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.

Sunday, November 14th, 2021

Interstate 5 crossing in Lewis County damaged by bridge strike, WSDOT says

If you’re trav­el­ing through Lewis Coun­ty tonight, tomor­row, or any­time in the near future, be advised that Inter­state 5 is not oper­at­ing at full capac­i­ty due to anoth­er bridge strike inci­dent that report­ed­ly occurred around 7:55 PM tonight.

Bridge strike at Koontz Road

Bridge strike at Koontz Road (Pho­to cour­tesy of WSDOT)

Via WSDOT:

The right lane on north­bound Inter­state 5 at mile­post 69.5, near the Koontz Road over­pass is closed due to an over height load strik­ing the under­side of the over­pass, dam­ag­ing the bridge and caus­ing con­crete to fall onto the roadway.

WSDOT bridge crews are assess­ing the dam­age to deter­mine next steps. There is cur­rent­ly no ETA for reopen­ing the right lane of the high­way. Trav­el­ers should expect delays through the area.

WSDOT pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed that all lanes of North­bound I‑5 were closed.

It is pos­si­ble to detour around the impact­ed area using the Jack­son High­way, which can be accessed from the Tole­do Vad­er Road or US 12 East exits.

The Koontz Road over­pass is locat­ed in between Exits 68 and 71 — as the WSDOT advi­so­ry men­tions — at mile­post 69.5, near the city of Napavine.

Napavine is close to halfway between Seat­tle, Wash­ing­ton, and Port­land, Ore­gon. (Napavine’s north­ern neigh­bor, Chehalis, is approx­i­mate­ly equidis­tant from both major cities, which are among the largest cities in the Pacif­ic Northwest.)

This is far from the first time that an over­height load has struck an over­pass or a bridge sup­port sys­tem on an inter­state in Washington.

In July of 2018, the Danekas Road over­pass on I‑90 near Ritzville was dam­aged by bridge strike, requir­ing WSDOT to com­mis­sion emer­gency repairs.

I‑5’s Skag­it Riv­er Bridge infa­mous­ly col­lapsed in 2013 after a truck struck the bridge, caus­ing a huge amount of dis­rup­tion until a replace­ment bridge was built. (Amaz­ing­ly, no one was killed in the inci­dent, although there were close calls.)

Pri­or to that, in 2007, an over­height truck seri­ous­ly dam­aged an over­pass near Eas­t­on, which is locat­ed between Cle Elum and Sno­qualmie Pass, neces­si­tat­ing its demo­li­tion. The dri­ver of the truck was cit­ed by the Wash­ing­ton State Patrol for vio­lat­ing his trav­el per­mit. WSDOT had to scram­ble quick­ly to find peo­ple and equip­ment to bring the dam­aged bridge down on short notice.

Although WSDOT has repeat­ed­ly remind­ed com­mer­cial dri­vers to do their home­work and to know the exact height of their vehi­cle and the height of all over­pass­es they’ll be dri­ving under, bridge strike inci­dents con­tin­ue to occur reg­u­lar­ly in Wash­ing­ton, caus­ing lots of expen­sive dam­age and incon­ve­nienc­ing the trav­el­ing pub­lic for days or weeks at a time.

Per­haps oper­a­tors of over­height vehi­cles should be required by state law to check in with WSDOT or the Wash­ing­ton State Patrol before set­ting out, and to sub­mit a “dri­ve plan” with their vehi­cle height to a state main­tained app that could repeat­ed­ly warn and remind them when they are approach­ing an over­pass their vehi­cle won’t fit under. It’s sim­ply unac­cept­able that pre­ventable, cost­ly dam­age con­tin­ues to be caused so often by neg­li­gent driving.

Friday, November 12th, 2021

The November general results are (mostly) in. How do they line up with our Seattle polling?

In ten days, Wash­ing­ton State’s gen­er­al elec­tion will be cer­ti­fied and the results of the qual­i­fy­ing round of this year’s local elec­tions cycle will become final.

With only a hun­dred bal­lots list­ed by King Coun­ty Elec­tions as await­ing tab­u­la­tion, and with almost a month hav­ing now passed since we announced the elec­toral find­ings from our Octo­ber 2021 sur­vey of the Seat­tle elec­torate, it seems like a good time to revis­it our poll find­ings and exam­ine to what extent they antic­i­pat­ed the out­comes in the actu­al returns tal­lied by King Coun­ty Elections.

Our sur­vey, con­duct­ed by Change Research from Octo­ber 12th-15th, 2021, was our sec­ond poll of Seat­tle this cycle and one of just three inde­pen­dent polls con­duct­ed in the Emer­ald City between the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the August 2021 Top Two gen­er­al elec­tion and the dead­line to return bal­lots in this gen­er­al election.

617 like­ly vot­ers par­tic­i­pat­ed, all online.

We released the results of all of the elec­toral ques­tions on Tues­day, Octo­ber 19th, via press con­fer­ence and here on NPI’s Cas­ca­dia Advocate.

Our objec­tive in com­mis­sion­ing these sur­veys was to help every­one inter­est­ed in Seat­tle pol­i­tics get a bet­ter sense of the elec­toral land­scape and dynamics.

As I not­ed last sum­mer, polls can’t pre­dict the future. That is not their pur­pose. What polling can do, how­ev­er, is indi­cate how peo­ple (espe­cial­ly like­ly vot­ers!) may be feel­ing about pro­posed leg­is­la­tion, bal­lot mea­sures, an issue, or a can­di­date elec­tion at a par­tic­u­lar junc­ture. It’s cru­cial to note that all polls are snap­shots in time and that polls vary in terms of their qual­i­ty and credibility.

The method­ol­o­gy used to con­duct a poll is of great importance.

If a poll has a prop­er­ly rep­re­sen­ta­tive sam­ple and asks neu­tral ques­tions, the results can be use­ful. But if the inputs are bad, the out­puts will be bad.

That’s why we and Change Research worked hard to design and field a sur­vey that would be cred­i­ble. We want­ed the data to be use­ful. We are firm believ­ers in rig­or­ous, high qual­i­ty research, and we prac­tice what we preach.

Since we’re now at a junc­ture where we can safe­ly com­pare our data to the (most­ly) com­plete unof­fi­cial results, let’s dive in and see how the returns mesh with our polling from about a month ago.

Mayor

What the poll found: Of the two final­ists for May­or, the poll found that for­mer Seat­tle City Coun­cilmem­ber Bruce Har­rell had a six­teen point lead over cur­rent Coun­cil Pres­i­dent M. Lore­na González, with near­ly a major­i­ty of respon­dents express­ing a pref­er­ence for Har­rell and just under a third express­ing a pref­er­ence for Gon­za­lez. 18% said they were not sure and 2% said they would not vote.

Mayor of Seattle poll finding, October 2021

A visu­al of NPI’s gen­er­al elec­tion poll find­ing for May­or of Seat­tle, 2021

What hap­pened in the elec­tion: Har­rell is deci­sive­ly defeat­ing González, who con­ced­ed the race last week. As of today, Har­rell has 58.58% of the vote and González has 41.12%. That’s a mar­gin of vic­to­ry a lit­tle more than sev­en­teen points, which is awful­ly close to the mar­gin in our polling.

Analy­sis: Har­rell entered the gen­er­al elec­tion as the fron­trun­ner, hav­ing won the August Top Two elec­tion by a nar­row mar­gin. There is no evi­dence that Har­rell ever lost his advan­tage. While he ulti­mate­ly pre­vailed over González in August by just a cou­ple points, he was able to jump out to a much big­ger lead before the vot­ing began in this final round, owing in part to the weak­ness of González’s cam­paign, which did­n’t offer a com­pelling mes­sage to voters.

The oth­er two inde­pen­dent polls I men­tioned ear­li­er — con­duct­ed by Elway for Cross­cut and by Strate­gies 360 for KOMO — each found Har­rell ahead of González by a few points at two dif­fer­ent junc­tures in Sep­tem­ber. By the time our sur­vey field­ed, Har­rell had built an even big­ger lead… one he would not relinquish.

The remain­ing unde­cid­ed vot­ers seem­ing­ly went to both can­di­dates in rough­ly equal pro­por­tions, leav­ing Har­rel­l’s already siz­able lead intact. Har­rel­l’s more than two-to-one advan­tage with vot­ers ages 65 and old­er was a key factor.

Seat­tle Times reporter Daniel Beek­man asked the González cam­paign for reac­tion to our poll find­ing as part of his sto­ry on the sur­vey’s findings.

Cam­paign man­ag­er Alex Koren’s response was to cite the cam­paign’s own inter­nal polling from a month pri­or show­ing González and Har­rell tied at 45% apiece, and to ques­tion the verac­i­ty of our sur­vey’s sam­ple. From Beek­man’s arti­cle:

Asked about the NPI poll, González cam­paign man­ag­er Alex Koren said the campaign’s own poll in mid-Sep­tem­ber showed the race tied at 45%.

In a Crosscut/Elway poll con­duct­ed in ear­ly Sep­tem­ber, 42% of respon­dents picked Har­rell, 27% picked González and 24% were unde­cid­ed. In a KOMO/Strategies 360 poll con­duct­ed in mid-Sep­tem­ber, 40% picked Har­rell, 33% González and 27% were undecided.

The NPI poll may have under­es­ti­mat­ed sup­port for pro­gres­sive can­di­dates like González and City Coun­cil Posi­tion 8 incum­bent Tere­sa Mosque­da, Koren said.

The most­ly com­plete results clear­ly demon­strate that our pol­l’s mod­el­ing and sam­pling was sound, where­as the González cam­paign’s poll was an outlier.

González’s inter­nal polling was nev­er cor­rob­o­rat­ed by any oth­er data that we saw, where­as our find­ing in favor of Har­rell was, we under­stand, cor­rob­o­rat­ed by pri­vate polling com­mis­sioned in Octo­ber by some of González’s allies.

Their data may not have been pub­licly avail­able, but ours was. We delib­er­ate­ly chose to release our find­ings in the hopes of pro­vid­ing a ser­vice to the public.

City Attorney

What the poll found: Of the two final­ists for Seat­tle City Attor­ney, our poll found a big lead for Repub­li­can Ann Davi­son, with abo­li­tion­ist Nicole Thomas-Kennedy nine­teen points behind. 43% of respon­dents to the poll said they were vot­ing for Davi­son, while 24% said they were vot­ing for Thomas-Kennedy. A sig­nif­i­cant num­ber, 30% said they were not sure. 2% said they would not vote.

Seattle City Attorney poll finding, October 2021

A visu­al of NPI’s gen­er­al elec­tion poll find­ing for Seat­tle City Attor­ney, Octo­ber 2021

What hap­pened in the elec­tion: Davi­son pre­vailed and will go on to win the elec­tion, but not by any­thing resem­bling the mar­gin in our poll. Davi­son cur­rent­ly has 51.52% of the vote, while Thomas-Kennedy has 47.7%. On Elec­tion Night, Davi­son had a much, much big­ger lead: 58.25% to Thomas-Kennedy’s 40.96%.

Analy­sis: This is a race in which the dynam­ics def­i­nite­ly changed dur­ing the vot­ing peri­od. The late bal­lots prove it. The rea­son Thomas-Kennedy is doing so much bet­ter in the elec­tion than in the sur­vey is that she was able to reel in a lot of those unde­cid­ed vot­ers in the final days and weeks of the 2021 campaign.

Those not sure vot­ers had to go some­where (93% of our sur­vey tak­ers said they were “def­i­nite­ly” plan­ning on vot­ing) and most went to Thomas-Kennedy.

Unlike González, Thomas-Kennedy’s cam­paign offered a strong clos­ing argu­ment in favor of her can­di­da­cy that was wide­ly shared on social media plat­forms. The elec­tion results, com­pared to our polling, sug­gest that argu­ment resonated.

Had Thomas-Kennedy cam­paigned with the brand­ing of a pro­gres­sive Demo­c­rat and not had to con­tend with for­mer Demo­c­ra­t­ic gov­er­nors and Supreme Court jus­tices endors­ing her oppo­nent (who was rat­ed “not qual­i­fied” by a coali­tion of bar asso­ci­a­tions) she might have pre­vailed in the elec­tion, even despite her Twit­ter his­to­ry, which her oppo­nents seized upon in an attempt to dis­cred­it her.

City Council, Position #8 (At-Large)

What the poll found: Of the two final­ists for Seat­tle City Coun­cil Posi­tion #8, one of the coun­cil’s two at large posi­tions, our poll found an eight point lead for Coun­cilmem­ber Tere­sa Mosque­da. Mosque­da, the only incum­bent on the bal­lot in the four city­wide races, got 39% in the sur­vey, while chal­lenger Ken­neth Wil­son got 31%. 26% said they were unde­cid­ed and 3% said they would not vote.

Seattle City Council #8 poll finding, October 2021

A visu­al of NPI’s gen­er­al elec­tion poll find­ing for Seat­tle City Coun­cil Posi­tion #8, 2021

What hap­pened in the elec­tion: Mosque­da is eas­i­ly defeat­ing Wil­son, with a per­cent­age almost iden­ti­cal to her fin­ish in the August 2021 Top Two elec­tion. Mosque­da has 59.36% of the bal­lots cast, while Wil­son has 40.19%. Mosque­da is present­ly the best per­form­ing can­di­date out of all eight can­di­dates in the four city­wide races. On Elec­tion Night, how­ev­er, her lead over Wil­son looked a lot more like the mar­gin in our poll. Then, she had 52.4%, while Wil­son had 47.1%.

Analy­sis: When we released our polling, I not­ed that there were a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of unde­cid­ed vot­ers in the race and added that I saw mul­ti­ple plau­si­ble sce­nar­ios for how the con­test could play out. One of those was that we’d see a repeat of the Top Two elec­tion dynam­ics, in which Mosque­da did not per­form all that impres­sive­ly in our pre­elec­tion polling, but went on to do just fine in the actu­al elec­tion, where “not sure” isn’t an option.

And that is the sce­nario that came to pass.

Wil­son has as much sup­port as all of Mosqueda’s chal­lengers col­lec­tive­ly had in the sum­mer, which sug­gests that peo­ple who were look­ing for an alter­na­tive to Mosque­da in the gen­er­al elec­tion hap­pi­ly grav­i­tat­ed to his can­di­da­cy, whilst most of the “not sure” vot­ers sim­ply came home to Mosque­da, pro­pelling her to a com­fort­able vic­to­ry and a sec­ond term on the Seat­tle City Council.

It is not at all uncom­mon for vot­ers in local races (espe­cial­ly races that don’t have par­ti­san labels on the bal­lot) to be not sure who they are vot­ing for pret­ty late in the elec­tion cycle, includ­ing through a lot of the home stretch. Change Research’s Ben Green­field and I dis­cussed this phe­nom­e­non in our post-results release Q&A.

City Council, Position #9 (At-Large)

What the poll found: Of the two final­ists for Seat­tle City Coun­cil Posi­tion #9, the coun­cil’s oth­er at-large posi­tion, our poll found a four point lead for Fre­mont Brew­ing cofounder Sara Nel­son. Nel­son received 41% sup­port in the sur­vey, while her oppo­nent, author and activist Nikki­ta Oliv­er, received 37%. 21% said they were unde­cid­ed and 2% said they would not vote.

Seattle City Council #9 poll finding, October 2021

A visu­al of NPI’s gen­er­al elec­tion poll find­ing for Seat­tle City Coun­cil Posi­tion #9, 2021

What hap­pened in the elec­tion: Dur­ing the vot­ing peri­od, Nel­son surged out to a big lead over Oliv­er, mir­ror­ing what hap­pened in the August elec­tion. On Elec­tion Night, Nel­son had 60.31% of the vote and Oliv­er was under forty per­cent, with 39.46%. But as bal­lots were count­ed, Oliv­er closed the gap, and the race is now clos­er… not as close as the City Attor­ney race, but cer­tain­ly clos­er than it was. Nel­son cur­rent­ly stands at 53.87%; Oliv­er has 45.96%.

Analy­sis: In the August Top Two elec­tion, Oliv­er was even­tu­al­ly able to over­come Nel­son’s Elec­tion Night lead and claim the first place spot thanks to late bal­lots swing­ing sev­er­al suc­ces­sive counts in their favor. How­ev­er, they weren’t able to do that in this final round because Nel­son jumped out to a much big­ger lead.

In August, Nel­son’s Elec­tion Night lead over Oliv­er was 7.4%, which was not an insur­mount­able spread. But in this round, Nel­son’s Elec­tion Night lead was over twice as big: 20.85%. And so, even though Oliv­er out­per­formed Nel­son in the late bal­lots again, it was­n’t enough to change the out­come of the race.

For Oliv­er to pull off anoth­er come­back, they would have had to have been clos­er to Nel­son in the ini­tial returns. But that sce­nario did­n’t come to pass.

Our polling found that the high­est geo­graph­ic con­cen­tra­tions of unde­cid­ed vot­ers in this race were in neigh­bor­hoods like West Seat­tle, Mag­no­lia, and down­town. The poll found that Nel­son was already doing real­ly well in North Seat­tle neigh­bor­hoods like Bit­ter Lake while Oliv­er had firm, enthu­si­as­tic sup­port in neigh­bor­hoods like the Rainier Val­ley and Bea­con Hill.

If you look at the Elec­tion Night precinct lev­el data (visu­al­ized here thanks to Jason Weill), you can see that Nel­son won most of the ear­ly vote in those neigh­bor­hoods with the most not sure vot­ers — like West Seat­tle. That accounts, at least in part, for how Nel­son pulled off the gen­er­al elec­tion surge.

Seattle School Board races (Districts #4, #5, and #7)

What the poll found: Of the six final­ists for Seat­tle School Board races, our poll found Vivan Song-Maritz, Michelle Sar­ju, and Bran­don Hersey with leads. Sar­ju and Hersey had large leads of more than twen­ty-five points over oppo­nents Dan Hard­er and Gen­e­sis Williamson, while Song-Maritz had a ten point lead over her oppo­nent Lau­ra Marie Rivera. Majori­ties or near majori­ties of vot­ers said they were unde­cid­ed. Small­er per­cent­ages said they would not vote.

Findings in the Seattle School Board races, October 2021

A visu­al of NPI’s gen­er­al elec­tion poll find­ings for the three Seat­tle School Board races on the Novem­ber 2021 ballot

What hap­pened in the elec­tion: Song-Maritz, Sar­ju, and Hersey are all win­ning, and all are win­ning by mar­gins exceed­ing those in the poll, which is to be expect­ed con­sid­er­ing how many unde­cid­ed vot­ers there were. Hersey has the biggest mar­gin of vic­to­ry because his oppo­nent dropped out months ago, with 92.71% of the vote to Williamson’s 6.63%. Michelle Sar­ju has 85.14% of the vote to Dan Hard­er’s 14.63%. And Song-Maritz has 71.97%, while Rivera has 27.67%.

Analy­sis: Our polling showed that there were three clear fron­trun­ners in these Seat­tle School Board races, and all of them were well posi­tioned for victory.

Not sur­pris­ing­ly, the unde­cid­ed vot­ers flocked to the fron­trun­ners and each of them jumped out to big leads in the ini­tial returns that they did not relinquish.

Song-Maritz was ini­tial­ly at 67% and was able to go up to 71% in the late bal­lots. Sar­ju and Hersey, mean­while, start­ed out in the eight­ies and nineties on Elec­tion Night, so their races saw less move­ment, but even they picked up sup­port as the count­ing went along, while Hard­er and Williamson slipped.

Hersey was the only incum­bent on the bal­lot, with Song Mar­tiz and Rivera hav­ing oust­ed appoint­ed board­mem­ber Erin Dury in the August Top Two election.

Final thoughts

Although our poll could­n’t pre­dict what would actu­al­ly hap­pen in the elec­tion, it did have the poten­tial to indi­cate who might win, as explained in the intro­duc­tion above. And those indi­ca­tions turned out to be right across the board.

All sev­en of the can­di­dates who placed first in our sur­vey are fin­ish­ing first in their races, and all sev­en of the can­di­dates who placed sec­ond are fin­ish­ing second.

That con­tin­ues the pat­tern we saw last year in our statewide polling, in which every result matched up with what the polling indi­cat­ed could hap­pen.

Our Octo­ber 2021 gen­er­al elec­tion sur­vey end­ed up being the only pub­lic poll in Seat­tle dur­ing the final month of the 2021 elec­tion cycle. While it was nice to see Elway/Crosscut and Strate­gies 360/KOMO do polls in Sep­tem­ber, we would have liked to have had anoth­er Octo­ber sur­vey to com­pare our data to.

With cred­i­ble pub­lic polling get­ting hard­er and hard­er to find, what we may do next time around, resources per­mit­ting, is sim­ply try to con­duct a sec­ond pre­elec­tion poll right before the vot­ing ends. That way, we won’t have to hope that anoth­er trust­ed enti­ty will come along and pro­vide fresh data.

Polls cost a lot of mon­ey to com­mis­sion, and a lot of thought­ful work goes into design­ing them. If you appre­ci­ate the research NPI is doing, we invite you to become a mem­ber of our orga­ni­za­tion. You can donate annu­al­ly or monthly.

If you belong to an orga­ni­za­tion that would be inter­est­ed in join­ing NPI, we offer Asso­ciate Mem­ber­ships and spon­sor­ship opportunities.

Please get in touch with us for more infor­ma­tion.

Survey methodology

  • Change Research, a Pub­lic Ben­e­fit Cor­po­ra­tion based in Cal­i­for­nia, sur­veyed 617 like­ly Novem­ber 2021 Top Two elec­tion vot­ers in Seat­tle from Tues­day, Octo­ber 12th to Fri­day, Octo­ber 15th on behalf of the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute. All respon­dents par­tic­i­pat­ed online.
  • Change used tar­get­ed adver­tise­ments on Face­book, tar­get­ed adver­tise­ments on Insta­gram, and text mes­sages sent via the echo19 and/or Scale To Win plat­forms to cell phone num­bers list­ed on the vot­er file for indi­vid­u­als who qual­i­fied for the survey’s sam­ple uni­verse, based on their vot­er file data.
  • Regard­less of which of these sources a respon­dent came from, they were direct­ed to a sur­vey host­ed on SurveyMonkey’s web­site. Ads placed on social media tar­get­ed all adults liv­ing in Seat­tle. Those who indi­cat­ed that they were not reg­is­tered to vote were terminated.
  • As the sur­vey field­ed, Change used dynam­ic online sam­pling: adjust­ing ad bud­gets, low­er­ing bud­gets for ads tar­get­ing groups that were over­rep­re­sent­ed and rais­ing bud­gets for ads tar­get­ing groups that were under­rep­re­sent­ed, so that the final sam­ple was rough­ly rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the pop­u­la­tion across dif­fer­ent groups.
  • The sur­vey was con­duct­ed in Eng­lish, and has a mod­eled mar­gin of error of 4.1% at the 95% con­fi­dence interval.

Addi­tion­al infor­ma­tion about the method­ol­o­gy is avail­able here. Final­ly, if you missed it, be sure to read this Q&A with Change Research’s Ben Green­field about how to read assess the gen­er­al elec­tion poll find­ings that we released.

Friday, November 12th, 2021

71% of Washington voters surveyed back Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework

More than sev­en in ten like­ly 2022 Wash­ing­ton vot­ers sup­port the Bipar­ti­san Infra­struc­ture Frame­work that Pres­i­dent Joe Biden will sign into law this Mon­day, a new statewide poll con­duct­ed for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute has found.

71% of respon­dents to a poll that just returned from the field overnight say they sup­port the Infra­struc­ture Invest­ment and Jobs Act, also known as the Bipar­ti­san Infra­struc­ture Frame­work, while 25% are opposed. 4% said they were not sure.

Poll finding: Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework is popular in Washington

Visu­al­iza­tion of NPI’s poll find­ing con­cern­ing Wash­ing­to­ni­ans’ sup­port for the Infra­struc­ture Invest­ment and Jobs Act (click to enlarge)

H.R. 3684 was passed by the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives last week with the votes of all but six of the cham­ber’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic mem­bers, along with thir­teen Repub­li­cans. Before that, it earned the sup­port of a bipar­ti­san major­i­ty in the Sen­ate, includ­ing nine­teen Repub­li­cans. The leg­is­la­tion would make the fol­low­ing con­se­quen­tial invest­ments, accord­ing to a fact sheet pro­vid­ed by the White House:

  • Deliv­er clean water to all Amer­i­can fam­i­lies and elim­i­nate the nation’s lead ser­vice lines
  • Ensure every Amer­i­can has access to reli­able high-speed internet
  • Repair and rebuild our roads and bridges with a focus on cli­mate change mit­i­ga­tion, resilience, equi­ty, and safe­ty for all users
  • Improve trans­porta­tion options for mil­lions of Amer­i­cans and reduce green­house emis­sions through the largest invest­ment in pub­lic tran­sit in U.S. history
  • Upgrade our nation’s air­ports and ports to strength­en our sup­ply chains and pre­vent dis­rup­tions that have caused inflation.
  • Make the largest invest­ment in pas­sen­ger rail since the cre­ation of Amtrak
  • Build a nation­al net­work of elec­tric vehi­cle (EV) chargers
  • Upgrade our pow­er infra­struc­ture to deliv­er clean, reli­able ener­gy across the coun­try and deploy cut­ting-edge ener­gy tech­nol­o­gy to achieve a zero-emis­sions future
  • Make our infra­struc­ture resilient against the impacts of cli­mate change, cyber-attacks, and extreme weath­er events
  • Deliv­er the largest invest­ment in tack­ling lega­cy pol­lu­tion in Amer­i­can his­to­ry by clean­ing up Super­fund and brown­field sites, reclaim­ing aban­doned mines, and cap­ping orphaned oil and gas wells

Con­gress is now attempt­ing to pass a sec­ond bill — the Build Back Bet­ter Jobs & Fam­i­lies Plan — with only Demo­c­ra­t­ic votes through rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, a bud­get­ing process that is immune to the fil­i­buster. This sec­ond bill con­tains cli­mate invest­ments and sup­ports for fam­i­lies that aren’t in the IIJA.

The IIJA may only be the first part of the leg­isla­tive cen­ter­piece Democ­rats are hop­ing to enact in Con­gress before year’s end, but vot­ers in Wash­ing­ton are nev­er­the­less pret­ty excit­ed about it. It’s eleven points more pop­u­lar than the Amer­i­can Res­cue Plan, which we found was well-received last spring at 60%.

We don’t often see sup­port above 70% when we ask about sup­port and oppo­si­tion to pro­posed or recent­ly passed leg­is­la­tion. In this case, though, vot­ers across the ide­o­log­i­cal spec­trum real­ly, real­ly like what they see.

Here’s the full text of the ques­tion we asked and the respons­es we received:

QUESTION: Last week, Con­gress passed the Infra­struc­ture Invest­ment and Jobs Act, also known as the Bipar­ti­san Infra­struc­ture Frame­work, which will invest $1.2 tril­lion in upgrad­ing drink­ing water pipes, mod­ern­ize our elec­tric grid, expand access to broad­band inter­net, repair and rebuild roads and bridges in poor con­di­tion, replace aging bus­es with zero emis­sion vehi­cles, clear out Amtrak’s main­te­nance back­log, and upgrade the nation’s air­ports and sea­ports to make them more resilient. Do you strong­ly sup­port, some­what sup­port, some­what oppose or strong­ly oppose the Infra­struc­ture Invest­ment and Jobs Act, also known as the Bipar­ti­san Infra­struc­ture Framework?

ANSWERS:

  • Sup­port: 71% 
    • Strong­ly sup­port: 51%
    • Some­what sup­port: 20%
  • Oppose: 25%
    • Some­what oppose: 7%
    • Strong­ly oppose: 18%
  • Not sure: 4%

Our poll of 909 like­ly 2022 Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers was in the field from Novem­ber 10th-11th, 2021. The sur­vey was con­duct­ed for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling, and has a mar­gin of error of +/- 3.3% at the 95% con­fi­dence inter­val. 50% of respon­dents par­tic­i­pat­ed via land­line and 50% of respon­dents par­tic­i­pat­ed via text (SMS).

Addi­tion­al infor­ma­tion about the sur­vey’s method­ol­o­gy is avail­able here.

The enthu­si­asm for the IIJA is even more appar­ent when we look at how sup­port and oppo­si­tion break down by buck­et. A major­i­ty of respon­dents (51%) said they “strong­ly” sup­port the IIJA, which is more than dou­ble the total num­ber of respon­dents who said they were opposed overall.

Wash­ing­to­ni­ans appre­ci­ate that we have an infra­struc­ture deficit and that we need to tack­le it. This his­toric leg­is­la­tion makes seri­ous invest­ments that we’ve talked about need­ing for years, but haven’t actu­al­ly com­mit­ted to.

Bil­lions of dol­lars from this bill will ben­e­fit com­mu­ni­ties in Wash­ing­ton State, with hun­dreds of mil­lions alone for Wash­ing­ton State air­ports and Sound Transit.

Inter­est­ing­ly, even though the IIJA is a bill request­ed by Pres­i­dent Joe Biden and will be one of his major leg­isla­tive achieve­ments once signed into law, we found that 29% of Trump vot­ers are nev­er­the­less sup­port­ive of it, along with 98% of Biden vot­ers. Vot­ers who con­sid­er them­selves Repub­li­cans are even more sup­port­ive: 38% of them said they strong­ly or some­what sup­port­ed the IIJA, along with 97% of Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ers and 61% of inde­pen­dent voters.

Sup­port for the IIJA can be found in every region of the state, although King Coun­ty is the most enthu­si­as­tic, with 86% of vot­ers there sup­port­ive. The next most enthu­si­as­tic region is North Puget Sound, at 72%, fol­lowed by the South Sound at 68%. Sup­port in East­ern and Cen­tral Wash­ing­ton reg­is­tered at 60% and sup­port in the Olympia Penin­su­la and South­west Wash­ing­ton was 58%.

Every sin­gle Demo­c­ra­t­ic mem­ber of the Pacif­ic North­west­’s con­gres­sion­al del­e­ga­tion vot­ed aye on the Infra­struc­ture Invest­ment and Jobs Act. Repub­li­cans were opposed, with the excep­tion of Alaska’s at large rep­re­sen­ta­tive Don Young.

As men­tioned, the IIJA will be signed into law on Mon­day. If you’re inter­est­ed in watch­ing the cer­e­mo­ny, it will be livestreamed on whitehouse.gov.

Thursday, November 11th, 2021

Despite publicly fantasizing about killing a colleague, Arizona’s Paul Gosar is unlikely to face discipline from House Republicans

The House Repub­li­can Cau­cus in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., which once enforced behav­ioral stan­dards, is increas­ing­ly a place where shows of vio­lent fan­ta­sy and the foment­ing of real-life vio­lence are con­doned, excused and even endorsed.

The lat­est fan­ta­sy came Mon­day when an altered ani­me video was tweet­ed from the Twit­ter account of U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Paul Gosar, R‑Arizona.

In the video, Gosar kills Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ale­san­dria Oca­sio-Cortez, D‑New York, and swings swords at Pres­i­dent Biden. Asked about the video by The Wash­ing­ton Post, Gosar’s press aide replied: “Every­one needs to relax.”

After arriv­ing at the 2021 Unit­ed Nations Cli­mate Change Con­fer­ence in Scot­land, AOC respond­ed: “So while I was en route to Glas­gow, a creepy mem­ber I work with who fundrais­es for neo-Nazi groups shared a fan­ta­sy video of him killing me. And he’ll face no con­se­quences because (House Minor­i­ty Leader Kevin McCarthy) cheers him on with excus­es. Fun Monday.”

As col­league Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ted Lieu of Cal­i­for­nia accu­rate­ly observed: “In any work­place in Amer­i­ca, if a cowork­er makes an ani­me video [depict­ing them­selves] killing anoth­er cowork­er, that per­son would be fired.”

But not from the House Repub­li­can Cau­cus. Kevin McCarthy has become a Trump strum­pet, fight­ing suc­cess­ful­ly to block the for­ma­tion of an inde­pen­dent bipar­ti­san com­mis­sion to inves­ti­gate the Jan­u­ary 6th insur­rec­tion at the U.S. Capi­tol, and try­ing unsuc­cess­ful­ly to block a House pan­el from cit­ing Trump cronies for con­tempt when they refuse to pony up documents.

It wasn’t always so.

As recent­ly as 2019, McCarthy moved to strip Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Steve King, R‑Iowa, of com­mit­tee assign­ments after defend­ing the terms “white nation­al­ist” and “white supremacy.”

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mark Foley, R‑Florida, was forced to resign his seat in 2006 after rev­e­la­tion he had sent sug­ges­tive emails to male House pages.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Randy “Duke” Cun­ning­ham, R‑California, was shown the door that same year after being con­vict­ed of tak­ing bribes.

No more.

McCarthy whipped Repub­li­can “No” votes when House Democ­rats moved to deny QAanon-sup­port­ing Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene, R‑Georgia, of her com­mit­tee assign­ments. The motion passed on a par­ty line vote.

Gosar, who has served in Con­gress since 2011, has raised mon­ey for and appeared at white suprema­cist gath­er­ings. He has bought in to ex-Pres­i­dent Trump’s claims of elec­tion fraud. The lawmaker’s sis­ter, respond­ing to the Mon­day tweet, went on CNN and claimed Gosar is engag­ing in “socio­path­ic fantasies.”

In an August 1st op-ed, sib­lings Jen­nifer, Dave and Tim Gosar wrote: “Although his col­leagues in Con­gress and oth­ers in the media seem to only recent­ly be pay­ing atten­tion, we have been aware of his unhinged behav­ior for years.”

Behav­io­r­i­al stan­dards in the par­ty of Lin­coln seem to have utter­ly van­ished, at least in Con­gress’ low­er chamber.

Thir­teen House Repub­li­cans vot­ed last week to pass the bipar­ti­san infra­struc­ture pack­age, which cap­tured nine­teen Repub­li­can votes in the Sen­ate, includ­ing Mitch McConnel­l’s. The House votes, how­ev­er, were greet­ed with threats and howls.

“Vote for this infra­struc­ture bill and I will pri­ma­ry the hell out of you,” said Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Madi­son Cawthorn, R‑North Carolina.

Added scan­dal-plagued Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Matt Gaetz, R‑Florida: “I can’t believe Repub­li­cans just gave the Democ­rats their social­ism bill.”

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Greene described the thir­teen “yea” Repub­li­can vot­ers as “trai­tors” and said they had con­spired to “pass Joe Biden’s Com­mu­nist takeover of Amer­i­ca” — then pro­vid­ed her fol­low­ers with their phone numbers.

The result has been a break­out of obscene, threat­en­ing phonecalls, usu­al­ly received by youth­ful interns in House offices. Long­time Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Fred Upton, R‑Michigan, shared a voice mail he received: “F****** trai­tor, that’s what you are, you’re a f****** piece of s*** trai­tor. I hope you die. I hope every­body in your f****** fam­i­ly dies. You f****** piece of s*** trash. Mother******.”

The pan­der­ing to threats and vio­lence shows no signs of abat­ing and has spilled over to right-wing media. Lau­ra Ingra­ham, the FNC host, last night encour­aged con­tri­bu­tions to the Kyle Rit­ten­house Defense Fund. Tuck­er Carl­son was defam­ing one of the two peo­ple Rit­ten­house shot dead with his AR-15 assault rifle.

The dark­er side of the Amer­i­can dream seeks whomev­er it may devour.

As Paul Gosar’s sib­lings wrote in their op-ed: “This means unless your col­leagues step in, you are like­ly doomed to go down in his­to­ry as a cau­tion­ary tale – a per­son who betrayed his fam­i­ly, his coun­try and even himself.”

In short, he’s a Kevin McCarthy Republican.

Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

Governor Jay Inslee appoints Steve Hobbs to be Washington’s next Secretary of State

Today, Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee announced that he has cho­sen State Sen­a­tor Steve Hobbs of Lake Stevens to be Wash­ing­ton’s next Sec­re­tary of State.

Hobbs (D‑44th Dis­trict; Sno­homish Coun­ty) will take over on Novem­ber 22nd from Repub­li­can Kim Wyman, the last Repub­li­can hold­ing statewide office on the Left Coast, who is resign­ing on Novem­ber 19th to take a job in the Biden admin­is­tra­tion. He will be the first Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sec­re­tary of State in more than half a century.

“Steve is a ded­i­cat­ed pub­lic ser­vant,” said Inslee. “He has a strong nation­al secu­ri­ty per­spec­tive from his work in the Army and Nation­al Guard. His knowl­edge of cyber-secu­ri­ty will be cru­cial as elec­tion sys­tems around the coun­try con­tin­ue to face threats,” Inslee said. “Impor­tant­ly, Steve has demon­strat­ed polit­i­cal inde­pen­dence. That is cru­cial dur­ing this time of polit­i­cal polar­iza­tion and distrust.”

Inslee’s announce­ment also includ­ed a sub­stan­tive quote from out­go­ing Sec­re­tary of State Kim Wyman, sug­gest­ing that the gov­er­nor con­sult­ed Wyman before mak­ing his choice and that Hobbs’ selec­tion meets with her approval.

“Sen­a­tor Hobbs is a proven leader and ded­i­cat­ed pub­lic ser­vant. As a lieu­tenant colonel in the Wash­ing­ton Army Nation­al Guard, I am con­fi­dent Steve will bring that same com­mit­ment to ser­vice and integri­ty to the Office of the Sec­re­tary of State,” Wyman’s part of the state­ment begins. “As a state sen­a­tor, Steve has a demon­strat­ed record of seek­ing bipar­ti­san solu­tions to com­plex prob­lems, which is essen­tial to the posi­tion of sec­re­tary of state.

“It is imper­a­tive the sec­re­tary of state — the state’s chief elec­tions offi­cial — serve as a neu­tral arbiter in order to inspire con­fi­dence across the polit­i­cal spec­trum in our elec­tion process­es and results,” Wyman continued.

“This approach is just as essen­tial when over­see­ing the preser­va­tion of and access to our state’s his­tor­i­cal trea­sures, pro­vid­ing a stream­lined reg­is­tra­tion process for Wash­ing­ton cor­po­ra­tions and char­i­ties, admin­is­ter­ing var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ty pro­grams, and so much more.”

“This is a tremen­dous hon­or and respon­si­bil­i­ty,” Hobbs said. “I want to thank the gov­er­nor for putting his faith and trust in me to per­form the duties of this office. There is noth­ing more sacred than the right to vote.”

“I’ve fought for that right over­seas and will do every­thing in my pow­er to pro­tect that right here in Wash­ing­ton. Our state leads the nation in vot­ing access and secu­ri­ty and under my watch I will ensure that we only move to solid­i­fy our nation­al stand­ing in this arena.”

NPI under­stands from speak­ing with mul­ti­ple sources who have knowl­edge of the appoint­ment process that there were five final­ists who were con­sid­ered for the appoint­ment: Hobbs, Thurston Coun­ty Audi­tor Mary Hall, retired State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive and NPI board­mem­ber Gael Tar­leton, King Coun­ty Elec­tions Direc­tor Julie Wise, and Pierce Coun­ty Audi­tor Julie Anderson.

Inslee then picked Hobbs after con­duct­ing inter­views and vet­ting each candidate.

The gov­er­nor is in Glas­gow for COP26 and announced his deci­sion via video.

Inslee’s announce­ment states that Hobbs will be run­ning in 2022 to hold the posi­tion and will not mere­ly serve as a care­tak­er through next Novem­ber. The office will be con­test­ed in next year’s midterms due to Wyman’s resignation.

“I want to con­grat­u­late Sen­a­tor Hobbs on his appoint­ment today and thank him for his long ser­vice in the state Sen­ate,” said Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader Andy Billig.

“He has always been a strong voice in the Leg­is­la­ture and a stead­fast cham­pi­on for our state’s trans­porta­tion infra­struc­ture, vot­ing rights, repro­duc­tive rights, health­care, and the needs of his district.”

“I look for­ward to see­ing him guide the Sec­re­tary of State’s office with the same pas­sion and integri­ty he brought to the halls of the Senate.”

“I want to con­grat­u­late Sen­a­tor Hobbs on this his­toric appoint­ment — the first per­son of col­or and mem­ber of the Asian Amer­i­can Pacif­ic Islander com­mu­ni­ty to serve as our Sec­re­tary of State,” said Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty Chair Tina Pod­lodows­ki, who her­self ran for Sec­re­tary of State five years ago.

“He’s worked to help pass so many of the major vot­ing reforms we have here in Wash­ing­ton like the Vot­ing Rights Act and same-day and auto­mat­ic vot­er reg­is­tra­tion. He’s respect­ed on both sides of the aisle in the leg­is­la­ture and has worked to solve big, com­plex prob­lems — a skill that’s so impor­tant in the Sec­re­tary of State’s office,” Pod­lodows­ki added.

Repub­li­cans blast­ed the appoint­ment, offer­ing no con­grat­u­la­tions, only jeers.

“What a crass polit­i­cal move. Gov­er­nor Inslee appoints an obsta­cle to his rad­i­cal agen­da in the Sen­ate, so that Democ­rats can appoint a rub­ber stamp for his rad­i­cal agen­da. Instead of doing right by the vot­ers, Inslee plays pol­i­tics. Typ­i­cal,” tweet­ed Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­can Par­ty Chair Caleb Heim­lich.

“So sad Repub­li­cans can’t applaud Inslee for look­ing past polit­i­cal dif­fer­ences to appoint an inde­pen­dent voice for Sec­re­tary of State,” Ever­green Action’s Jamal Raad tweet­ed in response. (Raad has worked with and for Inslee for years.)

“If Gov­er­nor Inslee tru­ly cared about pick­ing an inde­pen­dent voice, he would have picked an Inde­pen­dent,” Heim­lich tweet­ed in response.

“There are lots of qual­i­fied coun­ty audi­tors to choose from. Instead he made the selec­tion based on polit­i­cal ben­e­fit to his agenda.”

While there are thir­ty-nine audi­tors or elec­tions direc­tors cur­rent­ly in office in Wash­ing­ton State, the field of poten­tial appointees sim­ply was­n’t as large as Heim­lich implied in the above-repro­duced tweet because many sim­ply weren’t inter­est­ed in the job. Clark Coun­ty Audi­tor Greg Kim­sey, for instance, made it abun­dant­ly clear he did not want to be Wash­ing­ton’s next Sec­re­tary of State.

Hall, Wise, and Ander­son were all con­sid­ered, as men­tioned above, but I doubt that Heim­lich would con­sid­er any of them to be true independents.

Heim­lich want­ed Wyman replaced with anoth­er Repub­li­can, but that was­n’t going to hap­pen, because serv­ing in office as a Repub­li­can nowa­days requires being an enabler of Don­ald Trump. If you’re not for Trump and you’re not will­ing to be part of the cult that wor­ships Trump, you’re not wel­come in the Repub­li­can party.

The Con­sti­tu­tion pro­vides that vacan­cies in leg­isla­tive or par­ti­san coun­ty elect­ed office be filled by some­one from the same par­ty as the depart­ing office­hold­er. But there is no such con­sti­tu­tion­al require­ment for vacan­cies in statewide office.

That left Inslee free to appoint a fel­low Demo­c­rat — and he did.

Inslee’s choice of Hobbs will neces­si­tate Hobbs’ res­ig­na­tion from the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate, cre­at­ing a vacan­cy in a key leg­isla­tive dis­trict, and also an open­ing for a new Trans­porta­tion Chair, just in time for the 2022 leg­isla­tive session.

Cit­ing those leg­isla­tive dynam­ics, The Her­ald’s Jer­ry Corn­field respond­ed to the news of the appoint­ment with this humor­ous com­ment: “Darn. By mak­ing [this] Sec­re­tary of State appoint­ment from Scot­land, Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee and Steve Hobbs [get to] avoid [an] awk­ward news con­fer­ence in which the guv and Hobbs would have [got­ten] ques­tions about their frus­tra­tion with each oth­er on car­bon mea­sures, road pack­ages dat­ing back six years.”

As Trans­porta­tion Chair, Hobbs has clashed with Inslee and oth­er Sen­ate Democ­rats on cli­mate and envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion leg­is­la­tion. He is what many pro­gres­sive advo­cates con­sid­er a road war­rior — a leg­is­la­tor who pri­or­i­tizes invest­ing in roads and high­ways as opposed to pri­or­i­tiz­ing transit.

With Hobbs leav­ing the Sen­ate, the insti­tu­tion will be get­ting a new Trans­porta­tion Chair (pos­si­bly Vice Chair Rebec­ca Sal­daña of the 37th Dis­trict) just as Inslee and leg­isla­tive lead­ers are try­ing to ham­mer out a new trans­porta­tion pack­age in the wake of Con­gress’ pas­sage of the Infra­struc­ture Invest­ment and Jobs Act, which might soon be fol­lowed by con­gres­sion­al pas­sage of the larg­er Build Back Bet­ter Jobs and Fam­i­lies Plan.

Corn­field also report­ed that Hobbs’ House col­league John Lovick is ready to seek the appoint­ment to suc­ceed Hobbs in the Sen­ate. Lovick is cur­rent­ly one of two Speak­ers Pro Tem in the House and is wide­ly liked by his col­leagues. Lovick has already called the dis­tric­t’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic precinct com­mit­tee offi­cers, Corn­field said.

Incum­bent State Rep­re­sen­ta­tives often pur­sue Sen­ate appoint­ments when there is a Sen­ate vacan­cy. When they are cho­sen to move over to the small­er cham­ber, that opens up yet anoth­er vacan­cy — on the House side of the Rotunda.

In this case, Wyman’s res­ig­na­tion will have led to Hobbs’ res­ig­na­tion, which will prob­a­bly lead to Lovick­’s res­ig­na­tion, which means the State House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives will also soon be get­ting a new mem­ber from the 44th District.

Per the Con­sti­tu­tion, that indi­vid­ual will be a Demo­c­rat like Lovick, and will serve through the end of next Novem­ber, until a suc­ces­sor is elect­ed or the appointee retained by the vot­ers of the 44th. Com­pli­cat­ing the elec­toral land­scape for 2022 is that the bound­aries of the 44th are not yet known and could change depend­ing on the out­come of the Redis­trict­ing Com­mis­sion’s work.

NPI con­grat­u­lates Sen­a­tor Hobbs on being entrust­ed with the respon­si­bil­i­ty of admin­is­ter­ing our elec­tions, safe­guard­ing our her­itage, and sup­port­ing the needs of busi­ness­es and non­prof­its. Our exec­u­tive depart­ment will ben­e­fit from hav­ing a Sec­re­tary of State with nation­al secu­ri­ty expertise.

We look for­ward to work­ing with Sec­re­tary-des­ig­nate Hobbs on repeal­ing “advi­so­ry votes” and advanc­ing vot­ing rights in Wash­ing­ton State and beyond.

Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

Lynnwood’s $40 city vehicle fee stays intact in victory for multimodal transportation

A Tim Eyman-backed attempt in the Sno­homish Coun­ty city of Lyn­nwood to repeal the city’s $40/year vehi­cle fee has been thwart­ed by a may­oral veto, leav­ing fund­ing for vital mul­ti­modal trans­porta­tion projects intact.

May­or Nico­la Smith, who will soon be leav­ing office, decid­ed on Novem­ber 3rd to veto the Coun­cil’s repeal ordi­nance, which Tim Eyman had dubbed a “huge car tabs vic­to­ry” and a “big win!” The may­or not­ed that “none of the reg­u­lar and impor­tant bud­get­ing best prac­tices were fol­lowed in the Coun­cil’s rushed process for Ordi­nance No. 3400” and that the Coun­cil “dis­re­gard­ed prop­er pro­ce­dure” for seek­ing pub­lic input in its zeal to do the bid­ding of anti-tax forces.

“Ordi­nance 3400 has the poten­tial to jeop­ar­dize the safe­ty and lifes­pan of Lyn­nwood’s streets and roads,” the May­or added.

“This infra­struc­ture is crit­i­cal to the eco­nom­ic vibran­cy of our local busi­ness­es, and exists because of incal­cu­la­ble amounts of past invest­ments of pub­lic monies.”

“Lyn­nwood’s heav­i­ly-trav­eled streets and side­walks require con­tin­u­al main­te­nance. The cost to rem­e­dy the results of deferred main­te­nance are unaf­ford­able. Approx­i­mate­ly $1 mil­lion in rev­enue for streets and side­walks each year, or about one-third of Trans­porta­tion Ben­e­fit Dis­trict (TBD) rev­enue, come from vehi­cle license fees. Analy­ses of Lyn­nwood’s TBD pro­gram indi­cates that cur­rent rev­enues do not meet the need now.”

“Vehi­cle license fees fund ongo­ing road and traf­fic sig­nal main­te­nance, street over­lays, side­walk and ADA improve­ments, and main­te­nance of cross­walks. At this time of rapid growth and the immi­nent arrival of light rail, the City should ensure our local trans­porta­tion sys­tem is ready to meet these challenges.”

Lyn­nwood is for­tu­nate that May­or Smith was will­ing to take a stand against this incred­i­bly dumb anti-tax stam­pede by the Coun­cil, cheered on by Eyman. If the repeal had gone through, Lyn­nwood’s trans­porta­tion fund­ing would have tak­en a mas­sive hit, deal­ing a huge blow to the city’s efforts to imple­ment its Amer­i­cans With Dis­abil­i­ties Act tran­si­tion plan and pro­vide basic street maintenance.

A sub­se­quent attempt by the anti-tax fac­tion on the Coun­cil to over­ride Smith’s veto failed because none of the coun­cilmem­bers who orig­i­nal­ly vot­ed against the ordi­nance switched sides, leav­ing the anti-tax fac­tion one vote short.

As the May­or’s above-excerpt­ed veto mes­sage made clear, Lyn­nwood has lim­it­ed mech­a­nisms avail­able to it for fund­ing its trans­porta­tion needs.

The Coun­cil pro­posed doing away with a source of fund­ing that pro­vides a third of its TBD rev­enue with­out replac­ing that fund­ing. Yet, bizarrely, pri­or to the vote on over­rrid­ing the May­or’s veto, Coun­cil Pres­i­dent George Hurst — a mem­ber of the anti-tax fac­tion — told his col­leagues: “I would hope we’re going to pro­vide more fund­ing for roads. I think we can do it with­out this vehi­cle fee.”

But Hurst did not explain how the city could pro­vide more fund­ing for roads despite gut­ting one of its key trans­porta­tion fund­ing sources, which cur­rent­ly pro­vides a third of the city’s trans­porta­tion fund­ing. Very Eymanesque.

This is typ­i­cal deceit­ful anti-tax rhetoric.

Cam­paign­ers for gut­ting tax­es always por­tray tax cuts as a pos­i­tive move and fre­quent­ly argue that there’s either plen­ty of mon­ey out there for our needs or that we can find the mon­ey need­ed to pay for pub­lic ser­vices some oth­er way.

They then con­ve­nient­ly fail to pro­pose that oth­er way.

Vehi­cle fees pro­vide sta­ble fund­ing that Lyn­nwood can count on for its trans­porta­tion needs. They are paid by res­i­dents who own cars, who are the heav­i­est impact users of the city’s streets. Those who don’t own a car do not have to pay a fee. The mon­ey stays in the city and improves the city’s qual­i­ty of life.

The anti-tax fac­tion argues that since Lyn­nwood vot­ers approved Eyman’s I‑976 in 2019, vot­ers want their vehi­cle fees slashed, and the Coun­cil should oblige them.

How­ev­er, most Lyn­nwood vot­ers actu­al­ly did not return a bal­lot in the 2019 gen­er­al elec­tion and thus did not weigh in on I‑976 either way. Turnout for city races two years ago was just 41.84%, which was even low­er than the coun­ty’s over­all turnout of 42.90%, accord­ing to Sno­homish Coun­ty elec­tions.

Those vot­ers who did vote in 2019 saw a bal­lot title that decep­tive­ly asked if they want­ed to “lim­it” vehi­cle fees to thir­ty dol­lars per year (though fees would actu­al­ly have been lim­it­ed to $43.25, not $30, even after full imple­men­ta­tion of the ini­tia­tive), with the excep­tion of “vot­er approved charges” (but even charges pre­vi­ous­ly approved by vot­ers would also have been wiped out).

The I‑976 bal­lot title did not explain that pas­sage of the ini­tia­tive would erase bil­lions of dol­lars in fund­ing for roads, bridges, tran­sit, pub­lic safe­ty, and freight mobil­i­ty. And it did not say that local street fund­ing would be wiped out in cities like Lyn­nwood. Had it done so, the out­come might well have been different.

As May­or Smith argued, elect­ed lead­ers have a duty to look out for the needs of the peo­ple they rep­re­sent. Bas­ing the city’s pub­lic pol­i­cy on the out­come of a decep­tive­ly word­ed statewide bal­lot mea­sure that was so bad­ly writ­ten it was struck down in its entire­ty by the Wash­ing­ton State Supreme Court does not make sense. May­or Smith is to be com­mend­ed for pro­tect­ing Lyn­nwood’s future against the bad ideas of the City Coun­cil’s anti-tax fac­tion. Thank you, May­or. Well done!

Tuesday, November 9th, 2021

Yo, NYT! Washington’s tax code is definitely regressive, but the state’s Democratic leaders have actually been working on changing that

This morn­ing, the New York Times pub­lished a new opin­ion video provoca­tive­ly titled “Blue States, You’re the Prob­lem,” in which John­ny Har­ris and edi­to­ri­al­ist Binyamin Appel­baum take aim at a selec­tion of the nation’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic-run states for sup­pos­ed­ly fail­ing to live up to their val­ues.

The four­teen plus minute video con­sists of an intro­duc­to­ry seg­ment fol­lowed by a set of three cri­tiques con­cern­ing issues in three dif­fer­ent states under Demo­c­ra­t­ic gov­er­nance: Cal­i­for­nia, Wash­ing­ton, and Connecticut.

The Cal­i­for­nia seg­ment focus­es on hous­ing, the Con­necti­cut seg­ment on edu­ca­tion, and the Wash­ing­ton seg­ment on our state’s upside down tax code.

Sev­er­al Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate read­ers were par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ed in the Wash­ing­ton seg­ment and got in touch to ask for NPI’s take on it.

Our team watched the video and came away pret­ty disappointed.

Here’s a tran­script of the Wash­ing­ton segment:

HARRIS: Let’s go to anoth­er lib­er­al bas­tion, up here in Wash­ing­ton State. The Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty talks about tax­a­tion, say­ing that our tax code has been “rigged against the Amer­i­can peo­ple”. Democ­rats all the time are decry­ing the fact that tax cuts are going to the wealth­i­est Americans.

ELIZABETH WARREN [CLIP]: It is time for a wealth tax in America!

HARRIS: Democ­rats believe in a pro­gres­sive tax sys­tem where the rich pay a larg­er share of their income than the poor.

This is like the most basic pol­i­cy vision of, like, a pro­gres­sive move­ment. It’s front and cen­ter in Democ­rats’ pol­i­cy platform.

APPELBAUM: But if you go and look at Wash­ing­ton State, what you find is that in Wash­ing­ton State, if you look at the state and local tax­es that peo­ple pay there, less afflu­ent fam­i­lies pay a much larg­er share of their income in tax­es than the wealth­i­est res­i­dents of Wash­ing­ton State.

So peo­ple like Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos — two of the state’s most famous and wealthy res­i­dents — are in this love­ly sit­u­a­tion of, of pay­ing less in tax­es as a share of their income than the poor peo­ple who live in that same state. And this is a fun­da­men­tal inver­sion of the val­ues that the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty pro­fess­es. There is no state with a more regres­sive sys­tem of tax­a­tion than Wash­ing­ton State.

HARRIS: And I’m talk­ing like the most regres­sive mean­ing [more so than] Texas. Which is like the con­ser­v­a­tive bas­tion of like anti tax­es… is more pro­gres­sive than Wash­ing­ton State, lib­er­al Wash­ing­ton State.

How is that real?

Oh, and guess what oth­er states on our map also are in the top ten of most regres­sive tax regimes, like Neva­da and Illinois.

APPELBAUM: There have been some changes, par­tic­u­lar­ly in recent years, but the over­all sit­u­a­tion remains resis­tant to change.

CLIP FROM THE SEATTLE CHANNEL, UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: So I’m very con­cerned that at this time — which is a very poor time to dis­in­cent peo­ple from cre­at­ing jobs in Wash­ing­ton State — that we’re even con­sid­er­ing it.

APPELBAUM: From that pay­check that you earn more of that mon­ey is going to state gov­ern­ment. And so the effect of that is basi­cal­ly to exac­er­bate inequality.

HARRIS: Okay. So rich lib­er­als don’t show up when it comes to hous­ing or taxes.

The odd­est part of the seg­ment is a clip from the Seat­tle Chan­nel that shows up near the end, seem­ing­ly for no rea­son. It con­sists of a short sound bite in which a speak­er says he’s very con­cerned that we’re con­sid­er­ing “it”.

What’s “it,” a view­er might be won­der­ing? What is this speak­er refer­ring to? A pro­pos­al to do what, exact­ly, that the speak­er fears could dis­in­cent job creation?

Har­ris and Appel­baum don’t both­er to explain. They sim­ply wrap up their com­ments about Wash­ing­ton and move on to their next state, Connecticut.

Johnny Harris in a still from a New York Times video

A still from the video, Blue States, You’re the Prob­lem (Via The New York Times)

While Har­ris and Appel­baum do a good job explain­ing how upside down Wash­ing­ton State’s tax code is (mak­ing use of ITEP’s rank­ings and state by state data for their visu­als), they did not both­er to dive into any of the fas­ci­nat­ing his­to­ry that explains how we got to where we are. That his­to­ry dates back near­ly a cen­tu­ry, to a series of events that took place in the 1930s… includ­ing a dis­as­trous, inde­fen­si­bly rea­soned and extreme­ly con­se­quen­tial Supreme Court rul­ing strik­ing down a peo­ple’s ini­tia­tive that would have levied an income tax.

Nor did they talk about what the Leg­is­la­ture and Gov­er­nor Inslee have recent­ly done to address the prob­lem. If you watch the video, you might be left with the impres­sion that Wash­ing­ton’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic lead­er­ship isn’t doing any­thing to make Wash­ing­ton’s tax code more pro­gres­sive, when in fact, the Leg­is­la­ture and Gov­er­nor Inslee have tak­en a num­ber of impor­tant steps towards secur­ing a fair­er tax code for the Ever­green State in the last few leg­isla­tive sessions.

These include:

  • Mak­ing the real estate excise tax (REET) more progressive
  • Repeal­ing tax breaks that pow­er­ful inter­ests like Wall Street banks used to enjoy at Wash­ing­to­ni­ans’ expense
  • Levy­ing a cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy to sup­port education
  • Fund­ing the Work­ing Fam­i­lies Tax Cred­it (WFTC)

Impor­tant­ly, the state’s new cap­i­tal gains tax requires the wealthy to pay more while the WFTC reduces tax oblig­a­tions for Wash­ing­ton’s least afflu­ent peo­ple. Leg­is­la­tors have com­mend­ably been work­ing on this prob­lem from both ends.

These were hard fought wins achieved dur­ing the 2019 and 2021 ses­sions over the objec­tions of Repub­li­can leg­is­la­tors and even, in some cas­es, more con­ser­v­a­tive Demo­c­ra­t­ic leg­is­la­tors like Mark Mul­let of Issaquah.

There’s more to do, of course, which is why Demo­c­ra­t­ic leg­is­la­tors are cur­rent­ly work­ing on pro­pos­als to levy a wealth tax on bil­lion­aires, raise the estate tax, and make prop­er­ty tax­es more pro­gres­sive and equi­table. Leg­is­la­tors are also hold­ing tax town halls this autumn to hear from Wash­ing­to­ni­ans on this very top­ic.

None of this — none of it — was men­tioned by Har­ris or Appelbaum.

The duo also neglect­ed to men­tion that Wash­ing­ton has the ini­tia­tive and ref­er­en­dum, and that right wing forces rep­re­sent­ed by Tim Eyman have his­tor­i­cal­ly used those pow­ers of direct democ­ra­cy to try to keep Wash­ing­ton’s tax code per­ma­nent­ly bro­ken and rigged in favor of the wealthy and the pow­er­ful. Wash­ing­ton may have Demo­c­ra­t­ic lead­er­ship, but that does­n’t mean there are no obsta­cles or bar­ri­ers in the way of achiev­ing a goal like pro­gres­sive tax reform.

Con­text mat­ters. His­to­ry mat­ters. Yet so much of the polit­i­cal com­men­tary being pub­lished nowa­days is shal­low instead of sub­stan­tive. Super­fi­cial instead of sol­id. Sen­sa­tion­al instead of stu­dious. And that’s a shame.

Rather than div­ing into the issues and try­ing to unpack what’s real­ly hap­pen­ing in Amer­i­ca’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic run states, and why, Har­ris and Appel­baum zoomed through three weighty top­ics at warp speed, then threw their dis­cus­sion up on the NYT’s web­site as click­bait for the pub­li­ca­tion’s lib­er­al lean­ing audience.

“Blue States, You’re the Prob­lem” cer­tain­ly has excel­lent pro­duc­tion val­ues and slick visu­als. The dis­cus­sion, on the oth­er hand, leaves a lot to be desired. This video could have been so much bet­ter… deep­er, rich­er, and more informative.

What a missed opportunity.

Tuesday, November 9th, 2021

Kathy Lambert has conceded the 3rd King County Council District race to Sarah Perry

One week ago, King Coun­ty Elec­tions released the ini­tial returns for the 2021 Novem­ber gen­er­al elec­tion, which showed that incum­bent Repub­li­can King Coun­ty Coun­cilmem­ber Kathy Lam­bert was well behind her Demo­c­ra­t­ic chal­lenger, Sarah Per­ry. Since then, thou­sands of addi­tion­al bal­lots have been tal­lied, but nei­ther Per­ry’s nor Lam­bert’s per­cent­ages have changed much. Per­ry con­tin­ues to have a more than ten point lead as of today, with 55.8%. Lam­bert is stuck at 43.87%.

Lam­bert released a state­ment on Novem­ber 8th say­ing that while dis­ap­point­ed in the results, she will work with Per­ry to plan a “thor­ough and com­plete transition.”

“I am hope­ful that our next Coun­ty Coun­cilmem­ber will have suc­cess while nav­i­gat­ing the many issues cur­rent­ly fac­ing the coun­ty and will do so in a way that rep­re­sents all voic­es — from our largest cities to our most rur­al and unin­cor­po­rat­ed areas,” said Lam­bert in a state­ment pro­vid­ed to NPI.

“I am incred­i­bly proud of the work that we have accom­plished togeth­er over the past two decades; from estab­lish­ing the Depart­ment of Local Ser­vices to help our unin­cor­po­rat­ed com­mu­ni­ties receive the ser­vices they need, to the many pro­grams to help our youth and reduce incar­cer­a­tion, like the com­mu­ni­ty court pro­gram, the SAFE, TRACE, and FIRS pro­grams,” Lam­bert added.

“I am also extra­or­di­nar­i­ly proud of the work we accom­plished dur­ing this pan­dem­ic, which includ­ed secur­ing over $1.6 bil­lion in fed­er­al funds to help our small busi­ness­es, mar­gin­al­ized groups and fam­i­lies weath­er the effects of the lock­down mea­sures,” Lam­bert continued.

“It has been an hon­or to serve Dis­trict Three for the past 20 years and it is won­der­ful look­ing back at all of the things we were able to accom­plish togeth­er — from the devel­op­ment of the depart­ment of local ser­vices, judi­cial reform and child pro­tec­tive pro­grams — King Coun­ty and dis­trict three have a his­to­ry of proac­tive­ly lead­ing from the front and being a mod­el for our nation.”

Sarah Per­ry’s cam­paign respond­ed to the con­ces­sion in an update to supporters:

I was pleased to receive a call from Kathy Lam­bert on Sun­day con­ced­ing the elec­tion. I would like to thank Kathy for her years of ser­vice to the coun­ty and state, and wish her the best.

I would also like to send a thank you, from the bot­tom of my heart, to each of the 1,034 indi­vid­ual sup­port­ers who con­tributed from $5 to $2,000 for a total raised of over $340,000.

As well as to those who knocked on over 25,000 doors, or drove me around as I talked with thou­sands of com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers, or made 5,000 calls, or sent 50,000 texts, or host­ed one of the twen­ty House Par­ties, or attend­ed any of the twen­ty Sign Wav­ings, or sup­port­ed us with social media or data research, or help in any oth­er small or large way that, togeth­er, brought this win!

Please don’t hes­i­tate to reach out at any­time with ques­tions, or if you would like me to join your com­mu­ni­ty orga­ni­za­tion for a meet & greet.

Now I can­not wait to get to work with you, and for you, whether you vot­ed for me or not, to tack­le the issues of tran­sit, the envi­ron­ment, safe com­mu­ni­ties and so much more.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Now… let’s get to work!

Lam­bert is the third incum­bent King Coun­ty Coun­cilmem­ber to have been sent into retire­ment by vot­ers in the last six years. In 2015, vot­ers in the 6th Dis­trict oust­ed Repub­li­can Jane Hague from the Coun­cil, replac­ing her with Demo­c­ra­t­ic chal­lenger Clau­dia Bal­duc­ci. And in 2019, vot­ers in the 2nd Dis­trict replaced long­time Coun­cilmem­ber Lar­ry Gos­sett with fel­low Demo­c­rat Gir­may Zahilay.

Per­ry’s win will cre­ate a 7–2 Demo­c­ra­t­ic major­i­ty on the Council.

Sarah Perry speaks at her Election Night victory party

Coun­cilmem­ber-elect Sarah Per­ry address­es sup­port­ers at her Elec­tion Night vic­to­ry par­ty (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

Offi­cial­ly, the Coun­cil is “non­par­ti­san,” owing to pas­sage of a Repub­li­can-craft­ed char­ter amend­ment sev­er­al years ago. But in prac­tice, the Coun­cil remains as par­ti­san as before the char­ter change, because pol­i­tics is inher­ent­ly partisan.

The remain­ing Repub­li­cans on the Coun­cil are Pete von Reich­bauer and Rea­gan Dunn, rep­re­sent­ing the 7th and 9th Dis­tricts, respec­tive­ly. Each of them is eas­i­ly win­ning reelec­tion, so they will serve through the 2025 elec­tion unless they were to resign. As of next year, the Demo­c­ra­t­ic coun­cilmem­bers, by dis­trict, will be:

  • Rod Dem­bows­ki, 1st Dis­trict (just reelected)
  • Gir­may Zahi­lay, 2nd Dis­trict (up in 2023)
  • Sarah Per­ry, 3rd Dis­trict (just elected)
  • Jeanne Kohl-Welles, 4th Dis­trict (up in 2023)
  • Dave Upthe­grove, 5th Dis­trict (just reelected)
  • Clau­dia Bal­duc­ci, 6th Dis­trict (up in 2023)
  • Joe McDer­mott, 8th Dis­trict (up in 2023)

Lam­bert has been on the Coun­cil for over twen­ty years. She pre­vi­ous­ly served in the Wash­ing­ton State Leg­is­la­ture pri­or to join­ing the Coun­cil. Until this year, she had not faced a strong Demo­c­ra­t­ic oppo­nent when seek­ing new terms.

After a poor show­ing in the Top Two round, Lam­bert and her con­sul­tant began look­ing for attack fod­der to use against Per­ry in the hopes of tear­ing her down. They test­ed over half a dozen poten­tial attacks in an online poll that field­ed after the Top Two elec­tion, then end­ed up cre­at­ing a hor­ri­ble, racist mail­er that dis­gust­ing­ly por­trayed Per­ry as a pup­pet of Coun­cilmem­ber Zahi­lay.

To Lam­bert’s dis­may, the attack back­fired and result­ed in her cam­paign los­ing the sup­port of many endorsers and donors. It also had the effect of por­tray­ing her to the dis­tric­t’s most­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ers as a Trump Republican.

After repeat­ed­ly defend­ing the mail­er, Lam­bert abrupt­ly changed course and sev­ered ties with her con­sul­tant. But by that point, her reelec­tion prospects had been fatal­ly wound­ed. Her cred­i­bil­i­ty as an elect­ed offi­cial was also severe­ly dam­aged. With­in days, the King Coun­ty Coun­cil unan­i­mous­ly vot­ed to remove her from all com­mit­tee chair and vice chair positions.

Now the vot­ers have removed Lam­bert from office. Lam­bert will have a few more weeks left to wrap up her work on the Coun­cil and then Coun­cilmem­ber-elect Per­ry will take over as the dis­tric­t’s new representative.

NPI thanks Coun­cilmem­ber Lam­bert for her many years of pub­lic ser­vice. We wish her the best in her next chap­ter, and hope to have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to team up on caus­es like find­ing fund­ing for our rur­al roads.

Sunday, November 7th, 2021

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (November 1st-5th)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Mem­bers of Con­gress vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Fri­day, Novem­ber 5th, 2021.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

BARRING AGE DISCRIMINATION IN HIRING: The House on Novem­ber 4th passed the Pro­tect Old­er Job Appli­cants Act (H.R. 3992), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Sylvia R. Gar­cia, D‑Texas, to bar poten­tial employ­ers from lim­it­ing, seg­re­gat­ing, or clas­si­fy­ing job appli­cants based on their age.

Gar­cia said “some hir­ing prac­tices might seem age-neu­tral on their face, but they actu­al­ly impact job appli­cants that are old­er disproportionately.”

An oppo­nent, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Bob Good, R‑Virginia, said the bill “aban­dons con­gres­sion­al prece­dence and impru­dent­ly allows dis­parate impact claims by job appli­cants.” The vote was 224 yeas to 200 nays.

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, and Kurt Schrader

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

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

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

Cas­ca­dia total: 11 aye votes, 6 nay votes

ADVOCACY FOR FAIR ELECTIONS IN NICARAGUA: The House on Novem­ber 3rd passed the Rein­forc­ing Nicaragua’s Adher­ence to Con­di­tions for Elec­toral Reform Act (S. 1064), spon­sored by Sen­a­tor Robert Menen­dez, D‑New Jersey.

The bill would direct U.S. diplo­ma­cy to be used to encour­age free, fair elec­tions in Nicaragua on Novem­ber 7th and uphold human rights in the coun­try. A sup­port­er, Rep. Theodore Deutch, D‑Florida, said the bill “makes clear that the Unit­ed States will not sit by qui­et­ly as anoth­er coun­try in our hemi­sphere slides fur­ther away from our demo­c­ra­t­ic val­ues.” The vote was 387 yeas to 35 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher

Not Vot­ing (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, and Kurt Schrad­er; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

Vot­ing Present (1): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Peter DeFazio

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (8): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Kim Schri­er, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Vot­ing Nay (2): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Prami­la Jaya­pal and Adam Smith

Cas­ca­dia total: 13 aye votes, 2 nay votes, 1 present vote, 1 not voting

RESOLUTION ON DETAINEES IN CUBA: The House on Novem­ber 3rd passed a res­o­lu­tion (H. Res. 760), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Deb­bie Wasser­man Schultz, D‑Florida, to call for Cuba’s gov­ern­ment to release arbi­trar­i­ly detained cit­i­zens and stop repress­ing the citizenry.

Schultz said the res­o­lu­tion would “send a mes­sage to the brave Cubans who are des­per­ate­ly yearn­ing for free­dom and legit­i­mate self-gov­er­nance: The Amer­i­can peo­ple are firm­ly by your side.” An oppo­nent, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Bar­bara Lee, D‑California, said Con­gress should instead “have an hon­est debate about a new Cuban pol­i­cy that talks about and sup­ports what real human rights for the Cuban peo­ple mean.” The vote was 382 yeas to 40 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher

Not Vot­ing (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

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

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (9): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Vot­ing Nay (1): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Prami­la Jayapal

Cas­ca­dia total: 13 aye votes, 2 nay votes, 1 present vote, 1 not voting

RECOGNIZING THE LUMBEE TRIBE: The House on Novem­ber 1st passed the Lum­bee Recog­ni­tion Act (H.R. 2758), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive G.K. But­ter­field, D‑North Car­oli­na, to fed­er­al­ly rec­og­nize the Lum­bee Indi­an tribe in North Car­oli­na, with asso­ci­at­ed mem­ber eli­gi­bil­i­ty for ben­e­fits and the poten­tial for­ma­tion of a trib­al reser­va­tion. But­ter­field said the Lum­bee’s case for recog­ni­tion was not in dis­pute, so “it is long past time for Con­gress to give the Lum­bee the respect they deserve and to treat them with the fun­da­men­tal fair­ness that has been with­held for so many years.” The vote was 357 yeas to 59 nays.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

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

The State of Washington

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

Cas­ca­dia total: 17 aye votes

DESIGNATING TRIBAL LAND IN CALIFORNIA: The House on Novem­ber 2nd passed the Pala Band of Mis­sion Indi­ans Land Trans­fer Act (H.R. 1975), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Dar­rell E. Issa, R‑California, to have 721 acres in San Diego Coun­ty already owned by the Pala Band des­ig­nat­ed as part of the band’s reser­va­tion. The vote was 397 yeas to 25 nays.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

Not Vot­ing (1): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Kurt Schrader

The State of Washington

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

Cas­ca­dia total: 16 aye votes, 1 not voting

DESIGNATING TRIBAL LAND IN ARIZONA: The House on Novem­ber 2nd passed the Old Pas­cua Com­mu­ni­ty Land Acqui­si­tion Act (H.R. 4881), spon­sored by Rep. Raul M. Gri­jal­va, D‑Arizona. The bill would assign to the Pas­cua Yaqui Indi­an trib­al reser­va­tion cer­tain lands in Pima Coun­ty. Gri­jal­va said it “will raise the trib­al stan­dard of liv­ing, improve sys­tem coor­di­na­tion and inte­gra­tion of ser­vice deliv­ery, and pro­mote the ongo­ing trans­mis­sion of Yaqui knowl­edge, cul­ture, his­to­ry, and tra­di­tions for future gen­er­a­tions.” The vote was 375 yeas to 45 nays.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

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

The State of Washington

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

Cas­ca­dia total: 17 aye votes

DESIGNATING TRIBAL LAND IN TENNESSEE: The House on Novem­ber 2nd passed the East­ern Band of Chero­kee His­toric Lands Reac­qui­si­tion Act (H.R. 2088), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Chuck Fleis­chmann, R‑Tennessee, to add sev­en­ty-six acres of land, includ­ing two memo­ri­als and one muse­um, to the East­ern Band’s reser­va­tion. The vote was 407 yeas to 16 nays.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

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

The State of Washington

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

Cas­ca­dia total: 17 aye votes

EASING INVESTMENT IN SMALL BUSINESSES: The House on Novem­ber 2nd passed the Invest­ing in Main Street Act (H.R. 4256), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Judy Chu, D‑California to increase the amount of mon­ey that banks can invest in small busi­ness invest­ment com­pa­nies, which fund small com­pa­nies. Chu said the change “will deliv­er more invest­ments and more financ­ing to our small busi­ness­es for whom even small invest­ments can mean so much.”

The vote was 413 yeas to 10 nays.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

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

The State of Washington

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

Cas­ca­dia total: 17 aye votes

SUPPORTING ADVANCED AIR MOBILITY: The House on Novem­ber 4th passed the Advanced Air Mobil­i­ty Coor­di­na­tion and Lead­er­ship Act (H.R. 1339), spon­sored by Rep. Sharice Davids, D‑Kan., to estab­lish an inter­a­gency work­ing group in the Trans­porta­tion Depart­ment that will sup­port advanced air mobil­i­ty, a term that refers to small air­planes with ver­ti­cal take­off and land­ing capac­i­ty and elec­tric propul­sion. A sup­port­er, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Sam Graves, R‑Missouri, said the new avi­a­tion tech­nol­o­gy could “con­nect cities, towns, and neigh­bor­hoods all across the coun­try in a very safe, qui­et, and envi­ron­men­tal­ly friend­ly way.”

The vote was 383 yeas to 41 nays.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

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

The State of Washington

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

Cas­ca­dia total: 17 aye votes

WHAT ABOUT THE INFRASTRUCTURE VOTE? 

The House­’s vote on the Infra­struc­ture Invest­ment and Jobs Act came after Tar­get­ed News Ser­vice com­piled this week’s votes. Accord­ing­ly, it will be in next week’s install­ment of Last Week In Con­gress. The roll call is, how­ev­er, avail­able now in this Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate post sum­ma­riz­ing the break­ing news.

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Sen­ate cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

PROCEDURAL VOTE ON JOHN R. LEWIS VOTING RIGHTS ADVANCEMENT ACT: The Sen­ate on Novem­ber 3rd reject­ed a clo­ture motion to end debate on a motion to con­sid­er the John R. Lewis Vot­ing Rights Advance­ment Act (S. 4), spon­sored by Sen­a­tor Patrick J. Leahy, D‑Vermont.

The bill would change the cri­te­ria for fed­er­al review of changes to vot­ing pro­ce­dures by state and local gov­ern­ments by requir­ing those gov­ern­ments to seek fed­er­al preap­proval, before mak­ing changes, if they are found to have vio­lat­ed vot­ing rights too many times in the past 25 years.

The vote was 50 yeas to 49 nays, with a three-fifths thresh­old required to end debate. Lisa Murkows­ki was the only Repub­li­can to vote aye.

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

BETH ROBINSON, APPEALS COURT JUDGE: The Sen­ate on Novem­ber 1st con­firmed the nom­i­na­tion of Beth Robin­son to serve as a judge on the U.S. Sec­ond Cir­cuit Court of Appeals. Robin­son has been a jus­tice on the Ver­mont Supreme Court since 2011. A sup­port­er, Sen­a­tor Patrick J. Leahy, D‑Vermont, said: “Her unwa­ver­ing, decade-long ded­i­ca­tion as a jurist and her loy­al­ty to the law above all else has made Beth Robin­son an out­stand­ing Ver­mont Supreme Court jus­tice.” The vote was 51 yeas to 45 nays.

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

TOBY HEYTENS, APPEALS COURT JUDGE: The Sen­ate on Novem­ber 1st con­firmed the nom­i­na­tion of Toby J. Heytens to serve as a judge on the U.S. Fourth Cir­cuit Court of Appeals. Heytens, Vir­gini­a’s solic­i­tor gen­er­al since 2018, was pre­vi­ous­ly a law pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Vir­ginia and lawyer in the U.S. Solic­i­tor Gen­er­al’s Office. A sup­port­er, Sen­a­tor Dick Durbin, D‑Illinois, called Heytens “an accom­plished appel­late advo­cate, with a depth of expe­ri­ence and a fair-mind­ed­ness that would make him an asset to the Fourth Circuit.”

The vote was 53 yeas to 43 nays.

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

ISABEL COLEMAN, USAID: The Sen­ate has con­firmed the nom­i­na­tion of Iso­bel Cole­man to be deputy admin­is­tra­tor for pol­i­cy and pro­gram­ming at the U.S. Agency for Inter­na­tion­al Devel­op­ment. Cole­man has been a long­time senior fel­low at the Coun­cil on For­eign Rela­tions and a pol­i­cy ambas­sador to the Unit­ed Nations dur­ing Pres­i­dent Oba­ma’s sec­ond term. A sup­port­er, Sen­a­tor Robert Menen­dez, D‑New Jer­sey, called Cole­man “a well-known and trust­ed for­eign affairs pro­fes­sion­al, and I am con­fi­dent she will exe­cute her duties with distinction.”

The vote was 59 yeas to 39 nays.

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

JEFFREY PRIETO, EPA GENERAL COUNSEL: The Sen­ate on Novem­ber 3rd con­firmed the nom­i­na­tion of Jef­frey Pri­eto to serve as gen­er­al coun­sel for the Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency. Pri­eto was the Agri­cul­ture Depart­men­t’s gen­er­al coun­sel in the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion’s sec­ond term; cur­rent­ly, he is gen­er­al coun­sel for the Los Ange­les Com­mu­ni­ty Col­lege Dis­trict. A sup­port­er, Sen­a­tor Tom Carp­er, D‑Delaware, said Pri­eto “has the intel­lect, tem­pera­ment, and expe­ri­ence to serve in this impor­tant role.” The vote was 54 yeas to 44 nays.

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

RAJESH NAYAK, ASSISTANT LABOR SECRETARY: The Sen­ate on Novem­ber 3rd con­firmed the nom­i­na­tion of Rajesh Nayak to serve as assis­tant sec­re­tary for pol­i­cy at the Labor Depart­ment. Nayak, a senior offi­cial at the agency dur­ing the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion, this year returned to the agency as a senior advi­sor. A sup­port­er, Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray, D‑Washington, said: “As an advo­cate and a pol­i­cy­mak­er, he has shown time and again his com­mit­ment to empow­er­ing work­ers, sup­port­ing fam­i­lies, and advanc­ing equity.”

The vote was 52 yeas to 45 nays.

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

ROBERT SANTOS, CENSUS DIRECTOR: The Sen­ate has con­firmed the nom­i­na­tion of Robert San­tos to serve as direc­tor of the U.S. Cen­sus Bureau for a term end­ing at the close of 2026. A sup­port­er, Sen­a­tor Gary Peters, D‑Michigan, said San­tos, cur­rent­ly vice pres­i­dent of the Urban Insti­tute, “brings over forty years of expe­ri­ence in both the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tors as a man­ag­er and expert in the field of sur­vey design and sta­tis­ti­cal research.”

The vote was 58 yeas to 35 nays.

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 Sen­ate is slat­ed to be in recess this week. The House­’s plans were to be announced, but House lead­er­ship antic­i­pates hold­ing a vote on the Build Back Bet­ter frame­work by Novem­ber 15th under Con­gress’ rec­on­cil­i­a­tion rules.

Edi­tor’s Note: The infor­ma­tion in NPI’s week­ly How Cas­ca­di­a’s U.S. law­mak­ers vot­ed fea­ture is pro­vid­ed by Tar­get­ed News Ser­vice. 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!

© 2021 Tar­get­ed News Ser­vice, LLC. 

Saturday, November 6th, 2021

British Columbia Premier John Horgan: Comfortable in power, but embarking on his second fight with cancer

The word on John Hor­gan used to be that he was too impa­tient and blus­tery to lead the left-lean­ing New Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty in the British Colum­bia Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly, and Hor­gan became leader as the par­ty was six­teen years in oppo­si­tion and despair­ing of its come-from-ahead defeat in the 2013 provin­cial election.

The pun­dits under­es­ti­mat­ed the one­time lacrosse play­er, who rep­re­sents a rid­ing (dis­trict) along the Strait of Juan de Fuca west of Victoria.

Hor­gan, six­ty-two, brought the NDP back to forty-one (of eighty-sev­en) seats in the 2017 elec­tion and forged a bare­bones gov­ern­ing alliance with three leg­is­la­tors from the Green Par­ty. The alliance made him premier.

Hor­gan effec­tive­ly gov­erned for three years before jet­ti­son­ing pow­er shar­ing with the Greens and call­ing a snap elec­tion in the fall of 2020.

The elec­tion gave New Democ­rats a major­i­ty in the Leg­is­la­ture and break­throughs in areas, e.g. Fras­er Valley/Langley and Rich­mond, long dom­i­nat­ed by the (not-very-lib­er­al) Lib­er­al Party.

The NDP’s record han­dling the coro­n­avirus, with dai­ly lay-it-out brief­in­gs by provin­cial health offi­cer Dr. Bon­nie Hen­ry and Health Min­is­ter Adri­an Dix, helped it to vic­to­ry. The Lib­er­als have lost ground in urban and sub­ur­ban regions of the province, and are now large­ly a par­ty of rur­al and inte­ri­or British Columbia.

The past week saw Hor­gan mark four years and 109 days in the premier’s office, a record for NDP premiers.

He is the lone par­ty leader who’s been able to twice take the New Democ­rats to pow­er, with the par­ty cap­tur­ing a record 47.7% of the vote in 2020.

But the best of times can be painful times.

As the anniver­sary arrived, Hor­gan informed the province – in a man­ner “char­ac­ter­is­ti­cal­ly direct” in words of Van­cou­ver Sun colum­nist Vaughn Palmer – that he was going under the knife to have a growth in his throat removed.

A day lat­er, a sec­ond direct mes­sage: “The pathol­o­gy con­firmed that the growth in my throat was can­cer­ous,” said Horgan.

“My prog­no­sis is good and I expect to make a full recov­ery. In the next cou­ple of weeks, I will need to start radi­a­tion treat­ment, which will con­clude toward the end of Decem­ber. I will con­tin­ue to par­tic­i­pate vir­tu­al­ly in brief­in­gs, cab­i­net and oth­er impor­tant meet­ings. If in-per­son events, min­is­ter Mike Farn­worth and oth­er cab­i­net min­is­ters may attend in my place.”

Insults fly across the floor of the B.C. Leg­is­la­ture dur­ing debate.

Hor­gan is known for pound­ing the Lib­er­als on their (many) mis­deeds while run­ning the province for six­teen years. Yet, across the spec­trum, Hogan’s ill­ness has pro­duced warm wish­es for recovery.

“We will be think­ing of him in the weeks and months ahead, and I cer­tain­ly look for­ward to a time when he will return, in good health, to the Leg­is­la­ture so we can return to the vig­or­ous debate that he and I usu­al­ly engage in,” inter­im Lib­er­al Par­ty leader Shirley Bond told a scrum of reporters in Victoria.

A promi­nent con­ser­v­a­tive in Cana­di­an pol­i­tics, Ontario Pre­mier John Ford, intoned: “John, you are a fight­er. We’re cheer­ing you on here in Ontario.”

Hor­gan sur­vived blad­der can­cer more than a decade ago, describ­ing the ini­tial diag­no­sis to the Globe and Mail as lie “get­ting hit by a big, huge base­ball bat.”

The New Democ­rats embrace con­flict­ing con­stituen­cies, e.g. envi­ron­men­tal­ists and tim­ber unions. Unlike America’s divid­ed Democ­rats, they have demon­strat­ed remark­able dis­ci­pline while gov­ern­ing. The par­ty has field­ed able Cab­i­net min­is­ters, such as Dix, who are respon­si­ble for pre­sent­ing their own bud­gets and defend­ing their depart­ments on the floor of the Legislature.

Even con­tro­ver­sial deci­sions, such as COVID-19 caused trav­el restric­tions with­in the province (now end­ed) have gen­er­at­ed lit­tle protest.

The Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly is cur­rent­ly meet­ing in Victoria.

With resump­tion of ser­vice on the M.V. Coho, you can sail over from Port Ange­les and watch a dis­ci­plined gov­ern­ment mov­ing ahead with its agenda.

As Hor­gan pre­pared for surgery, the B.C. gov­ern­ment announced major defer­rals of log­ging old-growth forests across the province. The reform of for­est pol­i­cy will involve exten­sive con­sul­ta­tions with Abo­rig­i­nal First Nations.

The gov­ern­ment is tabling con­sumer pro­tec­tion leg­is­la­tion aimed at cre­at­ing safe­guards for those pur­chas­ing new and resold hous­ing in B.C.’s ever-hot real estate mar­ket. Before “the Leg” goes home in Decem­ber, it is expect­ed to cre­ate buffer zones around schools and health care facil­i­ties to pre­vent harass­ment by anti-vac­cine protests.

“I look for­ward to being back in the Leg­is­la­ture and trav­el­ing in the new year,” Hor­gan said in his announce­ment.

The trav­el will like­ly take Hor­gan south to “the States” where Hor­gan and Wash­ing­ton State Jay Inslee are pro­mot­ing improved Amtrak ser­vice and pos­si­bly even ultra high-speed rail between B.C.‘s Van­cou­ver and Eugene, Oregon.

Wrote Palmer:

“He’s beat­en the odds before and has every rea­son to think he can do so again.”

Friday, November 5th, 2021

Bipartisan infrastructure bill clears U.S. House of Representatives with bipartisan support

The Unit­ed States House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives tonight gave final approval to the Sen­ate amend­ments to H.R. 3684, the Infra­struc­ture Invest­ment and Jobs Act, send­ing the bill to Joe Biden to be signed into law after many months of pro­tract­ed nego­ti­a­tions about the fate of the Pres­i­den­t’s leg­isla­tive agenda.

Biden is expect­ed to quick­ly sign it into law while Con­gress con­tin­ues work on the remain­ing pieces of his Jobs and Fam­i­lies Plan, which have been merged into one piece of leg­is­la­tion that has become known as the Build Back Bet­ter framework.

The vote to pass H.R. 3684 was 228 to 206.

In the greater Pacif­ic North­west, the vote was almost along par­ty lines.

Vot­ing Aye: Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land (WA), Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrad­er (OR); Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Don Young (AK)

Vot­ing Nay: Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera-Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers (WA), Cliff Bentz (OR), Russ Fulcher and Mike Simp­son (ID), Matt Rosendale (MT)

In the House as a whole, sup­port and oppo­si­tion were more bipar­ti­san. Six Democ­rats chose to vote against the bill and sev­en Repub­li­cans vot­ed for it.

The six Democ­rats vot­ing nay were Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Alexan­dria Oca­sio-Cortez of New York, Jamal Bow­man of New York, Rashi­da Tlaib of Michi­gan, Ilhan Omar of Min­neso­ta, Cori Bush of Mis­souri, and Ayan­na Press­ley of Massachusetts.

The thir­teen Repub­li­cans vot­ing aye were Don Young of Alas­ka, Don Bacon of Nebras­ka, Bri­an Fitz­patrick of Penn­syl­va­nia, Andrew Gar­bari­no of New York, Antho­ny Gon­za­lez of Ohio, John Katko of New York, Adam Kinzinger of Illi­nois, Nicole Mallio­takis of New York, David McKin­ley of West Vir­ginia, Tom Reed of New York, Christo­pher Smith of New Jer­sey, Fred Upton of Michi­gan, and Jeff Van Drew of New Jer­sey. All except for McKin­ley, Young, Bacon, and Gon­za­lez rep­re­sent por­tions of states that vot­ed for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

Most of the Con­gres­sion­al Pro­gres­sive Cau­cus’ one hun­dred mem­bers vot­ed aye. Their votes were cru­cial to the pas­sage of the bill.

Pri­or to agree­ing to pro­vide the votes need­ed to get the Infra­struc­ture Invest­ment and Jobs Act to Biden’s desk, the CPC, led by Cas­ca­di­a’s very own Prami­la Jaya­pal insist­ed onand received — a firm com­mit­ment from a key group of cor­po­rate-friend­ly Democ­rats that they would vote for the Build Back Bet­ter bill with­in the next ten days, so long as it isn’t sub­stan­tive­ly amended.

With that com­mit­ment in hand, the CPC decid­ed to move H.R. 3684 for­ward to bank a win for the Biden-Har­ris admin­is­tra­tion and the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, trust­ing that the Pres­i­dent and his team will be ful­ly invest­ed and engaged in get­ting Build Back Bet­ter passed through rec­on­cil­i­a­tion in short order.

The Pres­i­dent had planned to depart for Rehoboth Beach in Delaware today, but he instead remained at the White House to speak with law­mak­ers about the two bills. (His depar­ture is now sched­uled for tomor­row; the trip has not been can­celed, con­trary to some of the chy­rons that appeared on cable news today.)

At one point, he called into the CPC’s meet­ing to make his case for fast-track­ing H.R. 3684 while con­tin­u­ing to work on the Build Back Bet­ter bill.

After the vote, Biden issued a lengthy state­ment thank­ing the House.

“Tonight, we took a mon­u­men­tal step for­ward as a nation,” Biden said.

“The Unit­ed States House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives passed the Infra­struc­ture Invest­ment and Jobs Act, a once-in-gen­er­a­tion bipar­ti­san infra­struc­ture bill that will cre­ate mil­lions of jobs, turn the cli­mate cri­sis into an oppor­tu­ni­ty, and put us on a path to win the eco­nom­ic com­pe­ti­tion for the 21st Century.”

“I’m also proud that a rule was vot­ed on that will allow for pas­sage of my Build Back Bet­ter Act in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives the week of Novem­ber 15th,” the Pres­i­dent added, refer­ring to a sub­se­quent pro­ce­dur­al vote. “The Build Back Bet­ter Act will be a once-in-a-gen­er­a­tion invest­ment in our peo­ple. It will low­er bills for health­care, child care, elder care, pre­scrip­tion drugs, and preschool.”

The White House announced that the Pres­i­dent and Vice Pres­i­dent will appear in the WH’s State Din­ing Room tomor­row for remarks by the Pres­i­dent on the House­’s actions tonight. That speech will be broad­cast at 6:30 AM Pacif­ic Time.

Speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi, who has been work­ing tire­less­ly to try to find a path for­ward for both bills, deliv­ered a lengthy speech in sup­port of the bill pri­or to final pas­sage, tout­ing the invest­ments it will make in tran­sit, clean water, ports, roads, bridges, and oth­er crit­i­cal infra­struc­ture. After the vote, Pelosi pub­lished a pic­ture depict­ing her seat­ed at her desk sign­ing the bill.

“This pop­u­lar leg­is­la­tion deliv­ers on our promise to pro­vide a his­toric, deeply nec­es­sary, and long over­due invest­ment in our state’s roads, bridges, water­ways, and pub­lic tran­sit sys­tems that will direct­ly impact our com­mu­ni­ties while tak­ing a first step to address the cli­mate cri­sis and cre­at­ing mil­lions of good pay­ing, union jobs,” said Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jaya­pal in a state­ment.

“By invest­ing more than half a tril­lion dol­lars in improv­ing our infra­struc­ture, mak­ing America’s largest ever invest­ment in pub­lic tran­sit, and pro­vid­ing the largest bridge fund­ing since the mid-1900s, we will final­ly be able to send our com­mu­ni­ties, cities, and state the resources nec­es­sary to not only build back bet­ter but green­er. There is still more work to be done to invest in fam­i­lies, and I will con­tin­ue fight­ing for them while ensur­ing that this new infra­struc­ture fund­ing reach­es projects through­out Washington.”

This is a win y’all. The [Con­gres­sion­al Pro­gres­sive Cau­cus] lever­aged pop­u­lar sen­ti­ment and peo­ple pow­er to get this agree­ment,” one Twit­ter user not­ed in response to Jaya­pal’s state­ment. “No one caved. They nego­ti­at­ed a solu­tion. This is smart pol­i­tics that’s locks House [cor­po­rate-aligned Democ­rats] into future sup­port with a stat­ed dead­line for the vote. It’s good.”

There are peo­ple and orga­ni­za­tions who had called for the CPC to refuse to send H.R. 3684 to Biden until the Build Back Bet­ter bill was also ready to go to the Pres­i­dent. It was cer­tain­ly impor­tant to hold firm while the Build Back Bet­ter bill was in a loos­er, undraft­ed form. But much of the nego­ti­at­ing is now done, accord­ing to Jaya­pal, Pelosi, and Sen­ate Demo­c­ra­t­ic lead­er­ship, which means that the CPC has in fact suc­ceed­ed in using its lever­age to secure a bet­ter bill.

The Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty has only bare majori­ties to work with in both cham­bers of Con­gress due to hav­ing per­formed poor­ly down­bal­lot in last year’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. As a con­se­quence, to pass some­thing with­out Repub­li­can votes, the par­ty has to be in near-unan­i­mous agree­ment. Every Demo­c­ra­t­ic sen­a­tor effec­tive­ly wields a veto, as do small groups of Demo­c­ra­t­ic representatives.

That has great­ly com­pli­cat­ed the task of get­ting Biden’s leg­isla­tive agen­da through Con­gress, with every­one try­ing to use their lever­age to influ­ence the size, scope, and con­tents of the legislation.

The end result will be a long-sought com­pro­mise that seemed relent­less­ly elu­sive. But tonight, Democ­rats showed they are get­ting there. They are deliv­er­ing Part I, and they have an incen­tive to deliv­er Part II.

If they don’t, it’s hard to see how they’ll be able to trust each oth­er going for­ward. As Ben­jamin Franklin once said: “We must, indeed, all hang togeth­er or, most assured­ly, we shall all hang separately.”

Trust is of para­mount impor­tance in pol­i­tics. It’s cru­cial. Democ­rats had to trust in one anoth­er to achieve this out­come tonight, and they did. As Peter Welch of Ver­mont acknowl­edged: “At a cer­tain point, we have to trust one another.”

With­out trust, there can­not be progress.

Democ­rats agreed to trust each oth­er today. That’s great news. But they must con­tin­ue to hon­or the trust they’ve estab­lished so the rest of the job gets done.

Pro­gres­sive Democ­rats pro­vid­ed votes to move a bill that does­n’t con­tain essen­tial cli­mate and fam­i­ly invest­ments. Their more con­ser­v­a­tive col­leagues have an oblig­a­tion now to be team play­ers just as the Pro­gres­sive Cau­cus has been. The Build Back Bet­ter bill needs to get its House vote by Novem­ber 15th and then get a con­cur­ring vote in the Sen­ate so it can be expe­di­tious­ly signed into law.

Thursday, November 4th, 2021

Hamdi Mohamed passes Stephanie Bowman in tight race for Port of Seattle Position #3

Late this after­noon, with the release of King Coun­ty Elec­tions’ third tal­ly of bal­lots in the Novem­ber 2021 gen­er­al elec­tion, Ham­di Mohamed over­took Stephanie Bow­man for Posi­tion #3 on the Seat­tle Port Commission.

Behind by 5,600 votes on Elec­tion Night and behind by 4,020 votes yes­ter­day evening, Mohamed today jumped out to a lead of 9,610 votes over Bow­man. 459,686 total bal­lots have been count­ed by King Coun­ty Elections.

211,576 bal­lots have been cast for Mohamed and 201,966 for Bowman.

Mohamed now has 50.93% of the vote and Bow­man has 48.62%. Mohamed is the sec­ond 2021 Port chal­lenger to over­take an incum­bent in the late bal­lots, fol­low­ing Toshiko Grace Hasegawa, who leapfrogged Peter Stein­brueck yes­ter­day.

King Coun­ty Elec­tions reports that almost 607,000 bal­lots have been returned, and has esti­mat­ed that turnout may reach 46% in the Novem­ber gen­er­al elec­tion. If King Coun­ty Elec­tions’ esti­mate proves true, then we are almost two thirds of the way done with tab­u­lat­ing the votes in this election.

If you haven’t been pay­ing close atten­tion to this race for Port Com­mis­sion, here’s our primer from Tues­day about the matchup.

Mohamed vs. Bowman: The contest for Position #3

Bow­man has cam­paigned on her record of fos­ter­ing job cre­ation at the Port, her efforts to tack­le cli­mate dam­age, and the Port’s part­ner­ship with the Port of Taco­ma through the North­west Sea­port Alliance.

She has also cit­ed expand­ing job train­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for youth of col­or, mak­ing stormwa­ter improve­ments, and devel­op­ing a noise insu­la­tion pro­gram for homes close to the air­port as accomplishments.

But she has also been crit­i­cized for tak­ing a posi­tion oppos­ing SeaT­ac’s min­i­mum wage ordi­nance, and her 2015 vote to allow Shell Oil to locate its Arc­tic drilling oper­a­tions in Seattle.

Mohamed present­ly works as an advis­er to the King Coun­ty Exec­u­tive Office regard­ing the county’s bud­get, small busi­ness ini­tia­tives, com­mu­ni­ty engage­ment and the county’s COVID-19 response.

Her father was a truck­er and her moth­er was a Sea-Tac air­port work­er, and that expe­ri­ence led her to desire the cre­ation of both re-entry pro­grams for COVID-19-impact­ed work­ers and a new Small Busi­ness Recov­ery Taskforce.

Hamdi Mohamed, Port candidate

Ham­di Mohamed at a con­struc­tion site in King Coun­ty (Cam­paign pub­lic­i­ty photo)

She says she is com­mit­ted to mak­ing the Port a key play­er in address­ing cli­mate change and its broad electrification.

Mohamed resides in South King Coun­ty, not far from Seat­tle-Taco­ma Inter­na­tion­al Air­port. South King Coun­ty has his­tor­i­cal­ly lacked rep­re­sen­ta­tion on the Port Com­mis­sion. If Mohamed wins, the com­mu­ni­ties close to the Port’s largest facil­i­ty would have more clout on its five-mem­ber gov­ern­ing body.

Updated numbers are due tomorrow afternoon

King Coun­ty Elec­tions’ next bal­lot drop will be released some­time tomor­row after­noon, like­ly between 4 and 5 PM Pacif­ic Time. That drop may be as large as  today’s, with a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of bal­lots expect­ed to be tallied.

Thursday, November 4th, 2021

Bruce Harrell’s victory affirmed; Lorena González concedes 2021 Seattle mayoral race

Bruce Har­rell has pre­vailed in the 2021 con­test for May­or of Seat­tle and will be the city’s next leader, rival M. Lore­na González acknowl­edged today.

In a state­ment, González con­grat­u­lat­ed Har­rell and con­ced­ed the race, as is tra­di­tion. She also released the state­ment as a series of tweets.

With today’s bal­lot drop, it’s clear that Bruce Har­rell will be the next May­or of Seat­tle. Ear­li­er, I called him to con­grat­u­late him on a hard-fought race and wished him much luck in his efforts to make progress on the chal­lenges Seat­tle faces,” Gon­za­lez said. “To all of our sup­port­ers who poured their hearts into this cam­paign, I thank you for every­thing you did.”

“Togeth­er with our part­ners in the labor move­ment, we knocked over 100,000 doors talk­ing to vot­ers in all parts of Seat­tle about mak­ing our city more afford­able, re-imag­in­ing polic­ing and strength­en­ing pub­lic safe­ty, requir­ing wealthy cor­po­ra­tions to pay their fair share, and address­ing our home­less­ness cri­sis in a man­ner that treats our unshel­tered neigh­bors with dig­ni­ty and respect.”

“This cam­paign is over but our work con­tin­ues because the strug­gles peo­ple in Seat­tle face remain,” the out­go­ing City Coun­cil Pres­i­dent noted.

“Togeth­er, we shaped the con­ver­sa­tion on our city’s most press­ing issues, and May­or-Elect Har­rell made com­mit­ments in response to our pres­sure — to not crim­i­nal­ize pover­ty, to expand pro­gres­sive rev­enue sources, to demil­i­ta­rize the police and invest in alter­na­tive respons­es to pub­lic safe­ty calls, and to rapid­ly cre­ate appro­pri­ate shel­ter and not forcibly sweep the unhoused from pub­lic spaces.”

“As a strong pro­gres­sive move­ment, we need to con­tin­ue to orga­nize and work every day towards progress on cre­at­ing a more afford­able, just and safe city for us all. This will require us to build an inclu­sive and strong coali­tion that will serve to hold the next may­or and new City Coun­cil account­able to keep the Mayor-Elect’s cam­paign promis­es. After near­ly six hun­dred days of cam­paign­ing, I am look­ing for­ward to rest­ing, fin­ish­ing my sixth year of ser­vice on the City Coun­cil and writ­ing the next chap­ter of my pub­lic service.”

Har­rell, six­ty-three, will be sworn in as the city’s next chief exec­u­tive on Jan­u­ary 1st, 2022. He will suc­ceed Jen­ny Durkan, who chose not to seek anoth­er term.

Seattle Mayor-elect Bruce Harrell

Seat­tle May­or-elect Bruce Har­rell, pic­tured on Elec­tion Day 2021 after a meet and greet with vot­ers (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

Har­rell spent more than a decade on the Coun­cil and briefly served as May­or for a few days in 2017 fol­low­ing Ed Mur­ray’s res­ig­na­tion. He was first elect­ed to the Coun­cil in 2007, and reelect­ed in 2011 and 2015. In 2019, he chose not to seek anoth­er term on the Coun­cil. He was also a can­di­date for May­or in 2013, chal­leng­ing Mike McGinn, but was elim­i­nat­ed in the August Top Two election.

“Bruce was raised in a red­lined Cen­tral Area home, the son of a Black father and a Japan­ese moth­er, who raised him to respect not only where he came from, but also to believe in what was pos­si­ble,” his cam­paign biog­ra­phy states.

“At the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton, Bruce (#55) was a 1978 Rose Bowl cham­pi­on and received the Most Valu­able Defen­sive Play­er Award. Bruce went on to law school and then worked in tech­nol­o­gy and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, lat­er rep­re­sent­ing work­ing peo­ple who expe­ri­enced work­place dis­crim­i­na­tion and sup­port­ing small busi­ness­es pro bono, help­ing minor­i­ty entre­pre­neurs pur­sue their dreams.”

Har­rell cam­paigned on the fol­low­ing priorities:

  • Bold ideas for eco­nom­ic recov­ery: Now is the time for big think­ing to put our city back on track and help reach our col­lec­tive potential.
  • End­ing home­less­ness: We need a May­or who will take imme­di­ate and deci­sive action – urgent­ly get­ting peo­ple out of parks and streets and into sta­ble hous­ing with the on-site ser­vices they need.
  • Pub­lic safe­ty & police reform: We can – and must – ensure effec­tive pub­lic safe­ty for all and address struc­tur­al racism and police bias.
  • Tak­ing on the cli­mate cri­sis: Seat­tle must set the exam­ple as America’s lead­ing cli­mate-for­ward city – and we can­not leave any­one behind.
  • Tran­sit, trans­porta­tion & infra­struc­ture: Access to afford­able, reli­able trans­porta­tion opens new doors and a city full of pos­si­bil­i­ties – we must expand tran­sit access and fix our decay­ing infrastructure.
  • Reduc­ing gun vio­lence: We must take action to reduce gun vio­lence in our city – treat­ing it like a pub­lic health cri­sis and respond­ing with urgency, data, and bold action.
  • Restor­ing arts & cul­ture: Arts are the lifeblood of thriv­ing com­mu­ni­ties. As May­or, I’ll work to dri­ve a rapid restora­tion of artis­tic promi­nence, oppor­tu­ni­ty, and acces­si­bil­i­ty – an effort inte­gral to a true recovery.
  • Health­care for all Seat­tle res­i­dents: No one in our city should live with­out access to health care – let’s come togeth­er and build a sys­tem show­ing our com­mit­ment to a healthy community.

Har­rell won the August Top Two elec­tion and led in every inde­pen­dent poll lead­ing up to the cur­rent gen­er­al elec­tion, includ­ing the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute’s Octo­ber 2021 sur­vey of the Seat­tle elec­torate. 48% of respon­dents to our sur­vey, con­duct­ed for NPI by Change Research, said they were vot­ing for Har­rell in mid-Octo­ber, while 32% said González and 18% were not sure. 

As of today’s returns, Har­rell has a 47,943 vote lead over Gon­za­lez, with 61.93% of the vote. González has 37.76% of the vote. There are also six hun­dred and thir­ty write-in votes for May­or (0.32% of the votes cast in the race). 

An esti­mat­ed 140,000 bal­lots remain to be tal­lied countywide.

Har­rell was endorsed by U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Adam Smith and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land, for­mer May­or Norm Rice, for­mer Gov­er­nor Gary Locke, and cur­rent Coun­cilmem­bers Deb­o­ra Juarez and Alex Ped­er­sen, along with NPI board­mem­ber Gael Tar­leton and a long list of oth­er elect­ed offi­cials. He was also backed by The Seat­tle Times, the North­west Asian Week­ly, and unions like IBEW Local 46.

Har­rell often speaks about his upbring­ing in Seat­tle and con­nects that to his vision for the city’s future, such as in his July 2021 inter­view with NPI’s Ruairi Vaugh­an.

“This city took some­one like me, whose par­ents did not go to col­lege, who grew up in the Cen­tral Dis­trict – in a poor­er part of the neigh­bor­hood at that time, in the six­ties,” Har­rell told Vaugh­an. “It took this lit­tle boy from pub­lic schools, raised him, and now I’m in a posi­tion to pos­si­bly be the may­or and cer­tain­ly have a viable can­di­da­cy. That’s what this city is about in my mind.”

“It took my Asian grand­par­ents and my Black grand­par­ents and allowed them to have a great liv­ing for them­selves and their fam­i­lies – that’s the Seat­tle I like.”

Har­rell has now gone from may­oral hope­ful to Mayor-elect. 

His admin­is­tra­tion will begin in a lit­tle less than two months, allow­ing time for a tran­si­tion team to form and get up to speed. Incum­bent May­or Jen­ny Durkan, who will be hand­ing the baton to Har­rell, says she’s ready to get start­ed. (Durkan did not make an endorse­ment of either can­di­date dur­ing the election.)

“I’ve extend­ed my sin­cere con­grat­u­la­tions to May­or-elect Bruce Har­rell,” said Durkan. “I’ve known Bruce for over thir­ty years, and I know as May­or he will work hard for the peo­ple of Seat­tle. Vot­ers showed their com­mit­ment to a just and hope­ful future for all Seat­tle res­i­dents. I know Bruce wants every fam­i­ly to thrive in Seat­tle. He will bring peo­ple togeth­er to tack­le the tough chal­lenges we face on COVID-19, home­less­ness, pub­lic safe­ty, and cli­mate change.”

“I hope all of Seat­tle joins to sup­port him in these crit­i­cal times.”

“Over the last twen­ty months, Seat­tle has faced the great­est chal­lenges of our his­to­ry, and our next May­or will need to be pre­pared to tack­le the cur­rent and unfore­seen chal­lenges on Jan­u­ary 1st, 2022. In recent months, our office has worked on a detailed tran­si­tion plan for the next May­or and will work close­ly togeth­er with the May­or-Elect towards a seam­less tran­si­tion for the busi­ness­es and res­i­dents of this great city and for our 12,000 incred­i­ble city employ­ees. We will make sure Bruce can suc­cess­ful­ly begin this impor­tant tran­si­tion now.”

Thursday, November 4th, 2021

Here’s what Washington voters said last spring when asked a neutral question about our new state capital gains tax on the wealthy

A lit­tle over six months ago, the Wash­ing­ton State Leg­is­la­ture adjourned Sine Die, hav­ing, for the first time in recent his­to­ry, tak­en a sig­nif­i­cant step to improve our state’s upside down tax code, which has long been rigged in favor of the wealthy and pow­er­ful. That step was the enact­ment of ESSB 5096, which levies a new state cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy — some­thing that both NPI and Gov­er­nor Inslee had been urg­ing the Leg­is­la­ture to do for over half a decade.

Wash­ing­ton’s right wing, which is strong­ly opposed to any and all ideas for mak­ing our tax code fair­er and more pro­gres­sive, is intent on get­ting ESSB 5096 over­turned. Law­suits have already been filed chal­leng­ing the new law, but if those aren’t suc­cess­ful, the right wing’s only recourse would be the court of pub­lic opin­ion. The right wing was­n’t able to qual­i­fy a mea­sure to the 2021 bal­lot to chal­lenge ESSB 5096, but Tim Eyman and Jim Walsh are hop­ing to for next year.

In the mean­time, ESSB 5096 got sub­ject­ed to Tim Eyman’s auto­mat­i­cal­ly trig­gered, anti-tax bal­lot pro­pa­gan­da, which takes the form of what Eyman’s Ini­tia­tive 960 calls “advi­so­ry votes.” Vot­ers saw the fol­low­ing state­ment dic­tat­ed by one of Eyman’s old ini­tia­tives on their bal­lots last month and ear­ly this month:

The leg­is­la­ture imposed, with­out a vote of the peo­ple, a 7% tax on cap­i­tal gains in excess of $250,000, with excep­tions, cost­ing $5,736,000,000 in its first ten years, for gov­ern­ment spending.

This tax increase should be:

They were then pre­sent­ed with two choices:

[  ] Repealed
[  ] Maintained

Vot­ers were not told that regard­less of how they vot­ed, the law would not be changed. Not sur­pris­ing­ly, the “Repealed” posi­tion is “win­ning,” because all of Eyman’s “advi­so­ry votes” are real­ly push polls that sug­gest their own answers.

Eyman and his fol­low­ers are already try­ing to use the “result” to their advan­tage, with Eyman excit­ed­ly claim­ing in all caps on Tues­day night that vot­ers had repu­di­at­ed the new state cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy.

As I explained last month, how­ev­er, when you ask a loaded ques­tion, you can’t find out what peo­ple real­ly think. It’s sim­ply not possible.

The “results” of “Advi­so­ry Vote #37” are thus com­plete­ly worthless.

When Wash­ing­to­ni­ans are asked a neu­tral ques­tion about ESSB 5096, they respond very dif­fer­ent­ly. Today, to demon­strate that point, we’re releas­ing a poll ques­tion from last spring, in which we asked Wash­ing­to­ni­ans about our new state cap­i­tal gains tax about one month after it had been passed. As you can see, our ques­tion pro­vid­ed con­text as well as pro­vid­ing argu­ments for and against:

QUESTION: Pro­po­nents say that Wash­ing­ton State’s new state cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy will raise about $500 mil­lion a year in cru­cial fund­ing for edu­ca­tion in Wash­ing­ton State, includ­ing ear­ly learn­ing and child­care, and will help bal­ance our upside-down tax code by requir­ing the wealth­i­est 8,000 indi­vid­u­als to step up and pay their fair share in dues to our state. Oppo­nents say that the new state cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy is an uncon­sti­tu­tion­al and ille­gal income tax that will hurt job cre­ation and put the state at a com­pet­i­tive dis­ad­van­tage, hurt­ing the whole econ­o­my while fail­ing to address regres­siv­i­ty. Both sides agree that the text of the cap­i­tal gains tax law ful­ly exempts retire­ment accounts, fam­i­ly farms, and all real estate. Hav­ing heard the argu­ments for and against, do you strong­ly sup­port, some­what sup­port, some­what oppose, or strong­ly oppose Washington’s new state cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy?

ANSWERS:

  • Sup­port: 57% 
    • Strong­ly: 39%
    • Some­what: 18%
  • Oppose: 40%
    • Some­what: 10%
    • Strong­ly: 30%
  • Not sure: 3%

Our sur­vey of 992 like­ly 2022 Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers was in the field from Tues­day, May 25th through Wednes­day, May 26th, 2021.

It uti­lizes a blend­ed method­ol­o­gy, with auto­mat­ed phone calls to land­lines (50%) and text mes­sage answers from cell phone only respon­dents (50%).

The poll was con­duct­ed by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute, and has a mar­gin of error of +/- 3.1% at the 95% con­fi­dence interval.

As we can see, after hear­ing the argu­ments for and against, includ­ing the argu­ment that the new state cap­i­tal gains tax is an “uncon­sti­tu­tion­al and ille­gal income tax,” a sig­nif­i­cant major­i­ty of vot­ers still sup­port the tax.

This find­ing is con­sis­tent, inci­den­tal­ly, with over six years of NPI polling data (2015–2021) indi­cat­ing that Wash­ing­to­ni­ans’ sup­port for a state-lev­el cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy is in the high fifties or low six­ties. Oth­er pri­vate and pub­lic polls have found pub­lic sup­port for a cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy as well.

We have long said at NPI that the answers you get depend on the ques­tions you ask. Word­ing mat­ters. Fram­ing mat­ters. That’s why, yes­ter­day, NPI asked oth­er media out­lets to appro­pri­ate­ly scru­ti­nize “advi­so­ry votes” when report­ing on them so that peo­ple can under­stand what they real­ly are.

Brett Davis of The Cen­ter Square — which is owned by the right wing Franklin News Ser­vice — saw our media advi­so­ry and asked the right wing Wash­ing­ton Pol­i­cy Cen­ter’s Paul Gup­py to respond, which he glad­ly did:

Paul Gup­py, inter­im pres­i­dent of the Seat­tle-based Wash­ing­ton Pol­i­cy Cen­ter, takes a dif­fer­ent view.

“Wash­ing­ton Pol­i­cy Cen­ter takes advi­so­ry votes seri­ous­ly,” he said, not­ing advi­so­ry votes offer the chance to hear back from a much larg­er num­ber of peo­ple as com­pared to typ­i­cal polls with much small­er sam­ple sizes.

“It’s not a sam­ple,” he said of advi­so­ry votes. “It’s a direct answer to a question.”

A few com­ments on Gup­py’s first statement:

  • It is irrel­e­vant how many peo­ple respond to “advi­so­ry votes”: they don’t actu­al­ly allow leg­is­la­tors or any­one to “hear back” from peo­ple because a neu­tral ques­tion isn’t being asked. This appar­ent­ly can­not be said enough: if you ask a loaded ques­tion, the result­ing data will be worth­less. It does­n’t mat­ter how many peo­ple are asked the ques­tion. If the inputs are bad, the out­puts will be bad. Garbage in, garbage out.
  • Sim­i­lar­ly, with respect to sam­pling in pub­lic opin­ion research, what mat­ters is not the size of the sam­ple, but the qual­i­ty of the sam­ple. If the sam­ple is appro­pri­ate­ly rep­re­sen­ta­tive and the ques­tion appro­pri­ate­ly word­ed, then the results are still cred­i­ble and use­ful. A big­ger sam­ple allows the mar­gin of error to be low­er, but a small­er sam­ple can still return valid data.
  • And final­ly, polling like our research from back in May has valid­i­ty because the results were reached using the sci­en­tif­ic method, where­as “advi­so­ry votes” have no valid­i­ty because they are anti-tax pro­pa­gan­da designed to under­mine pub­lic con­fi­dence in government.

Mov­ing on:

“They call it pro­pa­gan­da” when the results are not to their lik­ing, Gup­py said of NPI’s char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of advi­so­ry votes.

“It’s pick­ing and choosing.”

Wrong. We con­sid­er all advi­so­ry votes pro­pa­gan­da regard­less of how peo­ple respond to them. There is no “pick­ing and choos­ing.” The “results” are irrel­e­vant one hun­dred per­cent of the time. They sim­ply can­not be used to gauge pub­lic opin­ion. In fact, their real rea­son for being is to influ­ence pub­lic opinion.

[Gup­py] also took issue with NPI’s claim vot­ers aren’t informed that regard­less of how they vote on advi­so­ry votes, noth­ing will change.

“But it’s impor­tant to go a step fur­ther when writ­ing about ‘advi­so­ry votes’ and explain that vot­ers are not told that their col­lec­tive respons­es will not change fis­cal pol­i­cy,” Vil­leneuve wrote. “There is no dis­claimer anywhere.”

Not­ing that the non-bind­ing nature of advi­so­ry votes is ubiq­ui­tous in news cov­er­age, Gup­py said NPI is essen­tial­ly derid­ing vot­ers as “rubes and dupes.”

Wrong again. We believe that Wash­ing­ton vot­ers are smart and intel­li­gent, and that it is total­ly inap­pro­pri­ate and irre­spon­si­ble to be wast­ing their time and mon­ey putting anti-tax pro­pa­gan­da in front of them and ask­ing to respond.

The soon­er we can repeal “advi­so­ry votes” and replace them with use­ful, cred­i­ble infor­ma­tion about the Leg­is­la­ture’s work, the bet­ter.

If state law con­tained a mech­a­nism for auto­mat­i­cal­ly plac­ing infor­ma­tion on the bal­lot sup­port­ing pro­gres­sive caus­es, you can bet that Paul Gup­py and The Wash­ing­ton Pol­i­cy Cen­ter would be cam­paign­ing to abol­ish it. So would the Free­dom Foun­da­tion and all the oth­er right wing groups around these parts.

But Tim Eyman’s anti-tax pro­pa­gan­da? That’s okay. That they’d like to keep. Because it serves their own anti-tax agen­das. They want to keep our tax code rigged in favor of the wealthy and the pow­er­ful. Permanently.

Last­ly:

As to NPI’s claim advi­so­ry votes are prej­u­di­cial because the word­ing fol­lows a for­mat cre­at­ed by Eyman, Gup­py point­ed out advi­so­ry votes were “enact­ed democratically.”

[…]

NPI is going after the wrong tar­get in Guppy’s view. “It’s going after the ori­gin of some­thing, rather than the thing itself,” he said.

Wash­ing­ton vot­ers don’t agree. We’ve now asked vot­ers three times if they’d like to get rid of “advi­so­ry votes,” and each time, we’ve found a plu­ral­i­ty in favor, with a small­er per­cent­age opposed and a sig­nif­i­cant per­cent­age not sure.

We asked twice in 2019 and again last year.

In Octo­ber of 2020, 42% of respon­dents backed repeal, 22% favored keep­ing “advi­so­ry votes” and 35% were not sure. You can see the ques­tion we asked and the pri­or 2019 respons­es by open­ing this pre­sen­ta­tion. Fur­ther infor­ma­tion about our Octo­ber 2020 sur­vey is avail­able in this polling ret­ro­spec­tive.

The fact that so many peo­ple aren’t sure what to think about “advi­so­ry votes” even when argu­ments for and against them are pre­sent­ed is evi­dence that peo­ple are unfa­mil­iar with them even though they’ve showed up our bal­lots for ten years.

“Advi­so­ry votes” get very lit­tle news cov­er­age. And the cov­er­age they do get is usu­al­ly not thor­ough, or crit­i­cal. We know because it’s some­thing we track.

In fair­ness to those who have been tasked with writ­ing about them, they’re real­ly hard to write about. We chose a pro­po­nents say vs. oppo­nents say frame for our poll ques­tion pre­cise­ly because describ­ing “advi­so­ry votes” in neu­tral terms is darn near impos­si­ble. “Advi­so­ry vote” itself is a mis­nomer. Call­ing “advi­so­ry votes” pro­pa­gan­da is, of course, express­ing an opin­ion about their content.

Since we are prac­ti­tion­ers of advo­ca­cy jour­nal­ism, we can freely offer our opin­ion, and we do. But reporters striv­ing for objec­tiv­i­ty have to be care­ful how they char­ac­ter­ize things, since their aim is try to avoid inject­ing bias in their reporting.

What they can do, how­ev­er, is point out that the lan­guage of “advi­so­ry votes” is by any objec­tive assess­ment prej­u­di­cial, and that there is cred­i­ble, sci­en­tif­ic research show­ing vot­ers do not want them to con­tin­ue appear­ing on their bal­lots, along with cred­i­ble, sci­en­tif­ic research show­ing that the state’s new cap­i­tal gains tax is sup­port­ed by a major­i­ty of like­ly 2022 Wash­ing­ton voters.

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