Category: Seattle/King Co (Page 1 of 5)

Mercer Island Reporter yanks endorsement of city council candidate Joy Langley

On the eve of Election Day, the neighborhood weekly newspaper serving the community of Mercer Island has pulled its endorsement of city council candidate Joy Langley.

From the Mercer Island Reporter:

The Mercer Island Reporter Editorial Board retracts our endorsement of council candidate Joy Langley since she was unable to verify as of press time that she has a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University.

Langley has maintained that she is a Cornell graduate, even after a thorough search by the registrar’s office of records produced a statement by the university that “no record” could be found of attendance or graduation for Langley.

In the endorsement retraction article, the Reporter quotes from a Nov. 6 letter from Cornell University’s associate legal counsel. The university’s attorney makes clear that Langley was asked to provide a number of details regarding her time at Cornell, but that she did not do so. The Marker obtained a copy of the letter. It was written in reply to a New York City attorney who had requested a retraction of the Cornell senior media relations officer’s public statement about the absence of records for Langley.  The letter implies that a summary of information was provided to Cornell, but was insufficient to prove Langley’s claims of attendance.

While I appreciate your effort to provide information supporting your client’s claim that she has a Cornell degree, your summary of information does not provide any additional details to enable a further search of University records.

We undertook a diligent investigation before Mr. Carberry made his statement, which included searches of University records and direct communications with your client. She was requested to provide the name of her advisor at Cornell, the names of any courses she took, a copy of any Cornell transcript she has, a legible copy of the diploma she identifies as having been issued by Cornell, or any other evidence she may have to document her enrollment at Cornell, and she provided none of the requested information.

 

 

 

 

Two days until Election Day, Cornell controversy still dogs Mercer Island candidate Joy Langley

Candidate for Mercer Island City Council Joy Langley claims that she is a graduate of prestigious Cornell University. The university states it has “no record” that Langley either attended or received a degree from the Ivy League school.

Langley has sailed through the controversy while bailing water by offering a smattering of statements to the media and battening down the hatches to keep key endorsers on board.

An email Langley sent to supporters on Thursday urged them to give her the benefit of the doubt and overlook allegations.

“I have been forthcoming about my credentials and professional qualifications,” Langley wrote. “I assume that there’s been an administrative error regarding my undergraduate matriculation.  I am working to resolve that error and to get back to the work of reaching out to voters to connect about the issues that matter to them.”

In statements to the media, Langley has maintained that privacy restrictions she placed on her records are a reason for the absence of public information. Some may find flaws in that explanation; Cornell could not produce any records even after she made a direct request and Langley has herself publicized her Cornell alumni affiliation.

On her campaign website FAQ page, Langley tells the story of moving “the east coast to complete my undergraduate studies in Philosophy and Political [S]cience at Cornell.”

The voter pamphlet statement for Langley lists “MA Political Management, George Washington University; BA Philosophy Cornell University.”

Another page on her website tosses into the mix her time at Ithaca College (this is not disputed), stating she “concurrently received dual degrees from Cornell University and Ithaca College in Philosophy and Political Science.”

And although on Thursday a Cornell degree had disappeared from her LinkedIn page, now her profile once again lists a B.A. in Political Science from Ithaca College and a B.A. in Philosophy from Cornell University.

The Cornell University campus newspaper, the Cornell Daily Sun, also reported that Langley does not appear in the 2004 Cornell yearbook.

Langley has not responded to our recent requests for information, though she did answer questions from the Seattle Times. The Times article in which her comments appear is worth reading because it includes the only statement of its kind – a friend who says that they went to Cornell with Langley.

In a phone interview, Dan Dimendberg, a partner with the San Francisco political consultation firm TBWB Strategies, said he went to Cornell and also to George Washington University with Langley. He said he has known Langley for years, and that he’s familiar with the stalking incident from her Cornell days.

TBWB Strategies is also Terris, Barnes and Walters, a San Francisco-based firm with a nearly 15-year record of paid work in support of Democratic campaigns in Washington state. The firm has not done work for Langley’s campaign, but they have been active in Washington politics during this election cycle. Terris, Barnes and Walters has been paid $41,507.41 by Planned Parenthood Votes WA PAC through the end of October for direct mail pieces, including more than $8,000 for mailers intended for voters in the hotly contested 45th legislative district state Senate race, according to disclosures filed with the Public Disclosure Commission.

Most of Langley’s endorsers hanging in, treading carefully, but one walks back support

According to sources, concerned island residents have been putting pressure on the individuals who have endorsed Langley, prodding them to reconsider, or even rescind their backing, in light of the lack of clear answers.

On Friday, a letter circulated that was signed by seven of Langley’s endorsers – Mercer Island Mayor Bruce Bassett, Deputy Mayor Debbie Bertlin, Councilmembers Dan Grausz, state Senator Lisa Wellman, state Representative Tana Senn, state Representative Judy Clibborn, and Deputy King County Executive Fred Jarrett.

The missive from local civic leaders wagged a finger about the “rancor and vitriol against Joy,” and though it acknowledged the controversy over Langley’s Cornell degree has unresolved questions, they asked for patience in determining the facts.

“We should allow Joy the time needed to clear up this matter,” the letter states.

But one of the letter’s signers has already changed his mind. In a Sunday morning post titled “Enough is Enough past 2” to the NextDoor.com website, Grausz announced he was rescinding his endorsement.

“Under the circumstances we now find ourselves in, I have come to the conclusion that there are too many unanswered questions for me to maintain my prior endorsement of Joy Langley,” Grausz wrote. “I want nothing more than for Joy to refute what is out there and truly want to believe that she will do so.”

Another prominent Langley endorser is Rep. Adam Smith, Democrat representing Mercer Island and the Washington state 9th congressional district. Smith told the Marker by phone on Friday that he would stand by his endorsement, at least for now.

“I’ve worked with Joy on a number of issues and have a good working relationship with her. She’s a smart, capable woman with long ties to the local community,” Rep. Smith said.

Asked about the definitive statement by Cornell University that there is “no record of a person named Joy Langley … attending or graduating from this institution,” Smith wasn’t willing to disbelieve Langley’s assertion that the absence of records was the result of a clerical error.

“Until such time as more information comes out, I have no reason to change my endorsement of Joy.” Smith told the Marker. “With just [days] until the election, there just isn’t time to learn more.”

UPDATED: Dispute Over a Candidate’s Cornell University Pedigree Flares in Mercer Island City Council Race as Election Nears

[Developments occurring since this story was published can be found here.]

[Story note: Since our story was first published on Monday, the Cornell University media relations department has reasserted that the school has no record that Joy Langley either attended or graduated from the university. The official also stated that the registrar’s office has not been in contact with Langley. The story has been edited to include these details where appropriate.]

If there is a hierarchy in the universe of alumni – and there is – earning the right to call yourself a Cornell University graduate puts you in the higher tiers. The achievement is prestigious, coveted and can be a door-opener to coveted leadership opportunities in business, government, and politics.

It makes sense then why candidate for Mercer Island City Council Joy Langley chose to engrave membership in the Cornell alumni into her voter pamphlet statement and on her campaign website. Even a letter from key endorsers name-drops Cornell in the sweet spot of their pitch to island voters.

There’s just one question that continues to nag a group of Islanders – did Langley really earn a degree from Cornell?

A controversy about the veracity of her Cornell claim has roiled below the surface for weeks and broke into a very public boil Monday as the details of allegations that she did not earn a Cornell degree – and statements from the candidate – were reported in the Mercer Island Reporter.

The Northwest Daily Marker attempted to gather clear facts to defuse suspicions, but what we found failed to put the questions completely to rest.

Last week, the Marker submitted a request for records through National Student Clearinghouse, the website that Cornell University contracts with for degree ownership verification. The result of was that clearinghouse could not verify any degrees earned at Cornell by Langley.

On Monday, Langley told the Reporter that the lack of information available through the clearinghouse was because she had chosen to keep her student records private. (Note: The Reporter endorsed Langley.)

The Marker then reached out directly to the Cornell University Registrar, and our inquiry was forwarded to a senior media relations official.  On Monday, after checking with the registrar’s office, the official stated the university has “no record of anyone by that name attending or receiving a degree from Cornell University.” In a follow-up email, the same media relations official re-confirmed as follows:

Cornell University has no record of a person named Joy Langley or Joy Esther Langley attending or graduating from this institution.

Langley also told the Reporter that she plans to produce more information, but that her records were in a form of bureaucratic lockdown.

Langley said she would request her transcripts as proof of enrollment at Cornell, but was told that a freeze had been placed on the documents…

It’s unclear who at Cornell informed Langley of the “freeze” on her records.

“The Office of the University Registrar has likewise received no request from, nor engaged in any correspondence or conversation with, Ms. Langley on this matter,” the Cornell media relations official wrote.

The Marker asked a spokesperson for Langley’s campaign if the candidate would ask the university to make her records available. The campaign did not respond, and instead referred us to the Cornell Registrar’s website and a page on privacy laws.

In another email obtained by the Marker, the media relations official states that his staff has not received any inquiries from the Mercer Island Reporter. From the Reporter article:

The Reporter is still working to independently verify Langley’s credentials. Questions about Langley’s degree are being fielded through Cornell’s office of media relations.

As of now, the only documentation Langley has provided to the Marker has been a link to a photo posted to a back page on Langley’s website. Inset into the larger image is a small photo of a Cornell diploma that does bear Langley’s name and the date of May 30, 2004.

Langley also published to her campaign website a statement responding to the accusations, and suggesting that her opponent tacitly approved of “negative attacks” and “character assassination.”

According to Langley, her undergraduate credits were split between Ithaca College and Cornell University and earned her two separate degrees. From the Reporter:

“I entered Cornell as a sophomore due to AP credits (Sage School, Arts and Sciences) and concurrently enrolled at Ithaca College (Humanities and Sciences),” [Langley] responded. “I was able to graduate in four years with a degree from each institution.”

An exhaustive search was unable to find any online footprints corresponding to Langley and Cornell University, while a substantial amount of ephemera tying her to Ithaca College was easy to find.

As a student at Ithaca College, Langley was a college athlete and a participant in student government. Her name appears in contemporary blurbs about Ithaca’s women’s crew team. In another digital artifact – the April 11, 2002 edition of the Ithaca College student newspaper “The Ithacan” – Langley is mentioned as being an Ithaca sophomore and a member of Solidaridad, a student government party that “used titles of spokesperson rather than traditional titles of president and vice president” to refer to its leadership. The Ithacan reports that Solidaridad was disqualified from fielding candidates in the 2002-2003 student elections, though a reason for the disqualification is not given.

In real and political terms, Mercer Island occupies valuable ground. Interstate 90 connects Mercer Island by bridge to ultra-liberal and solidly Democratic Seattle to the west and a more moderate, Republican-ish Bellevue to the east. It is a home for many wealthier Seattle expats who have been drawn to its slower pace, neighborhood feel, and strong community support for excellent K-12 education.

Those who follow the Mercer City Council note that it has maintained a delicate political balance despite pressures within its changing voter base. The seat Langley is hoping to win is a part of that balance.

Gay Coffee Shop Owner in Seattle Ousts Customers Because Their Beliefs ‘Offend’ Him

A gay shop owner demanded that a group of anti-abortion activists leave his Seattle coffee shop last week because he was offended by their beliefs, as can be seen in a video of the incident posted online that has generated a large and growing number of views.

The Washington Times reported that members of the activist group Abolish Human Abortion entered Bedlam Coffee on Oct. 1 to order drinks after distributing anti-abortion materials in the vicinity. Within a short time they were confronted by the owner who had stumbled upon some of the group’s pamphlets and proceeded to launch into a loud tirade in which he demanded they leave his establishment. From the Washington Times:

“I’m gay. You have to leave,” owner Ben Borgman said in the video.

“Are you denying us service?” Mr. Davis [a member of Abolish Human Abortion] asked.

“I am. Yeah,” Mr. Borgman replied.

Borgman then held up what appears to be a piece of the group’s materials and went on to say, “This is offensive to me. I own the place. I have right to be offended.”

The shop owner is seen to ask loudly if the activists would tolerate him engaging in a sex act in front of them, suggested that he’d perform acts on Jesus Christ – “He’s hot.” – and repeatedly demanded that they exit. The group complied promptly.

The Washington Times article includes text of a response posted by Borgman to his shop’s Facebook page that now appears to have been deleted:

“In the end, it’s all about context,” the owner wrote. “Everything is context. Out of context a comment can serve any argument. Take for example the phrase ‘I will bring my boyfriend out here and f- him in the a—.’ out of context it could mean a slew of things. It’s delivery in this case was meant to shock and repulse the audience. Out of context it could be labeled a perversion, or a kink depending how you personally couch the subject. In context it was a response, a response to being shocked and repulsed. A revenge you could even call it, a weakness demonstrated in the typical, they hurt me, I will hurt them fashion.”

The 52-year-old owner said that his full exchange with the activists included one of the activists denying that graphic anti-abortion materials were their own.

Mr. Borgman also said that anti-abortion imagery was hidden within his shop.

“They were ready with that camera,” the owner wrote. “I was baptized Catholic, Roman Catholic actually, I’ve been to a few bible studies, read the entire book, more than once. To my understanding, and to speak in the religious vernacular; these people are working for Satan. The great trickster has deluded them into believing that hate is love, that rage is peace, and that lies are truth. The God I knew, the Jesus I was taught about would absolutely never ever print a poster with a hideous dead baby representation at ‘what was clearly meant to insinuate’ at the hands of gays … suffice to the say the poster was gross, and the text on the back? Holy cow, whoever wrote that is in a lot of pain. I spoke to them in their own language.”

Although conservatives have argued in support of the shop owner’s right to deny service, a principle that was front and center in the State of Washington v. Arlene’s Flowers case, the apparent hypocrisy here has ignited viral attention to the video.  It’s also probable that the actual manner of Borgman’s denial may not be the kind of civil refusal most had in mind. You can watch the very NSFW video of the confrontation below to judge for yourself.

 

 

Dear Seahawks, Isn’t it Time for That Apology?

It’s ironic that a sport like football that is all about taking things head-on in a physical sense can’t seem to translate that smash-mouth approach to how it approaches moral matters.

Whether in the NFL’s habit of tut-tutting past an endless string of stories about players in legal trouble, or failing to organize around the very basic idea that abusing women will result in swift and sobering punishment, or slipping meekly away from the nova-like moment of leaguewide anthem protests, the amassed megatons of brawn appear weak.

Specifically, directly addressing the understandable offense taken by reasonable people over the protests should be a relatively light lift in whatever units are used for measuring apologies. Nevertheless, the NFL seems content to move on without directly addressing any of it.

The team I’ve loved since the time we both were kids in the mid-1970s, the Seattle Seahawks, seems especially happy to pretend as though the whole thing was a bad dream. Pushing the whole episode down the memory hole is a mistake. True fans have an amazing capacity to carry grudges. There are Hawks fans who continued to despise one-time owner Ken Behring – the man who actually packed up the headquarters in preparation to take the team to Los Angeles – until the day he died.

And ask former Starbucks CEO and Seattle Supersonics owner Howard Schultz whether the city has fully forgiven him for what many feel was an act of betrayal in allowing the team to be sold out and moved to Oklahoma City.

To be sure, the Seahawks have responded in some ways based on the public’s reaction. In Week 5, Seattle Seahawks fans witnessed a pre-game ceremony that didn’t look much different than what was typical prior to Week 4. Players standing. Some locked arms. Some hands over hearts. And at yesterday’s Week 5 match-up against the Los Angeles Rams, even the team’s standout anthem protester, all-pro defensive end Michael Bennett, stood with the team for the first time this year. Hurrah.

There’s just one problem: the leaguewide protest action of three weeks ago was less peaceful speech and more political punch. That blow was felt a broad enough swath of Americans that it shouldn’t be dismissed as the overreaction of right-wing-variety snowflakes. The Seahawks organization was a leader in the effort and neither the team nor the league have stepped up to acknowledge the message they sent, perhaps inadvertently, to fans.

“Look, we put everything back the way it was before. Good! Right?” mewed the league hopefully.

Not so fast. Diehard Seahawks fans who took the slap may deserve something more than an unspoken agreement to not slap them again. If the team wants to win back any respect from those fans, it’s going to have to make some effort to address the slap. Own it, recognize the insult, and let’s move on. We can start by breaching the great divide of perception that persists between protesters and those who see the protests as inextricably aimed at the flag.

At last mention, Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll still contends that he doesn’t believe the protests were a “denigration” of the flag and in the aftermath has defined such acts as a way to “stand against hate and dehumanization and equality for all people.”

The hyper-compartmentalization by Carroll and others to separate the protest from the only other thing happening at that time is still quite stunning. Keeping those blinders strapped on also prevents a rapprochement with alienated Hawks fans. That fan resistance isn’t pouting or intolerance or snowflakery.

Consider that you are attending the wedding of a Catholic friend. At the penultimate moment of the ceremony, you stand, turn your back to the altar, and profess your disapproval of the Church’s position on same-sex marriage. Consider then that you explain to your friend that you weren’t actually being disrespectful of their beliefs, their church or the sanctity of their moment. Consider then that you just lost a friend, perhaps for life, save for one last-ditch act. You do the right thing, suck it up, and make an honest and contrite apology.

Of course, professional sports are not a religion; neither is national pride. The point is that scheduling matters when it comes to how context will be interpreted. Planning a protest to suggest inequality and racism are woven into the American DNA is one thing. Having it coincide with the presentation of said nation’s flag is bound to be seen as intentional. Making it a league statement pits fans who vehemently disagree against the league. It’s fitting that a protest over the freedom to protest has unleashed in some disaffected fans the freedom to choose pumpkin patches, long walks, or reading a book over watching sports, as the decline in ratings appears to show.

So, Seahawks, is it time yet to begin the healing? As one seriously committed lifelong Seahawks fan, I’d like to see something happen. There is only so much entertainment one can squeeze out of a pumpkin patch. I can take a long walk any other day of the week.

Speaking only for myself, I’m not asking for a guarantee that all players will stand for the anthem, because compulsory respect isn’t actually respect at all.

Furthermore, I certainly don’t want players who were initially involved in the anthem protests to be pressured into abandoning whichever cause they were supporting. In fact, the only silver lining to be found here would be an honest opportunity to listen and learn from each other, to challenge preconceptions, get to a common set of facts about the issues at hand, and find some common objectives based on things we can all agree need to change.

Individual actions were not ever really a breaking point issue for me or most other fans. I know that because we were doing okay as recently as four weeks ago. Sure, it was the kind of “doing fine” that involved some tolerance that American football had become ever more soaked in the liquor of liberal politics, but it was easy enough to grind your teeth, roll your eyes and ignore it. And then the individual kneeling metastasized into a leaguewide action.

For the entire NFL to unite in a protest action was markedly different from the isolated player protests. Everything changed the moment it happened. It became a “thing.” To defuse it requires recognizing what it was to many people and some clear, public commitment to make it clear that protests are fine, but not those that coincide with a moment we reserve for respecting the flag. Individual acts of disrespect will still be distasteful, but easy to ignore without the appearance of endorsement by the entire team or the league as a whole.

We’ve given a lot of time, money and emotion to support a team. A simple sign of respect in reciprocity for all of that seems like the least we can ask.

[Ed. This story was corrected to indicate that Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett stood during the singing of the national anthem before the Oct. 8 game against the L.A. Rams.]

[Photo credit: AP]

‘Recruit Bill Bryant for Seattle Mayor’ is Launched Online

It has been more than 50 years since Seattle voters elected a Republican mayor, but that’s not stopping some residents from trying to pull former port commissioner and 2016 Republican candidate for governor Bill Bryant into this year’s mayoral race.

The effort to recruit Bryant to join what is shaping up to be at least an 11-way contest took shape late Wednesday evening in the form of a website – www.recruitbillbryantformayor.com – asking for visitors to sign a petition.

The pitch to recruit Bryant into the race is an appeal to face reality. From the website:

Seattle is in disarray. Local elected officials are unwilling to address the homeless crisis, unable to keep our cost of living from skyrocketing, and refuse to work with businesses to create good, middle class jobs. Scandals and partisan politics have crippled our city. Enough is enough.

As a former Port Commissioner of Seattle, Bill Bryant has a proven record of protecting our environment, helping the homeless get back on their feet, and creating local jobs here in Seattle.

If you’re tired of the say-one-thing-do-another politicians then sign the petition to recruit Bill Bryant to run for Mayor of Seattle. It’s time we had a mayor who is fighting for all of us – the residents and taxpayers – and not the special interests.

It is the issue of the city’s growing population of permanent homeless, the problems it brings, and the failure of the Democrat-controlled city government to affect any positive change that may make the most compelling case for voters in indigo blue Seattle to consider Bryant.

Some may remember last year when Bryant, during a hotly contested partisan campaign for governor, showed up at a city hearing on homeless policy. According to The Seattle Times, the reaction of the crowd to what Bryant had to say was enough to overcome the inertia of Seattle’s extreme partisanship.

Here’s how angry the overflow crowd was at a Seattle City Hall hearing on homeless camping policies: Republican candidate for governor Bill Bryant received an ovation for declaring there should be zero tolerance for camping on public property.

That’s akin to Tom Brady getting a rousing cheer at CenturyLink Field.

The boisterous meeting Friday featured tearful testimony, audience members shouting over City Council members, and a cry for “recall” when Councilmember Mike O’Brien said homeless people have a right to sleep somewhere. The tone was unusual for archliberal Seattle.

Like some others, Bryant, a Seattle resident, said enabling people to live in tents was not compassionate but cruel.

Bryant isn’t alone in his assessment that city policies on homelessness and a host of other plaguing issues are exacerbating problems.

Patti Bishop, a former software entrepreneur and Seattleite since the 1990s, says she will work to get Bryant elected should he step in the race because the need for a change of leadership has reached a tipping point. She cites false compassion in the approaches city hall is taking on critical issues including drug addiction as accelerators of municipal decay.

“We have a beautiful city,” said Bishop. “It’s very sad for many of us to see the direction the city has taken.”

She also believes Bryant would be the only candidate in the race who has identified reasonable solutions. “He’s the only one who’s said, ‘I’m going to address homelessness,’ and had a real step-by-step plan.”

For what it’s worth, if Bryant would consider a run, he played it cool in his statements to the press Thursday most of which followed similar lines to this response he gave to KING-5 political reporter Natalie Brand:

Even to get through the primary, the hill Bryant would need to climb would be steep. In the 2016 gubernatorial race, he grabbed less than 20% of Seattle’s vote. For those who want to retain hope, creative electoral math may yield scenarios to maintain enthusiasm.

If the field of Democrats, socialists and other left-wing competitors for the office continues to expand (there are currently 10 declared candidates), and Bryant occupied the moderate ground on his own, that piece of the pie begins to look slightly more viable in a top two primary. Some will see the prospect of a chaotic scrum as a way of leveling the odds, but the likelihood of narrow margins between candidates increases with every name on the ballot.

Regardless of whether Bryant jumps in and finds enough votes to get through a crowded primary, or jumps in at all, there will still be a void to fill in Seattle politics.

This city that aspires to promote diversity above all else is not just homogeneous in terms of political thought, but the need to conform to canon is policed. When the dominant ideology bears rotten fruit, the policing becomes more severe.

But forced cognitive dissonance is a condition that people do not enjoy living with. They find ways to realign their beliefs with reality. The tool for that realignment may not be Bill Bryant, but it will be someone or something someday.

The petition to recruit Bill Bryant for Seattle mayor can be found at www.recruitbillbryantformayor.com.

Here’s What Happens When a Woman Runs for State Senate… as a Republican

Seattlepi.com blogger Joel Connelly must not have been listening when former First Lady Michelle Obama called for political fighters to “go high.”

The veteran columnist’s first strike following the announcement that a new Republican has entered the pivotal race for state Senate in the 45th legislative district ran under the following headline:

“One of D.C.’s ’50 Most Beautiful’ shooting for Wash. senate”

Hat tip to The Stranger’s Heidi Groover for catching the original headline and posting it to Twitter with a tip from one journo to another:

The offense seems obvious. Instead of inserting any of Englund’s legitimate accomplishments into the headline, Seattlepi.com – and Connelly by association – chose to place a metaphoric tiara onto her head. Only the author of the headline knows for sure if the intent was to inaugurate a gross misconception that Englund is just a pretty face. *

We all know, however, what would happen if a female Democratic candidate received this treatment. A judgment of malice would come swiftly and the Republican candidate in the race would be asked to defend or repudiate obvious misogyny emanating from ‘their side.’

Nevertheless, within a few hours, the headline morphed into something less offensive, though still somewhat inaccurate and obvious in its intent. The scrubbing of the headline heads off a conversation in which uncomfortable questions about double standards practiced by the left would be asked. Have no fear, though. Based on water cooler chatter about how Englund’s candidacy and ethnicity have already been discussed in at least one liberal klatsch, there will be other opportunities.

 

* Ed. On the matter of whether Connelly authored the original headline, normally journalists are able to say honestly that they don’t write their own headlines. There’s no reason, however, to suspect this is the case with Connelly’s pieces, which is why we chose to preserve ambiguity.

To say that Seattlepi.com operates a streamlined editorial process would be a gross overstatement. Stories still run under the banner of a former print newspaper enterprise for which longtime locals have a fond memory, but now the masthead flies like a flag over a derelict ghost ship.

So, based on operational realities of a gutted newsroom (we believe this is sad, regardless of whether we agree with the general slant of Connelly’s writing), and other tell-tale clues that indicate a second set of eyes doesn’t often grace his work, we’re going suspect that Connelly was doing what has become commonplace in most threadbare news organizations – self-editing and self-publishing. There’s nothing wrong with that – we do that here at NW Daily Marker, too, out of necessity since we have literally NO operating budget outside of what the publisher (a.k.a, Me) spends from his own pocket.

Still, the authorship of the headline is relevant in assigning responsibility for what was an obvious and cheap attempt to diminish a woman’s more substantive accomplishments and instead push forward a narrative that her primary achievement is having a pretty face.

Jinyoung Lee Englund Announces in Key Washington State Senate Race

The wait is over. A Republican has stepped into what is likely to be this year’s spotlight race in Washington state.

Jinyoung Lee Englund announced Tuesday that she will run in the special election to fill the state Senate seat left vacant by the untimely death of Sen. Andy Hill.

Jinyoung Lee Englund, candidate for Washington state Senate. [Official campaign photo.]

Englund enters the race almost two months after Democrat and Deputy King County Prosecutor Manka Dhingra tossed her hat into the ring.

Time is money and Dhingra’s head start can be measured in dollars. As of the end of March, Dhingra had raised nearly $200,000, according to reports made to the State Public Disclosure Commission. Don’t expect the imbalance to be anything but temporary, however. Seasoned operatives expect the race to draw in record or near-record dollars from both sides.

The stakes are high. A Democratic win returns to them full control of the Legislature and brings Gov. Jay Inslee’s pen back into the picture as a tool to enact their agenda. A victory by Republicans retains the only solid foothold to stand on when moving forward fresh approaches and putting the brakes on bad ideas.

A Democratic proposal to enact a tax on income earned from capital gains is just one agenda piece that could swing with the 45th. Transportation angst is another and there are many more. So, although voters in the 45th will ultimately determine control of the Legislature, voter anxiety over those questions that will feature in the race is shared by voters statewide.

The full release that accompanied Englund’s announcement can be found on her campaign website.

The Seattle Way: Tax Soda, Subsidize Heroin All in the Cause of Public Health

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s proposal to slap a new tax on sugary drinks to promote good public health has irked at least one of the city’s restaurant owners. It should be angering even more Seattle business owners and residents, though not for the obvious reasons.

The mayor’s crusade exposes real inconsistencies and skewed priorities in the city’s approach to critical public health issues. Spoiler alert: Seattle is moving toward subsidizing and enable the use of destructive, addictive, and life-threatening illegal drugs such as heroin with so-called safe injection sites. I’ll get to that a little further down the page, but first…

The city’s lack of response to one White Center restaurant owner’s concerns about Murray’s proposed tax on soda pop prompted a protest of sorts.

Ryan Hopkins, owner of Burger Boss Drive-In, is using his roadside sign to let people know how the proposed tax would affect his customers, and how he feels about it. According to KING-TV:

It’s been pretty quiet around Seattle since Mayor Ed Murray proposed a tax on soda and other sugary drinks, but one small business owner is firing back.

Ryan Hopkins owns Burger Boss Drive-in and said he recently learned that the mayor’s idea could force him to raise prices on his large soda to more than $5.

He called City Hall, and when he didn’t get a response, he posted an eye-catching message outside his restaurant to get some attention.

The sign says “HEY MR MAYOR $5 SODAS? UR POP TAX SUCKS!”

Hopkins says he’s contacted the mayor in hopes of having a conversation but has yet to receive a response.

The initial outline for Murray’s soda tax proposed adding 2 cents per ounce for sugary beverages, though the details will not be disclosed until legislation is presented to the City Council. Why does Murray believe the new social engineering tax is necessary? Why, public health, of course. From The Seattle Times:

Murray has given two reasons for the tax on sodas, energy drinks, sports drinks, sweetened teas and more: improve health by reducing consumption of sugary drinks, and fund education programs aimed at improving the graduation rate of minority youth.

The mayor even compared sugary drinks to tobacco, saying “sugar is as bad as cigarettes in how we consume it,” on The Seattle Times’ politics podcast.

Let’s assume that Murray is right about the dire risk from drinking soda pop. Wouldn’t a safe soda consumption center be more consistent with the current dogma that pervades Seattle’s public health infrastructure? Those seeking the fizzy giddy rush of a cola would enter a community facility, guzzle their syrupy beverages in a supervised and non-judgmental environment, and then be sent on their merry way.

Of course, this is an absurd idea and not only because if a safe soda site was as “effective” in affecting health outcomes as Vancouver, B.C.’s safe injection site, Seattle would need to brace for a diabetes explosion.

No, the irony here is obvious: If drinking soda is bad enough that the city has to impose negative incentives to curb its use, is heroin – an illegal substance to begin with – less bad? Obviously, it is not less bad; it is much, much worse.

Nevertheless, Seattle’s leaders, elected by Seattle’s citizens, may this year choose to subsidize one activity that 100% of health experts agree poses lethal risk while punishing another behavior that is relatively benign by comparison. I feel safe in assuming that the risk of death by overdose after drinking a 64-ounce cola is as close to zero as actuaries can ever be comfortable stating.

Maybe this ideologically pure but logically backward way of thinking is one reason why Snohomish and Pierce Counties are leading the nation in net migration while Seattle-dominated King County lags.

[Featured image credit: Adobe Stock]

The Perplexing Push for Affordable Housing

Back in 2003, Mr. Words and I decided that we needed more open space than our tiny postage stamp yard afforded, so we started looking for a new home with a bigger yard. At the time, we lived in a virtual hovel in what was probably the worst neighborhood in a very expensive area and we knew we’d have to move farther “out” to find a house on more land within our price range.

Before that, many years ago, I lived in Sumner (now Bonney Lake), Washington, and worked in what is now called the SoDo District of Seattle. At the time, it was a 45 minute drive on good days, but could be much longer depending on traffic. In a car with no air conditioning. On bad traffic days in the summer, it could be brutal. But I did it because Sumner was the place we could afford a cute little house with a nice, big yard and friendly neighbors.

That’s what fiscally responsible people do, right? You live where you can afford the rent or the mortgage payment.

So you  might wonder why people like Seattle Mayor Ed Murray are constantly going on about the need for affordable housing and cutting deals by upzoning, or rezoning, various Seattle neighborhoods for more intensive use. This allows developers to build taller buildings, yielding more units with smaller footprints. The upzoning triggers a Seattle ordinance that requires developers include a minimum number of rent-controlled units in their buildings or pay a fee to help develop them elsewhere.

That might also lead you to wonder why Seattle effectively killed the micro housing industry, which naturally provided affordable housing units without the need for government intervention.

To get back to my question, why doesn’t Ed Murray (or other mayors in large metropolitan areas, for that matter) just let market forces work? Why do he and the city council prefer to force developers to include rent-controlled (i.e., government controlled) units in their buildings?

Let me propose this: Affordable housing is only an issue of government concern when that same government wants or needs “everyone” to live in densely populated urban centers, and rent control only when government pursues perverse policies that unnaturally limit the affordable units that would otherwise be provided through the free market.

If you’re wondering why the government cares where you live, let me direct your attention to ESS HB 2815. This was passed into law in 2008 in response to then-Governor Christine Gregoire’s executive order 07-02. The executive order set some fairly aggressive goals for CO2 reductions which, to an ordinary person, seem rather arbitrary and unattainable given the current state of technology. At least one provision of the law, participation in the Western Climate Initiative, was abandoned when it became clear that the State Legislature was not likely to to enact cap and trade.

One thing that did come to pass was the implementation of a work group to study various policies that could be utilized in pursuit of those carbon reduction goals. In November of 2008, the work group presented a report with their recommendations. Among other things, the report concludes, “However, to significantly reduce VMT and GHG emissions in Washington State, the majority of people in Washington State will need to live and work in places that both support bicycling and walking for shorter trips and provide reliable and convenient public transportation that meets mobility needs for longer trips.”

Right now, just under half the population of Washington State, roughly 48%, live in the three most populous counties, King, Pierce and Snohomish. But not everyone in those counties lives in an urban area with access to public transportation. Consider this system map from King County’s Metro division. Do you see all those areas that have no bus routes? Those are areas where leftists would prefer that people not live.

Below this paragraph is an aerial view of Covington, Washington, an area included on the linked system map. Does this look like an area that can ever “support bicycling and walking for shorter trips and provide reliable and convenient public transportation that meets mobility needs for longer trips?”  No, it doesn’t, because going almost anywhere is going to be more than a short trip. Is it ever going to be close to where the majority of the people living there work? No again.

Remember, the study group concluded that the majority of people in Washington need to live and work in urban areas. That means that to meet their goals, people who currently live in exurban and rural areas are going to have to accept that their lifestyles will change. This, in a nutshell, is why it’s vitally important to Ed Murray that the city include affordable housing.

If our leftist overlords are going to herd us into the cities so that we can live and work there like rats, there needs to be housing available. And too bad for you if you’d rather not live that way. Do you think it’s beyond the reach of government to make car ownership prohibitively expensive for middle class workers? Or tax you out of homes outside the reach of economically feasible public transportation?

Leftists embrace an ideology that’s diametrically opposed to liberty. They want to control where you live, where you work, what kind of vehicle, if any, you can drive, and where you can go. That doesn’t leave much to your discretion, does it, but, I mean, really…is anyplace you can’t reach via public transportation a place that’s worth going? So no big deal, right?

You have to admire leftists; they never do anything that doesn’t move their agenda forward. So the next time you see a leftist say or do something that doesn’t make any logical sense at all, look for the hidden agenda.

[This post first appeared here on the author's personal blog.]

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