over­turn the Patient Pro­tec­tion Act. No mat­ter that Wash­ing­ton was rapid­ly reduc­ing its rolls of unin­sured. McKen­na did not both­er to con­sult with then-Gov­er­nor Chris Gre­goire, a strong sup­port­er of Barack Oba­ma.

Under Bob Fer­gu­son, Wash­ing­ton took on and blocked Don­ald Trump’s first attempt at a so-called Mus­lim trav­el ban. The state took the Gro­cery Man­u­fac­tur­ers Asso­ci­a­tion to court for laun­der­ing mon­ey in a cam­paign to defeat an ini­tia­tive that sought to require the label­ing of genet­i­cal­ly mod­i­fied foods.

Fer­gu­son has also cre­at­ed new civ­il rights and envi­ron­men­tal law divi­sions in the Wash­ing­ton State Attor­ney Gen­er­al’s office. If you leave a list­ing, oil-leak­ing boat in one of our har­bors, you can be assured that Fer­gu­son will come after you.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson

Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son speaks at a press con­fer­ence announc­ing he’s propos­ing leg­is­la­tion to abol­ish exe­cu­tions (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

A look at this year’s set of exec­u­tive depart­ment races shows mod­els and poten­tial mod­els of new or return­ing down­bal­lot office­hold­ers:

The sinecure: Out­go­ing Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor Brad Owen sharply crit­i­cized would-be suc­ces­sor Cyrus Habib in 2016, argu­ing that Habib didn’t under­stand the lim­i­ta­tions and scope of the job. Habib want­ed to do too much. Owen had served as an infor­mal trade ambas­sador, fought teenage drug use with rock music, and presided over the State Sen­ate. He was a cap­i­tal fix­ture.

“Lite gov­er­nor” has often been a post-stress job, for Repub­li­can Joel Pritchard after Con­gress and John Cher­berg after his rocky tenure as Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton foot­ball coach. U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Den­ny Heck is run­ning for Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor as a back-home job after eight pro­duc­tive years in Con­gress. State Sen­a­tor Marko Liias, mean­while, is run­ning as some­one on the way up.

Pro­gres­sive vot­ers have a judg­ment call to make on these two.

Rites of suc­ces­sion: Repub­li­cans have held the Sec­re­tary of State’s job since ex-band­leader Vic Mey­ers was tossed out in 1964. They have groomed suc­ces­sors, and assumed some­thing akin to a right of own­er­ship.

Case in point: In 2016, retired Repub­li­can Sec­re­tary of State Sam Reed sent a how-dare-you email to a reporter giv­ing space to Tina Podlodowski’s chal­lenge to Kim Wyman, Reed’s suc­ces­sor, whom Reed is very pro­tec­tive of.

Wyman is one of the few Repub­li­cans still serv­ing in office in Wash­ing­ton State who belongs to the par­ty’s vaunt­ed Dan Evans wing. Trump’s takeover of the par­ty has put Wyman in a quandary, par­tic­u­lar­ly giv­en his fre­quent broad­sides against vot­ing at home. Wyman has remained active in Repub­li­can pol­i­tics while declin­ing, as much as pos­si­ble, to either endorse or repu­di­ate Trump’s posi­tions.

The advo­ca­cy and ener­gy for expand­ing vot­ing rights and access to the bal­lot has come from Democ­rats in the Leg­is­la­ture, with Wyman occa­sion­al­ly push­ing back. She is a fre­quent guest on Nation­al Pub­lic Radio, where she peri­od­i­cal­ly com­ments on Wash­ing­ton’s expe­ri­ence with vot­ing at home.

Wyman claims sup­port from coun­ty audi­tors in both par­ties, though she has few­er Demo­c­ra­t­ic back­ers than she did in 2016. NPI board­mem­ber Gael Tar­leton, who is giv­ing up her seat in the House to chal­lenge Wyman, has tak­en on the task of mak­ing a case for change where oth­er high-pro­file Democ­rats have failed.

Upward bound: State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mike Pel­lic­ciot­ti is an up-and-com­er in the Wash­ing­ton Leg­is­la­ture with a back­ground in the Attor­ney Gen­er­al’s office. Pel­lic­ciot­ti is seek­ing the impor­tant but large­ly invis­i­ble job of State Trea­sur­er, not often a haven of activism in state gov­ern­ment. (Retired Trea­sur­er Jim McIn­tire, who served two terms, did talk can­di­date Jay Inslee out of half-baked pro­pos­al to invest state-man­aged pen­sion mon­ey in tech­nol­o­gy star­tups.)

Incum­bent Repub­li­can Duane David­son won the Top Two con­test in 2016 in which Democ­rats splin­tered their votes in the August elec­tion and both final­ists for the Novem­ber runoff were Repub­li­cans. That will not hap­pen this year, as Pel­lic­ciot­ti is David­son’s only chal­lenger, hav­ing unit­ed Democ­rats behind his can­di­da­cy.

David­son was a long­time Ben­ton Coun­ty Trea­sur­er, is active in the Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of State Trea­sur­ers, and is past pres­i­dent of the Wash­ing­ton State Asso­ci­a­tion of Coun­ty Trea­sur­ers.

David­son is backed by two Demo­c­ra­t­ic pre­de­ces­sors, Dan Grimm and Mike Mur­phy (the lat­ter known main­ly for wel­com­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates on vis­its.) David­son, a Trump backer, is an affa­ble pres­ence at the Main­stream Repub­li­cans of Washington’s annu­al Cas­ca­dia Con­fer­ence.

Pel­lic­ciot­ti is going after David­son for miss­ing state pen­sion board meet­ings. The incum­bent has an atten­dance record equiv­a­lent to Frank Sinatra’s in high school.

The bot­tom line: You can be com­fort­able in a down­bal­lot office. You can be part of an old guard net­work of incum­bents. You can take on low-risk projects, like going after car deal­er­ships that mess with odome­ters, or stern­ly warn­ing the good peo­ple of Wash­ing­ton not to acci­den­tal­ly start brush­fires.

Or you can be make some­thing of the job… and try (as Hilary Franz has) to get mon­ey to quick­ly respond to wild­fires, or sue Mon­san­to for the tox­ic PCBs (poly­chlo­ri­nat­ed biphenyls) that still con­t­a­m­i­nate our water­ways.

The eight statewide down­bal­lot exec­u­tive races before vot­ers this year are:

  • Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor: Pre­sides over the State Sen­ate, fills in for the gov­er­nor when out of state, and serves as link between Pacif­ic North­west based con­suls and Wash­ing­ton State gov­ern­ment.
  • Sec­re­tary of State: Admin­is­ters elec­tions at the state lev­el, along with cor­po­ra­tions, the address con­fi­den­tial­i­ty pro­gram, the state library, and the state archives. Also the cus­to­di­an of the state’s seal.
  • Attor­ney Gen­er­al: The state’s chief legal offi­cer, respon­si­ble for over­see­ing what is essen­tial­ly Wash­ing­ton’s largest law firm, which rep­re­sents the state in cas­es at every lev­el of the judi­cial sys­tem.
  • State Trea­sur­er: The office respon­si­ble for the man­age­ment of the state’s funds, includ­ing its cash­flow (more than $288 bil­lion in Fis­cal Year 2019) and its debts, or accounts payable, to bond­hold­ers and cred­i­tors.
  • State Audi­tor: Charged under the Con­sti­tu­tion and state statute with con­duct­ing finan­cial and per­for­mance audits of state agen­cies and local gov­ern­ments to ensure they are oper­at­ing respon­si­bly.
  • Com­mis­sion­er of Pub­lic Lands: Heads the Depart­ment of Nat­ur­al Resources, tasked with the man­age­ment of the state’s forests and aquat­ic lands, the sup­pres­sion of wild­fires, and geo­log­ic haz­ards map­ping.
  • Insur­ance Com­mis­sion­er: Reg­u­lates the insur­ance indus­try in Wash­ing­ton State, serv­ing as a vital­ly need­ed check on the pow­er of the firms that sell auto, home, life, long term care, and health­care poli­cies.
  • Super­in­ten­dent of Pub­lic Instruc­tion: The admin­is­tra­tor of the state’s pub­lic schools sys­tem, respon­si­ble for allo­cat­ing fund­ing to school dis­tricts and assist­ing them with their cur­ricu­lum and tech­nol­o­gy needs.

Wash­ing­to­ni­ans, when you vote, make sure you vote for each and every one of these posi­tions. The dead­line to return a bal­lot is Tues­day, August 4th, at 8 PM.

Wednesday, July 29th, 2020

Trump regime still making trouble for Pacific Northwest cities despite purported exit pact

Since our last post on the ongo­ing demon­stra­tions in Port­land, which end­ed with con­cern about addi­tion­al fed­er­al offi­cers qui­et­ly hav­ing entered Seat­tle, the scope and direc­tion of the demon­stra­tions in both cities have changed.

Fed­er­al offi­cers appear to be depart­ing, the courts are increas­ing­ly busy, and there are still con­flicts to be resolved between the groups demon­strat­ing in both cities, their respec­tive city coun­cils, and their local police forces.

Portland

On Wednes­day, July 22nd, 2020, the Port­land City Coun­cil vot­ed unan­i­mous­ly to end any fur­ther coop­er­a­tion between the Port­land Police Bureau and fed­er­al offi­cers sent to pro­tect fed­er­al prop­er­ties like the Mark O. Hat­field Cour­t­house and to active­ly counter demon­stra­tions around these same facil­i­ties.

On Fri­day, July 24th, U.S. Dis­trict Judge Michael W. Mos­man denied a request for an injunc­tion sought by Ore­gon Sate Attor­ney Gen­er­al Ellen Rosen­blum to force fed­er­al offi­cers to iden­ti­fy both them­selves and their agency before arrest­ing or detain­ing a per­son, and to pro­hib­it arrests that lack prob­a­ble cause.

Mos­man declared that the state of Ore­gon lacked stand­ing in large part because no dam­age to the inter­ests of the state had been shown to have tak­en place.

He also found that no demon­stra­tor had been includ­ed in the injunc­tion, and that “injunc­tive relief requires more than a show­ing that a plain­tiff has been harmed; it requires a show­ing that she will like­ly be harmed again.”

This sec­ond rea­son is based large­ly on fed­er­al Supreme Court case Lyons ver­sus City of Los Ange­les, which sets a very high stan­dard.

That same day, two of Ore­gon’s mem­bers of Con­gress — Earl Blu­me­nauer and Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, joined by sev­er­al col­leagues — sent a let­ter to act­ing Direc­tor of Home­land Secu­ri­ty Chad Wolf, request­ing his res­ig­na­tion.

“The peo­ple of Port­land were protest­ing police bru­tal­i­ty, and you respond­ed to them with fur­ther bru­tal­i­ty… These are author­i­tar­i­an tac­tics that go against the bedrock of our demo­c­ra­t­ic prin­ci­ples,” the let­ter stat­ed.

Mean­while, the Unit­ed States Attor­ney for the Dis­trict of Ore­gon, Bil­ly J. Williams, said that the demon­stra­tions in down­town Port­land were “hijack­ing the moment in his­to­ry” and ques­tioned how long the larg­er com­mu­ni­ty would tol­er­ate the destruc­tion of prop­er­ty as a response to the mur­ders of Black peo­ple by police.

Williams also ini­tial­ly denied that fed­er­al offi­cers had gone beyond the bound­aries of fed­er­al prop­er­ty to con­front peo­ple protest­ing, but when con­front­ed with evi­dence that it had hap­pened, he amend­ed his com­ments.

State leg­is­la­tors in Ore­gon, hop­ing to be more respon­sive to the Black Lives Mat­ter move­ment than Con­gress has been, have released con­cepts for the Leg­is­la­ture’s next round of police reform bills, includ­ing a com­plete ban on the use of choke­holds and tear gas as well as new efforts to crack down on the arbi­tra­tion appeal process for the dis­ci­pline of law enforce­ment per­son­nel.

(The issue of a more com­pre­hen­sive ban on tear gas mat­ters, as the last bill passed in spe­cial ses­sion restrict­ing tear gas use has­n’t stopped the Port­land Police Bureau from con­tin­u­ing to use it.)

It isn’t known as yet when the next spe­cial ses­sion of the Leg­is­la­ture will take place, but the Joint Com­mit­tee on Trans­par­ent Polic­ing and Use of Force Reform will hold a series of hear­ings on the con­cepts.

Anoth­er pro­pos­al would require police offi­cers to dis­play their last name and badge num­ber unless under­cov­er and pro­vide that infor­ma­tion to any mem­ber of the pub­lic who asks for it. Offi­cers cov­er­ing their names while respond­ing to protests is now a com­mon prac­tice by the Port­land Police Bureau.

Last week, well over one thou­sand and pos­si­bly as many as two thou­sand demon­stra­tors were protest­ing in front of fed­er­al facil­i­ties in down­town Port­land. As can be seen, ten­sions ran high and tear gas was abun­dant in response — enough for the lat­ter to reach inmates at the Mult­nom­ah Coun­ty Deten­tion Cen­ter.

On Sat­ur­day, July 25th, U.S. Attor­ney Williams stat­ed in a phone inter­view that the ban approved by the Port­land City Coun­cil on July 22nd was “non­sen­si­cal, polit­i­cal the­ater” and urged local cit­i­zens to con­vince “vio­lent extrem­ists,” who keep try­ing to breach a pro­tec­tive fence around the fed­er­al facil­i­ties, to leave.

Lat­er that evening, some­where in the neigh­bor­hood of four thou­sand pro­test­ers were present, and fed­er­al offi­cers ini­tial­ly did­n’t con­front them, retreat­ing into the Mark O. Hat­field Fed­er­al Cour­t­house. But when a sec­tion of fence, put up by fed­er­al offi­cers some time ago and a bone of con­tention ever since, was torn down around 1 AM Sun­day morn­ing (with­out the demon­stra­tors cross­ing onto fed­er­al prop­er­ty), Port­land police declared a riot and fed­er­al offi­cers re-emerged to dri­ve the demon­stra­tors back using tear gas and pep­per spray.

As a result of Sat­ur­day evening’s protests, addi­tion­al fed­er­al offi­cers were being sent to sup­port those already in place in Port­land.

Black Lives Mat­ter rep­re­sen­ta­tives in Port­land, mean­while, have been frus­trat­ed by the direc­tion in which the demon­stra­tions are going.

One recent devel­op­ment, how­ev­er, is that the lead­er­ship of the Wall of Moms involved in the Port­land demon­stra­tions have hand­ed over their author­i­ty to Don’t Shoot Port­land for guid­ance and instruc­tion.

For those inter­est­ed, there is a brief and effec­tive visu­al sum­ma­ry here of how the sit­u­a­tion in Port­land has esca­lat­ed in recent weeks, and this piece high­lights por­tions of this past week­end.

On Mon­day, July 27th, two new law­suits were filed. The first, by a group led by the Amer­i­can Civ­il Lib­er­ties Union (ACLU), is a motion for con­tempt and for sanc­tions against fed­er­al author­i­ties for refus­ing to com­ply with a restrain­ing order on June 23rd that pro­hibit­ing fed­er­al troops from arrest­ing or tar­get­ing jour­nal­ists and legal observers unless they were com­mit­ting a spe­cif­ic crime.

The sec­ond, by Don’t Shoot Port­land, the group Wall of Moms and five indi­vid­ual plain­tiffs, claims fed­er­al offi­cials used intim­i­da­tion, threats of vio­lence and dis­ap­pear­ances to deprive pro­test­ers of their con­sti­tu­tion­al rights to free speech, free assem­bly and due process, and their free­dom from unrea­son­able seizures.

On Tues­day, July 29, Gov­er­nor Kate Brown announced a deal with the Trump regime that would remove most fed­er­al offi­cers, replac­ing them with state police to pro­tect fed­er­al facil­i­ties in down­town Port­land. The Trump regime is send­ing mixed mes­sages in response, but the deal appears as if it will pro­ceed.

POSTSCRIPT: By now you may have heard of the sto­ry of some fed­er­al offi­cers at the Port­land demon­stra­tions with “ZTI” tags on their gear, iden­ti­fy­ing them as con­tract employ­ees of ZTI Solu­tions, a firm that has been hired in the past by the Amer­i­can mil­i­tary, poten­tial­ly open­ing accu­sa­tions of their being mer­ce­nar­ies giv­en their present role in Port­land.

How­ev­er, the ZTI busi­ness is appar­ent­ly not what it seems.

That said, as with the Port­land Police, report­ed ear­li­er here, it is more than prob­lem­at­ic that those who are detained, arrest­ed and/or harmed can­not iden­ti­fy these indi­vid­u­als to bring charges against them or the author­i­ty they rep­re­sent.

Seattle

Demonstrations on Capitol Hill, Seattle

Demon­stra­tions on Capi­tol Hill, Seat­tle (Pho­to: Alex Garland/capitolhillseattle.com)

Late on the evening of Wednes­day, July 22nd, a group of approx­i­mate­ly one hun­dred and fifty peo­ple gath­ered at Cal Ander­son Park on behalf of the Youth Lib­er­a­tion Front Seat­tle Divi­sion and pro­ceed­ed to van­dal­ize local busi­ness­es in Capi­tol Hill, re-assem­bled at Cal Ander­son Park, then dis­persed.

A fed­er­al tac­ti­cal bor­der con­trol team arrived at Boe­ing Field on Thurs­day, July 23rd, osten­si­bly to pro­tect fed­er­al facil­i­ties in the Seat­tle area, join­ing Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion and Fed­er­al Pro­tec­tive Ser­vice per­son­nel qui­et­ly brought to the city some­time in ear­ly July.

King Coun­ty Exec­u­tive Dow Con­stan­tine react­ed by post­ing a pair of tweets. “Let me be clear: this com­mu­ni­ty rejects Trump’s uncon­sti­tu­tion­al use of fed­er­al force. It is a trans­par­ent attempt to intim­i­date. But we will not be intim­i­dat­ed… Know your rights. Stay vig­i­lant, stay safe, and stay away from fed­er­al agents.”

The fol­low­ing day, Fri­day, July 24th, Seat­tle May­or Jen­ny Durkan stat­ed at a press con­fer­ence: “Be peace­ful… If you come out in the streets and raise your voic­es, not only is it your right, but in many ways, it’s our oblig­a­tion, but for those who are bent on destruc­tion, those who want the fight to come, I say to you stop.”

That same day, the Depart­ment of Jus­tice request­ed a restrain­ing order to pre­vent the Seat­tle Police Depart­ment from imple­ment­ing the Seat­tle City Council’s ban on crowd-con­trol weapons, due to take effect on Sun­day, July 26th, which had been passed unan­i­mous­ly by the City Coun­cil on June 15th after some dis­agree­ment over final specifics.

Lat­er on July 24th, Judge James Robart of the Unit­ed States Dis­trict Court for the West­ern Dis­trict of Wash­ing­ton grant­ed the request, due to expire with­in four­teen days, with a brief­ing and joint sta­tus report required regard­ing the sta­tus of the restrain­ing order to be avail­able no lat­er than August 1st.

Here’s a bit of back­ground on what led up to the restrain­ing order.

On June 12th, Judge Richard Jones of the Unit­ed States Dis­trict Court for the West­ern Dis­trict of Wash­ing­ton issued a tem­po­rary restrain­ing order that restrict­ed the Seat­tle Police Depart­ment from using spe­cif­ic “less lethal” crowd con­trol devices, though police would be allowed to use such weapons if they saw pro­test­ers engag­ing in “vio­lent or life-threat­en­ing activ­i­ty.”

On June 15th, the Seat­tle City Coun­cil passed its more com­pre­hen­sive ban.  It was returned by May­or Durkan on June 26th, unsigned, and attest­ed (its exis­tence offi­cial­ly declared) that same day by the City Clerk.

On June 17th, Judge Jones’ restrain­ing order was extend­ed to Sep­tem­ber 30th.

On July 17th, the office of the City Attor­ney for the City of Seat­tle served notice that it had been advised by the Depart­ment of Jus­tice that the com­pre­hen­sive ban was in vio­la­tion of the fed­er­al con­sent decree for the Seat­tle Police Depart­ment that has been in place since 2012.

The con­sent decree is an an agree­ment made after a Depart­ment of Jus­tice inves­ti­ga­tion found the Seat­tle Police Depart­ment had a pat­tern of using exces­sive force, and also had poli­cies and prac­tices that could result in bias against minori­ties. The City of Seat­tle and the Seat­tle Police Depart­ment are required to present any pro­posed changes to exist­ing use-of-force and crowd con­trol poli­cies to the Depart­ment of Jus­tice and police mon­i­tor for review and ulti­mate­ly to the court for its approval. This was not done regard­ing the com­pre­hen­sive ban.

This vio­la­tion was the basis for the request by the Depart­ment of Jus­tice for its restrain­ing order. Judge Robart’s action means that Judge Jones’ restrain­ing order remains the basis for the restric­tion of crowd con­trol devices.

Seat­tle Police Chief Car­men Best had react­ed to this sit­u­a­tion on July 23rd with a state­ment that among oth­er things stat­ed that such restric­tions “will cre­ate even more dan­ger­ous cir­cum­stances for our offi­cers to inter­vene using what they have left – riot shields and riot batons.”

The next day, the win­dows of the South­west Precinct police facil­i­ty were board­ed up, imply­ing that the facil­i­ty might be aban­doned, in “an adjust­ed deploy­ment in response to any demon­stra­tions this week­end,” as had been done ear­li­er at one point at the East Precinct police facil­i­ty in Capi­tol Hill on June 8th after May­or Durkin ordered pro­tec­tive bar­ri­ers removed, which were seen as a focal point of mul­ti­ple days of clash­es between demon­stra­tors and police.

This has been a point of con­tention for some time now between Chief Best and Seat­tle City Coun­cilmem­ber Lisa Her­bold, whose West Seat­tle-cen­tered dis­trict includes the South­west Precinct facil­i­ty.

On Sat­ur­day, July 25th, demon­stra­tors peace­ably began a march at Seat­tle Com­mu­ni­ty Col­lege, with “Wall of Moms” and “Wall of Vets” pro­test­ers on hand.

How­ev­er, some indi­vid­u­als even­tu­al­ly slipped away from the march and lit five trail­ers on fire at the con­struc­tion site at 12th Avenue and Jef­fer­son Street for the new King Coun­ty Chil­dren and Fam­i­ly Jus­tice Cen­ter, and lat­er repeat­ed the process at a Star­bucks on 12th Avenue and East Colum­bia Street.

Oth­ers con­cur­rent­ly attempt­ed to dam­age the lob­by of the Seat­tle Police East Precinct, appar­ent­ly using an explo­sive that put an eight-inch hole in the facil­i­ty and caused struc­tur­al dam­age, though details are still some­what sketchy.

The Seat­tle Police had to evac­u­ate apart­ments above the Star­bucks for the safe­ty of the res­i­dents and declared that a riot was tak­ing place, which led to the Seat­tle Police using flash-bangs, pep­per spray, forty-mil­lime­ter “sponge tip” rounds and blast balls, even­tu­al­ly arrest­ing forty-sev­en demon­stra­tors.

Fifty-nine police offi­cers were declared injured in the demon­stra­tions. There was no offi­cial dec­la­ra­tion of the num­ber of injuries suf­fered by pro­test­ers.

Police Chief Best, at a brief press con­fer­ence late Sat­ur­day night, said: “I implore peo­ple to come to the city in peace… We sup­port everyone’s First Amend­ment right to free speech and to gath­er and assem­ble in such a way. But what we saw today was not peace­ful… The riot­ers had no regard for the community’s safe­ty, for offi­cers’ safe­ty or for the busi­ness­es and prop­er­ty that they destroyed.”

The fol­low­ing day, Sun­day, July 26th, sev­er­al pre­emp­tive arrests and acqui­si­tion and removal of sup­port vehi­cles for the demon­stra­tors at West­lake Plaza took the air out of a planned demon­stra­tion at the Immi­gra­tion and Cus­toms Enforce­ment (ICE) offices along­side the US Immi­gra­tion Review Court on 2nd Avenue.

Cal Ander­son Park was also declared closed, but demon­stra­tors orga­nized there any­way and moved ahead with their demon­stra­tions just before 7 PM, with police attempt­ing to restrict move­ment with­out being imme­di­ate­ly con­fronta­tion­al. How­ev­er, by mid-to late evening, most of the demon­stra­tors had dis­persed.

On Mon­day, July 27th, the Seat­tle-King Coun­ty branch of Black Lives Mat­ter and the ACLU filed a motion of con­tempt for vio­lat­ing Judge Jones’ restrain­ing order, “ambush­ing peace­ful pro­test­ers.”

On Tues­day, July 28th, Seat­tle author­i­ties were noti­fied that the fed­er­al tac­ti­cal bor­der con­trol team that had arrived on July 23rd had been with­drawn.

This saga is by no means over. Only time will tell what the future holds.

Tuesday, July 28th, 2020

COVID-19 Update: Business, social activities restricted as region struggles to combat virus

It’s time for anoth­er install­ment of of our spe­cial series COVID-19 Update, bring­ing you the lat­est devel­op­ments on the nov­el coro­n­avirus out­break that pub­lic health author­i­ties here and across the coun­try are work­ing to mit­i­gate.

Wash­ing­ton

On Thurs­day, July 23rd, Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee announced a num­ber of changes to the statewide “Safe Start” reopen­ing plan, which were fur­ther clar­i­fied on July 28th. As of July 25th, face masks are required in all com­mon spaces.

As of July 30th, din­ing inside restau­rants is only allowed for mem­bers of the same house­hold, and for those coun­ties in Phase III of the reopen­ing plan, no par­ty may be larg­er that five indi­vid­u­als. Occu­pan­cy with­in restau­rants will be reduced from 75% to 50%, and gam­ing and social areas with such items as pool tables, dart boards and video games are to be closed for the time being.

Out­door din­ing and take-away remains avail­able for small par­ties from dif­fer­ent house­holds. Bars may remain open for out­door ser­vice, but may no longer have indoor ser­vice. Alco­hol may be served in restau­rants until 10 PM.

For coun­ties in Phase II, fit­ness cen­ters may have no more than five peo­ple using a giv­en facil­i­ty at any one time. For coun­ties in Phase III, no fit­ness cen­ter may have more than 25% occu­pan­cy. No fit­ness class may have more than ten par­tic­i­pants, not includ­ing the instruc­tor.

As of August 6th, wed­dings and funer­als are to be no more than at 20% of pos­si­ble occu­pan­cy or no more than thir­ty peo­ple present, whichev­er is less. Recep­tions for either cer­e­mo­ny are pro­hib­it­ed.

Gov­er­nor Inslee also extend­ed the evic­tion mora­to­ri­um to Octo­ber 15th.

That same day, the Wash­ing­ton State Supreme Court upheld Gov­er­nor Inslee’s deci­sions regard­ing under what cir­cum­stances and how many inmates may be released from prison as a result of the local COVID-19 pan­dem­ic.

On that same day, the Wash­ing­ton Edu­ca­tion Asso­ci­a­tion released a state­ment  oppos­ing the resump­tion of in-per­son learn­ing for the com­ing school year.

“[W]e can­not respon­si­bly sup­port a return to school build­ings for in-per­son learn­ing this fall.  We call on Gov­er­nor Inslee to con­tin­ue lead­ing with sci­ence and safe­ty and declare that schools will open remote­ly this fall,” WEA said.

On Fri­day, July 24th, Judge Ben­jamin H. Set­tle of the Unit­ed States Dis­trict Court for the West­ern Dis­trict of Wash­ing­ton reject­ed two requests filed on May 5th and May 18th, respec­tive­ly, for injunc­tions that would reverse the emer­gency orders put into place by Gov­er­nor Inslee to com­bat the pan­dem­ic.

Set­tle held that in both cas­es, while Gov­er­nor Inslee issued the relat­ed procla­ma­tions, oth­er offi­cials were respon­si­ble for their enforce­ment.

Set­tle, whose court­room is based in Taco­ma, also found that there was no evi­dence that these procla­ma­tions were in of them­selves uncon­sti­tu­tion­al acts.

Set­tle’s rul­ing left polit­i­cal scam­mer and Repub­li­can guber­na­to­r­i­al can­di­date Tim Eyman (a plain­tiff in one of the suits) fum­ing.

While Set­tle was hand­ing down in his rul­ing, Wash­ing­ton’s Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son was suing the fed­er­al Edu­ca­tion Depart­ment (present­ly under the con­trol of Bet­sy DeVos) over CARES Act fund­ing, request­ing a pre­lim­i­nary injunc­tion to block DeVos’ plans for the dis­tri­b­u­tion of the funds.

In hap­pi­er news, the recent­ly formed Wash­ing­ton Dream Coali­tion has raised $5.2 mil­lion and con­tin­ues to inter­est poten­tial finan­cial part­ners in their goal of pro­vid­ing finan­cial assis­tance to new Amer­i­cans who have been immoral­ly exclud­ed from pub­licly fund­ed relief ini­tia­tives.

And it’s very much need­ed in a state where 13% of the pop­u­la­tion is Hispanic/Lantinx, but has been afflict­ed with 44% of con­firmed cas­es of COVID-19, the nov­el coro­n­avirus. Some res­i­dents in Yaki­ma Coun­ty are using artis­tic rep­re­sen­ta­tion to tell the sto­ry of their com­mu­ni­ty’s suf­fer­ing.

On Tues­day, July 28th, The Wash­ing­ton State Depart­ment of Health released its lat­est statewide sit­u­a­tion report, which con­firms increas­ing spread of the virus in West­ern Wash­ing­ton and a high spread of in Eastern/Central Wash­ing­ton.

Oregon

On Wednes­day, July 22nd, Gov­er­nor Kate Brown announced that as of July 24th, mask wear­ing require­ments for indoor areas would apply to chil­dren five years of age and old­er. Brown also reduced the max­i­mum num­ber of peo­ple who can gath­er in an indoor space, includ­ing bars and restau­rants, from two hun­dred and fifty to one hun­dred. Bars and restau­rants in coun­ties in Phase II of the reopen­ing process have also been direct­ed to close down by 10 PM.

While a num­ber of urban school dis­tricts in Ore­gon are con­sid­er­ing remote learn­ing for most to all of their class­es, rur­al school dis­tricts are focus­ing on in-per­son instruc­tion as at least part of their instruc­tion for the com­ing school year.

Com­pared to the WEA in Wash­ing­ton, the Ore­gon Edu­ca­tion Asso­ci­a­tion’s views on resum­ing in per­son learn­ing are slight­ly dif­fer­ent.

Even so, Ore­gon offi­cials have estab­lished a more con­crete require­ment: Ore­gon coun­ties must have few­er than ten cas­es per 100,000 peo­ple for three weeks straight before in-per­son class­es may resume.

On Tues­day, July 28th, a record four­teen deaths were con­firmed with­in the state from COVID-19. On Thurs­day, July 30th, to com­bat a short­age of tests and test com­po­nents, a new test using sali­va spit into a tube will be imple­ment­ed.

Idaho

On Tues­day, July 21st, East­ern Ida­ho Pub­lic Health’s board of Direc­tors, in a unan­i­mous vote, made wear­ing masks in pub­lic in Bon­neville Coun­ty manda­to­ry. All events of more than one hun­dred and fifty peo­ple are now pro­hib­it­ed as well.

On July 13th, nurse prac­ti­tion­er Saman­tha Hick­ey died from car­diac com­pli­ca­tions result­ing from being infect­ed with COVID-19.

On Wednes­day, July 22nd, Repub­li­can state leg­is­la­tor Tam­my Nichols shared a Face­book post ques­tion­ing the cause of her death. This quick­ly drew fire from Hick­ey’s cowork­ers and employ­er, St. Luke’s Hos­pi­tal in Cald­well.

There were five hun­dred and twen­ty-eight new cas­es of COVID-19 on Fri­day, July 24th, five hun­dred and six­ty-three new cas­es  on Sat­ur­day, July 25th, five hun­dred and sev­en­teen new cas­es on Mon­day, July 27th and five hun­dred and twen­ty-eight new cas­es on Tues­day, July 28th.

Boise State Uni­ver­si­ty has lift­ed a require­ment of manda­to­ry test­ing for every stu­dent to live on its cam­pus because not enough tests are avail­able.

They will instead ask stu­dents to take a COVID-19 test in their home­towns — if they are avail­able — before mov­ing into cam­pus hous­ing.

British Colum­bia

On Wednes­day, July 22nd, in response to the recent spike in cas­es, provin­cial health offi­cer Dr. Bon­nie Hen­ry announced new pub­lic health mea­sures.

All patrons in restau­rants, bars and night­clubs will be required to be seat­ed, no groups larg­er than six allowed at restau­rants, alco­hol will only be avail­able at table and not at a bar, and dance floors will be closed. She also made a point or request­ing that peo­ple’s “bub­bles,” or groups of peo­ple with­in which they inter­act and not out­side it, to lim­it spread of COVID-19, be kept small.

A new Can­tonese pop song about the pan­dem­ic, with lyrics penned by a Uni­ver­si­ty of British Colum­bia music stu­dent, hit dig­i­tal streams this past week.

Restau­ra­teurs are ask­ing patrons for patience and to fol­low rules regard­ing capac­i­ty, wear­ing masks and phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing as the pan­dem­ic frays nerves.

A province-wide plan for return­ing chil­dren to schools will be pre­sent­ed on Wednes­day, July 29th. There have been delays in pre­sent­ing the plan large­ly to account more read­i­ly for the evolv­ing sit­u­a­tion regard­ing the pan­dem­ic with­in the province, and also to account for the most like­ly sce­nario this fall, which might include a “sec­ond wave” with an addi­tion­al con­cur­rent influen­za out­break.

The hard, cold numbers

Wash­ing­ton state has had 55,434 cas­es and 1,526 attrib­ut­able deaths.

933,304 peo­ple have been test­ed.

Ore­gon has had 17,416 cas­es and 303 attrib­ut­able deaths.

386,786 peo­ple have been test­ed.

Ida­ho has had 19,222 cas­es and 160 attrib­ut­able deaths.

171,892 peo­ple have been test­ed.

British Colum­bia has had 3,523 cas­es and 194 attrib­ut­able deaths.

255,728 peo­ple have been test­ed.​

Sunday, July 26th, 2020

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (July 20th-24th)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Mem­bers of Con­gress vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Fri­day, July 24th.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress pho­to)

REMOVING CONFEDERATE STATUES FROM CAPITOL: Vot­ing 305 for and 113 against, the House on July 22nd passed a bill (H.R. 7573) that would remove from the Capi­tol build­ing a bust of for­mer Supreme Court Chief Jus­tice Roger B. Taney, the author of the Dred Scott v. Sand­ford rul­ing in 1857 that African-Amer­i­cans could not be cit­i­zens of the Unit­ed States or sue in fed­er­al courts.

The bill also would ban­ish from the Capi­tol the stat­ues or busts of Con­fed­er­ate and/or pro-slav­ery lead­ers includ­ing Gen. Robert E. Lee, the Con­fed­er­ate com­man­der; Jef­fer­son Davis, the Con­fed­er­a­cy pres­i­dent and a U.S. sen­a­tor and House mem­ber; John C. Cal­houn of South Car­oli­na, a U.S. vice pres­i­dent and sen­a­tor; John C. Breck­en­ridge of Ken­tucky, a U.S. vice pres­i­dent and Con­fed­er­ate war sec­re­tary; for­mer North Car­oli­na Gov­er­nor Charles B. Aycock, and for­mer Arkansas gov­er­nor and U.S. sen­a­tor James P. Clarke.

Under the bill, the Taney bust on the Sen­ate side of the Capi­tol would be replaced with one of Thur­good Mar­shall, the first African-Amer­i­can Supreme Court jus­tice. All removals would have to occur with­in forty-five or one hun­dred and twen­ty days and the stat­ues would be returned to their donor states.

James Clyburn, D‑South Car­oli­na, said: “I am not for destroy­ing any statue.…Put them where they can be studied.…But do not hon­or [these indi­vid­u­als]. Do not glo­ri­fy them. Take them out of this great school­house so that the peo­ple who vis­it here can be uplift­ed by what this coun­try is all about.”

Tom McClin­tock, R‑California, said: “If we remove memo­ri­als to every per­son in this build­ing who ever made a bad deci­sion… this will be a very bar­ren place, indeed. It is only by the bad things in our his­to­ry that we can tru­ly mea­sure all of the good things in our his­to­ry.”

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Sen­ate.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mike Simp­son

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Russ Fulcher

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (5): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrad­er; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Greg Walden

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (10): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Den­ny Heck; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera-Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 16 aye votes, 1 nay vote

APPROVING $741 BILLION FOR MILITARY IN 2021: Vot­ing 295 for and 125 against, the House on July 21st approved a $741 bil­lion mil­i­tary bud­get (HR 6395) for fis­cal 2021 that includes $60 bil­lion-plus for active-duty and retiree health care, a $1 bil­lion fund for deal­ing with present and future pan­demics and hun­dreds of bil­lions for weapons sys­tems and per­son­nel costs.

In addi­tion, the bill would:

  • require Con­fed­er­ate names to be removed from U.S. bases with­in one year;
  • pro­hib­it pub­lic dis­play of the Con­fed­er­ate flag on mil­i­tary prop­er­ty;
  • treat cli­mate dam­age as a nation­al secu­ri­ty threat;
  • com­bat for­eign inter­fer­ence in U.S. elec­tions;
  • fund a three per­cent pay raise for uni­formed per­son­nel;
  • expand pro­grams for mil­i­tary vic­tims of sex­u­al assault;
  • require a Pen­ta­gon report on alleged Russ­ian boun­ty pay­ments for the killing of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and pro­vide Ukraine with $250 mil­lion for defend­ing itself against Russ­ian bel­liger­ence.

The bill would add a “vio­lent extrem­ism” arti­cle cov­er­ing hate crimes and oth­er offens­es to the Uni­form Code of Mil­i­tary Jus­tice, and install an inspec­tor gen­er­al to probe white suprema­cist activ­i­ties in the armed forces and review racial and eth­nic dis­par­i­ties in the admin­is­tra­tion of mil­i­tary jus­tice.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mike Simp­son

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Russ Fulcher

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (3): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrad­er; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Greg Walden

Vot­ing Nay (2): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci and Earl Blu­me­nauer

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (8): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Den­ny Heck; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler and Dan New­house

Vot­ing Nay (2): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Prami­la Jaya­pal; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 12 aye votes, 5 nay votes

PROHIBITING UNDERGROUND NUCLEAR TESTING: The House on July 20 vot­ed, 227 for and 179 against, to deny fund­ing of Trump admin­is­tra­tion plans to pos­si­bly lift a twen­ty-eight-year mora­to­ri­um on the under­ground test­ing of nuclear weapons. The amend­ment was added to H.R. 6395 (above).

Since 1992, fed­er­al weapons lab­o­ra­to­ries have used tech­no­log­i­cal sim­u­la­tions and sci­en­tif­ic probes to ensure the safe­ty and poten­cy of the nation’s aging nuclear arse­nal. But a Sen­ate ver­sion of next year’s mil­i­tary bud­get includes $10 mil­lion to pre­pare for a resump­tion of explo­sive under­ground test­ing that was com­mon through­out the Cold War but out­lawed for rea­sons hav­ing to do with arms con­trol and pro­tect­ing pub­lic health and the envi­ron­ment.

Dina Titus, D‑Nevada, said: “Con­duct­ing an explo­sive nuclear test encour­ages our adver­saries, like Rus­sia and Chi­na, to do the same. There is no good rea­son to risk the restart of a glob­al arms race, espe­cial­ly at a time when we have the tech­no­log­i­cal advan­tage.”

Liz Cheney, R‑Wyoming, said: “If this amend­ment becomes law, the Unit­ed States los­es the abil­i­ty to ensure that we can test, if nec­es­sary, to ensure that our deter­rent is reli­able and, there­fore, cred­i­ble. That… embold­ens our adver­saries and it under­mines our allies’ faith in the nuclear umbrel­la.”

A yes vote was to adopt the amend­ment.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simp­son

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, Kurt Schrad­er

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Greg Walden

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (7): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Den­ny Heck

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera-Beut­ler and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Not Vot­ing (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Dan New­house

Cas­ca­dia total: 11 aye votes, 5 nay votes, 1 not vot­ing

REPAIRING NATIONAL PARKS, FUNDING PUBLIC LANDS: Vot­ing 310 for and 107 against, the House on July 22nd passed a bill (H.R. 1957) that would autho­rize $9.5 bil­lion over five years for repair­ing facil­i­ties at the Nation­al Park Ser­vice, oth­er fed­er­al land agen­cies and Indi­an Edu­ca­tion Ser­vice schools.

In addi­tion, the bill would per­ma­nent­ly require an annu­al bud­get of at least $900 mil­lion for the Land and Water Con­ser­va­tion Fund, which pro­vides fed­er­al and non-fed­er­al agen­cies with rev­enue for acquir­ing unde­vel­oped land for con­ser­va­tion and recre­ation­al pur­pos­es.

All fund­ing in the bill would come from roy­al­ties from oil and gas drilling oper­a­tions on fed­er­al prop­er­ty. The bill would set aside about $6.5 bil­lion over five years for long-neglect­ed repairs at scores of nation­al parks and relat­ed prop­er­ties, gen­er­at­ing tens of thou­sands of pri­vate-sec­tor jobs and halv­ing the park ser­vice’s $12.5 bil­lion back­log of unfund­ed main­te­nance.

A yes vote was to send the bill to Don­ald Trump for his expect­ed sig­na­ture.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mike Simp­son

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Russ Fulcher

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (5): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrad­er; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Greg Walden

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (9): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Den­ny Heck; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Dan New­house

Cas­ca­dia total: 15 aye votes, 2 nay votes

NULLIFYING BANS ON MUSLIM-MAJORITY IMMIGRATION: Vot­ing 233 for and 183 against, the House on July 22nd passed leg­is­la­tion (H.R. 2486; H.R. 2214) that would nul­li­fy exec­u­tive orders by Pres­i­dent Trump pro­hibit­ing per­ma­nent immi­gra­tion into the Unit­ed States by res­i­dents of twelve named coun­tries, many of which have Mus­lim-major­i­ty pop­u­la­tions.

In addi­tion, the bill would lim­it the abil­i­ty of pres­i­dents to use Sec­tion 212(f) of the Immi­gra­tion and Nation­al­i­ty Act to close Amer­i­can bor­ders to immi­grants who pose no threat to U.S. pub­lic safe­ty or nation­al secu­ri­ty.

Our own Prami­la Jaya­pal, D‑Washington, called for an end to “dis­crim­i­na­to­ry bans that send the repug­nant mes­sage that our foun­da­tion­al val­ues of free­dom of reli­gion and lib­er­ty and jus­tice for all do not apply.”

Andy Big­gs, R‑Arizona, cred­it­ed Trump with “deci­sive action to help ensure the secu­ri­ty of our immi­gra­tion pro­grams and, thus, the safe­ty of our coun­try. Every time he does so, my Demo­c­ra­t­ic friends cry foul.”

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Sen­ate.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simp­son

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, Kurt Schrad­er

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Greg Walden

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (7): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Den­ny Heck

Vot­ing Nay (3): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera-Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 11 aye votes, 6 nay votes

ENSURING LEGAL COUNSEL AT PORTS OF ENTRY: Vot­ing 231 for and 184 against, the House on July 22 passed leg­is­la­tion (H.R. 2486; H.R. 5581) that would ensure that law­ful per­ma­nent res­i­dents and oth­er hold­ers of U.S. visas can obtain prompt access to coun­sel when they are held by Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion for screen­ing at U.S. ports of entry last­ing more than one hour.

Jer­rold Nadler, D‑New York, said: “All this bill says is that if some­one is held in sec­ondary inspec­tion for at least an hour, they must be giv­en an oppor­tu­ni­ty to call coun­sel, to call oth­er peo­ple, to call their broth­er-in-law, to call who­ev­er, and to com­mu­ni­cate.”

Andy Big­gs, R‑Arizona, said only 17 mil­lion of the 400 mil­lion per­sons enter­ing the Unit­ed States each year receive sec­ondary screen­ing, and that per­mit­ting them “to con­sult with coun­sel or some oth­er inter­est­ed par­ty will bring legit­i­mate trade and trav­el to a grind­ing halt.”

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Sen­ate.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simp­son

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, Kurt Schrad­er

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Greg Walden

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (7): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Den­ny Heck

Vot­ing Nay (3): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera-Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 11 aye votes, 6 nay votes

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Sen­ate cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress pho­to)

APPROVING $741 BILLION FOR MILITARY IN 2021: Vot­ing 86 for and 14 against, the Sen­ate on July 23rd approved a $740.5 bil­lion mil­i­tary bud­get for fis­cal 2021 that includes $69 bil­lion to fund com­bat oper­a­tions over­seas and hun­dreds of bil­lions for weapons, per­son­nel and research and devel­op­ment.

The bill (S. 4049) would autho­rize a three per­cent pay raise for uni­formed per­son­nel; pro­hib­it U.S. troop deploy­ments against Amer­i­cans exer­cis­ing their con­sti­tu­tion­al right to peace­ably protest and fund prepa­ra­tions for pos­si­bly end­ing the 1992 mora­to­ri­um on under­ground nuclear test­ing.

In addi­tion, the bill would require the removal over three years of Con­fed­er­ate names from ten Army bases named after offi­cers who waged war against the Unit­ed States, and from oth­er U.S. mil­i­tary assets — includ­ing naval ves­sels — named in com­mem­o­ra­tion of Con­fed­er­ate mil­i­tary fig­ures or bat­tle­field prowess.

James Inhofe, R‑Oklahoma, said Amer­i­ca needs “a cred­i­ble mil­i­tary deter­rent that tells Rus­sia and Chi­na and any­one else who would do us harm: You just can’t win. We are going to win. We will beat you.…That is what this [bill] does.”

Eliz­a­beth War­ren, D‑Massachusetts, said: “It has been more than 150 years since the end of the Civ­il War, but ten U.S. Army posts around this coun­try cur­rent­ly bear the names of offi­cers of the Con­fed­er­ate States of Amer­i­ca.… who took up arms against the Unit­ed States to defend slav­ery.”

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Maria Cantwell and Pat­ty Mur­ray

Cas­ca­dia total: 4 aye votes, 2 nay votes

OUTLAWING TRANSFER OF MILITARY WEAPONS TO LOCAL POLICE: Vot­ing 51 for and 49 against, the Sen­ate on July 21st failed to reach six­ty votes need­ed to adopt an amend­ment to S. 4049 (above) that would per­ma­nent­ly out­law the U.S. mil­i­tary’s trans­fer of com­bat-lev­el weapons and equip­ment to local police at no cost. The untrans­fer­able items would include bay­o­nets, tear gas, tanks, armed drones, grenade launch­ers and explo­sives.

But police depart­ments could con­tin­ue to receive non-lethal items such as high­wa­ter vehi­cles, cold-weath­er gear, com­put­ers, first-aid kits and flash­lights under what is called the “1033 Pro­gram.”

Bri­an Schatz, D‑Hawaii, said: “The last month has made clear that weapons of war don’t belong in police depart­ments.… We saw the ter­ri­fy­ing images of police in mil­i­tary gear storm­ing the streets, com­bat vehi­cles rum­bling down city blocks, rounds and rounds of tear gas shot at peace­ful pro­test­ers, fre­quent­ly with­out warn­ing and often unpro­voked.…  Our com­mu­ni­ties are not bat­tle­fields. The Amer­i­can peo­ple are not ene­my com­bat­ants.”

James Inhofe, R‑Oklahoma, called the pro­gram “an effec­tive use of tax­pay­ers’ mon­ey” which, since 1990, has recy­cled more than $7 bil­lion worth of vehi­cles, desks, boots, com­put­ers and oth­er items to local police.

“This is mil­i­tary equip­ment that the mil­i­tary no longer needs and that these [local­i­ties] would be pur­chas­ing any­way,” Inhofe argued. “The equip­ment is always demil­i­ta­rized so that it is appro­pri­ate for pub­lic-safe­ty use.”

A yes vote was to adopt the amend­ment.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Maria Cantwell and Pat­ty Mur­ray

Cas­ca­dia total: 4 aye votes, 2 nay votes

Key votes ahead

The House will take up fis­cal 2021 spend­ing bills in the week that begins on July 27th, while the Sen­ate will vote on judi­cial nom­i­na­tions. Both cham­bers are expect­ed to start work on a coro­n­avirus (SARS-CoV­‑2) relief pack­age.

Edi­tor’s Note: The infor­ma­tion in NPI’s week­ly How Cas­ca­di­a’s U.S. law­mak­ers vot­ed fea­ture is pro­vid­ed by Votera­ma in Con­gress, a ser­vice of Thomas Vot­ing Reports. All rights are reserved. Repro­duc­tion of this post is not per­mit­ted, not even with attri­bu­tion. Use the per­ma­nent link to this post to share it… thanks!

© 2020 Thomas Vot­ing Reports.

Friday, July 24th, 2020

Southwest exposure: Long takes on Herrera Beutler in marquee 3rd CD House rematch

The read­ing of tea leaves in Washington’s 3rd Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict, encom­pass­ing South­west Wash­ing­ton, is get­ting repet­i­tive.

The 2018 midterm cam­paign cycle start­ed off for Repub­li­can Unit­ed States Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler with a rat­ing of “safe Repub­li­can.”

As Demo­c­rat Car­olyn Long showed life, the 3rd became “like­ly Repub­li­can.” Then, the rat­ing changed to “leans Repub­li­can,” and the for­mer long­shot Long was show­ered in late arriv­ing sup­port from Bloomberg and envi­ron­men­tal groups.

It’s déjà vu all over again.

With a remarch under­way, the Cook Polit­i­cal Report just switched the rat­ing from “like­ly Repub­li­can” back to “leans Repub­li­can.” The bucks are flow­ing in. Her­rera Beut­ler took in more than $764,000 from March to June, while Long raised $628,000 in the past three months. As report­ed in The Columbian, the incum­bent had almost $1.85 mil­lion in cash on hand and the chal­lenger $1.58 mil­lion.

The Ever­green State once again has a House chal­lenge on its hands.

The 3rd is the lone West Coast dis­trict (out­side Alas­ka) bor­der­ing the Pacif­ic Ocean that is still rep­re­sent­ed by a Repub­li­can.

Her­rera Buetler hung onto it by a slim mar­gin in 2018.

Ex-Sec­re­tary of State Ralph Munro once divid­ed Wash­ing­ton into two polit­i­cal land­scapes. The “Space Nee­dle Wash­ing­ton,” every­thing vis­i­ble from the Seat­tle land­mark, votes Demo­c­ra­t­ic. The “Old Snowy Wash­ing­ton,” after a land­mark Goat Rocks Wilder­ness peak, leans Repub­li­can. The view from its flat sum­mit stretch­es out across both Cen­tral Wash­ing­ton and South­west Wash­ing­ton.

The 3rd Dis­trict has become part of Old Snowy Wash­ing­ton in recent years. It flipped Repub­li­can in 2010. Trump car­ried the dis­trict in 2016, even win­ning in the two Wash­ing­ton coun­ties – Pacif­ic and Grays Har­bor – car­ried by lone­some George McGov­ern in 1972. Democ­rats lost a raft of local offices there in 2016.

A fast-talk­ing polit­i­cal sci­ence prof from Wash­ing­ton State Uni­ver­si­ty — Van­cou­ver, Long sought to recon­nect using a series of town meet­ings in 2018.

She car­ried (bare­ly) pop­u­lous Clark Coun­ty, but lost every­place else.

The Democ­rats’ recon­nect­ing chal­lenge is root­ed in past neglect.

Take the annu­al Pacif­ic Coun­ty Democ­rats’ Crab Feed, at nine­ty-plus years (though can­celed this year) the state’s old­est con­tin­u­ous polit­i­cal event.

It’s lots of fun. Sen­a­tor Maria Cantwell passed up the Grid­iron Din­ner in D.C. one year to spoon out pota­to sal­ad on the food line.

Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son, shirt­sleeves rolled up, han­dled the crab near­by.

Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee nev­er shows up. Of late he hasn’t even both­ered to send greet­ings of late. Grays Har­bor and Pacif­ic Coun­ties are Wash­ing­ton’s equiv­a­lent of the Rust Belt, depen­dent on log­ging and shell­fish har­vest­ing. South­west Wash­ing­ton bare­ly shows up much on the Inslee litany of new ener­gy projects.

The Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty lost the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in the Great Lakes states (except for Min­neso­ta and Illi­nois, which backed Hillary Clin­ton).

Blue col­lar work­ers have become a bedrock of the Repub­li­can Par­ty and Trump sup­port, from the coast of Maine to Aberdeen-Hoquiam.

Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler is a threat­ened polit­i­cal species.

The U.S. House cur­rent­ly has more than one hun­dred women mem­bers, but only a dozen of them are Repub­li­cans. Her­rera Beut­ler gave a rare recent inter­view to Politi­co, as the lone Repub­li­can Lati­na in the “peo­ples’s house.”

Her­rera Beut­ler, forty-one, votes with the Trump admin­is­tra­tion more than eighty per­cent of the time. She did vote against her cau­cus’ attempt to gut the Patient Pro­tec­tion Act when Repub­li­cans con­trolled the House, com­plain­ing of its cru­el­ty to chil­dren depen­dent on Med­ic­aid. She did cast a key vote to main­tain the Endan­gered Species Act, coaxed by then col­league Norm Dicks.

She is pas­sion­ate­ly pro-life. She is moth­er of a daugh­ter, Abi­gail, born with Potter’s Syn­drome, and kept alive by med­ical treat­ment that in which saline injec­tions allowed the baby to live with­out kid­neys. Abi­gail would lat­er receive a kid­ney from her father Daniel Beut­ler. The cou­ple have three chil­dren.

Long has made health care a cen­ter­piece of her chal­lenge. She is a fero­cious defend­er of the Patient Pro­tec­tion Act, wants it expand­ed to cov­er those with pre-exist­ing con­di­tions, and favors a pub­lic option. She does not sup­port Medicare For All. She talks dis­trict issues, from expand­ed broad­band ser­vice in rur­al areas to break­ing the impasse over rebuild­ing the I‑5 bridge over the Colum­bia Riv­er.

She held a total of forty-six town meet­ings dur­ing the 2018 cam­paign, a forum that the low pro­file Her­rera Beut­ler has avoid­ed in recent years.

The fall cam­paign will fea­ture demo­niz­ing on all sides. Boil­er­plate press releas­es from the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Con­gres­sion­al Cam­paign Com­mit­tee depict Her­rera Beut­ler as a force behind every evil deed of Don­ald Trump.

Repub­li­cans in South­west Wash­ing­ton, mean­while, have depict­ed Democ­rats as vas­sals of the noisy demon­stra­tor class of Seat­tle and Port­land.

How goes it? Long will need to expand her mar­gin in Clark Coun­ty. Her­rera-Beut­ler will har­vest a mar­gin of 10,000 votes or so in very con­ser­v­a­tive Lewis Coun­ty. The con­test may well be decid­ed in Cowlitz Coun­ty (home to com­mu­ni­ties like Kel­so and Longview), which in recent years has trend­ed Repub­li­can.

Appear­ances can deceive. In the clos­ing days of the 2018 cam­paign, top House
Demo­c­rat Ste­ny Hoy­er, once again the Major­i­ty Leader, was fea­tured at a big Longview fundrais­er in a home look­ing down on Longview and the Colum­bia Riv­er. A day lat­er, Long drew one hun­dred and twen­ty-five peo­ple to a town hall at Low­er Colum­bia Col­lege, and took at least fifty of them out can­vass­ing with her.

Her­rera Beut­ler was in town that day, draw­ing only a cou­ple dozen peo­ple to a light­ly attend­ed event. Days lat­er, the incum­bent eas­i­ly car­ried Cowlitz Coun­ty.

Thursday, July 23rd, 2020

Trump’s neofascist regime is targeting Pacific Northwest cities for Donald’s electoral gain

It has become abun­dant­ly clear that Don­ald Trump’s neo­fas­cist regime rec­og­nizes that it is in grave dan­ger of being swept out of pow­er this autumn by a blue tsuna­mi. In a des­per­ate attempt to avoid that fate, Trump and his min­ions have delib­er­ate­ly tar­get­ed the Pacif­ic North­west­’s major cities (Port­land and Seat­tle) as places where they can use fed­er­al law enforce­ment per­son­nel to insti­gate con­flicts that will be help­ful in ril­ing up their base and spread­ing fear.

Lead­ers in the Pacif­ic North­west are right­ly furi­ous about this, and speak­ing out.

On July 20th, Sen­a­tors Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden of Ore­gon spoke on the Sen­ate floor against deploy­ing “unwant­ed para­mil­i­tary forces” into Amer­i­can cities.

“What we have seen in the last ten days in Port­land has been hor­rif­ic and uncon­scionable,” said Merkley. “Fed­er­al forces have shot an unarmed pro­test­er in the head with impact muni­tions, and para­mil­i­tary forces in cam­ou­flage have been grab­bing peo­ple off the streets and putting them into unmarked vans.”

“These are the actions of an author­i­tar­i­an regime, not a demo­c­ra­t­ic repub­lic. This gross vio­la­tion of Amer­i­cans’ civ­il rights must end imme­di­ate­ly.”

“What Don­ald Trump is doing is incom­pat­i­ble with the fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ples of democ­ra­cy laid out by our founders and expand­ed through the gen­er­a­tions., said Wyden. “What Don­ald Trump is doing is total­ly out of con­trol.”

The offi­cial response has been the cre­ation of the Pre­vent­ing Author­i­tar­i­an Polic­ing Tac­tics on America’s Streets Act, which would lim­it the use of fed­er­al offi­cers for crowd con­trol, man­date indi­vid­ual and agency iden­ti­fi­ca­tion for each fed­er­al offi­cer respond­ing to crowds and demon­stra­tions, require deploy­ments to be dis­closed and spec­i­fied via a relat­ed fed­er­al agency’s web­site with­in twen­­ty-four hours of such a deploy­ment, and make arrests in vio­la­tion of these rules unlaw­ful.

Lat­er that same evening, between one and two thou­sand pro­test­ers marched to the Mult­nom­ah Coun­ty Jus­tice Cen­ter and Mark Hat­field Fed­er­al Cour­t­house with a “Wall of Moms” in yel­low and an assem­bly of self-iden­ti­­fied dads in orange shirts and haz­ard vests. They were met by fed­er­al offi­cers who threat­ened to shoot demon­stra­tors via their green laser tar­get lights and dis­persed them via tear gas and flash-bang grenades.

On July 22nd, the city of Port­land sent a cease and desist let­ter to the fed­er­al author­i­ties to remove a met­al fence which has been used to keep out pro­test­ers.

(Fences in rela­tion to the Port­land demon­stra­tions have a his­to­ry.)

Lat­er that evening, Port­land May­or Ted Wheel­er joined the demon­stra­tors, and was heck­led by some of them. The hos­tile recep­tion was pre­dictable giv­en that Wheel­er has, in the past, allowed the Port­land Police to use tear gas against these same demon­stra­tors and, while tech­ni­cal­ly in charge of the Port­land Police Bureau, has allowed Port­land police to hide their iden­ti­fi­ca­tion when coor­di­nat­ing their activ­i­ty with fed­er­al law enforce­ment offi­cers.

Port­land City Com­mis­sion­er Jo Ann Hard­esty has accused both of exac­er­bat­ing the vio­lence in Port­land, while May­or Wheel­er has ques­tioned Com­mis­sion­er Hardesty’s recent claims that Port­land Police have embed­ded them­selves into crowds and set fire to prop­er­ties in order to frame demon­stra­tors for arson.

On Thurs­day, July 23rd, Judge Michael H. Simon — who serves on the Unit­ed States Dis­trict Court bench in the Court’s Ore­gon juris­dic­tion — issued an order to ban for four­teen days all fed­er­al offi­cers from using dis­per­sal orders, threats or force against any jour­nal­ist or legal observ­er doc­u­ment­ing the demon­stra­tions in down­town Port­land. In his deci­sion, he stat­ed: “None of the government’s prof­fered inter­ests out­weigh the public’s inter­est in accu­rate and time­ly infor­ma­tion about how law enforce­ment is treat­ing pro­test­ers.”

This evening, a small­er demon­stra­tion took place at the Jus­tice Cen­ter, where E.D. Mondainé, a Port­land pas­tor and pres­i­dent of the local NAACP, asked that focus of future demon­stra­tions be re-focused on the Black Lives Mat­ter move­ment and the unwar­rant­ed deaths of Black Amer­i­cans at the hands of police.

While the Trump regime’s tar­get­ing of Port­land has attract­ed nation­al and inter­na­tion­al atten­tion, it’s not the only North­west city Trump and his min­ions have plans for. Seat­tle is also on the tar­get list, and as it turns out, has had spe­cial fed­er­al per­son­nel in the city since ear­ly July.

Thursday, July 23rd, 2020

Release The Kraken! Seattle’s NHL team gets a name at last, and it’s drawing attention

As of this morn­ing, Seat­tle’s Nation­al Hock­ey League fran­chise offi­cial­ly has a name: The Krak­en. Through what Seat­tle NHL offi­cials have called method­i­cal process of elim­i­na­tion, the fran­chise set­tled on the myth­i­cal sea crea­ture for the team name as opposed to alter­na­tives like Sock­eye, Steel­head, or Totems.

The team also unveiled a logo and jer­sey design to go with the name.

“We’ve heard from tens and tens of thou­sands of fans, and we’ve spent two years lis­ten­ing,” CEO Tod Lei­weke said in a state­ment.

“Every day for the past two years, we’ve thought about this moment, and we knew if we did lis­ten, we could­n’t go wrong — that we would be in a posi­tion, if we sim­ply lis­tened, to build that next great team brand.”

“They lis­tened to the fans,” Gen­er­al Man­ag­er Ron Fran­cis said. “They did forums. They did polls. They did events. They worked with­in the team and our lead­er­ship and the NHL and local artists and nam­ing experts and his­to­ri­ans and every­body else to kind of get where they want­ed to get to and get the logo drawn up.”

“At the end of the day, the Krak­en con­sis­tent­ly rose to the top.”

Team offi­cials also teased the future game­day expe­ri­ence:

Our are­na [the ren­o­vat­ed Seat­tle Cen­ter Col­i­se­um] will be feared. An icon­ic roof stand­ing nobly against the Olympic Moun­tains, yet beneath awaits danger…The sub­ter­ranean lair of the Seat­tle Krak­en.

Our lair will be a hos­tile venue for oppos­ing teams and will deliv­er the best home ice advan­tage in the league. Our city will show up strong and release their inner beasts for every game. With dynam­ic sight­lines and a steep bowl, our fans will be on top of the ice.

Unique game pre­sen­ta­tion will dimen­sion the Krak­en brand from duel­ing score­boards to a dis­tinc­tive live organ.

On ice imag­ing will tran­si­tion ele­gance to may­hem.

Our music will be craft­ed by KEXP, and ocean fog will flow through the tun­nels as our play­ers take the ice. The sounds of our city and epic tales of the sea will bring the leg­end of the Krak­en to life.

Wel­come home, Seat­tle hock­ey fans.

It is with pride that we will wear the ‘S’ inside of this build­ing from open­ing day to the end of time.

Most of Seat­tle’s oth­er pro sports teams also have ocean themes and they have respond­ed with great enthu­si­asm to the Krak­en roll­out.

The Mariners are the city’s MLB fran­chise, the Sounders its MLS (pre­vi­ous­ly NWSL) fran­chise, and the Sea­hawks its NFL fran­chise. The WNBA’s Storm and the stolen Son­ics fran­chise, on the oth­er hand, have more atmos­pher­ic themes.

The fran­chise point­ed out on its new web­site that Puget Sound is home to a species of octo­pus that’s real­ly big… the biggest in the world.

Empha­sis is theirs: “The largest octo­pus on plan­et Earth lives right here in Puget Sound. The Giant Pacif­ic Octo­pus lurks in the deep around Seat­tle. Accord­ing to Taco­ma leg­end, they inhab­it the ruins of col­lapsed bridge “Gal­lop­ing Ger­tie” with the infa­mous “King Octo­pus.” Nation­al Geo­graph­ic notes the biggest on record at 30 ft wide and over 600 lbs. If you encoun­tered that in the depths of our Sound, you’d tell tales of one thing…You just saw the Krak­en.”

The high­ly antic­i­pat­ed roll­out came at 9 AM Pacif­ic and imme­di­ate­ly caught the atten­tion of the mass media on the oth­er coast and down in Cal­i­for­nia.

It was­n’t long before ESP­N’s top head­line was “Seat­tle Krak­en to take the ice in 2021–22 NHL sea­son”. The New York Times has a sto­ry. So does CBS. And CNN. And The Los Ange­les Times. And The Asso­ci­at­ed Press.

Mean­while, Daniel Sny­der’s NFL own­er­ship group announced that the Wash­ing­ton, D.C. [Amer­i­can] foot­ball team would be known as… the Wash­ing­ton foot­ball team for the 2020 sea­son. Wow… what a name! That’s what I’ve been call­ing the fran­chise for years now. If they had been work­ing on a new name before the George Floyd protests, they’d have been ready to make a change.

They weren’t ready because Sny­der was arro­gant enough to think he could get away with refus­ing to change the old name (which I will not repeat here).

J.J. Regan seized on this tale of two cities theme to write a col­umn for NBC Sports con­trast­ing the two announce­ments (NHL Seat­tle’s and Sny­der’s).

“One team released a cool new name and logo for its fans while Wash­ing­ton’s team kicked the can down the road. It is rea­son­able for Wash­ing­ton not to rush the process of renam­ing what was once a beloved NFL fran­chise, but maybe don’t do it at the exact same time anoth­er pro­fes­sion­al sports team is releas­ing its actu­al name, espe­cial­ly when it’s as awe­some as Seat­tle’s.”

He added:

“Use what­ev­er anal­o­gy you want. This was a home run/touchdown/goal/slam dunk for Seat­tle. You may not like the logo or name all that much and that’s OK. Per­son­al­ly, I think it’s awe­some, but there is no logo, name, design, jer­sey, etc. that will have one hun­dred per­cent approval. If you don’t like it, that’s OK, but the way the entire process was han­dled makes this a huge win for Seat­tle.”

Regan is right that not every NHL Seat­tle fan will be thrilled with the logo, col­ors, and team name. It’s just not pos­si­ble to please every­one. If you ask me, they did a great job. I’m sure the name will grow on those who had their hearts set on Sock­eye or Steel­head or Totems. Krak­en is a com­pelling name. It’s uncon­ven­tion­al and fun. It’s also a name that a sec­tion of the fan base was clam­or­ing for.

That group of fans is undoubt­ed­ly over the moon today.

Krak­en is also a brand of rum, and Seat­tle’s NHL fran­chise has (very log­i­cal­ly) struck a deal with its own­er to share the trade­mark and make the Krak­en brand of rum an offi­cial bev­er­age of the Krak­en fran­chise.

On behalf of NPI, con­grat­u­la­tions to the Krak­en on choos­ing an iden­ti­ty! Best wish­es as you pre­pare for your inau­gur­al sea­son in 2021–2022.

Tuesday, July 21st, 2020

More negative momentum for Tim Eyman: Scammer falls to 4% in new Elway Poll

Last Novem­ber, dis­hon­est ini­tia­tive pro­mot­er and chair thief Tim Eyman declared at a meet­ing of the Sound Tran­sit Board of Direc­tors that he would be run­ning for Wash­ing­ton’s high­est office in 2020. Eyman sub­se­quent­ly filed a dec­la­ra­tion of can­di­da­cy with the Pub­lic Dis­clo­sure Com­mis­sion and began hold­ing non­stop cam­paign events — some­thing he’s still doing today, despite the pan­dem­ic.

Despite hav­ing con­vinced reporters to cov­er his legal antics in oppo­si­tion to Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee’s stay home, stay healthy orders and despite being a reg­u­lar fix­ture on right wing talk radio (Dori Mon­son and John Carl­son just love hav­ing Eyman as a guest), Eyman has been expe­ri­enc­ing neg­a­tive momen­tum in his cam­paign. That’s right: Eyman has been los­ing sup­port as he goes along.

The huck­ster nev­er had much sup­port to begin with, of course, but it’s still notable that the evi­dence sug­gests his can­di­da­cy is going in the wrong direc­tion.

If the lat­est polling is accu­rate, Eyman will not sur­vive the Top Two elec­tion, which is now in progress and set to con­clude next month. (The vot­ing dead­line is August 4th and the elec­tion will be cer­ti­fied two weeks after that.)

The trend is cer­tain­ly clear.

In Jan­u­ary, not long before Eyman announced he’d be run­ning as a Repub­li­can instead of as an inde­pen­dent, a KING5/SurveyUSA poll found Eyman at 11% against Inslee — more than any oth­er Repub­li­can can­di­date, but not by much.

In May, anoth­er King5/SurveyUSA poll found that Eyman had dropped to 8%, while remain­ing the top Repub­li­can con­tender by less than the mar­gin of error.

Today, a Crosscut/Elway Poll con­duct­ed just before vot­ing began found that Eyman had dropped to a mere 4%. (With respect to method­ol­o­gy, the poll has a mar­gin of error of 5% at the 95% lev­el of con­fi­dence; the sam­ple includes four hun­dred and two reg­is­tered vot­ers in Wash­ing­ton.)

Eyman now trails three oth­er Repub­li­cans (Loren Culp, Raul Gar­cia, and Joshua Freed) while still com­ing in ahead of his for­mer ally turned rival Phil For­tu­na­to, who has called this year’s Repub­li­can con­test for gov­er­nor “a clown race”.

Elway’s sur­vey finds that Culp is now the lead­ing Repub­li­can in the race, with 14%. The Repub­lic police chief has been pro­mot­ing his extrem­ist can­di­da­cy with bill­boards and online ads; he is well known among the Repub­li­can grass­roots, and it looks like his mes­sage could be catch­ing on with the par­ty faith­ful.

Raul Gar­cia — who has received the back­ing of the elder states­men active in the Main­stream Repub­li­cans of Wash­ing­ton — reg­is­tered at 6%, while for­mer Both­ell City Coun­cilmem­ber Joshua Freed received 5%, the equiv­a­lent of the pol­l’s mar­gin of error. For­tu­na­to received only 2%. 24% of respon­dents said they were unde­cid­ed; 46% expressed sup­port for incum­bent Jay Inslee.

If this polling is borne out by the actu­al elec­tion results next month and Eyman comes in sec­ond to last among the bet­ter known Repub­li­can can­di­dates (none of whom are a cred­i­ble chal­lenger to Jay Inslee), it would rep­re­sent an emphat­ic rejec­tion of Eyman’s tox­ic “mosh­pit pol­i­tics”, which he has erro­neous­ly claimed make him wide­ly liked by vot­ers and capa­ble of get­ting results.

It’s impor­tant to note that 24% of vot­ers told Elway’s inter­view­ers they were unde­cid­ed as to their choice for gov­er­nor. That group of vot­ers is larg­er than the group intend­ing to vote for Culp and iden­ti­cal in size to the groups plan­ning to vote for Culp, Gar­cia, and Eyman com­bined.

At least some of those vot­ers will prob­a­bly break for one of the Repub­li­can can­di­dates, while oth­ers may decide that they’d rather stick with Inslee even if they’re not enthu­si­as­tic about his third term can­di­da­cy.

It’s safe to pre­sume Inslee will secure the first place spot in the Top Two elec­tion. That means that only one of Inslee’s more than three dozen chal­lengers will move on to the Novem­ber runoff along with him.

Tim Eyman has been telling any­one who will lis­ten that he’ll be that chal­lenger.

“For twen­ty-two years, I’ve won the sup­port of vot­ers — Repub­li­cans, Inde­pen­dents, and Democ­rats. Repeat­ed­ly,” Eyman boast­ed in a July 10th email.

“I firm­ly believe I will win the August 4th [Top Two] and be the can­di­date cho­sen by the vot­ers to chal­lenge Jay Inslee in the fall cam­paign,” Eyman yapped in a July 15th email, adding for empha­sis: “I’m con­fi­dent of that.”

Swag­ger all you want, Tim, but the vot­ing is hap­pen­ing now and the data sug­gests your cam­paign is going to end in a worse place then where it start­ed.

It’s your name on the bal­lot this time, not a deceit­ful­ly word­ed bal­lot title that you select­ed when final­iz­ing plans to force a vote on one of your poor­ly writ­ten ini­tia­tives. Vot­ers will be pass­ing judg­ment on you instead of respond­ing to a one sided prompt that’s lack­ing in con­text. The clock is tick­ing — we’ll soon know how mil­lions of Wash­ing­to­ni­ans real­ly feel about your ego­tis­ti­cal can­di­da­cy.