Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ed cetera | Patty on Dino on Boeing | Seattle Times Newspaper

Ed cetera | Patty on Dino on Boeing | Seattle Times Newspaper

I think this is well worth reading. It is this kind of negative and disingenuous campaigning that has people rightfully turned off and pissed off at our election process. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Obama At The Bat

No matter what your political persuasion, if you're a baseball fan — or a fan of literature — you have to appreciate this.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Getting The Story Straight About The Housing Authority Mess

It's no big secret the Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority — now known as HousingKitsap — was in a huge financial mess due to gross mismanagement, and its ill-advised foray into urban redevelopment with the Harborside condos in downtown Bremerton.

While the Kitsap Sun has followed this story for several years now, it seemingly intentionally leaves out one HUGE piece of information from each and every negative story it runs about the agency — feeding all the negative comments left on its blogs as a result of that abdication of journalistic responsibility. That is, that NO ONE on the current board — or even the previous board members who took office since the 2006 election — were involved in creating the problem the agency faced. Nor were any of the current management or staff. This was an inherited problem, newly elected officials had to solve.

The current board, made up of the County Commissioners, the Mayors of Port Orchard and Poulsbo, a representative of the Bainbridge Island City Council, and a tenant from one of the Housing Authority's properties, have all worked tirelessly, in concert with a new financial director (who came from the private sector) and the new executive director, to figure out exactly where the agency was at financially, and do the necessary work to turn it around.

The County Commissioners stepped up and guaranteed a loan (they didn't make one with taxpayer's money) to the agency to keep the doors open. The agency has steadily been retiring that debt through the sale of the Harborside condos, other properties, and actual return on investment. None of this mess has yet to cost the taxpayers one thin dime. The turnaround has been done through prudent financial management on the part of the board and staff, and wlll be complete with the sale of the agency's Norm Dicks Government Center holdings.

There are still future challenges to deal with, and more debt coming due. But there is a plan in place to retire that debt.

Meanwhile, uninformed commenters who don't have the intestinal fortitude to even sign their names to their vitriol, are allowed to repeatedly take cheap shots at people who have spent almost 2 years working hard to rescue an agency that is often the stopgap between a roof over their head or homelessness for many families. Yet the Sun refuses to tell THAT story and give credit where it is due. But if they did, it might reduce the amount of blog posters who feed off of each others negativity, which would reduce the paper's ability to generate website revenue.

Our community deserves better from our daily paper.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Steve Wynn On The Status Of America

Multi-billionaire Casino Owner, Hotelier and Real Estate Investor in Las Vegas, Asia, and Macau, Steve Wynn, explains in the most simplistic terms, the state of America. This originally aired on CNBC, and within two hours of its airing, Wynn received a invitation from the tenants at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, wanting him to explain in person why he said what he did.

Wynn has been a guest from time to time on all the network financial news shows. If you watch this short and to the point interview, and nothing else today, you will still be better informed than your neighbor about the state of our union. BTW, there is a short commercial at the beginning

Monday, September 06, 2010

Who REALLY represents Small Business?

Campaign finance reports on I-1082 tell the TRUE story

The No on I-1082 campaign has aggressively taken its intentionally deceitful “we represent small business” dog and pony show on the road with press conferences showcasing a local business owner opposing I-1082. It also has a systematic email disinformation campaign underway as well, using what I call the "Industry a Day" strategy. They have developed email lists of businesses in each industry and email them their propaganda, trotting out a supposed business owner who opposes ending the state’s monopoly on workers’ comp insurance.

We first became aware of this when we received a email from someone identified as Alex Fryer from the Vote No on 1082 campaign, telling me why the measure was bad for newspapers. Then, because we're a news media outlet, we continued receiving the same email, only where it previously said, "newspapers," it now said "nursing homes," and the next day, "restaurants and taverns," and then "retailers," and on and on. 

Then we began receiving more deliberate disinformation from the No campaign from someone identified as Kelly Evans, bashing the insurance industry, saying how, "I-1082 would allow workers' comp insurers to gain exorbitant profits at the expense of Washington state workers, small businesses, and taxpayers — by jacking up premiums and delaying or denying legitimate claims, with little or no public oversight."

It doesn't cite any specific proof of that — nor can it. It's little more than a scare tactic, and another version of the Democratic Party's tried and true, yet pathetic, old, "Us Against Them" class warfare strategy. They also fail to mention that insurance companies providing Worker's Comp insurance would be subject to direct oversight by the notoriously anti-business Mike Kriedler, the state's Insurance Commissioner.

It went on to say, "We've launched a grassroots campaign to stand up to the insurance industry and defeat I-1082 — alongside Washington teachers, firefighters, and nurses — but we need your support to prevail."

What a huge load of crap.

We are one of only four states that don't allow private sector insurance companies to compete for Worker's Comp business — and also have the dubious distinction of having nearly the highest Worker's Comp costs in the nation. A coincidence? I think not.

Meanwhile, the dozens of business groups that actually represent small business, have endorsed the measure that will allow private insurers to compete with the state to offer workers’ compensation. The fact of the matter is that not one business owner has contributed to the No on I-1082 campaign. In contrast, hundreds of business owners have sent checks supporting I-1082.

This is a simple case of following the money. The trail of dollars supporting the No on I-1082 campaign leads directly to labor unions — and especially those representing state employees — and trial lawyers. And who stands to benefit the most by preserving the status quo? You guessed it — state employees who will continue to keep their high-paying, taxpayer funded, jobs, and trail lawyers who make their living suing the state. 

“The No on I-1082 campaign’s attempt to paint itself as representing small businesses is laughable,” said Patrick Connor, the Washington State Director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), a key supporter of I-1082. “The campaign finance reports tell the real story — hundreds of small businesses have opened their wallets and contributed to the YES on I-1082 campaign, and not one has contributed to the opposition effort,” said Connor. “The only support for the No campaign is from labor and lawyers.”

The fact is I-1082 has been endorsed by virtually every business group in the state — the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), Association of Washington Business, (AWB), Washington Farm Bureau, Washington Food Industry Association, Washington Roundtable, numerous Chambers of Commerce and many, many more. But misrepresenting itself as the voice of the state’s small businesses isn’t the No campaign’s only strategy to mislead voters.

The No campaign’s propaganda machine has generated a steady stream of lies to convince voters to reject I-1082. The Yes on I-1082 campaign’s Truth Squad has created a rapid response website devoted solely to debunking the opposition’s campaign of mistruths. Want the truth on I-1082? Visit www.JobsNotLies.com and get the true facts.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

A Washington State Smear Campaign

(Editor's Note: This story originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal)

A trial lawyer's familiar attempt to bring down Republican Senate candidate Dino Rossi. 

By Kimberley A. Strassel
Desperate political environments tend to inspire desperate political tactics. In Washington state, liberal activists are desperate.

Republican Dino Rossi is seeking to unseat Democratic Sen. Patty Murray. It's a high-stakes race. If this fall shapes up as a wave election, Mr. Rossi could find himself the 51st vote Republicans would need to take back the Senate. And now that he's leading in some polls, the left is unleashing the dirty tricks.

Meet activist trial lawyer Knoll Lowney The attorney is at the center of Washington's liberal circle—tight with green activists, labor outfits and Democrats. The self-acclaimed promoter of "social justice issues" can often be found filing environmental suits, and is one of the actors behind Washington's initiative 1098, which this fall will seek to impose an income tax on the state's most productive earners. But Mr. Lowney's real love is costing Mr. Rossi elections.

Republican senatorial candidate Dino Rossi shakes hands with a supporter during an evening gathering to await election returns from Washington state's primary election day, Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2010, in Bellevue, Wash.

His main vehicle for attack is the Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW), a trade group. In a state largely characterized by a progressive (i.e., self-loathing) business community, BIAW has proved the main counterweight to Washington's labor and environmental groups. The trade group proudly supports free-market candidates for office, acts of free-speech that Washington's liberal community find highly offensive.

Most offensive was when, with BIAW support, Mr. Rossi, a successful businessman, nearly won the 2004 gubernatorial election against Christine Gregoire (losing only after a recount found he'd come up short by 129 votes). When a 2008 rematch became likely, Democrats set to work attacking Mr. Rossi's character. When even this didn't dim Mr. Rossi's prospects, Mr. Lowney sharpened his pencils.

He filed a lawsuit in 2007, arguing that BIAW was inappropriately using workers-comp money to fund political campaigns. Mr. Lowney's convenient demand? That the judge immediately bar the BIAW from accessing money it might use for Mr. Rossi's campaign. When the judge denied that request, in September 2008, Mr. Lowney immediately filed another suit against BIAW claiming Mr. Rossi and the trade group had improperly colluded on campaign activity.

On this basis, Mr. Lowney convinced a judge to allow him to depose Mr. Rossi—eight days before the 2008 election. Mr. Rossi arrived at the Lowney deposition to a swarm of cameras, and the spectacle was enough to sow doubt in voters' minds. True, 2008 was a bad year for Republicans—but the deposition certainly played a role in Mr. Rossi's defeat. The Lowney team, at the time, claimed it needed the deposition immediately so it could file for "emergency" injunctive relief. The lawyers never did, of course, and after Mr. Rossi lost, the lawsuit disappeared. Even the Seattle Times was moved to editorialize that the Lowney deposition was a "farce" and "baldly political."

Now, some 21 months later, and only after Mr. Rossi declared for the Senate, Mr. Lowney has rediscovered his case. The lawyer recently sent a process server with a subpoena, not to the proper representative of Mr. Rossi's former gubernatorial campaign but to Mr. Rossi's personal home—twice—the week before the August Senate primary. This subpoena, demanding yet more documents—from 2008 and 2004—comes despite the fact that the state campaign agency, the Public Disclosure Commission, conducted an exhaustive investigation into the Rossi allegations, and in March of this year fully exonerated the Senate candidate.

We're now about to discover whether Washington's judicial system will again be abused for politics. Washingtonians should watch this one. The judge overseeing Mr. Lowney's resurrected suit is Mike Heavey, a former Democratic state senator who was appointed to the court by former Gov. Gary Locke (now President Obama's secretary of commerce). Judge Heavey's brother-in-law was once the president of the state's largest labor organization.

In a telephone conversation yesterday, Mr. Lowney took issue with headlines declaring Mr. Rossi "exonerated" by the state commission, saying the body instead "didn't have the information to prosecute." As for the timing, he says he was waiting for the government to conclude its investigation. (The commission cleared Mr. Rossi in March.) Mr. Lowney said this is "not a campaign issue, it's a prosecution," and moreover that he didn't think it was "appropriate" to be "litigating it in the press." 

BIAW Executive Vice President Tom McCabe says, "This is all about using the legal process as a means to attack a political opponent." The Rossi campaign referred me to Mr. Rossi's lawyer's recent response to the court, which objects to the subpoena as an "improper, politically-motivated effort to employ the Court system for political purposes." 

To his credit, Judge Heavey has pushed the court date — which had originally been set for the first day of November — to after the election. There is no telling what Mr. Lowney will ask for in the meantime. But no one should be surprised when he asks for it.