History, politics, people of Oly WA

Month: October 2006 (Page 2 of 4)

933 continues nose dive

Elway Poll says “Yes” responses for 933 are down to 42 percent.

The “Yes I’m voting for that” is really the only thing you should worry about when they ask about initiatives. As noted before, initiatives typically are more popular in August and September and as the “No on” campaigns ramp up, they begin to sink as people become more unsure of their impact.

And, when people are unsure about initiatives, they vote no.

Norm Dicks answers the call

Wooo hoo:

Congressman Norm Dicks of the 6th CD responded positively to the calls that folks made to ask him to contribute money from his campaign chest to Democrats running in more competitive districts. He donated $100,000 + according to Chris Bowers, reporting back on his “Use It or Lose It” program. This was on top of the nearly $600,000 that he raised yesterday for the DCCC from the lunch he hosted downtown for Al Gore. Also today, John Kerry and Ted Kennedy each donated $500,000 to the DSCC. This program is working. We may not get the entire $15 million we are looking for but it will be close.

I feel like I and our readers here had an impact on Dicks’ decision, along with a bunch of folks from MoveOn.org. I called Dicks’ Tacoma office on Friday afternoon and then wrote up a post asking others to do the same. I repeated the plea yesterday. Then I called the Tacoma office again today to ask them how it was going. As soon as I called, they laughed and asked if I was calling about the program. I said I was. The man who answered the phone asked me if I knew that Dicks had already given a lot to candidates. I told him I did and appreciated it. He asked if I knew about the lunch yesterday and how much had been raised. Yes. I said that perhaps they might want to write to Chris Bowers and talk about getting credit for what they’d done. I gave them Chris’ email address and said I’d write about it as soon as I saw the results on Chris’ list.

Inslee’s (lack of blog) gets him on one of the worst list

You have to try pretty hard to get onto the CNet’s list of bad political websites this year (hat tip Kari), and Jay Inslee did it. The website itself not so bad as the rest on the list (most of which seem to be amateur attempts), by Rep. Inslee’s makes it because of the irony attached:

In keeping with the spirit of his tech-centric district–which includes Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond–he offers an official campaign blog. It’s outfitted with an internal search engine, options for e-mailing entries, and links for subscribing through 11 different readers. There’s just one hitch. Less than two weeks before Election Day, this blog includes absolutely zero entries. This is from the same politico whose campaign biography claims an “unparalleled commitment” to technological innovation. Right.

Unfortunately for CNet, Inslee’s district is just short of including the Microsoft main campus (according to Google Earth’s new congressional district overlay). But the point is made. Don’t put up a blog (or any feature of page) unless you’re going to use it.

Opportunity is voting no on I-920

Jim Anderson is not only a good blogger, he’s an op-ed writer in the Olympian. I love his point about opportunity:

Which would you choose – commotion or concentration, struggle or success, a job or a career? As a public school teacher, I know which I would choose for my students.

I’d wish for smaller classes – instead of 33 squirrelly kindergartners vying for attention, only 19, the difference between chronic crisis management and meaningful teaching.

I’d wish for improved instruction – programs for students struggling with math, reading and science, the difference between failing and passing.

I’d wish for expanded opportunities – more enrollment slots in our public universities and community colleges, and more financial aid for students, the difference between a hope and a future.

Thanks to recent legislation, this isn’t just a wish list. It’s a reality made possible by the estate tax.

This really is a case where a tax actually creates opportunity for people.

The Olympian often times runs an opposition column (pro and con) on any issue, and up against Jim was Don Brunnell of the AWB. Even though only half of one percent of Washington citizens even have to think about the estate tax, I like the subtle class warfar Brunell uses in his column:

The truly wealthy often avoid the estate tax altogether. They employ sophisticated estate planning experts and techniques to shield their assets. Their investment portfolios provide liquidity, allowing them to establish residency outside Washington and avoid the tax. In contrast, the value of a family business is in buildings, equipment and operations tied to a specific location. They can’t move to avoid the tax unless they sell or close up shop, neither of which is good for customers, employees or the community.

Yes, very complicated things like selling the company to your kids if they want to take it over.

The proponents initiative take pot shots at the Gates family, who are in favor of the estate tax, implying that they’re so damn rich that they can find secret ways out of paying the estate tax. Of course Bill Gates’ secret way out is that he’s giving most of his money away. Sort of like an estate tax.

Why couldn’t I post this to Youtube?

I was trying to post this today as an example of a particularly bad television ad, an ad by Paul Nelson attacking Rep. Ron Kind for apparently voting for the budget and pointing to scientific studies undertaken by the NIH. I was going to post it in contrast to this ad by the Yes on 89 folks in California, and talk about how some ads just keep up from voting at all.

Find the ad also on Nelson’s website here.

But, now I’m wondering why Youtube wouldn’t let me post the Nelson ad in the first place. I tried twice this afternoon, and both times it was rejected for “terms of use violations.” Political ads aren’t copyrighted, they are part of the public domain. Also, Nelson needs to be mocked. So, why reject the video?

Call Norm Dicks

According to the latest FEC reports, 69 Democratic House incumbents, each with more than $200,000 in their campaign accounts, are either facing no opposition for re-election, or are facing token Republican opposition that has failed to raise more than $10,000. Combined, these 69 incumbents have roughly $50,000,000 in their campaign bank accounts. If each of these 69 incumbents were to give 30% of their campaign funds either directly to competitive Democratic challengers and / or to the DCCC, that would make $15,000,000. Then, we would indeed have the money to fully target 60 Republican-held seats.

Across the country, there are tons of “safe districts” where Democrats don’t really have to worry about losing a congressional seat. These campaigns, though, still raise a ton of money and this year a good thing for them to do would be to spread some of that wealth around. MyDD has a good post here (that I quoted above), and Lynn over at Evergreen Politics puts a local spin on it:

In this state there is only one Congressman on this list, Norm Dicks in WA-06. So please call his office and politely explain why you are calling, explain the program and the reason for the program.

I just called Norm’s Tacoma office (253-272-5884, DC number is 202.225.5916) ) and discussed the situation with the person who answered the phone. He said that Dicks was hosting fundraisers for Democratic challengers. I thanked him and said we’re asking for more this year. We’re asking for 30% of what they have in their coffers. In Dicks’ case, 30% is $112,040 of the total of $373,466. I also asked him to get back to me with the answer. He said it was unlikely since they were quite busy.

I’m guessing that they may change their mind if 200 or 400 or 1000 of us call.

Tips for good calls

1. Be polite
2. Be prepared for pushback
3. Tell them this is an extraordinary situation because so many seats are in play
4. Tell them others have given more than 30%
5. Give them a way to contact you when they decide how much to pledge
6. Only call Representatives in your home state

933 forum last night, thoughts

Last night the Thurston Democrats held a forum on 933 (Protecting Communities).

A few points that stuck out for me.

In recent polling, 933 was below 50 percent. Even though the “no” votes were even well below that, the important number is really the yes votes. Initiatives tend to peak in their support in August, around primary time, and then decrease until November. The support for 933 is already burning, and may be down below 50 percent. Most of the undecides, I guess, will end up voting against it.

David Troutt, of the Nisqually River Council, pointed out that even if we end up winning, there is still a problem. People don’t trust government to set fair land use rules. While 933 probably wouldn’t have done anything to actually make government more responsive, we haven’t paid very close attention to this in the past either. We probably should, and he used the example of local planning efforts, like the recent effort in the Graham area. The closer this type of planning is to the people, the better.

Sen. Karen Fraser pointed out that 933 may violate I-601, which outlawed new programs for local government with no new funding.

The conversation overall last night was very nice, I think everyone would agree with that, but in terms of the number of folks that showed up, I’m disapointed. This is the second of these forums we’ve had, and turnout has been a disapointment.

At one point last night, I think we ran out of steam, not because the panelists didn’t have anything to say, but with the open question format, we ran out of questions.

It is on me to get folks to turn out for these events, and I have to say I’m at a loss of what to do. Maybe I should personally call 50 people and ask them to attend. Whatever I’m doing, I’m doing it wrong.

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