A recent poll shows Washington voters look ready to approve Initiative 1351, which would reduce class sizes.
The Elway Poll shows the class size reduction measure leading by nearly 3:1.
But the pollsters wrote “One thing that did appear to make a difference is the amount of attention voters were paying to this year’s election. The more attention voters have paid, the less likely they are to support the I-1351.”
The poll showed that 66 percent of people would definitely or probably vote to approve the measure, while 24 percent said they would definitely or probably say no, with 11 percent of voters remaining undecided.
The measure would reduce class sizes for all grades, kindergarten through 12th grade. The reductions would be phased in over a four-year period, prioritizing those schools with a higher rate of poor students. Class sizes for grades K-3 would shrink to 17 students; classroom sizes in higher grades would be limited to 25 students.
To pay for the class reduction, the Legislature would have to cut programs or raise taxes. The measure leaves it up to the Legislature to make those choices. If approved by voters, it would increase state expenditures by an estimated $4.7 billion through 2019, according to the Office of Fiscal Management.
The defaced signs are on both the west and east sides of the county, including Mill Plain Boulevard between Fort Vancouver Way and East Evergreen Boulevard, Padden Parkway and Southeast 192nd Avenue and Brady Road, Vukanovich said.
“I have racked my brain to try and determine who may have done this (clients, adversaries, etcetera), and I can think of no one at this time,” Vukanovich said.
The choice of words on the stickers is at odds with the opinions of Vukanovich’s colleagues. About 81 percent of Clark County Bar Association members who responded earlier this month to an opinion poll on the candidates gave Vukanovich high marks for integrity.
Vukanovich’s opponent, Judge Bernard Veljacic, said his campaign isn’t responsible for the vandalism.
“We have practiced together for over a decade,” Veljacic said of Vukanovich. “I know when my signs are down that he had nothing to do with it, and likewise, he knows that about me.”
Veljacic’s and Vukanovich’s names are confusingly similar. (Beware of that when you fill out your ballot.) It’s even possible that the vandal hit the wrong target. Short of a confession or catching the crime on videotape, we’ll probably never know who is responsible.
“It takes a lot of courage to put your name out there and subject yourself to scrutiny,” Veljacic said. “I think a bad faith act like defacing someone’s signs is uncalled for.”
He said he learned from other politicians that about 40 to 50 percent of campaign signs are typically lost either through unauthorized removal, defacement or destruction. It’s unclear whether that estimate includes signs that are knocked over.
“It’s kind of a constant effort to keep your name out in the public eye,” he said.
Vukanovich said he still hasn’t decided whether to try to remove the stickers from his signs or to replace the signs, which cost between $6 and $80 apiece.
“Of course, it is not about the money, but the fact that someone would stoop this low and commit this, what I classify as, cowardly act,” he said.
Veljacic said none of his signs have been defaced, but some have been knocked over. He lost count of how many.
“Some of it certainly is the weather; others may be on purpose,” he said. “Maybe they don’t like the candidate or they don’t like political signs because they can be a bit of a visual blight, but it’s part of campaign season. It goes with the territory – the sign gardens.”
Fred Armisen will be voting in the midterm election on Nov. 4 because he wants to impress his friends.
“It’s the only reason to do anything,” Armisen said.
The nonpartisan nonprofit Rock the Vote recently released this year’s star-packed video.
Lena Dunham will be voting for reproductive rights and Lil’ John will cast his vote in an effort to support the legalization of marijuana.
Rock the Vote, which encourages young people to vote, kicked off it’s first campaign in the 1990s with Madonna advocating voting while wrapped in an American flag.
This year’s video is based on Lil’ John’s song “Turn Down for What,” remade into “Turn Out for What.”
According to Rock the Vote’s website, 12,000 Americans turn 18 every day.
Millennials have the potential to be the largest voting bloc in the country, according to Rock the Vote, but 30 million young people chose not to vote in the 2012 election.]]>
Those behind the dueling gun measures continue to fire shots at each other.
With ballots set to go out next week, proponents of expanding background checks have launched a digital campaign they are calling “creep week.”
The Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility is highlighting stories of people who have reportedly obtained firearms without a background check. If voters approve the measure this November, background checks would be required for online transactions and at gun shows.
Criminals are exploiting the “loophole” in the law, proponents argue.
Backers of Initiative 594 are highlighting stories of people who were able to obtain guns without a background check. There’s “creep” Aaron Newport who purchased a gun in a parking lot and used it to kill his ex-girlfriend. And Michael Joanen who reportedly ran a businesses of buying, selling and trading firearms through Facebook.
Proponents of expanding background checks have outpaced those opposed and raised close to $8 million.
Everytown for Gun Safety, a group affiliated with former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has helped supporters of I-594 by donating $1 million and announced this week it would boost the campaign with another $1 million.
Opponents of I-594, who are pushing Initiative 591, are also working to get their message out. Expanding background checks would only hurt law-abiding citizens; the “creeps” would still find ways to possess firearms, they said.
Opponents to the measure are hoping the National Rifle Association becomes more of a presence in efforts to quash the background-check initiative.
“I think we’re hoping for a lot more involvement,” said Alan Gottlieb with the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. “We’re glad they are doing something and finally engaged but I think we would all like to see a lot more.”
The NRA recently launched this digital campaign.
Backers of Initiative 591, which would prevent the expansion of background checks beyond what federal law currently allows, has struggled to keep pace on fundraising. Protect Our Gun Rights has raised about $1.13 million, the NRA has pitched in about $191,997 to defeat I-594 and Washington Citizens Against Regulatory Excess has contributed $103, 927.
Ballots go out Oct. 15 and are due Nov. 4.]]>
In December of 2012, after Tim Probst lost his bid for the state Senate to Don Benton by 76 votes, he told the press he would continue to live by the motto, “Do the right thing, and let the chips fall where they may.”
More recently, doing the right thing for Probst has meant creating the Middle Class Alliance, which is a self-described “grassroots nonpartisan organization that is giving a voice to regular people who feel disenfranchised by today’s politics, by empowering and organizing them.”
Really, Probst said, it’s a crew of people – there are officially 200 members – who grab a beer the second Tuesday every month and toss around ideas to grow the middle class.
“I think moderates and independents tend to be a bit less passionate … It’s not a natural group to organize, but if we don’t organize our voice gets lost and public dialogues become more and more divided and extreme,” Probst said.
Probst said the group is not registered as a political action committee, since it hasn’t collected or spent any money. The group will endorse political candidates. The group, officially formed in 2013, has held movie nights, a legislative day in Olympia and raised money for the Oso landslide recovery. Its main priorities are reducing the influence of money in politics, ensuring the most vulnerable are taken care of and examining certain corporate tax exemptions.
This sounds like a solid platform to launch another run for office?
Probst won’t say if he plans to throw his hat in the ring again.
“I haven’t decided and I don’t have any odds on that,” he said. “And the middle class alliance has nothing to do with that.”
For more information, visit www.MiddleClassAlliance.info.]]>
Thanks to a 10-year-old from California we know Alabama Governor Robert Bentley loves poppy seed chicken casserole followed by a blueberry surprise desert.
Across the river, in Oregon, Gov. John Kitzhaber apparently has a sweet tooth and enjoys Kuchen.
For a school project, Lauren Wu asked every U.S. governor for his or her favorite recipe. She created “American Cooking” filled with recipes from 26 governors.
Time magazine wrote about the cookbook and posted a video with a staffer trying to recreate Chris Christie’s blueberry French strata.
The cookbook, Time writes, “speaks to the nation’s deeply engrained culinary traditions—Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley submitted a recipe for crab cakes; Florida Gov. Rick Scott sent two variations on Key Lime pie.”
“But it also reveals much about the personal and professional priorities of those governors who did not participate. If Chris Christie found time to send his blueberry French strata recipe on April 1, while he was deep in the muck dealing with Bridgegate scandal, what excuse do his non-participating peers have?”
One of those non-participating peers was Washington’s own Gov. Jay Inslee. His spokeswoman said she didn’t believe they received a request.
I don’t know what Inslee’s favorite meal is, but I do know he and wife Trudi planted a large garden not long after moving into the governor’s mansion.
The couple’s first home-cooked meal after moving into the governor’s mansion was apparently a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Apparently Wu wasn’t too upset she couldn’t get every governor. The creative 10-year-old told Time, “The governors are all very busy,” she says, “and I don’t know, I’m sure they get a bunch of emails every day.”
California billionaire Tom Steyer entered Oregon and Washington politics in a big way this week.
Steyer has been described by many as the liberal version of the Koch brothers and his foray into Washington state legislative races has been expected.
In a great piece in May, NW News Network’s Austin Jenkins described Steyer, who ran his own hedge-fund, as a real-life Batman joining forces with Gov. Jay Inslee (who in Jenkins’ anecdote plays police commissioner James Gordon) to save the planet from climate change.
“In the movies, Batman and the police commissioner have a back-channel relationship and are united in their desire to rid Gotham City of crime,” Jenkins writes. “Similarly, Steyer and Inslee, both Democrats, share a passion for combating global climate change and, over the last year, they’ve developed a working relationship that’s not well-known to outsiders.”
That changed this week when Steyer made headlines after he poured $1 million into Washington state legislative races. His political action committee “NextGen Climate” also announced this week it would target Senate races in the Oregon Legislature.
“With pro-climate action governors in both states, NextGen Climate, in conjunction with its partners, will implement a program to identify and mobilize climate action voters to ensure that both Washington and Oregon have a pro-climate majority in their respective state legislatures in 2015,” a press release stated.
Like the Koch brothers, Steyer is quickly attracting detractors.
But in a post titled, “The Koch brothers, Tom Steyer and the limits of bogeyman politics,” the reporter writes, “there simply isn’t much evidence to suggest that any of this will influence voters’ thinking significantly enough to affect any outcomes this fall.”
Dean Simrell isn’t a huge fan of Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver.
But when Simrell, who lives in the 17th Legislative District, received Benton’s newsletter in the mail he thought maybe the senator had accomplished something that would help him.
“I was looking through this thing, it’s talking about fighting for our environment and is a brochure basically about what a great person Don Benton is,” Simrell said, when he noticed it said, “in big letters: my veteran driver’s license bill becomes law.”
Simrell, 77, is a veteran and had just renewed his driver’s license in August. He called the DMV to see about getting this new designation.
The measure, Senate Bill 5775, allows veterans to get a special designation on their license so they don’t have to pull out their Department of Defense discharge papers to prove their status.
Sounded like a good idea to Simrell. But what the newsletter doesn’t say is the law doesn’t take effect until 2017.
“He’s leading anyone to read this to believe they can go and it get it done now and well you can’t,” Simrell said.
“If I went in (to the DMV) with getting that in mind, sat in there and waited, sometimes they are busy, you can wait for an hour … Well, that would make you a little upset,” Simrell said.
And hey, maybe Simrell will change his mind about Benton, because the senator agreed.
“Upon further review, Senator Benton agrees that the section is unclear. He will include clarifications in his upcoming print and digital communications. He apologizes for any inconvenience caused by this miscommunication,” Matt Hunter, his legislative assistant, wrote in an email.
No, Simrell said, his opinion still stands.
“He can’t change it, he’s already put it in there,” he said.
But while Benton is being responsive, Simrell has a list of other items he would like to talk to the senator about.
Remember “he wants you to pay a litter tax for (on your) newspaper?” Simrell said.
If you’re eligible to vote but not registered, Washington’s Secretary of State’s office has a message for you: Take three minutes and register online.
There are 210,000 eligible residents in the state who aren’t registered to vote. About one-third are younger than 18 and 60 percent are under the age of 30, according to the secretary of state’s office.
If you fall under the eligible-but-not-registered category, you might see one of these postcards in your mailbox soon:
“We hope that citizens receiving the postcard will realize how easy it is to register online to vote here in Washington,” said Secretary of State Kim Wyman. “Registering is that key step that will allow them to speak through their ballot on the important races and measures facing voters this fall.”
Turnout for the primary in Clark County was very low, with only 28 percent of registered voters bothering to cast their ballot.
The general election is Nov. 4. The deadline to register online or by mail is Oct. 6. The final day for people to apply in person at their county elections office is Oct. 27, according to the secretary of state.
Federal grant money is being used to pay the $48,300 to mail the postcard to the 210,000 people.
Think that money could be better spent?
Guess you should vote!