Videoconferencing has become the new reality in the political and government world.
NOTE FROM SHIFT
In our new “normal,” most organizations, elected officials, and campaigns are scheduling gatherings through online video platforms. Because many of our readers would be interested in participating in, or at least knowing about, these events, Shift is launching a new regular Daily Briefing feature called “Virtual Gatherings” to assist in promoting these activities. If you have a virtual public event (town hall meeting, seminar, fundraiser, kick-off announcement, forum, etc.) that you want our readers to know about, please email us ([email protected]) the pertinent information or where the information can be found (webpage, email, or phone number) and we will try to include it in our Daily Briefing.
The Washington State Republican Senate Caucus has asked Governor Inslee to reverse his previous order to shut down private housing construction. While the governor has allowed public construction (low-income housing, transportation) and select private contractor activity (sports stadiums) to continue, his March 25th order has shut down the construction of thousands of housing units across the state. Washington is one of just five states to shut down private sector home construction during the coronavirus outbreak. (Washington Senate Republican Caucus)
Governor Inslee will be holding a Twitter Q&A on the state’s COVID response on Thursday, April 2nd at Noon. We will be interested in seeing if the governor will answer questions about his seemingly partisan decision to shut down private home construction while allowing public construction to continue, or why he didn’t veto the ban on plastic grocery bags when governments across the country are removing their restrictions to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus. You can post your questions at #AskGovInslee. (Twitter)
The state’s first day of mandatory instruction for “stay-at-home” students got off to a rocky start for many districts around the state. Because Seattle school administrators were more concerned about the “equity” political narrative instead of developing at-home learning methods and curriculum, its students and families experienced more confusion than most. (Seattle Times)
With state orders banning public meetings, local governments are using videoconferencing to conduct the people’s business. Fortunately, state law requires that even virtual council meetings must be available to the public and allow citizens the opportunity to call and listen in on the proceedings. (Spokesman-Review)
King County officials are being criticized by many (including Kent Mayor Dana Ralph) for their lack of communication, and other problems, as they convert a former South end motel into a facility for coronavirus patients. The facility has had one homeless individual leave the facility before his test came back and has had other homeless people break-in and stay in vacant rooms. Mayor Ralph says she has not been able to communicate with King County Executive Dow Constantine about her concerns or about the county’s plan for the facility. (MyNorthwest)
Surprisingly, the reduction in energy use has not be very significant in Seattle during the “stay-at-home” coronavirus order. Seattle City Light has only experienced a 2-to-6 percent drop-off in energy usage as the region has gone through a dramatic lifestyle change. This fact runs contrary to long-standing arguments pushed by liberal politicians and extreme environmentalists, who often demand that government impose stringent measures to force behavioral change to conserve energy. (Washington Policy Center)
Lyft contacted the Tacoma Urban League to partner on a program to help low-income individuals run errands or get to work. The program is available to anyone, but is aimed at assisting medical workers and senior citizens who are uncomfortable taking public transit. (News Tribune)
A giant tent set up by Spokane County to provide drive-through coronavirus testing blew over on Monday, forcing the facility to shut down until Wednesday. Strong winds caused the tent to break free from its moorings in the Spokane County Fair parking lot. County officials are scrambling to find a new weather-friendly location. (Spokesman-Review)
The deadline has been extended for those who wish to provide comment on the recent federal study on the Lower Snake River dams. Those wanting to provide written testimony (either through the mail or on this website) now have until April 13th to submit their opinions. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)
The recently closed Astria Regional Medical center in Yakima will be leased out to care for 200 coronavirus patients. The State of Washington has agreed to lease the hospital until October for $1.5 million a month. (YakTriNews)
In an incredibly irresponsible act, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s campaign blasted out a fundraising email in which he attempted to scare his supporters into giving him money by fabricating a false narrative that President Trump is going to “delay or cancel the November elections.” Ferguson declares in his over-the-top email that he “will consider an emergency lawsuit” to stop the President from taking this make-believe action. By the end of the last reporting period, Ferguson’s campaign had already raised $2.3 million (he raised a total $1.4 million in 2016) and his nearest opponent had raised $80,000. Thus, it is very curious as to why Ferguson felt the need to raise even more money by promoting this blatantly false story. This is clearly an act of a public official who is more concerned about appealing to the far-left Democrats who will dominate a future primary when Ferguson runs for Governor than in providing responsible leadership during a national crisis. (Ferguson Campaign email and Washington Public Disclosure Commission)
The Washington State Democrat Party is also promoting fear in a greedy attempt to raise money for itself. Instead of being responsible, Democrat Party Chair Tina Podlodowski is making hallow and blatantly false general accusations. In a fundraising email, Podlodowski provides no proof to back up her outrageous claim that “GOPers in Washington state and across the country are actively working against the science, fact, and reason presented by our public health experts.” One would think that an organization that is well-funded by government employee unions and tribal casinos would not need to resort to such scare tactics to get a few dollars out grassroots donors. Greed does make some people act very irresponsibly. (Washington State Democrat Party email)