Category Archives: government

VOTE Eric BLUMHAGEN & Rebeca MUNIZ for Seattle School Board!

 

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Eric for Seattle School Board

https://www.ericblumhagen.com/ 

I recommend Eric Blumhagen for Seattle School District, in District 1

As a Seattle Public Schools parent and advocate, Eric has been directly involved in the Seattle School District for over 16 years. So he will bring valuable institutional knowledge and firsthand experience to the role of board director. This depth is especially important this election since there will be as many as three or four new members joining the school board this year.

Eric is the only candidate in this race with experience that spans from kindergarten through high school. He has served on various SPS task forces, including the Facilities and Capacity Management Advisory Committee (FACMAC), which studied enrollment and school building use, and has won the Golden Acorn Award for his school service.

Eric played an important role in successfully advocating for the groundbreaking change in school start times that better align school schedules with adolescent sleep patterns (a study has shown that the results have been positive academically), making Seattle a national leader on this front. Eric also opposed the ill-advised school closures in 2008-09, during a time of growing enrollment, and once again was on the right side of the issue. The district had to reopen all the closed schools only a few years later at a cost of tens of millions of dollars.

I have known Eric for a number of years, as a fellow SPS parent and as a constituent who came to my community meetings, testified before the board, and wrote to the district, always with constructive, reasoned suggestions and ideas. I know him to be thoughtful, diplomatic, smart and conscientious.

I’m confident he will ensure that the district’s many diverse communities are heard and served by the board, and will demand better from the district.

Eric has a district-wide conscience and perspective, as demonstrated by his successful advocacy for IB funding not only for the high school in his district (Ingraham) but for Chief Sealth and Rainier Beach high schools and his volunteer work with students at Cleveland High School. He has also been a strong advocate for strong curricular materials that serve the needs of all students and a district that is more equitable and responsive to families. He is also a strong supporter of career and technical education and apprenticeships.

As a professional engineer, he will bring sharp analytical skills to the job and will demand greater accountability of the district. He will also bring a fair and inclusive approach to serving the district’s many students, communities and needs.

Eric has earned the endorsements of community and elected leaders like King County Councilmember Larry Gossett, Estela Ortega (executive director of El Centro de la Raza), civil rights lawyer Lem Howell, former Seattle School Board President Betty Patu, Native American leader (UNEA) Sarah Sense-Wilson, State Rep. Gael Tarleton, sole endorsement of Democratic legislative districts citywide, Seattle School Board directors past and present, teachers, parents and labor unions.

I agree with the Seattle Times’ endorsement, which said: “Blumhagen’s track record and experience lend credibility to his calls for greater transparency and accuracy in statistics and reporting from the district. His laser focus on outcomes would bring new urgency to issues of equity, including disproportionate discipline, and special education services. He would promote greater accountability for principals, encouraging collaboration and sharing of best practices.”

Eric has earned my respect and my vote. I hope he will earn yours.

 

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Elect Muniz 

https://www.electmuniz.com/

I recommend Rebeca Muniz for Seattle School Board, in District 3.

Rebeca brings a sensibility and insight that will well serve the Seattle School District’s many diverse students.

As the first in her family to go to college, and with a Master’s degree in Education Policy & Leadership from UW, Rebeca understands firsthand what less-advantaged students need to succeed. Her commitment to authentic community engagement and outreach to Seattle’s immigrant and English Language Learner (ELL) families, as well as her keen empathy, intelligence and fresh perspective will be great assets on the School Board. She is also a team player and knows the importance of working well with others. In these divisive times, such abilities are invaluable.

Rebeca has earned the respect and endorsements of community and elected leaders like Estela Ortega (executive director of El Centro de la Raza), Sen. Bob Hasegawa, Sen. Joe Nguyen, current and recent Seattle School Board directors Eden Mack and Scott Pinkham, One America, National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington, labor unions, Seattle City Council members, and the sole endorsement of Democratic legislative districts citywide.

Please join me and many others in voting for Rebeca.

 

REMEMBER TO VOTE BY NOV. 5!

 

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Top 10 Reasons to Vote for Maralyn Chase for State Senate!

 

Top 10 Reasons to Vote for Maralyn Chase for State Senate!

  1. SENATOR MARALYN CHASE is the only candidate in the race with over 16 years of distinguished, award-winning experience in state government as both a representative and senator.
  2. CHASE is the only candidate with firsthand knowledge of the state’s legislative processes. And as the legislature’s delegate to the Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER), Chase draws on her extensive knowledge about international and domestic trade. She also works closely with Washington State tribes and rural populations in her work as chair of the Economic Development and International Trade.
  3. MARALYN CHASE is a proven progressive legislative leader. In the 2018 session, as a member of the Rules Committee, Chase was instrumental in moving a record number of Democratic bills to passage by Senate Democrats. They passed: the 2017 Capital Construction Budget, investments in education to satisfy McCleary, a statewide property tax cut, gun safety measures, equal pay for women, protections against sexual harassment, the Net Neutrality Act, the Reproductive Parity Act to require employer insurance to allow women to make their own reproductive choices and for preventive healthcare, protections for college students from predatory loans, a ban on conversion therapy, an expansion of the Breakfast After the Bell Program, the phasing out of salmon net farms, expansion of higher education for Dreamers, reforms for juvenile justice to reduce recidivism and racial disproportionality, prohibition of housing discrimination for renters using Section 8 vouchers, and also Ban the Box, for equal employment. In this session, Chase also co-sponsored or supported the passage of other key bills on gun safety, school funding, and lowering taxes. Chase helped to pass a groundbreaking ban on bump stocks on guns. She and her colleagues passed multiple bills on housing, and provided $107 million for the Housing Trust Fund in the Biennial Capitol Budget, which preserves and builds affordable housing for those at the lowest income levels. Chase supported the allocation of funds to recommend a plan to create a state’s public bank to save $4 billion a year in debt service to Wall Street banks. Senator Chase introduced the “Healthy Washington” bill, modeled on the California’s single-payer healthcare bill that passed in their state senate.
  4. You can count on MARALYN CHASE to defend your civil rights. In 2018 Chase worked with Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos to introduce the first bill in the Senate to reinstate Affirmative Action. She also promoted passage of the revision to the 1943 Equal Pay Act, requiring employers to provide equal pay and opportunities to their employees regardless of gender.  She and her colleagues passed three bills ensuring voting rights, same-day registration and prohibiting racially based gerrymandering. Chase has always been far ahead on LGBTQ2 rights and helped pass the 2018 bill prohibiting conversion therapy. Chase is a vocal supporter of I-940 to de-escalate police violence, and demand accountability in police involved shootings. Her strong civil rights and human rights record is one of the reasons she has earned the sole endorsement of State Attorney General, Bob Ferguson.
  5. CHASE has always been a champion for the environment and for education. In 2011, she wrote the bill to shut down TransAlta, the state’s dirtiest coal plant. In 2015, she chaired the committee for Initiative 522, to require labeling of genetically modified foods. It lost by a narrow margin after large corporations spent $22 million to oppose it, setting a state record for money spent on a ballot measure. Chase is now facing retaliation by Monsanto, which now funds her opponent, Jesse Salomon. Chase works hard to protect the Puget Sound, wild salmon runs, works with local tribes and family fishing businesses to promote sustainable and local business operations. This includes co-sponsoring the 2018 bill to phase out toxic salmon pen farming. In 2004, Chase helped lead the effort to overturn a charter school bill passed by the legislature. Her position was affirmed by the voters who passed a referendum to reject charter schools. (In contrast, her current opponent, Jesse Salomon, has received over $40,000 in financial support and an endorsement from pro-charter-school privatizers, Stand for Children.) Senator Chase organized a bipartisan hearing on Common Core standards in 2017 to ask the difficult questions about a costly and undemocratically imposed initiative on K-12 education.
  6. CHASE has been recognized for her legislative advocacy by numerous organizations. In 2015, the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides awarded Chase the Rachel Carson Award for her work in reducing cancer-causing pesticides in the food chain, such as Roundup.  The National Minority Business Advisory Council named Chase their “2017 Legislator of the Year” for her role in the unanimous passage of SB 5734. This legislation guarantees equal opportunity in bidding for small works contracts with state and federal agencies. According to the Shoreline Area News, “Chase, D-Edmonds, was chosen for her work on the Small Business Bonding Relief bill, which brought Washington state’s government contracting provisions into compliance with federal law governing small works bonding requirements.” Said Chase, “As a former small business owner, I understand the challenges these companies face on a daily basis. I’m proud to accept this award, and will continue to work hard for small, minority businesses statewide.”
  7. MARALYN CHASE brings a wealth of experience to the legislature. After she earned her BA and MA degrees from the University of Washington in political science, she organized for women’s reproductive rights and was a labor advocate. Chase built a successful family business in the construction trades and knows what it takes to run a business and a family. Her policies come from knowing that in order to have a good life, people need a good education, a good job, a good home and a healthy environment. Her policies are people-focused. When evaluating the merits of a proposal, Chase always asks, “How will this policy affect people?“
  8. MARALYN is committed to engaging in dialogue with constituents and organizations to shape her policies. She has been a strong progressive voice and a people’s representative. She has a history of courageously defending people from the agendas of powerful interests.
  9. MARALYN CHASE’S commitment to democracy is the reason she is endorsed by a broad and diverse coalition that includes: the 32ndDistrict Democrats, Snohomish and King County Democrats, the Metropolitan Democrats, the National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington, Washington State Labor Council, State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, Washington Education Association (WEA), Congressman Rick Larsen, State Sen. Manka Dhingra, State Sen. Sharon Nelson, State Sen. John McCoy, State Sen. Bob Hasegawa, King County Councilmember Larry Gossett, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, Seattle City Council Member Teresa Mosqueda, City Councilmembers from Shoreline, Lynnwood, Edmonds, Mountlake Terrace, Washington State Federation of Democratic Women, Young Democrats of Washington, Snohomish County Young Democrats, Washington State Progressive Caucus, Environment and Climate Caucus of the Washington State Democratic Party, Alliance for Gun Responsibility Victory Fund, National Women’s Political Caucus, Our Revolution, WA State, and National, Planned Parenthood Votes, SEAMEC, Sierra Club, Swinomish Tribal Community, Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs (WACOPS), Win With Women PAC, Washington Conservation Voters, The Cannabis Alliance, Carbon Washington, Tree PAC, Equal Rights Washington, Washington State Council of Firefighters, Aerospace Machinists Industrial District Lodge 751 (IAM 751), AFSCME Council 28/Washington Federation of State Employees, American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Washington, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 587, IBEW Local 77, Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific (IBU), International Union of Operating Engineers Local 609 (IUOE Local 609), Washington State Nurses Association-PAC 5/22, Washington Housing Alliance Action Fund, Washington Interior Systems Local Union No. 41, Central Puget Sound Carpenters Local 30, and many others.
  10. MARALYN CHASE has not accepted campaign money or support from multinational pharmaceutical, oil and chemical corporations like Chevron, Merck, Phrma and Monsanto, or anti-union, education privatizers, Stand for Childrenunlike her opponent, Jesse Salomon, who has.
  11. *BONUS REASON* SENATOR MARALYN CHASE has not resorted to negative campaigning or smear tactics, unlike her opponent, Jesse Salomon and his wealthy backers, Stand for Children PAC, WA REALTORS PAC and the deceptively named “Democratic Friends,” which is funded by Friends of Cindy Ryu, Elect Jesse Salomon, and Elect Lauren Davis. At a recent forum, when asked if he would denounce the many deceitful mailers attacking Chase which have bombarded the 32ndLegislative District on his behalf, Salomon refused. (As did Ryu and Davis.)

 Experience Matters. Character Matters. Courage Matters.

Vote CHASE!

What others have said about Maralyn Chase:

“State Rep. Maralyn Chase (…) has been a dedicated liberal voice in the legislature for the past 16 years, fighting to double the estate tax to pay for student aid; pushing legislation to give local governments the ability to place a cap on condo conversions; and proposing quixotic (but righteous) environmental legislation, including a ban on petroleum-based plastic water bottles; a carbon tax; a ban on plastic bags, and a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers.

Chase’s unabashed liberalism (she testified in support of impeaching George Bush) will be a nice jolt to the Senate caucus, where proposals such as an effort to end big bank tax loopholes died last session.

(…) People laugh at her for being a crazy lefty, but two years after Chase introduced a global warming bill, Gregoire introduced it herself.”

 — PubliCola endorsement of Chase when she first ran for State Senate in 2010

RE-ELECT Maralyn Chase to State Senate, District 32!

 Thank you to all the community activists who contributed to this list. – Sue Peters

 

 

Gov. Inslee should veto Senate Bill 6617: State legislators should be held to same standard of transparency as all other elected officials

As a former elected official, I know what it’s like to have most everything I write, email, or post on my calendar potentially obtained, read and published by the media or anyone who asks. As a Seattle School Board Director for the last four years, that was my reality

Sure, it can be a nuisance and it can impede your sense of free expression and confidentiality.

But as a journalist and public citizen, I also know the importance of the public being able to know what their elected officials and government bodies are doing in their name, with their tax dollars. Such public disclosure requirements are an essential component of a healthy democracy.

During my term, I was constantly subjected to public disclosure requests, from journalists, others, but most often from anonymous requesters. I simply established the philosophy that everything I wrote or said could end up on the front page of a newspaper and I was okay with that. It can be a good exercise – it teaches you to stand by your words.

Which brings me to Senate Bill 6617, sponsored by Senators Sharon Nelson (D) and Mark Schoesler (R) which Governor Inslee must act on by midnight today. I agree with the media organizations that have claimed that the state’s 1972 Public Records Act law covers all elected officials statewide. A Thurston County Superior Court judge also recently agreed. But last week, the state legislature changed the law to exempt themselves from the transparency rules that all other state officials must abide by.

I’m baffled and frankly rather enervated that our legislators, Democrats and Republicans alike, should expect a cloud of secrecy around their work that no other elected officials are afforded–nor should have. Why should our state legislators who make decisions that are arguably far more impactful statewide than those of our school board directors, city council and county council members, not be held to the same standard that the rest of us are? We all make policy.

The manner in which they passed this change to the law – Senate and House meetings in quick succession with no public hearings – casts their actions in the dark shadows of suspicion.

I am open to hearing compelling explanations for why their change to the law is better. But I am skeptical. Because if there is a legitimate reason, why were the legislators afraid to have a public hearing and normal process to make their case?

Where I do agree with them is in the concern about revealing sensitive information about constituents. It’s true the law already allows government bodies to redact  any information that is not relevant to the request that may violate confidentiality of a non-elected official. But there have been abuses of the law.

Last year, for example, it was very troubling to see a journalist publish email sent from private parents to the Seattle School District, and misrepresent the content. This is wrong. In a KUOW radio story called “To understand white liberal racism, read these private emails,” the reporter Isolde Raftery boasted, “These parents would not talk to us, so we did a public records request for their emails.” She acknowledged that these were “private” and not from elected officials, yet published them anyway.

Private families are not public figures. They believe they are writing to their representatives confidentially. Especially when it comes to their children, parents write with emotion and sensitivity. These emails were misrepresented and exploited by a board director and a reporter. Those PRA requests should not have been granted. This was an abuse of the law. So I support protecting those documents if that is the intent of the state legislators.

But I don’t support a special exemption for state legislators themselves.

My qualm with the Public Records Act is that it increasingly has been used as a tool for nuisance. Instead of being a legitimate tool for news media or watchdog groups looking for background info on a specific issue and keeping the public informed, anonymous entities can launch fishing expeditions asking for broad general sweeps of documents with no real topic, just to harass an elected official or a government organization. These expeditions take up time and resources. The age of digital communication has allowed for the proliferation and easy access of communications that the legislators who drafted the law in 1972 could not have imagined.

Back then, documents were paper, and far less in quantity. Nowadays, public officials, like most people, generate hundreds of emails a week or even daily. The volume can be enormous, but the transmission relatively easy.  Sifting through and analyzing hundreds of emails is time-consuming and costly. Honoring the law has become onerous and unreasonable in the digital age, but not for the reasons SB 6617 addresses.

I support a review of the law to establish parameters of reasonable merit. This will allow government bodies to focus their public resources on responding to legitimate requests.

It will be a test of Governor Inslee’s leadership and character today if he takes a stand and rightly vetoes this bill, or passively lets this slide into law as he did with last year’s charter school bill. But a shadow remains over the legislature’s actions that brought us to this point.

Sue Peters is a journalist and communication strategist who served on the Seattle School Board from 2013-17, most recently as board president.