The Vancouver Columbian criticizes legislative Democrats for failing to end Governor Inslee’s 794 days of divisive and undemocratic abuse of emergency orders.
Note to Readers
Tomorrow there will not be a regular Daily Briefing as those of us at Shift will be attending the services for former United States Senator Slade Gorton. We will email to our readers a special guest commentary from one of the senator’s former staffers providing a few remembrances and discussing the legacy of Slade Gorton. Shift will return Thursday with our regular Daily Briefing on Washington State’s top political stories.
Shift readers can help the Seattle Times broaden its very narrow perspective on homelessness by suggesting questions its reporters should be asking. The newspaper ran an introspective article on Monday, asking readers for questions the newspaper should be asking as its reporters provide coverage on the region’s out-of-control homelessness crisis. As observers of the Times’ coverage, we have suggested a few questions which we have not seen explored by its reporters. The paper, like Seattle’s elected officials, appears to be locked in on the liberal perspective – exclusively. This narrow viewpoint likely contributes to the fact that despite the region literally spending billions to help end homelessness for those living in misery, the problem continues to worsen. By asking a broader set of questions, maybe we can solve this heartbreaking crisis (or at least improve the situation, instead of making it worse), and more people can leave the encampments and move toward a more productive life. (Click to read full Shift article)
The Vancouver Columbian once again advocated for amending Washington State laws regarding the governor’s emergency powers, which the Democrat-controlled legislature failed to do during the 2022 legislative session. The editorial was very critical of the Democrats who dominate the legislature for failing to even pass their own very limited reform (SB 5909) which the newspaper called “tepid” and “impotent.”
The editorial provided an excellent bi-partisan reason why the emergency powers should be reformed. “Imagine, for a moment, if a governor decided that gun violence in the state is an emergency and declared an indefinite halt to all gun sales. Or if another governor decided that abortion was an emergency and closed reproductive health clinics. Either scenario is extreme and would invite numerous court challenges, but the absurd examples demonstrate the need to strengthen the checks and balances in state government. No governor of either party should have unfettered power.”
Today is day 794 of Governor Jay Inslee’s divisive and undemocratic abuse of emergency powers. By removing the participation of legislators and locally elected officials from the state’s decision-making processes, the governor has alienated millions of Washington residents who do not always support his hyper-partisan agenda. This in turn has led many to become suspicious of his various health and safety mandates, thus causing many to become sick (and some have certainly unfortunately died). A more inclusive process would have reduced suspicions and would have saved lives. Including other experts outside of Gov. Inslee’s own head might have also allowed for better vetting of many state-run programs (such as poorly organized vaccination plan and the disastrous contact tracing project), which again, could have saved lives. (Vancouver Columbian, Washington Legislature Bill Summary, and Shift article)
Comments from Seattle City Council President Debra Juarez have some people wondering if the council will ever meet again in person. While other city councils and government bodies throughout the region began holding in-person meetings again as COVID-related concerns began to fade and become more manageable (some last summer), there is currently no timetable in place for the Seattle City Council to again meet in its elaborate city hall chambers. The full council and its committee meetings remain stuck in a “virtual” reality and nearly all of the councilmembers continue to work from home. When asked about the future of council meetings, Council President Juarez said, “If we do return to in-person meetings, it will be a hybrid situation, so everyone is comfortable.”
Juarez’ comments surprised many, for previously there was never any question that the council would resume meeting in person, in public at some time in the near future. While many open government advocates have long fought for remote access to allow citizens to testify and view meetings as they are occurring, the same advocates have also sought access to their elected officials to make their views known. That access will not be provided if the councilmembers work from home and appear only on screens during meetings.
Newly elected councilmember Sara Nelson has been working in her city hall office and described the importance of elected officials gathering together to conduct public business. She said she is “looking forward to the resumption of in-person council meetings because it facilitates a more natural back and forth conversation.” In person meetings also allow citizens to monitor their elected officials to make sure they appear to actually be listening to those who are providing testimony. The Seattle City Council famously had difficulties with this in March of 2019, when nearly all councilmembers were caught looking and typing on their phones as a citizen was giving testimony. (Seattle Times and YouTube video of March 11, 2019, council meeting)
Interim King County Sheriff Patti Cole-Tindall was appointed as permanent sheriff today, becoming the first non-elected person to hold that position since 1996. It is interesting that the former King County undersheriff was selected for the post, since one of the primary arguments which County Executive Dow Constantine made for switching from an elected sheriff to an appointed one was that an appointed individual could be selected from applicants outside of King County. Sheriff Cole-Tindall will have a tough job in front of her, as she must deal with soft-on-crime liberal politicians and a department which is facing tough challenges recruiting officers to work for politicians who show such disrespect for the service they provide. (Seattle Times)
The City of Spokane experienced five separate shooting incidents overnight, as violent crime continues to increase since the passage of the Democrats’ anti-police package during the 2021 legislative session. This is the outcome of the failure of the Democrats to pass proposed fixes to their misguided legislation during the 2022 session. One woman suffered multiple gunshots and is in serious condition after being attacked in her own home (which included several children).
Senate Democrat Leader Andy Billig, who represents much of the City of Spokane in the legislature, has been strongly criticized by Spokane business groups for first supporting the 2021 anti-police legislation and then failing to bring to the senate floor this year a bill which would have provided some remedies to the Democrats’ failed public safety policies. Senator Billig remains content to continue taking his marching orders from the Seattle liberals in his caucus who favor criminal rights over public safety. (KHQ and CenterSquare)
Just a few weeks ago climate change alarmists were using reduced snowpack levels in Washington’s mountains as another dire warning that they must be listened to, and now they are again silent as the latest snowpack data reveals the state is currently at 116% of its average annual levels. Snowpack has been above average 14 of the past 17 years. There are constantly blips in weather patterns and it is important that when we discuss climate policies we resist the temptation to place too much importance on these occasional variances and spend more time looking at long-term trends. This is especially important when developing long-term policies, for failing to do so will result in legislative solutions which fail to correct the problems. Of course, that is what the Democrats are good at passing. (Capitol Press and Washington Policy Center)
We all knew that Democrat politicians would jump all over the leaking of a U.S. Supreme Court decision draft which could overrule Roe v. Wade and allow states to make their own determinations on abortion. And of course, Governor Jay Inslee’s highly paid political consultants were one of the first to jump on the hype train, as they blasted out an email before 8:00 AM this morning (well before Inslee’s own schedules show him showing up for work). This comes at a convenient time for Democrats, especially those in Washington State, as they attempt to divert voter attention away from their many policy failures (public safety, homelessness, Long-Term Care payroll tax, inflation, imposing an unconstitutional state income tax, increasing energy prices, legalizing hard drug use, improving public education, emergency powers, constant attacks on family farmers, racism, expensive environmental policies which fall considerably short on reducing carbon emissions, COVID response, growing the size of government bureaucracy, etc.). Fortunately for Washington taxpayers, the 2022 election is expected to provide strong victories for more rational (and Republican) candidates.
One thing the governor and many Washington Democrats will fail to tell the public as they attempt their latest scare/diversionary tactics is that Washington State voters were the first in the country (in 1970) to pass a ballot measure to make abortion legal. They strengthened that decision in 1991, with another ballot measure which lengthened the amount of time an abortion can be performed. Simply put, despite the predicted decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, abortion will remain legal in Washington State as long as the voters of Washington want it to be legal. No action by an elected official or court can change that. But the governor sure can try to divert attention from Democrat failures off that fear. (Jay Inslee campaign email and Wikipedia)
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