City of Olympia believes election laws cannot dictate what it does with taxpayer money.
Happening in Olympia
The City of Olympia responded to Public Disclosure Commission complaints for using tax dollars to send mailers encouraging a No vote on I-976. The city stated the mailer was lawful because 1) city council members believe the initiative will hurt the city’s ability to collect revenue for transportation projects, 2) the city council voted to oppose the measure, and 3) the mailer was objective and fair (even though it only told the No perspective and said “VOTE NO Initiative I-976” in a bold headline). ShiftWA will write more about this soon, but if this logic prevails there is nothing stopping any government entity from using tax dollars to support/oppose any measure or candidate. (City of Olympia PDC response)
Due to the time and money government entities spend passing resolutions supporting or opposing ballot measures, there is growing sentiment to enact legislation to stop this practice. The belief is that while it is acceptable for the individual elected officials to state their opinion, to have tax dollars spent discussing and deliberating ballot measures is not a wise use of public funds. (Washington Policy Center)
Seattle Times editorial strongly supports the recent Washington State Supreme Court ruling which determined that birth dates of government employees are public information. The suit arose from the Freedom Foundation seeking public employee’s birth dates to better identify them to provide information on their rights following the Janus ruling. Government employee unions stated privacy and theft concerns if this information was public. Yet the court found there was no case where obtaining a birth date led to identity theft and that registered voters’ birth dates were already publicly available. (Seattle Times)
Seven months after being locked out of a “tiny house” encampment, the City of Seattle has finally told the residents that they will be shutting down the site at the end of the year. The Northlake village is funded by Seattle taxpayers and is on city property, but the residents have not allowed Seattle employees onto the site since April. (Seattle Times)
The Tacoma City Council postponed its vote on a new gun and ammo sales tax to November 12th. The council is expected to pass a $25 per gun tax and a $0.02 – $0.05 tax on ammunition. The tax is expected to provide $30,000 in annual revenue and will be allocated on “violence-protection” programs. The council delayed the vote due to members wanting more time to consider amendments. (News Tribune)
The Commercial Aviation Coordination Commission held its first meeting on Wednesday to begin the selection of a sight for a second airport for the Puget Sound region by 2040. The commission was formed by the 2019 Legislature and is tasked with finding six possible locations by the end of next year and to make a final recommendation by the end of 2021. Possible sites could be an existing municipal airports or currently undeveloped properties. (NW News Network)
As previously reported by ShiftWA, Citizens for Liberty and Labor had a formal Public Disclosure Complaint filed against it for failing to disclose contributors in the group’s advertisements online and on TV. The group is responsible for materials supporting mayoral candidate Ben Stuckart and is funded by liberal Seattle organizations and wealthy government employee PACs. Responding to the complaint, Citizens for Liberty and Labor said it was unaware of the state election laws that required disclosure of top PAC contributors (KXLY and ShiftWA)
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has extended its public comment deadline to November 15th on how best to manage wolves once they are no longer a protected species. Since 2008, the wolf population has grown an average of 28% per year. WDFW had planned a series of public forums to discuss next step for the wolves, but the events were cancelled due to threats of violence. (KING-TV)
In order to count waterfowls in Grant County, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will begin to use drones. A WDFW spokesman stated, “In the past, these surveys were carried out from fixed-wing planes, which is expensive and can be dangerous. Using a drone will reduce safety risks and conserve limited resources of time and funding.” (iFIBER One)
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