Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Farmer Jim Awakening

I came home from Olympia last night and Jim had made wild blackberry/raspberry jam from our frozen berries. To top that...he made biscuits!

Then tonight there were 20+ carrots from the garden...all cleaned and ready to eat.

Yes, folks. The farmer is beginning to stir!

Farmer Jim swinging one of our 14 grandchildren after a little gardening. Aren't we all just about ready for another growing season?!

Obama's State Of The Union And Education

I have been to China five times within the last few years. Three of those trips were specifically dedicated to learning about Chinese education. On one trip I was a featured conference speaker and spoke to educators from around the world.

In brief:

1. Most Chinese children are the only descendants for two parents and four grandparents. In a society where most are REALLY matters that your child succeed! Your future depends on it!

2. Chinese children NEVER have part time after school jobs. Their job is one thing...get an education. Six people work to make sure a student has all that is necessary to compete in school.

3. There are no intramural sports, time consuming away games, or frivolous waste of time (as they would look at it). Exercise is done in group on a large field. Lines and lines of children all moving together to the loud speaker. (By the China it is considered unpatriotic to be overweight...exercise spots dot the city landscapes to encourage fitness.)

4. Chinese children get only one chance to succeed. If you are a poor student at a young age then you will not be going to a university. You will be sent down another path.

The recent hoop-la in the media regarding the American Chinese mother and her take on raising children has at least brought to light what the competition is like. We need to have that discussion.

Obama should have called on America's parents to dedicate themselves to educating children. National priorities are not left to institutions or intellectuals, or better buildings. We need to reset priorities as we do know who are competition is. It is not the kid next door. It is the kid in China or India.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Wilbur Win Wakes Wonks

New State Party Chair, Kirby Wilbur, may become known as Washington State's Dubya. Why not? It's time for an outspoken conservative to lead citizens who are gravitating to the Republicans over tax issues. And, party loyalists have been looking for someone to offer grassroot leadership within the party.

As Wilbur said in his speech to the delegates...he was running to be a leader... not a CEO. In fact, he will be both.

Last Saturday the former talk radio host beat out Luke Esser 69 to 36 with 7 votes going to an unknown. Wilbur got 60.5%. (Not bad...but didn't catch your editor's 66.7% of last fall.)

The first reviews of the election were predictable. Liberal pundits only know how to swat at conservatives. Knowing very little about Republican Party inter workings they made a quick weekend out of the change and declared Wilbur's win would work against Attorney General Rob McKenna's presumed gubernatorial candidacy. Then, I guess, they went out to celebrate the win.

Wilbur has what the party operatives want in a state chair. They were wowed by his potential "wow" factor. They wanted someone who could and would lead rallies, motivate the conservative base, and value the bottom up approach in campaigns. Wilbur has stepped up to help carry a banner that has been held by Tim Eyman, Tea Party activists, and a few grassroot elected officials.

Kirby Wilbur's task will be to make sure he has a manager in place to carry on daily operations. He must stop the quiet effort on the part of liberal Republicans to cleanse the ranks of the legislature of Reagan Republicans. Wilbur needs to let us all know right away that he and McKenna can work together to take the mansion. He MUST raise money. He MUST, and I believe will, stop the bleeding of resources that have been spent on failed lawsuits aimed at gaining party powers.

I predict Kirby Wilbur will be involved in the selection of legislative candidates. This will not be to the liking of some in Olympia. I also predict Wilbur will not take part in the very destructive process of "eating our own," to the advantage of the other party. Wilbur said in his acceptance speech that he wants an inclusive party. He needed to say that. He needed to send a message to those who do not play well when left unsupervised.

But Wilbur has a limited cusp of time to work wonders. The pendulum has not reached the point of zero momentum but that will happen during his first term if Republicans continue give away their political advantages in a down economy. By then he needs to have the armaments in place to win in 2012. If he does not...then as the momentum swings...Republicans will have lost their opportunity, again.

Coming Up: Will Wilbur be able to stop the war on conservatives?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Republican State Party Elections This Weekend

Most observers are predicting an ousting of former Senator Luke Esser as head of the State Republican Party.

This weekend the newly elected county chairs and committeemen and women will meet to vote in the state party chair for a two year stint.

The contenders are Luke Esser, former radio host Kirby Wilbur, and an unknown by the name of Bill Rennie. For all we know...Rennie may be in the mix to draw votes from Wilbur and therefor helping Esser.

Esser is a good enough guy. I met him when we were both working at the King County Council. I was chief of staff to Kent Pullen (deceased) and he to Rob McKenna. His office was stacked high with papers. Only Brian Derdoski's was worse! I was somewhere on the list I am sure.

Esser became state senator. He then failed to win the Republican primary in a bid for U. S. Congress. The following year he was defeated for reelection to his State Senate seat by Rodney Tom. Esser had gone too far right in his attempt to win the Republican congressional nomination. He couldn't get back to the center and lost to a Democrat who had plenty of ammo to use against Esser because of Essers statements in the congressional race. Esser then, with the backing of Rob McKenna, became party chair.

Esser is part of the equation in Republicans not showing as well as they should have in a huge Republican year. No doubt...the party has suffered setbacks. For the first time in our state's history Democrats took the late absentee voters. Republicans have always been able to count on the late voters because we have had a great get out the vote effort. Failing in this cost us several elections! (More on this later.)

The party has also been chasing expensive and fruitless courtroom efforts trying to get its way regarding the primary elections. It is pretty painful to watch considering the money being spent. Democrats are smart enough to be working on elections.

Wilbur is well known and word has it that he has locked up eastern WA. There are 39 counties. Each gets three votes, one county chair, one state committeeman, and one state committeewoman. Do the math.

Luke is being helped from the top down and Wilbur from the bottom up. I will report with a blow by blow.

Side note:

Wilbur writes to the 117 delegates.
"It has come to my attention that there is some confusion regarding the schedule for the WSRP meeting this weekend. I have learned that in the materials most of you apparently received by email on Sunday, there is listed a debate for the WSRP Chair candidates from 9:00 -10:00 PM on Friday. Yesterday, you may have received an email notice with details about a forum, now apparently scheduled for 8:00-9:30 PM. Last evening, I finally received an email notifying and inviting me to attend this debate. This was my first notification of this event. I was never asked to attend, nor consulted on any of the details."

On purpose???

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Team Work Needed

We have all seen over and over the tremendous 67 yard touchdown run of Seahawk Marshawn Lynch. Saturday's game and that play in particular gave us several lessons in life.
My favorite? (You may have to cut and paste or go to the Seahawk page for link.)

When you see the play again, and you will, notice who is in the end zone. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck ran the field with Lynch and others...clearing the way for success. Here is a quarterback who wanted to win! He was going to do everything he could to make his team successful!!! Everything.

Winners play that way. Leadership knows you have to work together and want everyone to be successful.

The Senate Republican Caucus leadership might take a lesson here. We, too, are underdogs. We will stay that way without teamwork.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Two Things: Neutered Transportation Commission and the Fallacy Of Gregoire's Ferry Proposal

Thursday night I attended the last of the public testimony meetings hosted by the now neutered State Transportation Commission.

Directly after the fall elections I requested an informal AG Opinion regarding the effects of Initiative 1053. The main thrust of the initiative was to require a 2/3 vote of the legislature to raise taxes. By 64% the voters wanted it harder to raise taxes. But, they also want greater accountability in government. In the spirit of getting affirmed by Attorney General Rob McKenna in the response to my request...affirmed the part of the initiative that said
all toll and fee increases must have a recorded vote of the legislature with a simple majority required for passage.
At first the Transportation Commission kicked at the prick. (That is a biblical reference and may be esoteric...but I like the meaning which refers to camels that don't want to take commands even while being poked with a stick.)

The Transportation Commission may actually be unconstitutional. In the late 1980's King County had an agency called Metro. It was a federated board. There were mayors, a few city councilmembers and county council members...a few executive appointees, a couple of "others." This appointed, federated board was responsible for all of the transit and sewage decisions for King County.

Cumberland resident, Valerie Cunningham, successfully challenged the constitutionality of the Metro board. Judge Dwyer ruled that the system deprived certain voters and favored others through unfair representation. Metro did not meet the "one man-one vote" requirement.

A person could have no elected representation from their residence and yet another King County resident could have three or four. Maybe Black Diamond had none...yet a resident of Des Moines had a King County Councilmember, mayor and city councilmember voting on the Metro board.

After Dwyer's ruling....Metro's responsibilities of transit and sewer were put into the hands of the King County Council so the one man one vote rule would be satisfied.

The governor has proposed a regional ferry taxing district. If you live in a county that has a ferry dock...then you would be required to pay for the ferries. The appointed board would not be dissimilar to the old Metro.

The ferries are part of the state highway system...where would this kind of financing lead us? What would the Gregoire proposal mean to the pocket books of those of us who don't use ferries?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

CPS: Escapes Budget Cuts

Note: Because of the campaign and trips to see relatives afterwards, I have neglected this blog. But, I will now start up again.
Citing the need to protect children, Gov. Gregoire recently told the press that CPS would not take budget cuts. I am the first to agree that not enough is being done to protect children. Just read the headlines to see how many cases are gone neglected by the department. But, on the other end of the spectrum, children are being taken without cause. No budget cuts means the system of taking children for adoption will continue, unabated, during the budget shortage. Here is a grandma comment just posted. This story is one repeated often.

Loving Grandma Writes:
"The job of the CPS worker is to build the most damning report she can to justify the removal of the children. I have read the report on my son and his wife, who were not allowed to bring their newborn home from the hospital because of the alleged possibility of neglect. The descriptions in the CPS report bear only a vague resemblance to my real-life son and daughter-in-law. The report paints such a misleading picture of the situation that it would be no help to Senator Roach or to anyone who wanted to know the true story."

Today in Olympia I received two calls from CPS involved families. All were pleading for help from a government that has lied to take children. I am sure there are some cases where the department is correct in their actions....I wonder if Secretary Denise Revels Robinson has gotten the "taking rate" down like she said she would.

Session starts Janurary 10th. I will be ready.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Communicating With Legislators

I was asked for some advise on communication with legislators. Much can be said about e-mails, hot-line messages, phone calls, letters, etc. One on one is always the best. I was asked for just one comment. Each case is individual. The following is directed to a group but one on one is still the best when it comes to individual constituent issues.

At home, I like being invited to events and meetings on occasion. It is part of developing a relationship. That the elected official can meet the officers and membership of the organization and feel they have several contacts is very important. I like to see and meet with the people. I want to know about their concerns. I want to be able to answer questions if they are important to the individuals or group. (I would always rather speak for myself than have someone else carry the message though that might not always be possible.)

In the legislative setting, if the invitations have not gone unanswered, there should be a reunion of sorts. The elected official already knows the group and its leaders. Isn't that a better way to start a conversation than if there has been no contact?

In the case of (name of group)issues I am, based on my record, a "go to" person for their efforts. They should identify natural allies and specifically work to develop firm associations. Once the group has identified it's like-minded legislators then the legislator and the group can work together to improve government.

Best wishes,

I appreciated being asked.