Friday, March 26, 2010

Special Election on April 27th

There are three measures on the ballot for April 27th:

. City of Black Diamond - Public Safety Levy
. Skykomish School District No. 404 - Maintenance and Operations Levy
. Proposed Kent Fire Department Regional Fire Authority

Read about them here,

Monday March 29th is the deadline for registering to vote in the special election as noted in the attachment.


King County Election News, March 25, 2010

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Congressman Jim McDermott on Health Care Reform

At last: a National Health Care Reform Bill!

For me and many of colleagues, passing a national health care reform bill is the culmination of a long process. In the late 1950s and early 60s, when I was going to medical school in Chicago, Canada’s Tommy Douglas was beginning a national health care plan in the province of Saskatchewan. As I came to the end of my medical training, doctors began to strike in Canada because they didn't want to practice medicine under any system that was not totally free enterprise in nature. But as a new physician at the time, it seemed to me that the benefits of extending health coverage to everyone in Canada far outweighed the benefits a free enterprise system. Between 1963 and 1970, while I got my training in adult and child psychiatry and served two years in the United States Navy, I had the opportunity to observe the American healthcare “nonsystem” firsthand. Every day, I watched as people fell through the cracks. When I entered politics in the Washington state legislature, I knew that it was my obligation to do all that I could to bring about a national system that would provide coverage for everyone. And during my campaign for governor in 1972, I made my first speech declaring my support for a single-payer system similar to Canada. Each year that I served in the state legislature, I faced the institutional resistance to the creation of a more orderly system. Yet people complained they couldn't get care. Hospitals complained about uncompensated care. People complained about cost shifting of the expenses of the uninsured onto the policies paid for by the insured.

In the early 1980s, I began trying to establish an uncompensated care fund that would be paid into by all hospitals and the receipts would be given to those hospitals that took care of those in the community who had no health insurance. But hospitals resisted. I did a study to find out how many people in the state of Washington either were not covered by a government program or didn't have insurance through their employment. Unsurprisingly, we found that it was a huge number. So In 1983, I began the process of trying to do in Washington State what Tommy Douglas had done a few hundred miles away in the province of Saskatchewan.

As I tried to get universal coverage in the state of Washington, I ran into numerous obstacles. The medical establishment was more interested in capital investments than they were in ensuring that medical coverage was available to everyone in Washington. Large businesses were reluctant to accept any responsibility beyond what they were already doing for their employees. Any mandate was out of the question because under a technical loophole, big employers are exempt from many regulations that deal with insurance. So instead, I ended up authoring the Washington State Basic Health Plan, which is a subsidized health insurance program to help lower-income families afford coverage. But I wasn’t able to get universal coverage.

This experience taught me that it was going to be incredibly difficult to create a health care plan in one state that could be replicated across the country as had been done in Canada. I wrote the plan originally when the governor of the state of Washington was a Republican, so it didn’t get anywhere until Democrat Booth Gardner was elected governor of Washington in 1984. The process was so frustrating and the final legislation so modest that I decided I'd go back to medicine. I went to work for the State Department in Africa where I saw the beginnings of the AIDS epidemic in 1987.

One day my brother called me when I was in Africa and told me there was a seat open in Congress. He suggested that I return to the U.S. to run for the seat and work on getting universal health care. The dream was not dead, it has just been dormant. So I returned, ran for Congress and was elected in 1988. I made the decision to get on the Ways and Means Committee because I thought that was where I could be most effective in getting a national plan established. I was appointed to the committee in 1991 and began working with 95 other members who were dedicated to a single player plan. In 1993 President and Mrs. Clinton came to Washington to enact a national health plan, but we were unsuccessful.

The years between 1994 and 2006 were a painful period as we watched Republicans try to dismantle the only national health care program we have, Medicare. We breathed a great sigh of relief at the 2008 election of President Barack Obama who stated that he wanted to enact a national health plan. The President was determined not to repeat the errors of the Clinton administration, and the process of writing the bill has been a long and tortuous. Over the course of many months, we’ve watched this bill wind through three committees in the House and 2 committees in the Senate, which brought us to where we are today.

I still believe that a single-payer model is the most effective to achieve both cost control and universal coverage. But 40 years of experience prevent me from being ideological about the solution to the problems of universal coverage. Rather than establishing a single-payer system, Congress has designed a less desirable model that that would more tightly regulate private insurance companies much in the same way that we do with utility companies. Members of Congress have opted for a model that provides for insurance regulation at the national level, rather than the state level as it is today. It has much in common with the French system which provides universal coverage to the French people at half the cost of what we spend here in the United States. Their system provides a quality of care that is considered the best in the world according to the World Health Organization.

I know that this bill is far from perfect and will require continued efforts to adjust and improve it in the years to come. But today we began. As the Chinese adage says, “every journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step.” We have taken that step.

Congressman Jim McDermott

Friday, March 19, 2010

Gut Check

Dear Chad,

By all accounts, the health care vote is coming this weekend or Monday. For my colleagues in Congress, it is gut-check time: Do we crack under the pressure and threats, or do we see this cause for what it is -- something far bigger than any of our individual political futures.

Thirty million Americans' health care is at stake -- this is a no brainer.

We must pass health care -- we must, as I've said in the past, "Finish the Kitchen." Sign my pledge now to make sure my colleagues know there is support for the decision, that wavering will not be tolerated.

Click here to sign now!

The Republican threats of electoral catastrophe if health care reform passes are empty caterwauling -- a cynical, last-ditch attempt to gain political power. As I've said to you before, I believe that NOT passing health care reform threatens our majority far more.

But even if I did believe these ridiculous threats, I would still vote for health care reform -- because I believe it is my job as a public servant to put those 30 million Americans ahead of any political calculus.

Making decisions like this is why I ran for office in the first place. I came to Congress to do as much good as I can for the people in Washington and this country. How could I possibly sit by and let a once-in-a-lifetime chance to make a difference in millions of lives pass by because it may put my job at risk?

I can't sit by and miss this chance -- and no other member in Congress should either.

Tell them to join me by signing my "Finish the Kitchen" pledge now.

For years, health care has consistently been at the top of the list of voters' biggest concerns -- we are desperate for a solution, and have been for decades. Senators and members of Congress throughout history waited their whole careers for this kind of opportunity -- to make such a profound difference for so many with one vote -- and yet, we may let it go because we're spooked by make-believe threats and political pundit spin.

Americans need relief, and now voters are demanding action. Now is the time -- we must get this done.

Thank you for your support -- and your work making sure our representatives do what's right, not just what's easy.

Very truly yours,

Jay Inslee
Member of Congress

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

An Organizing Benefit for 3-Strikes Reform


Professor Alexander served as the Director of the Racial Justice Project for the ACLU of Northern California. She holds joint appointments with the Moritz College of Law and the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University.

Presented by Justice Works! Co-sponsored by ACLU Washington; Black Prisoner’s Caucus; Coalition of Anti-Racist Whites; Concerned Lifers Organization; Friends Committee on Washington Public Policy; Hotel Max Seattle, SEEDArts, a Program of SEED; STEPS: Steps To Ethically Profiling Stability; University Behind Bars, Washington Defender Association


1 in 30 adult Washingtonians are behind bars or under community supervision. An estimated 1 in 20 children is affected at any one time. This impact falls with severe disparity depending on race. Washington is less than 4% Black. Our prison population is 20% Black. Our 3-Strikes population is 40% Black.

Professor Alexander traces how racial disparity in the criminal justice system nationwide connects with the historical Jim Crow, creating a new form of the old social ill. She presents her vision for grassroots organizing for social change to enable policy changes that put Jim Crow behind us forever.

The evening begins with short presentations by champions of recent positive developments that put Washington at the center of the nation’s criminal justice reform movement:

In Farrakhan v Gregoire, January 2010, Federal court ruled that people in Washington State prisons should vote because the racial disparities in Washington’s criminal justice system cannot be explained in race-neutral ways. A 2009 law change restores the right to vote to approximately 167,000 Washingtonians. There has been a resurgence of the campaign to reform 3-Strikes. Despite positive developments, our criminal justice system remains one of the most racially disproportionate nationwide.


Please download and share the event flyer!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Support Health Care Reform! from DFA and the Coffee Party

This is an email coming from the Coffee Party USA:

"For those of you who would like to do one small thing that can make a big difference, here’s your chance: on Friday, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin announced that the Senate will support and pass whatever the House includes in a reconciliation bill -- even if it includes the choice of a public health insurance option.

This gives House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a big opportunity to take the reins back on behalf of the House of Representatives and the majority of Americans who want a non-profit public option to compete with the private for-profit insurance corporations. Getting this done in the House bill will give us huge leverage to pass it in the Senate. Speaker Pelosi needs to know how much of the general public supports this.

Click on the link below if you want to send your support. Please feel free to let me know if you have any questions about it."

Executive Constantine on the King Conservation District election


Tomorrow (Tuesday) is Election Day for the King Conservation District. While largely unknown, the King Conservation District has a big impact, for our environment, our agricultural economy, and many of our rural neighbors. That's why I'm supporting Max Prinsen in tomorrow's election. Max currently works at KCD and is the President of Save Habitat And Diversity of Wetland (SHADOW). He is also on the WRIA 9 (Green/Duwamish salmon recovery) Committee, the Cedar River Council, and is the endorsed candidate of the Sierra Club Cascade Chapter and the King County Conservation Voters.

I encourage you to take some time this evening, find your nearest polling location (click here), and go cast your vote for Max tomorrow. Every property owner in King County pays into the Conservation District, and every voter has a right to help choose its leadership. Please take the time to make sure your voice is heard.



Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fire the Insurance Man!

This video comes from:
Rick Aydelotte
PO Box 221
Skykomish WA 98288

2010 Proposed KCDCC Platform

Hi everyone,

The new proposed platform is available at,

We hope this is timely and that you willl use this copy for your caucus - platform work on Sunday March 14, 2010.

The committee earnestly requests that any feedback or resolutions which you wish to be considered be provided to the committee immediately after your caucus concludes, but in no case, later than March 19, 2010. The KCDCC Platform and Resolutions Committee meets on Monday 22, 2010..

Thank you,

Susan Sheary, County Chair
Joel Ware, Platform Chair

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

From Washington Conservation Voters, elect Max Prinsen!

In 7 days King County will hold an election that will determine how millions of natural resource dollars are spent, yet many voters have never even heard of it.

On March 16, voters will elect a new member to the King Conservation District, and environmentalists say the choice is clear - elect Max Prinsen.

The King Conservation District (KCD) is a natural resource agency authored by Washington State. KCD programs range from assisting farmers with creating conservation plans to investing in environmental protection and habitat restoration programs.

King County Conservation Voters endorsed Max Prinsen because of his strong background in habitat and water conservation. Prinsen is the President of Save Habitat and Diversity of Wetland (SHADOW), an organization he founded to preserve critical areas in SE King County.

Unlike other King County elections, the KCD election process requires that voters show up in person at polling locations - there is no absentee or mail in ballots. Last year only 2,700 people voted in this election. Your vote always counts, but when only a few thousand people might cast a ballot, your vote for a pro-environmental candidate is critical.

A list of all the polling locations and hours are below. Please take a minute right now to plan where and when you can vote next Tuesday, March 16. See you at the polling booths!

Jesseca Brand
King County Conservation Voters

Polling Locations:

Auburn King County Library
1102 Auburn Way South, Auburn
Poll hours 10:30am – 8:00pm

Bellevue King County Library
1111 110th Avenue NE, Bellevue
Poll hours 10:30am – 8:00pm

Carnation King County Library
4804 Tolt Avenue, Carnation
Poll hours 10:30am – 8:00pm

Des Moines King County Library
21260 11th Avenue South, Des Moines
Poll hours 10:30am – 8:00pm

Downtown Seattle Public Library
1000 Fourth Avenue, Seattle
Poll hours 10:30am – 7:30pm

Shoreline King County Library
345 NE 175th , Shoreline
Poll hours 10:30am – 8pm

Vashon King County Library
17210 Vashon Highway SW, Vashon Island
Poll hours 10:30 am – 8:00pm

Monday, March 8, 2010

Executive Dow Constantine's remarks on March 8, 2010

It’s good to be back in a familiar setting among colleagues and friends.

It was just 105 days ago, Mr. Chair, that I chaired my last council meeting and then handed you the gavel. The next day I was honored to take the helm of this, one of the nation’s largest, most diverse and most vibrant counties — one with a history of innovation and transformation, and a future with boundless potential.

I’d like to first acknowledge my family—who are sitting in the front row. Also joining us today are members of my transition team and of senior county staff.

Between here, and our vibrant and sustainable community of the future, are a host of immediate and long-term challenges.

We must invest, without delay, in a 21st century transportation infrastructure that helps shape land use and create prosperity as our region evolves.

We must protect, in an era of diminished revenue, our health and the most vulnerable in our communities.

We must maintain, in the face of cost pressures, excellence in public safety and justice for all.

We must partner, despite antiquated political divisions, with our cities and regional governments, business and labor leaders, to focus on creating jobs and opportunity.

These are the goals for what my administration will deliver.

Read the rest here.

100 Days


Just over one year ago, I announced my candidacy for King County Executive. I sought this position to bring new energy and a needed focus on innovation and reform to King County government. I knew we could do better for the hard working people in our urban, suburban and rural communities. We can be better partners for economic growth, better stewards of tax dollars, and better caretakers of our environment.

After a long campaign, I took office in late November. Immediately, we began taking needed steps to change the culture of King County government. We're putting the emphasis on customer service, financial management, delivering essential services, and working with cities, the state and federal partners to invest in our communities and families.

I'm proud of the team I have assembled - led by Deputy Executive Fred Jarrett and a diverse group of experienced professionals who share our vision and values. But I have not forgotten about the "team" of people who delivered last fall’s victory, including you.

I want to pause as we mark our first 100 days in office and thank you for all you have done over the past year. And, I want to ask again for your help.

I ended the last campaign with a modest debt. Due to the generosity of many, we paid most of that by the end of the year. I am already looking forward to the next election. Even a small contribution of $50 or $25 will help maintain and grow the grass roots support that fueled our success last year - the largest “low dollar” donor base ever assembled for a local election in Washington history.

This morning, I will be delivering my 100 day speech before the King County Council. This speech will outline our Countywide Strategic Plan - a blueprint that integrates public input, Council initiatives, and the comprehensive reform agenda developed by my administration. Along with the plan, I am previewing Executive orders and policy proposals to jump-start the changes we must implement. It will take time and thoughtful, coordinated effort to realize our goals, but we're going to make it happen.

Yesterday the Seattle Times ran an article outlining many of our early successes, and the challenges we face. You can read the article here.

We're off to a great start for our administration! With your continued help, we can focus on delivering for the people of King County, and look forward to future success.

Thank you so much,


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

2010 PCO Candidate Filing in King County

There is good news on how PCO filings will be handled this year. As you know, last year the legislature passed the bill that removed the filing fee for PCOs. This was great news for election administrators because now we can extend the accuracy and efficiency we have experienced with online candidate filings to candidates for PCO.

We are developing an online candidate filing for PCOs! This will be done exactly like the other candidate filing but it will be completely separate. I am going to attempt to explain how it works and why it is important for all candidates to use it.

There are many benefits to the parties, candidates and our department. Candidates will be able to file from their home, a library, maybe from your headquarters or from our office: anywhere they have access to a computer. Every year we have numerous candidates file in the wrong precinct and we have to contact these individuals to inform them of the errors they have made on the forms. Candidates also find out (sometimes too late for those who file at the last minute) that they have failed to update their voter registration if they have recently moved. When we receive the bulk filings from the party representatives there may be missing information, again requiring our office to make contact with candidates. All this is very time consuming and puts everyone at a greater risk for error.

When a person files online it is as simple as filing out the paper form. Candidates will enter required information and only the precinct for which they are eligible will be offered as a filing option. If their address is out of date they will know this immediately. If they omit any information they will not be able to proceed, prompting you to not skip a required field. Candidates who have completed their filing will be listed on our web site twice daily throughout filing week. This will keep everyone up to date on which precincts have no candidates filed and limit the number of unintentionally contested races.

Accuracy and efficiency will realized by King County Elections in the processing of declarations. In addition to the number of reasons requiring staff to make contact with candidates, we also experience a challenge in deciphering handwriting on forms; lay out and proofing the ballot is a labor intensive endeavor. When a candidate uses online candidate filing the information entered will be drawn directly from our voter registration system and linked directly to the system that puts the candidate on the correct ballot. We will drastically reduce the number of hours spent entering candidate names and therefore reduce the number of errors. We have experienced this improved process over the past 4 years when other elected officials have used online candidate filing.

Some quick answers to potential questions:

  • A space will be provided to enter the name you want to appear on the ballot.
  • A line will be provided for a mailing address.
  • If you want to see who has filed, go on our website and see if someone has filed in your precinct and party.
  • If you do not have access to a computer our office will have a bank of computers available with staff available to assist, no computer skills required.
  • This is a secure and private way to file. Any information you provide becomes a public record after you complete the declaration.
  • We have been using online candidate filing for all offices for the last 4 years and receive great reviews from users. More than 80% of candidates used on line candidate filing last year.
  • Our office will have a paper record of all filings.

I have included a flier for you to print and distribute to any potential candidate for PCO. Distribute them at your upcoming meetings. It includes when filing will begin and offers contact information. As we get closer to candidate filing time our web site will have more information. I will also organize a meeting in April with party representatives to have a demonstration to answer questions so in turn you will be able to assist PCOs. The entire state is aiming at no paper declarations this year. In years past the Public Disclosure Commission produced paper declaration for candidates, as a cost-savings measure they will not be distributing forms to counties. With the Secretary of State office now making online candidate filing available across the state everyone is hoping for no paper, no waste. As I stated earlier, our office will have a printout of the completed form that every candidate files as a record.

Any question, please contact me. Please share this news with your PCOs. I am confident that we will all benefit from this new development.

Sandy McConnell
Program Manager Election Operations
King County Elections
919 SW Grady Way
Renton, WA 98057