They said it would be free. Or, maybe it wouldn’t be free exactly, but surely just a painless reshoveling of the extra billions piled around Olympia at the time. It was called the Washington School Class Size Act, or Initiative 728, presented to the sympathetic voters of Washington on the 2000 ballot. The ballot title said, “Shall school districts reduce class sizes, extend learning programs, expand teacher training, and construct facilities, funded by lottery proceeds, existing property taxes, and budget reserves?”
Bob Le Roy and Justine Stevens-McClure of the Alzheimer’s Association stopped by the office with Diane Tribble of Aging and Adult Care of Central Washington Tuesday to talk about the upcoming “Walk to End Alzheimer’s.”
No photographs please, unless you pay $1,500 for a permit, and perhaps convince us your motives are acceptable. So has said the U.S. Forest Service to would-be commercial photographers who wished to capture images in a wilderness area. That may sound insane, but there it is in a proposed rule already temporarily in force and due to be finalized before year’s end. After predictable outrage Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell backpedaled Thursday, assuring all the rule was meant only for commercial photo shoots and movie crews, not newspaper or television ...
It was with great interest we read that the 12 Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation are considering dropping the labels imposed upon them, and returning to, well, their real names. It has always been a little puzzling, to them and to us, how groups of indigenous peoples can come to be called by a name they never knew, communicated in a Roman alphabet they never used, which couldn’t begin to represent the correct inflection of their native language. The Wenatchee tribe, for instance, never called itself the Wenatchee tribe ...
We have made the point many times: This is one region. We are not divided by geography, custom or culture. We, for lack of a better name the Greater Wenatchee Area, have been splintered into a conglomeration of rival municipalities by history and political circumstance. We pay every day for the inefficiencies that brings about.
There is a dismal inevitability to the automated enforcement of traffic laws. It’s happening, more is coming, and if the technology in its current infant state makes some of us uncomfortable, at least we are being conditioned to a future where traffic laws can be enforced always, every second of the day, no exceptions.
This gets people excited. Four energy companies, including some big players, have proposed a novel and massive wind power project. It would generate, sometimes, large amounts of electricity on the Wyoming prairie, then transmit it to a site 130 miles south of Salt Lake City, where it would energize compressors pumping air into huge salt domes. The underground compressed air would be released on demand to turn electric generators, the resulting power shipped by existing transmission line to insatiable California.
This appears to be a glass-half-full-or-half-empty situation. We working people are not making as much money as we did at the dawn of this horrible recession, late in 2008. The U.S. Census American Community Survey numbers released this month tell the story. The recession supposedly is over and recovery under way, but it is hard to find solace in the statistics.
The Columbia River Treaty turned 50 Tuesday. In 1964 the United States and Canada signed the agreement that has been praised around the world as a model of international resource management. The recent anniversary was less a celebration of the past than a welcome of opportunity. They come not to praise the treaty, but change it.
The Export-Import Bank of the United States, crucial to the economy of a trade-dependent state like Washington, has been given a reprieve. Congress last week voted to extend the bank’s charter to June 30, 2015.
The first step has come — to acknowledge that poverty is a community problem, not something for someone else to fight or to hand off to distant government. The second step is to join together, to collaborate in a community strategy to break the cycle of poverty that sadly is often passed from generation to generation.
In 1984 I was at a crossroads somewhere in County Durham in the north of England, a solo tourist with nothing much to do. I was dropped off by my English hosts, to fend for myself while they tended to their jobs. After a few hours of perusing Durham Cathedral, checking out Saint Cuthbert’s shrine and the tomb of Saint Bede the Venerable, the major attractions, I wandered through the surrounding cemetery and assorted monuments.
It is becoming the accepted view, despite the occasional contradiction and naysayer, that Washington and its government does not have enough money. It needs to tax more, tax higher and tax soon, and if properly done it will skim off the top and inject into the bottom.
I am sorry for this tardy review of a movie a year old, but what I saw has my brain locked in a fit of obsession. It is driving me crazy. I know of no way to break it without confession. I must save myself.
It is now the Legislature’s turn to act. It is the Legislature’s turn to keep its commitments, to meet its constitutional duty to make ample provision for the education of all children. Between now and the final gavel of 2015 there must be a titanic shift, a historic compromise, monumental work of statecraft, to accomplish what the constitution requires.