Governor Inslee’s staff refuses to inform the public why they forced out DOC Secretary Sinclair but allowed ESD Commissioner Suzi LeVine to stay (despite losing $1.1 billion).
Governor Jay Inslee wants to give your money away to people to do something they have already done – obtain a COVID-19 vaccine shot. Despite the Biden White House already having congratulated Washington State for reaching the 70% vaccination threshold (which Inslee had previously promised would cause nearly all restrictions to be lifted), our out-of-his-league governor is giving away $2 million to people to get the vaccine. It is incredibly doubtful that the remote possibility of receiving some of the state’s prizes will encourage very many people who previously refused the vaccine to suddenly agree to be immunized. But that fact does not stop the governor from wasting $2 million more of your taxes. Yet, since the Inslee Administration has already lost $1.1 billion in taxpayer funds due to the dysfunctional management of his Employment Security Department, $2 million more down the drain is no big deal. (Click to read full Shift Article)
Governor Inslee and his staff have attempted to keep from the public the real facts behinds the departure of Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) Secretary Stephen Sinclair. Even with the new revelation that Sinclair was removed from his post, Inslee’s staff has refused to tell the public the actual reasons why Sinclair was made the scapegoat for the multiple problems at the DOC, which have occurred throughout Inslee’s time as governor. While the governor first attempted to portray Sinclair’s departure as a voluntary one, internal emails (obtained through public records requests) reveal that Sinclair was forced out of his position.
While the DOC has been plagued with many problems since Sinclair took over in 2017, the state’s prison system has had numerous administrative failures dating back to the beginning of Inslee’s reign of errror. Among the many problems were a known computer data glitch which allowed prisoners to be released before their sentence was served and the disastrous hiring of Inslee’s friend, Dr. Julia Barnett to lead the medical team at the Monroe Corrections Complex. Barnett recently had her medical license suspended by the Washington State Medical Association due to her work falling “below the standard of care for six patients, four of whom died. While the patients’ conditions were severe, all of these patients suffered unnecessarily due to Dr. Barnett’s lack of response or inadequate response to staff reports of the patients’ conditions.”
Many people are curious why Sinclair was removed from his position, yet former Commissioner of the Washington State Employment Security Department Suzi LeVine was allowed to keep her job after being responsible for losing $1.1 billion and hampering a formal investigation into one of the largest thefts in American history. Maybe Sinclair should have spent his spare time raising money from his wealthy friends like Suzi LeVine did, and then Inslee would have pulled some strings to get him appointed to a cushy federal job. (Seattle Times, Washington Medical Association media release, Washington State Auditor report, and Associated Press)
While Governor Inslee continues to cling to the immunization data developed by his Department of Health, many of his staff admit the system has faults and have called it “clunky.” This latest data failure by the state came to light when many state residents checked to make sure their immunization information was correct (in order to obtain lottery prizes) and failed to find their name in the system. Others began to be curious why the federal system had 6% more of Washington residents being vaccinated than the state system. (Federal data has the state already meeting the 70% threshold, which Inslee stated it needed to reach to reopen the state’s economy.) This high-profile data failure by the state is the just latest in a string of data problems by the Inslee Administration during the COVID pandemic. The state’s COVID-19 Risk Assessment Dashboard became irrelevant within a month of it being introduced last Spring. When the state began its contact tracing program last fall it set a goal to notify 90% of the people who came in contact with an infected person within 24 hours. Data problems resulted in the tracing program falling way short of its goal, and only contacting 6% of the individuals. It does not surprise us that the first thing DOH officials have said concerning their latest data failure is that the government needs more money to install more sophisticated computers. The repeated failure by state government seems to indicate that maybe it is not the computers’ fault. (MyNorthwest, Shift, and Washington Policy Center)
Washington State Senator Claire Wilson (D – Auburn) was fined by the Legislative Ethics Board for using state resources to benefit an outside entity. Senator Wilson was fined $100 for using a picture of herself standing in front of a sign promoting Planned Parenthood which was used on the taxpayer-funded Democrat Senate caucus website. The Ethics Board also directed caucus staffers to take an ethics refresher class. We also found it interesting that in the Times’ Twitter promotion of the news story, it failed to name the “Democratic state lawmaker” who was being fined for the ethics violation. Isn’t the name of the politician being fined an important fact to convey to the public? Or possibly the Times has resorted to taking lessons from scam click-bait sites, which want to draw viewers to their pages by providing partial and scandalous information on social media. (Seattle Times and Twitter)
With great fanfare, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan led a media event to promote the opening of the Occidental Square Pavilion. The one-city-block urban park is just South of Pioneer Square, and currently features outdoor dining areas and a children’s play area. While the costs for revitalizing the park were not revealed, it was likely extremely pricey since the City of Seattle hired Dan Biederman (who has been the architect of many expensive park designs in New York City). While the beautification of the urban neighborhood is a worthy goal, there are many who are concerned that the money will have been wasted due to the city’s liberal homeless, crime, and drug policies. How soon will this park become like nearly all other open spaces in city, and be taken over by a homeless encampment which the city refuses to remove? (KING5 News, Bing map and Biederman Redevelopment Ventures)
PCC Community Markets is delaying the opening of its Rainier Square store due to the general state of downtown Seattle. As homeless encampments, property crime, and boarded up windows are still main features of downtown, the 15-store natural food retailer has postponed the opening of a flagship location, by at least nine months. It is interesting to note that the store also mentions Seattle’s “hazard pay” as one of its reasons for not opening the Rainier Square location just yet. (Puget Sound Business Journal)
The small Tekoa School District is finishing its school year after providing in-person instruction almost continuously since last September, despite repeated COVID-19 outbreaks in nearby Pullman. The 191-student school district, about 35 miles Southeast of Spokane, was fortunate that its teachers disregarded the obstruction practices of the Washington Education Association, and worked with school administrators to provide a safe environment for students to learn. There were a couple of times when distance learning was required due to a student being infected, but quick actions stopped a major outbreak and students were soon back in class. (Spokesman Review)
The Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance has developed a fun method to encourage people to visit their wineries this summer. It is called the “Walla Walla 12” as local wineries have selected different wines to fit different occasions (like “Summer Picnic,” “Book Club,” or “Taco Tuesday”). The goal is to help visitors select 12 different wines to bring home for different occasions. Each participating winery has designated its various vintages to fit different occasions. (Walla Walla 12)
Shift’s Newsmaker Interview is with Representative Jesse Young (R – Oak Harbor). The four-term State House member recently announced he will be running for the 26th Legislative District’s Senate seat. Representative Young will be taking on a very vulnerable first-term senator who has repeatedly sided with her ultra-liberal urban colleagues to impose Seattle’s failed policies onto her constituents and the rest of the state. In his Shift interview, Young has strong words regarding Democrat legislators, especially those from Pierce County, who have refused to establish legislative oversite over Governor Inslee’s emergency powers. Young also calls it a “travesty of justice” that Democrat legislators have failed to investigate the disastrous (and historically costly) failures of Governor Inslee’s Employment Security Department. (Click to read full Shift Newsmaker Interview)
While President Biden’s White House confirms that Washington State has reached the 70% threshold to reopen the state’s economy, Governor Inslee has stubbornly decided to stick with his incomplete data that erroneously has the state at only 64%. By refusing to accept the realities of the federal scientific data, the governor is clinging to his dictatorial powers and not allowing the state’s economy to fully reopen. This is the latest example of Governor Inslee’s hypocrisy regarding his false statements that science and data are determining his actions. (Click to read full Shift Article)
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