Despite facing a $117 million deficit, The City of Seattle sent a liberal group $780,000 so Mayor Bruce Harrell and his buddies could have a nicer place to watch Monday Night Football.
The Washington State Department of Corrections was fined nearly $85,000 by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (yep, one department of the state government is fining another department of state government) for failing to provide proper safety equipment to workers during a tuberculosis outbreak at its Stafford Creek Corrections Center. It is said to be the worst outbreak in 20 years, though the DOC did not respond to inquiries as to the number of staff members and inmates who were infected. Specifically the DOC is being fined for not handing out N-95 respirators.
This is the latest incident of improper medical care of staff, inmates and patients in Governor Inslee-run residential facilities. Inslee’s DOC is facing numerous lawsuits for failing to provide adequate medical care for inmates at the Monroe Corrections facility. The Western Washington State Hospital lost federal certification for administrative failures. Nearly all of the state’s corrections facilities and hospitals failed to adhere to safety guidelines and thus experienced severe COVID outbreaks during the pandemic which led to deaths of staff, inmates, and patients. (The Center Square, Seattle Times, Yakima Herald, and Spokesman-Review)
The City of Seattle announced yesterday that it had given more than $8 million in grant money from its Equitable Development Initiative (EDI) to 19 liberal community groups, including more than $780,000 to the Royal Esquire Club, which lists Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell is as the chair of the group’s executive committee (though the mayor’s office said he resigned from the club last November). According to the Seattle Times, the group was formed in 1947 by five Black men seeking a place to socialize. It currently hosts “happy hours, Monday Night Football watch parties, (and) dance classes.”
The EDI is one of many city programs designed to give taxpayer money to liberal organizations. (Shift was unable to locate all of the groups which received EDI money after searching various City of Seattle websites and calling a few city departments.) It normally has an annual budget of $5 million (from taxes collected from short-term rentals such as Airbnb). But this year it received an additional $3 million from the city’s job killing JumpStart payroll tax.
While the Seattle Times’ article focused on a possible conflict of interest in having the Seattle taxpayers give so much money to a social group the mayor has deep ties to, there is also the question of whether the City of Seattle should be funding such organizations when it is facing a big revenue shortfall in its $6.6 billion dollar budget. The city literally hands out hundreds of millions to liberal organizations as the council uses tax money to buy votes. Both the city council and the mayor’s office say they oppose “austerity” measures (i.e. fiscal responsibility or reducing any current budget in any way) to balance its budget. Thus Seattle residents will likely see taxes raised even higher so that the mayor and his buddies can have a fancy new location to watch Monday Night Football games. (Seattle Times, City of Seattle Equitable Development Initiative, and Royal Esquire Club website)
The Whatcom County Republican Party will be hosting a “kick-off” on Wednesday (September 14th) for the final push to elect the next generation of candidates in the 42nd Legislative District. The event will take place at Bellingham’s Fisherman’s Pavilion (2599 South Harbor Loop Drive) starting at 6:00 PM. The event will feature Senator Simon Sefzik, who is running to retain his seat (and will be Shift’s Newsmaker interview this Friday), House candidate (Position 1) and former Bellingham Police officer Tawsha Dykstra Thompson, and House candidate (Position 2) and small business owner/veteran Dan Johnson.
These three campaigns are vitally important in determining the priorities of the 2023 legislature. Republican majorities could mean a focus on making our neighborhoods safe and bringing fiscal responsibility (along with tax cuts to help lower- and middle- income families) to the state’s taxpayers, while Democrat majorities would bring a focus on raising taxes higher, growing the size of government, and implementing their poorly crafted and expensive Long-Term Care payroll tax. (Whatcom County GOP Flyer, Shift Legislative Candidate Interviews, Sefzik campaign website, Thompson campaign website, and Johnson campaign website)
The two Republican House candidates in the 28th Legislative District (Southeast Pierce County) announced that they will be hosting in-person Q&A sessions every Thursday evening until the November 8th election. Marine veteran and teacher Gabe Sachwitz and Air Force veteran and medical researcher Susanna Kielman will host their first joint Q&A session this Thursday at the DuPont Fairway Mortgage offices (1225 Center Drive, DuPont) starting at 6:00 PM. Both of the candidates have been doorbelling thousands of homes and both campaigns are very important to Republican successes in November. (Susanna Kielman for House Facebook and Shift Newsmaker Interviews)
The Seattle teachers union is expected to end its illegal five-day strike today, even though only those few who were involved in the secret closed-door negotiations know what it will cost taxpayers. The teachers union went on its illegal strike last week seeking higher salaries, more benefits, and more dues-paying employees even as student enrollment has dropped nearly 10%, test scores are declining, and Seattle students are still suffering emotionally and educationally from the union keeping them away from in-person learning longer than nearly every school district in the country. This is equivalent to a coffee shop employee demanding higher wages, more benefits, and more co-workers to do the same amount of work after her actions caused the business to lose 10% of its business, made the coffee and pastries less delicious, and forced customers to sit outside in cold rainy weather by prohibiting them from sitting at the businesses’ indoor tables. Such a coffee shop would go bankrupt if it caved into the employees’ demands. But since the school system benefits from a funding system where government officials can impose higher taxes, there is no incentive for the district or the teachers to be fiscally responsible to taxpayers or provide a quality product to our students. (Seattle Times, Senator Reuven Carlyle Facebook post, and Seattle Public Schools)
After the City of Spokane sent the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) a four page letter detailing the administrative challenges the city faced due to the large homeless encampment (misnamed “Camp Hope”) which the state has allowed to illegally grow on WSDOT properties, the Washington State Secretary of Transportation sent a short reply back stating WSDOT will reply with a “considered response” sometime in the future. The letter from the city details the police and sanitation costs the city has experienced and told the state that if it did not clean up the encampment by mid-October, the city would file a lawsuit against the Inslee Administration.
This issue is high stakes for many reasons as Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward and the liberals on the Spokane City Council have sparred over the Democrats’ “Camp Hope” and where other homeless shelters can be opened. It is also the opening salvo of what will likely be a very combative mayoral campaign between incumbent Woodward and Governor Inslee’s Director of Commerce Lisa Brown (who has already moved home to Spokane despite still collecting her large state paycheck by claiming she is still in charge of a government department located 300 miles away in Olympia). The Department of Commerce got into the fray by giving money to Catholic Charities to open another homeless shelter in West Spokane without any input from local residents. Stay tuned. (KHQ)
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