Saturday, August 30, 2008

Ethical Democrats

With the election campaign now in full swing, the Democrats suddenly have seemed to develop a very keen sense of morality.

So much so that John Edwards was banned from making a speech at the Democratic National Convention after admitting he had an affair, and then lied about it.

Bill Clinton spoke in his place.

Britney’s Set Designer Built Obama’s Stage

This was reported by UPI and published in the New York Post...

The same set team that designed Britney Spear’s last tour constructed the enormous, Greek columned stage where Barack Obama officially accepted the Democratic Presidential nomination, According to the New York Post. The set, which was reportedly designed to resemble the White House and Lincoln Memorial, was built inside Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver under the direction of Bobby Allen, Spears’ former staging manager.

The elaborate set design prompted ridicule from the McCain campaign and other Republicans, who mocked its ornate layout. The McCain campaign was quick to release a memo calling it the "Temple of Obama" and the Republican National Committee dubbed it "Barackopolis."

"It’s only appropriate that Barack Obama would descend down from the heavens and spend a little time with us mere mortals when accepting the Democratic nomination," RNC spokesman Danny Diaz told The Post. But Spears’ stage manager defended his design, telling the paper it in no way represents the Acropolis. We’ve done Britney’s sets and a whole bunch of rock shows, but this was far more elaborate and complicated," Allen said.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Money Can't Buy You Love, Fred...

Here is an interesting bit of information from the 35th District race, sent to me by Daimon Doyle…

Out of all 304 candidates vying for a legislative seat — both House and Senate — Democrat Fred Finn, who is seeking the 35th District House seat vacated by the retirement of Democrat Bill Eickmeyer, ranked eighth in fundraising among all House candidates, and 16th overall.

In terms of spending however he ranked second only to Joseph James in the 17th (Clark County) who was trying to hold on to Republican control of the district and running against incumbent Jim Dunn. James raised about $4,000 less than Finn but spent $4,000 more.

To have spent more than 302 candidates, many of whom were in much more hotly contested raises and yet barely come out ahead of his Republican opponent — Randy Neatherlin — who raised five times less money, is at the very least an embarrassment. And in a district with a vacant Democratic seat that traditionally votes 60 percent Democratic, some might consider that a major upset.

Incidentally, it is rumored that Finn spent most of his money in Kitsap County, and is still losing to Neatherlin by nearly three points. I guess money can’t buy you love, Fred — or votes.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Time For A Reality Check Christine

I was shocked to see Governor Christine Gregoire flat out state on KING 5's Up Front program, that not only does the state not have a budget deficit, but that it actually has a surplus of $800 million. What's more, she said it with a completely straight face!

Never mind the fact challenger Dino Rossi has been warning us for well over a year that we will be drowning in red ink by election day in November, predicting a deficit of around $2.5 billion, Gregoire’s own Office of Financial Management (OFM) now has the number pegged at about $2.7 billion — and growing.

There is an $800 million dollar Rainy Day Fund, that Gregoire insisted the legislature squirrel away — over the strenuous objections of both the special interests funding her re-election campaign, and legislators on the type of spending binge usually attributed to drunken sailors. But still, that’s a far cry from any kind of a surplus. No wonder Gregoire delayed the math portion of the WASL. Obviously she doesn’t understand math any better than those high school kids.

So here it is Governor…

$2.7 billion minus $800 million equals $1.9 billion. That means if we allocated the entire Rainy Day Fund to reducing the deficit, we’d still be $1.9 billion in the hole.

To their credit, moderators KING 5 news anchor Lori Matsukawa, and Seattle Times political columnist David Postman attempted to force Gregoire to address the budget in a truthful manner, but the Governor completely ignored their questions, rudely talking right over them and launching into a vitriolic attack on Rossi, that mirrored the blatant lies being told in her TV commercials.

I don’t know if Gregoire is trying to pass off the “Big Lie” about the deficit hoping against hope that the voters are really that stupid, or if she’s completely out of touch with reality. Either way, the bottom line is that we have a serious spending problem on our hands that neither ignoring it — nor lying about it to voters — is going to solve

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

An Interview With Rossi

In perusing the Internet, I came across a link to a site I'd never visited before called Red County, that has an interesting interview with Dino Rossi. You can find it here.

Of note, was one particular quote... "This election is not about me, it's not about Christine Gregoire; it's about changing the culture and direction of state government for a generation."

Regular readers of my Business Journal column and this space, know I've said for quite some time that if we're not happy with what passes for leadership in Olympia, that we aren't going to able to change the balance of power in the legislature, but it is possible to change one position that can and will make a difference — the Governor.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Gregoire's Double-Edged Sword

Talk about being caught on the bleeding edge...

In this video, Barrak Obama's words have the unintended consequence of indicting Christine Gregoire without saying anything else about her. It looks like the Rossi camp was handed a gift. Notice Gregoire nodding her head in agreement.

Powerful stuff...

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Kitsap Sun Endorsement Commentary

I laughed out loud reading the online comments on the Kitsap Sun's editorial endorsements of Fred Finn and Kathy Haigh for the 35th District House seats. I couldn't have agreed more with the commentary from readers about how completely out of touch the Sun's editorial board is with mainstream Kitsap voters.

For starters, it appears the editorial board thinks that people who don't live within 50 miles of us somehow have our best interests at heart. Hello??? Their choices, Fred Finn and incumbent Kathy Haigh, live in Olympia and in Shelton respectively. Those areas have exactly what in common with Kitsap?

The Sun's editorial board's choices exactly mirror the preferences of the Democratic Party. Gee. what a surprise.

In the race for retiring Bill Eickmeyer's seat, there are two Democrats and two Republicans running. The Sun's choice is Democrat Fred Finn. While on the surface, Finn appears to have a lot of qualifications, his main advantage seems to be having had the 35th District's unofficial Den Mother, Fran Moyer (Jay Inslee's retired local laison), shepherding him around to appear anywhere and everywhere, for most of the last year.

Finn may be a nice fellow, however, he's anything but dynamic. In one endorsement interview I participated in, when asked about the looming $2.7 billion state budget deficit, he went off on a tangent about world economics and hunger. When asked specifically if he'd be willing to vote against his party's special interests and make hard choices about the state budget, he ignored the question, and returned to pontificating about his world view — which has nothing to do with solving our spending problems in Olympia.

Daryl Daugs is a much better Democratic candidate. He's personable, knowledgable, polished, quick on his feet, and has a wide variety of experience. He seems unafraid to reach across the aisle and buck the party's special interests on spending issues. And even in spite of his union background, Daugs seems pragmatic enough to understand that business and labor need to be partners — not adversaries — in an economy like this one.

On the Republican side, it's Herb Baze against Randy Neatherlin.

Baze is boring, uninformed, and in an endorsement interview I was a part of, he was completely unprepared to answer even the most basic of questions. He's also about as dynamic as Finn when it comes to communicating whatever ideas and beliefs he may have to the voters. He is clearly the wrong choice for both the GOP and for the 35th.

I'll admit, when I first met Randy Neatherlin a few years ago, I didn't care much for him. But as I got to know him, I learned he is the real deal. In my mind he is the best choice of this entire bunch. Neatherlin is a successful businessman, community activist, and a dynamic speaker whose passion for the issues, for helping people, and for always doing the right thing, is worn on his sleeve like a badge of honor. What you see is what you get.

Neatherlin angered lot of the greenie crowd when he moved to block the sale of some Theler Center property in Belfair a couple of years ago. I'll confess to not knowing all the details of this, but my basic understanding is that the property in question was in some kind of trust, and that somehow the salmon center there was going to benefit financially from the sale. The problem was, it was going to be sold at well below market value. Neatherlin filed suit to block the sale, unless the buyer agreed to pay appraised value.

This didn't endear him to the local Democrats who support the salmon center heavily. But to Neatherlin, the bottom line was that the Theler property was a pubic asset that was going to have a great deal of its value basically gifted away — even if it was for a good cause — and gifting public property is not only illegal, but flat out wrong. The courts upheld Neatherlin's position and the sale was stopped. But that's just how Neatherlin is, and it's that passion for always doing what's right that makes him far and away the best choice in this race.

In the other race, it's Democratic incumbent Kathy Haigh, an unabashed liberal, versus Republicans "Blue Collar" Brad Gehring and Marco Brown.

It's time for Haigh to return to her veterinary practice full time. She hasn't done squat for Kitsap County in the several terms she's been in the House and always blindly votes the party line on spending and supporting all the usual powerful, Democratic special interests — unions, environmentalists, etc.

Brown, who is making his second run against Haigh, is a non-factor in this race — except perhaps as a spoiler. He refused to be interviewed by the Sun, didn't appear at endorsement interviews for several organizations I'm aware of, and generally doesn't return phone calls. In spite of all this, he says he's actually taking this race lot more seriously than he did the first time. Go figure.

Gehring is an incumbent Bremerton City Councilman. I serve on a couple of boards with him, and have generally found him to be pretty thoughtful and pragmatic. While we don't always agree (SKIA for example) he's courteous, listens, and honestly tries to make the best decisions on the part of the taxpayers. He's also from here — something that should have given him the nod from the Sun's editorial board if they had their collective head in the proper place instead of marching to the tune called by the Democratic Party — which they clearly appear to be.

The best races for the taxpayers in my view, would be Neatherlin vs. Daugs, and Haigh vs. Gehring.