Friday, December 3, 2010

Told You So!

This week's (Dec 2) White Salmon Enterprise told readers what we Klickitat Democrats knew all along. Lou Marseles' story below the fold on the front page "County revaluations 'ideal', state says" gives credence to what our Assessor candidate, Victoria Allen, repeated over and over at every opportunity during the 2010 campaign. Unfortunately, the state report was published after the election, too late to wave around at a candidate's night. Kudos to the current staff who worked diligently to effect the annual assessments, which was key to bringing the revaluation ratio in line. The credit for improvement is theirs. We will be keeping this on file, since there may possibly be some memory loss as to when the improvements occurred, as well as who and what were responsible for them.

This article was not included in the online version, so for those who missed it, here it is.

County revaluations 'ideal', state says

by Lou Marzeles
Gorge News Report

For the first time in decades, Klickitat County has achieved a 100 percent ratio in its real property revaluation-which puts an additional $30 million into county coffers.

"We have people who've been with the county since the '80s" said Klickitat County Assessor Van Vandenberg. "No one can remember when we last had a 100 percent ratio. The 100 percent ratio means we've hit the ideal level set by the state. Historically, the level has been too low."

The new revaluation, for 2010, was released Nov. 12 from the Washington Department of Revenue. It also shows a new assessment of public utility companies in the county, which, in conjunction with the 100 percent ratio, contributes to the dramatic county revenue increase.

"At one point, it was as low as 69 percent," said Victoria Allen, deputy county assessor.

The real property ratio reflects how assessment of fixed property (as opposed to personal, movable property) compares to actual sales values of properties. Assessment of property values ideally should exactly reflect- or be 100 percent of-actual sales values. When the ratio is lower than actual sales values, Vandenberg says, property taxes go up.

"The assessed value of property isn't in line with actual sales values when that happens," he explained, "so taxes actually go up then."

When the ratio is low, taxes aren't reflecting actual sales values of property.

"When the ratio is at 100 percent, it means taxes go down, because then the assessed value is the same as the actual sales values," Vandenberg said.

The personal property ratio has been more than 100 percent for some time now.

"That's because Vicky (Allen) audits closely to the state," Vandenberg says.

According to Allen, the real property ratio has been growing steadily in recent years.

"Last year, it was 86.5 percent," Allen pointed out.

Deciding to go to annual assessments has helped Klickitat County, Vandenberg believes.

"Assessment offices in the state are required to go annually," Vandenberg recalls, "and I said, 'Why wait?'. So we were one of the first counties [to go to an annual schedule].

Real property values in Klickitat County are just starting to show a significant dip, according to Allen and Vandeberg. They noted that Washington and Oregon were the last states in the country to see a dip in real estate.

"Urban areas like Seattle did see sharp dips, but rural America really didn't see the same kind of thing. This county is just starting to dip," said Vandenberg.

"It plateaued," added Allen, "and it never climbed as high as some other areas, but the decline in the county is just starting."

After deciding not to seek another term as Assessor, Vandenberg is set to retire at the end of the year. He will be replaced by White Salmon's Denise (sic) Johnson [that should be Darlene], who beat Victoria Allen for the job in the Nov. 2 election.

"The office changes hands Jan 1 at 12:01 am, " Vandenberg said. "And there will be a lot of changes in the assessors' offices throughout the state. Eight assessors are retiring, three lost their elections, and one just quit. That's 12 out of 39, that's a big change."

Change will come also to Vandenberg's lifestyle.

"Most people only retire once," he said. "I plan to take it easy, do more fishing, play more."

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

State Party Chair Called It Right!

"Are we the lone oak tree in the middle of the flood that doesn't get pushed over? I think we are," state Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz said.
Seattle Times, Oct 30, 2010

All was not lost this election. Washington withstood the flood, thanks to everyone's hard work. People were stepping up all over the state to help candidates. Our own county Democrats were every bit as active as in 2008. Even though most of our candidates did not fare well, the effort was great, the campaigns were honest and ethical, and we did our best. Congressional candidate Jay Clough is already planning his 2012 run, so save those signs and send a few bucks his way. Save ALL the signs. If you have signs that you can't store, contact us and we'll see what we can do about that! Thanks to all our candidates, volunteers, phone bankers, sign posters, contributers, candidate night attendees, letter writers, and event hosts. You make us all proud to be Democrats.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

So NOW They're Mad?

We should all print this and keep it in our pockets for conversation purposes. Or for putting on windshields of cars with Republican or Tea Party bumperstickers.

After The 8 Years Of The Bush/Cheney Disaster, Now You Get Mad?

You didn't get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President.

You didn't get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate Energy policy and push us to invade Iraq.

You didn't get mad when a covert CIA operative got outed.

You didn't get mad when the Patriot Act got passed.

You didn't get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.

You didn't get mad when we spent over 800 billion (and counting) on said illegal war.

You didn't get mad when Bush borrowed more money from foreign sources than the previous 42 Presidents combined.

You didn't get mad when over 10 billion dollars in cash just disappeared in Iraq.

You didn't get mad when you found out we were torturing people.

You didn't get mad when Bush embraced trade and outsourcing policies that shipped 6 million American jobs out of the country.

You didn't get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.

You didn't get mad when we didn't catch Bin Laden.

You didn't get mad when Bush rang up 10 trillion dollars in combined budget and current account deficits.

You didn't get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.

You didn't get mad when we let a major US city, New Orleans, drown.

You didn't get mad when we gave people who had more money than they could spend, the filthy rich, over a trillion dollars in tax breaks.

You didn't get mad with the worst 8 years of job creations in several decades.

You didn't get mad when over 200,000 US Citizens lost their lives because they had no health insurance.

You didn't get mad when lack of oversight and regulations from the Bush Administration caused US Citizens to lose 12 trillion dollars in investments, retirement, and home values.

You finally got mad when a black man was elected President and decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick. Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, job losses by the millions, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, and the worst economic disaster since 1929 are all okay with you, but helping fellow Americans who are sick...Oh, Hell No!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Democrats meeting sparks exchange

From last week's Sentinel, in case you missed the October meeting!

Rebecca Gourley

The Klickitat County Democratic Central Committee held their general meeting Monday night at the Dallesport Community Center. Although not Democrats, the two prosecuting attorney candidates, Lori Hoctor and Craig Juris, were invited to share their messages to the attendees. The first part of the meeting was described as a discussion rather than a traditional candidate forum.
Juris spoke first, and Hoctor followed. Juris wanted to stress the point that, “This position should be a non-partisan position.” The Democrats of Klickitat County will ultimately be the deciding factor in this race, Juris said. He then covered his experience as an attorney from college internships to his time in the prosecuting attorney’s office.
Hoctor explained that she wants to see a change in the office. “We don’t need to be punching walls and yelling down the hall when we lose a case,” she said. Hoctor added that doing bad things doesn’t make someone a bad person, referring to juveniles that are put through the judicial system. With plans to do more Stipulated Orders of Continuance (SOCs), Hoctor wants to “make a positive change.” SOCs, as explained by Juris, are situations where if people facing charges “behave themselves for six months,” their cases can then be dismissed. Hoctor stated she didn’t want to just put people in jail without trying to help them rehabilitate first. However, she says, murderers, child molesters, and other serious offenders should be punished without question.
Juris and Hoctor were given the opportunity to ask each other a question. Juris asked Hoctor, “Why, with all of the statistics, have there been so much negativity and personal attacks?” Hoctor responded that she didn’t think she’s been negative.
Hoctor asked Juris, “Why don’t you have the support of Keith Anderson [Juvenile Court Administrator]?” Juris answered that this is the first time he’s heard about this and he couldn’t comment. Tuesday morning, calls were made to the juvenile department in order to confirm Hoctor’s assertion that Anderson did not support Juris. Anderson responded, “In my position I cannot make a public stance on this,” referring to supporting either candidate. He added, “I am surprised she [Hoctor] said that publicly.”
On the subject of endorsing, both candidates were then asked what major supporters they have. Hoctor went first and stated she had the support of the sheriff’s office, juvenile probation, the city police, and others.
Juris reacted with, “Every one of those groups that were just mentioned has said they support me.” Juris stated that he had the support of 17 prosecuting attorneys statewide and the civil service commissioners.
After the discussion with the two Republican candidates, the gathering moved into the general meeting for the Klickitat County Democrats. Victoria Allen, Democratic candidate for Klickitat County, commented on her perception of the campaign so far. “The information being used against me is a lot of misinformation,” explained Allen. In previous candidate’s nights across the county, Darlene Johnson, Allen’s opponent, has used the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO) report many times, Allen added. She said, “ [Johnson] has been looking at the whole process through the lens of the 2008 reassessment.” According to Allen, the “bad” numbers that Johnson refers to are from three years ago. “She’s only looking at the appraisal process, not the whole picture” added Allen.
Three Park and Recreation candidates for the west side of the county—Michael Solbach, Vern Harpol, and Dana Scheffler—were present as well. The three agreed on the importance of the Park and Recreation establishment in District 2. Solbach is in the race against two others for position 3. Scheffler and Harpol are opponents for position 4, although they don’t see it that way. “We are not running against each other,” said Harpol. All of them have the same goals and have agreed to do the same thing when elected. There are a total of five positions for the Park and Recreation District 2.
Paul Spencer, Democratic candidate for State Representative position 1, was present as well. He discussed what the Democrats’ strategy should be and how they want to get people out there to vote.
“There was not a good turnout for Democrats in the primary,” said Spencer. Although not discouraged, Spencer said he feels there needs to be more action on the Democrats’ parts in the southern part of Legislative District (LD) 15. LD 15 refers to parts of Clark and Yakima Counties, and all of Klickitat and Skamania counties.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Confusing Initiative Info

Bill Clinton said on Monday, "You have a choice – don’t be fooled, don’t be played, don’t stay home."

The text of the initiatives is confusing. The Voters’ Pamphlet statements are confusing. The TV commercials are way over the top. How are we supposed to make sense of it all?

Look at who’s behind and who benefits from each initiative.

Big lobbyists and out-of-state special interests have put over $50 million into pushing five ballot initiatives that would take money out of state services like education and health care and put it right into the pockets of big corporations. Only two statewide measures would actually invest in Washington’s future.

Here’s a closer look:

NO on 1053: Tim Eyman’s 2/3 requirement

Who’s behind 1053: Tim Eyman, BP Oil, Tesoro Oil, ConocoPhillips Oil, Bank of America.

Who benefits from 1053: Extremely partisan legislators who can hold our budget hostage; big companies enjoying tax loopholes.

Who loses under 1053: Voters who believe in the principles of democracy; taxpayers who want to close loopholes; services suffering under an all-cuts budget.

NO on 1082: Insurance industry takeover of workers’ comp

Who’s behind 1082: The Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW), a longtime conservative political player.

Who benefits from 1082: Big insurance companies, the BIAW, and the conservative candidates funded by the BIAW’s warchest.

Who loses under 1082: Businesses who have to pay more in premiums; workers who are injured on the job.

YES on 1098: Cuts your taxes, raising money for education

Who’s behind 1098: Bill Gates Sr., Washington Education Association.

Who benefits from 1098: Kids, seniors, public schools, health care services, businesses, property owners, lower and middle class families would all benefit from better schools and better quality healthcare, small business benefit from elimination of the B&O tax, and property owners benefit from a property tax cut.

Who loses under 1098: Wealthy people who make over $200,000/year would pay a limited income tax on income above that threshold.

NO on 1100/1105: Unregulated hard liquor sales

Who’s behind 1100/1105: Wal-Mart, big grocery chains, out of state liquor distributors.

Who benefits from 1100/1105: Wal-Mart, big grocery chains, big liquor distributors, binge drinkers and underage kids.

Who loses under 1100/1105: City, county and state services would lose $700 million over 5 years; local craft brewers and Washington wineries would get pushed off the shelves; and alcohol-related crimes like drunk driving would increase.

NO on 1107: Soda pop tax

Who’s behind 1107: The American Beverage Association, national lobbyist for the big soda companies.

Who benefits from 1107: Soda pop companies.

Who loses under 1107: Kids, seniors, public schools and health care services would lose $100 million each year.

The election is vital to the Washington’s future. We already cut over $5 billion out of state and local services. You have a choice.

APPROVE R-52: Healthy schools

Who’s behind R-52: Representative Hans Dunshee (D-44) wants to make public schools a healthier place for children, so he referred this measure to the people.

Who benefits from R-52: Kids and teachers benefit from a healthier place to learn and work; construction workers benefit from new jobs; public schools benefit from saved energy costs.

Who loses under R-52: No one.

Voting YES on 1098, YES on R52 and NO on all the rest can help stop these painful cuts and put money back into our communities where it belongs.

Visit the Protect Washington website to find out more.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Same Old Same Old from the Party of NO

Congressional Republicans today released their “Pledge to America” – an agenda that simply repackages the same failed Bush-era Republican economic policies that helped cause the economic crisis: tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires; fewer regulations governing corporations and special interests; and just leaving middle class families to fend for themselves.

Rather than charting a new course, Republicans are simply doubling down on those same failed policies, policies that hurt America’s middle class. Republicans’ priorities are clear:
  • Hold tax relief for middle class families hostage in order to pass tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires by borrowing $700 billion America can’t afford – despite the fact that the nonpartisan CBO says passing those tax cuts for the wealthy would be one of the least effective ways to grow the American economy or boost job creation.
  • Increase taxes for 110 million middle-class families and tens of thousands of American businesses by ending Recovery Act tax cuts and cutting off tens of thousands of Recovery Act projects – projects ranging from highway construction to clean energy to environmental recovery – and thereby putting hundreds of thousands of American jobs at risk.
  • Putting insurance companies back in the driver’s seat of Americans’ health care by working to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act – if they succeed, they’ll roll back the new Patient’s Bill of Rights, increase seniors’ prescription drug costs, eliminate safeguards that protect Americans from unfair premium increases, and force small businesses that offer health insurance to their employees to pay higher taxes.
  • Take us back to an era of recklessness and irresponsibility by slashing regulations and the oversight of special interests including big oil, big insurance, Wall Street banks, and credit card and mortgage companies.
  • Increase America’s deficit by trillions of dollars by going back to the same failed economic policies that turned a record surplus into a record deficit – all while making drastic cuts to government services that would force Head Start to drop 200,000 children, end child care subsidies for 110,000 working parents, and cut 3,800 correctional officers at federal prisons.
Republicans’ “Pledge to America” is also notable for its omissions. It doesn’t talk about:
  • Protecting Social Security and Medicare from privatization,
  • Making investments in high-quality education for America’s children.
  • Working to grow critical industries like clean energy and manufacturing.
  • Or working to rebuild America’s crumbling roads, rails, and runways.
The “Pledge to America” is quiet simply a repeat of the same agenda that caused the worst recession since the Great Depression, resulted in the loss of 8 million jobs, wiped out trillions of dollars of American families’ savings, and set middle class families backward. Instead of making a pledge to the American people to do better, Republicans have made a pledge to special interests to bring back the same failed economic policies that benefited them at the expense of middle class families.

Thanks Dwight Pelz, WSDCC Chairman

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sign of the Times

This morning, the first of several 4x8 Patty Murray signs went up in Klickitat County. Using their best engineering and mathematical skills, Jim Minnick and Lloyd DeKay fabricated a frame and stand for the sign on location at the Milestone Nursery on Hwy 14 in Lyle using scrap 2x4s and plywood. The proprietors wisely marked the property line so we would be sure to be legal!

Now the well constructed Victoria Allen for Assessor sign will have some company! Here is the view looking westward ho:

And here is the perspective heading eastward, out of town:

We have several more of these large signs, and they need good spots as soon as possible! If you have a place for one, contact Bob Hansen, or Lorrie DeKay,

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fact Check on Tea Party Rally Untruth

This was published in the Goldendale Sentinel, and carried in the White Salmon Enterprise this week ('Tea Partier says soldiers overseas won't be able to vote'), right next to the article on Sunday's tea party in Dallesport (with no photo by the way). Time to demand truth from these righteous and indignant folks. We can start with the estimates of the crowd. Klickitat Democrats who attended estimated quite a bit less than the 1500 plus organizers touted. One of our own even bothered counting cars in the parking area (about 200). They must have all been full SUVs and minivans to reach those numbers.

Thank you, Mr. Marzeles. Keep up the honest and factual reporting. It's just too bad that most people who were there will remember what Mr. Smith said rather than the facts published later. Maybe it's a good thing there were fewer people there than they claim. Let's hope they didn't spread the bad info. This pattern of ignoring facts while spouting inflammatory rhetoric to win votes for your far right candidates is truly evil.

While you're checking things out, take a look at Jesse Burkhardt's editorial in the Enterprise this week.

Military votes will count this fall

Lou Marzeles

It was a day of speeches and a day of a few surprises—and a day of a surprising speech.
At Sunday’s Tea Party event, speaker Jerry Smith told the crowd that Washington State residents serving in the military overseas might not be able to vote in this year’s election, a comment which astonished many.
Smith says he was passing on what he’d learned in news media. “It was all over the major media,” he says, “The Washington Times and others.” When he heard of adverse reaction to his comment, Smith says he checked online on Monday. “I Googled ‘military voters plus Washington,’” he reports.
What he discovered was that a number of states were struggling to get extensions on their federal deadlines for overseas military ballots because of how late many elections were certified. Washington had been one of those states, but it has succeeded in securing an extension.
In Washington, ballots go out next week to overseas military personnel who are legal residents of the state. The move is designed to ensure that Washington military voters have ample time to record and return their votes.
The state applied and was approved for what is called an undue hardship waiver for military personnel, to allow them adequate time to vote. In a letter dated Aug. 27 of this year, U.S. Under Secretary of Defense Lynn S. Simpson wrote to Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed acknowledging approval of this waiver.
“Under delegated authority from the Secretary of Defense,” the letter states in part, “I have reviewed the State’s application, consulted with the representative of the Attorney General of the United States, and find it meets the requirements for a one-time undue hardship waiver… Accordingly, I approve the State of Washington’s request to waive the application of Section 102(a)(8)(A) of UOCAVA” for this year’s election. “UOCAVA” is the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act as amended by the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE Act) governing such matters.
Essentially, the waiver permits Washington to allow overseas military voters to get their votes in time to be counted in the fall general election. Ballots returned electronically may be received up to 8 p.m. on Election Day.
Altogether 33 states have moved to ensure that their military personnel will be allowed to vote in this year’s general election, according to various news reports. The total number of military personnel accommodated by these states is close to three million. Most states have taken steps to accommodate overseas military voting through the internet. This comes after some 22 percent of military votes were unable to be counted in time during the 2008 election because of delays in retrieving votes from great distances.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What's Up with I-1082?

Over the next few weeks we'll be posting links about the Initiatives and Referenda on the fall ballot.

Let's start with this one, since it's gotten less attention than some of the others! At the Washington State Democrats Convention in June, a NO vote on I-1082 was endorsed.

The ad clip is REALLY hokey. I really don't like things that yell at me like a used car or mattress salesman doing his own homegrown ads. Who makes these things? I know kids in middle school who do better video production. I hope they didn't pay much for it. Anyway, check out the link for more info. It's more sane.

Why you should vote NO on I-1082:

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Five Facts About I-1098

Five Facts Every Voter Should Know About I-1098:

1. I-1098 would finally reform our state's outdated tax system by establishing a progressive income tax on the wealthiest 1.2 percent of households.

2. I-1098 would generate $2 billion per year dedicated to a trust fund for education, the top priority established in our state constitution, and critical health care programs.

3. I-1098 would cut state property taxes for all Washingtonians by 20 percent and eliminate B&O taxes for 81 percent of small businesses.

4. Even the wealthiest households would pay taxes on only income earned above $400,000 a year for couples or $200,000 for individuals.

5. The recession has forced devastating cuts to education and health care services that threaten our state's future. More than 40,000 Washingtonians have lost basic health coverage and 2,600 education jobs have been eliminated in the last two years. Initiative 1098 will help reverse these cuts and put Washington back on track.

Please share with your friends and neighbors!

The editorial board came out strongly in favor of I-1098 today, in its first ever editorial,
calling it a "watershed on who we are and where we want to go as a state."

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hey Doc, Let's Debate!

Here's the letter Jay sent, via email and certified mail, to Rep. Hastings yesterday:

Dear Congressman Hastings,

In the past decade, never has there been an election year with such strong public sentiment for accountability from those who represent the citizens of the United States of America. You yourself characterized this race after the primary as a "choice" for the voters of Central Washington. We owe it to those voters to give them as clear a picture of that choice as possible.

I have secured three venues for a series of debates across the district. The organizer of the Wenatchee Valley Community College candidate forum has offered to bill the October 12th forum as a debate between you and I. The Benton PUD auditorium has been reserved for October 15th from 7-9pm for the same purpose. The North First Street conference room in Yakima has been reserved on October 22nd, from 7-9pm as well.

I understand, as a working man, how difficult it can be to balance campaigning with other obligations. With that in mind, these dates were specifically chosen to allow you to fulfill your congressional duties. If you wish to augment or amend these three dates, I invite you to do so. We have no greater duty in this election than to educate the voters across Central Washington, and to that end I will meet you for debate anywhere, any time.

I look forward to receiving your confirmation for these dates, or your changes if necessary. I look forward as well to a spirited, open, and honest debate on the important issues facing our district, our state, and our nation today.


Jay Clough.

Jay needs our help to ensure that at least ONE of these debates takes place. Please take a moment to call Congressman Hastings' office at (509) 736-1510, email hime at or send him a letter, PO Box 2926, Pasco, WA 99302.

You could also write a letter to the editor of the Enterprise or Sentinel, publically encouraging Rep. Hastings to debate Jay.

We need to put as much pressure on Mr. Hastings as possible. He does not get to slide by unchallenged as he has in years past. Please help Jay show the voters of Central Washington what the choice they have this year looks like.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Restoring Honor: Look in the Mirror

After all the hoopla this weekend about Glenn Beck's rally in DC, the calls for restoring honor seem a little shallow. We've seen improved relations in the world since the administration changed, though those who seem to think we should reverse gear make us look a little crazy is some food for thought from a fellow blogger in another state on what is honorable, and what is not.

In less than two short years, much has been accomplished, without ANY help from the party of NO. The hole dug by policies of the last decade will take years to climb out of. We cannot go backwards. It won't be easy in our county to overcome the demographics that bode success for the Republican candidates. But it CAN be done. Klickitat County was the only county east of the Cascades to put Obama in the WIN column. Please do not sit out this election. Do your homework, attend Candidates Nights, meet the Candidates and talk with them about your concerns.

The next opportunity to meet Democratic Candidates will be the Huckleberry Festival. Stop by the Klickitat Democrats booth there for more information, and visit our website regularly, and if you are on Facebook, become a fan of Klickitat Democrats.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Klickitat County Fair

Don't forget to swing by your Klickitat County Democrats booth while visiting the Klickitat County Fair in Goldendale!

This is also a great opportunity to meet the democratic candidates. Tom Silva, running for State Representative for LD 15, stopped by this morning and we are expecting many others through Sunday.

Also, a big thank you to Bob Hansen and Rosemary Hoyt who set-up our booth. And, thank you Mary Pierce who has been busy organizing and recruiting for this years fair.

We have staff at the booth today thru Sunday and the fair runs 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Thanks but NoThanks

Guess what some local Democrats found in their email today? Invitations to Tea!
You are invited to attend the Gorge Constitutional Tea Party at the Maryhill Winery Amphitheater on September 12, 2010 from approximately 2 pm to 4pm. Lars Larsen will be our keynote speaker and we can accommodate up to 4,000 patriots from all over Washington and Oregon.
I don't know about you, but there is NO amount of Maryhill wine that would make me listen to Lars Larson (the email spelled his name wrong). Warning: if you click this link, be prepared to be appalled at the anti-Obama visuals.The invite included a huge photo of Maryhill Winery's amphitheater showing throngs of people. It was OBVIOUSLY not a Tea Party gathering. Wonder if they'll use it in their post event press? Keep an eye on it...You can check it out on their new website,

The other thing that I really object to is the implication that if you are a patriot, you will go to this event. In my warped mind, Tea Party gatherings have been anything BUT patriotic.
The Gorge Constitutional Tea Party which is a non-partisan group of people who are dissatisfied with the direction our elected representatives are taking our country. At our last Tea Party on May 15, 2010 and we featured speakers ranging from Supreme Court Justice Richard Sanders to Dave Hendricks running for Congress in District 3 to Tom Hann from We the People and more. We also had a roving mike that allowed between 700 and 1000 people from all over Klickitat County, Skamania County, Wasco County, Hood River County and beyond to share their concerns about the transgressions against our constitutional rights. We received excellent coverage on our event in all of our local papers as well as on Oregon Public Broadcasting radio.
I don't see nonpartisan here in any of the speakers...except a strong right wing Republican and Constitution Party lovefest. Does inviting Democrats and mentioning coverage by OPB make it so?
We hope that our events will help educate, motivate and spread our message to the people in our area.
Educate???? Really????

Now, you might wonder who is behind this Tea Party extravaganza, which follows on the heels of the well signed May event in Dallesport. Key word. Signs. Someone must have stock in a sign company....Have you guessed? None other than Assessor Candidate Darlene Johnson. The woman who stood at a recent candidates night telling us disingenuously that she wasn't political. The same one that has been pushing misleading statistics on a state report to further her campaign.

She asked for an rsvp so I had to send regrets.
Thanks but No Thanks.

No thanks
because I strongly feel there is nothing constructive about the Tea Party. It is a vehicle to anger, inflame and divide, and the results of all this 'pot stirring' are far from Patriotic.

There seems to be very little (non)partisan* about The Tea Party except to join together rightwing Republicans and the Constitution Party. There is no hint of compassion, respect for diversity, for our President or our shared responsibility as Americans for The Common Good, in Tea Party gatherings. That doesn't look like Patriotism to me. One need only look at your speakers representing far right Republicans and the Constitution Party. My time is too precious to spend a second of it listening to Lars Larson and his ilk.

, because I am more inspired and energized than ever to work for and elect/reelect hard working, forward thinking (and patriotic) Democratic Candidates from the top of the ballot on down.
Lorrie DeKay
Klickitat County State Committeewoman
N. Fruit Valley PCO
*had to fix a typo...had put bipartisan when I should have put non-partisan. Forgive me.

One last thing. If I find out that Maryhill is sponsoring this event by not charging a normal fee for use of the grounds, I will boycott their wine and their events from now on, and urge other like minded folk to do the same. There's a lot of other great wine in the Gorge.

UPDATE: Due to a "scheduling conflict" the tea party event will be held at the Dallesport Airport instead of Maryhill. What a relief. I have no reason to ever go to Dallesport Airport.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Wiggins for Supreme Court Race

This just in from the Wiggins campaign:

As ballots arrived late last week, Republicans and Democrats heard very different stories from embattled Justice Richard Sanders—now employing a duplicitous strategy to try and win at all costs on August 17 and avoid a November runoff.

While Democrats received campaign and fundraising mailings touting Sanders as a champion of civil liberties and claiming widespread Democratic support, Republican inboxes received breathless support from ultra-conservative minister Joe Fuiten. Conservative mailboxes were also filled with a letter from controversial State Representative Matt Shea from Spokane, extolling Sanders first speech as a Justice to an anti-abortion rights rally, and praising him as the “deciding vote” in the 5-4 Anderson decision that denied same sex couple the rights of marriage equality.

Despite claiming support from— and support for— Democrats and issues associated with progressive causes, the Shea letter (which has a portrait of Sanders and was issued by his campaign) attacks Charlie Wiggins as a “liberal Democrat” while the mailing to Democrats casually omits that Sanders is endorsed by the State Republican Party, while Wiggins is endorsed by the State Democratic Party and the Democratic parties of a number of counties and many legislative districts (as well as GOP and Democratic prosecutors, and many political leaders).

So… is Sanders the quirky Libertarian he portrays to the press, or simply a conservative opportunist telling different things to different constituencies? Certainly Democrats would appreciate knowing that he is boasting about his opposition to reproductive freedom and marriage equality? (Apparently, defense of civil liberties do not extend to the realm of personal privacy)

Richard Sanders is hoping Democrats and Progressive voters aren’t paying attention and he can win it all on August 17.

Don’t let him! Vote Charlie Wiggins for Justice.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Fan Mail from Some Flounder?

With apologies to Boris and Natasha, here's a message from our CD4 Fear(ing)less Leader. Highlights pertain to our ballot.

Central Washington colleagues:

Primary ballots have arrived throughout central Washington. Best wishes to our candidate, Jay Clough, and to other Democratic candidates in central Washington: United States Senator Patty Murray; Carol Moser, candidate in the 8th Legislative District; Ed Lisowski, candidate in the 14th Legislative District; Paul Spencer candidate in the 15th Legislative District; Tom Silva, candidate in the 15th Legislative District; Benton County Prosecuting Attorney Andy Miller; Douglas County Auditor Thad Duvall; Franklin County Treasurer Tiffany Coffland; Franklin County Auditor Zona Lenhart; Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney Steve Lowe; Franklin County Clerk Mike Killian; Kittitas County Treasurer Jerry Pettit; and Skamania County Commissioner Jamie Tolfree.

Jay Clough travels to the other Washington this week to raise money and introduce himself to his new home.

A curious Washington statute reads that, if a candidate for judicial office receives more than fifty percent of the vote in a primary election, the candidate gains the judicial seat without the need of a general election. Therefore, votes in the primary for judicial positions are critical.

Judicial seats are nonpartisan. Nevertheless the Building Industry Association of Washington, through donations and seven-figure ad campaigns, has purchased two seats on the Washington Supreme Court. The two seats are held by Judges Richard Sanders and Jim Johnson. Sanders and Johnson routinely decide important cases on the side for which BIAW files amicus briefs. Both are respectively challenged by fair minded, ethical judicial candidates, Charlie Wiggins and Stan Rumbaugh. Please encourage your friends and neighbors to vote for Rumbaugh and Wiggins.

George Fearing, 4th CD Chairman

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ballots Have Arrived

Primary ballots arrived in the mail yesterday (in White Salmon, anyway). Our votes are critical to getting our candidates through the Top Two Primary, so PLEASE be sure to vote. The Republicans are counting on us to give up on this election, and we will start with the Primary to show them we mean business. You can learn about the candidates via the Online Voters Guide.

The first item on the ballot is the Library Levy, for which we urge a YES vote. Details on the Library Levy appear in the previous blog post to this one.

On the county candidate level, Dani Burton is running uncontested for County Treasurer, but Victoria Allen has two Republicans vying for the County Assessor position. If you missed the recent Candidates Nights, Victoria did very well conveying her vast experience in the Assessor's Office. She will not need to spend any time learning the job, and already has working relationships up the line to the State and down the line to the taxpayers. She has played a key role in reorganizing the operation to perform annual assessments instead of the 4 year assessments that caused so many problems with recent valuations.

One of her opponents has experience in only one facet of the operation, as an appraiser. The other has multiple degrees and business experience, though not as an Assessor. Though her credentials are undeniably impressive, in this writer's opinion, she has shown that she is willing to manipulate statistics to mislead the voters in order to make political hay with a 2008 report. Both Victoria and Dell responded to the Enterprise to set the story and accompanying letter to the editor straight, but even at the Candidates Night, this candidate and her supporters (with handouts) continued to repeat, as gospel truth, misleading facts. If you'd like another view, check out the analysis done by Dell Rhodes on the Klickitat Democrats website. Victoria needs our support, so please mark your ballot for her, and encourage your family, friends and neighbors to do the same. We will get her through to the general election, but it is going to take a lot of work to put her over the top in November. She won't win the 'sign battle' but she sure can win the race with our votes.

Candidates on your ballot endorsed by the Washington State Democrats Central Committee include:
Senator- Patty Murray
Congressional District 4- Jay Clough
Supreme Court- Stan Rumbaugh and Charlie Wiggins

We have a local running for LD 15 position 1, currently held by Bruce Chandler. Paul Spencer lives in Skamania County and is making his first bid for elective office. Learn more about Paul and his views on the Klickitat Democrats Election page.

Our next meeting of the Klickitat Democrats is on Tuesday, August 3rd, 6:30 pm at the Columbia Bank meeting room in White Salmon. We will have a guest speaker about the Library Levy, and a representative from the Coordinated Campaign coming from Yakima. The main focus will be on the primary election, and getting out the vote. We will also be making plans for our booth at the Klickitat County Fair. Please join us.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Signs Signs Everywhere Signs

Our sign supply is growing! We now have Allen for Assessor signs and Library Levy support signs available at Dell's in White Salmon and Jim's in Lyle. Let us know if you need a sign, and we'll get you set up!

Where can you place signs? This handy guide was in the Enterprise recently. Signs are valuable, so please don't put them someplace illegal. They'll be confiscated! Also, our Democratic candidates look bad if we put signs where they don't belong...

Under WA Administrative Code 468-66, temporary political signs are allowed on private property visible from state highways. The property owner must consent, and the sign must comply with the WAC, as well as any local regulations. They must also meet the following requirements:
  • Maximum size of 32 square feet in area
  • Removed within 10 days following the election
Keep in mind that signs are NOT allowed in the state highway right of way.
  • Utility poles are typically located inside the right of way. So, NO signs between the pole and the state highway.
  • Where a fence separates the right of way from private property, NO signs between the fence and the state highway.
If you are not sure about the boundary lines, you can check with WSDOT Outdoor Advertising Specialist Pat O'Leary at You will need to provide the state route number and the name of the nearest intersection or approximate milepost.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Vote YES for libraries
On the August 17 primary ballot is a measure which will lift the lid of the current library levy. If the measure passes, libraries within the Fort Vancouver will be able to restore lost operating hours and purchase new books. In order to pass, the measure requires a 50% plus 1 voter approval.

Below is a Q & A provided by the Fort Vancouver Library District. Additional information on how to be involved in the campaign is available at

Q. Why are you asking property owners for more money?
A. FVRL, along with most other public agencies, is facing declining revenues and increasing costs for maintenance and operations. The decline is in part due to a severe reduction in construction, which in the past provided the district a cushion against tax limitation measures through taxes collected from timber sales and new construction.
Declining revenues are especially concerning for libraries. In hard times more people turn to public libraries to cut household costs such as book purchases, magazine subscriptions and Internet access. They also need libraries more than ever to sharpen marketable skills and search for employment. More people are using FVRL libraries: circulation increased 8 percent in 2009 and continues to rise.
We implemented severe spending reductions in 2009, but we also need to address long-term funding. The only operational funding tool available to libraries is the levy lid lift.
The library board voted in late 2009 to accept a decrease in base property tax funding for 2010 rather than invoking a clause in the state's tax limitation laws that would have allowed us to raise property taxes a small amount without voter approval. Putting a levy lid lift measure on the ballot lets voters have a say in whether the library will make further cuts to services, hours and book purchases.

Q. What would the tax increase pay for, and how much will you collect?

A. Raising the levy rate to the allowable $0.50 per $1,000 assessed valuation would provide approximately $3 million in 2011 to fund:
  • District-wide restoration of library hours that were lost in 2009
  • The purchase of additional books and other materials to keep the library's collection up-to-date and sufficient to meet growing demand. The district's book-purchasing power has been stagnant for about 10 years.
All FVRL libraries would benefit from the increased revenue, with restored hours and/or more books.
We expect that a levy increase at this level will cost the owner of a $250,000 house approximately $20 more per year.

Q. Will you be adding movie DVDs, music CDs and downloadable e-books?

A. Our focus for building up the collection will be on existing types of materials. We haven't added entertainment DVDs and music CDs in the past due to the high initial cost of acquiring a reasonable selection. A successful levy will allow us to consider new formats and types of materials, as well as fulfill unmet needs for current types of materials.

Q. What will happen if the measure fails?

A. Without additional maintenance and operations funding, we won't be able to restore library hours cut in 2009 or increase the book budget. We also won't be able to hire the staff required to open the larger new main library with the current six‐days‐a‐week schedule. The new building will be open only five days a week. Additional cuts in the future to hours and services across the district are very likely.

Q: Why has the library district picked this time to announce a new tax measure?

A. Library funding constraints are a long-term problem that reached a critical point in 2009. Over the past year, the library district has had to reduce its operational expenses to a level that impacts basic library access (hours) and services. The situation is not anticipated to improve in the foreseeable future. The district is now giving voters a chance to decide whether to restore library funding to a higher level.

Q. When did FVRL last go to the voters to ask for an operating tax increase?

A. 1993 - 17 years ago.

Q. What other solutions have you implemented to address reduced revenues?

A. FVRL substantially reduced its operating budget in 2009 -- including cutting 10 percent of staff positions and reducing hours at seven libraries -- in response to severe revenue declines.
The district's ability to purchase books and other items has diminished over the years due to rising costs that have exceeded revenue growth. For example: the number of items purchased for the collection in 2008 was less than the number purchased in almost any year in the past decade. This situation has made it difficult to keep pace with a growing population's increasing demand for library books.
The district has made more than a dozen other cuts or service reductions in the past few years in its efforts to work within available revenue.

Q. What makes you think you can win with a tax measure, given the bad state of the economy?

A. In a district-wide poll recently conducted by the political action committee Citizens for Better Libraries, 62 percent of voters indicated that they would vote 'yes' for a library levy lid lift, which requires 50 percent + 1 to pass. The survey results were made available to the library board of trustees as they considered whether to proceed with a funding measure. The success of the February 2010 school levies also provided a timely indicator that voters might be willing to invest in the future by supporting a library measure.

Q. Who gets to vote on the library measure?

A. All registered voters who live withih Fort Vancouver Regional Library District can vote on the August 17 library measure. The district encompasses all of Skamania and Klickitat counties, all of Clark county except the city of Camas, and the city of Woodland in Cowlitz County.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Spotlight on Victoria Allen

Those who have been following all the hoopla about property assessments will be happy to know we have an excellent candidate for Assessor this election. Over the last 7 years, Victoria Allen has worked every job in the Assessor's Office except actually going out to assess property. She knows where operations need improvement, has ideas about how community relations can be improved, and is enthusiastic about educating county residents about the assessment process. She is shown in the photo answering questions at the County Nominating Convention, where she was formerly nominated as the Democratic Candidate in this race.

Victoria moved to the county with her husband and daughter in 2003 to take a job in the Klickitat County Assessor's Office, and to be closer to her parents in Kennewick. They live on 7 acres about 10 miles outside of Goldendale and enjoy the rural lifestyle. Besides learning every aspect of the Assessor's Office, she has volunteered on the levy committee for the Goldendale School District and on the youth soccer board. She also sings in her church choir and with the Community Cantata during the holiday season. Victoria can also be spotted at her daughter's sports events, band and math competitions.

If you are one of the lucky people who have heard Victoria speak about her potential candidacy in recent months, you know what we're talking about. Her years of experience interfacing with the public on assessment matters show in her calm ability to explain a sometimes complicated and baffling process. If not, look out for your opportunity to talk with Victoria during the upcoming election season.

Friday, May 28, 2010

If It Isn't Broken, Don't Fix It

There was a misleading and poorly thought out editorial in the Thursday Seattle Times regarding our method for re-dictricting in Washington. Luke Esser and Dwight Pelz wrote the following letter-to-the-editor as a response. It will run next week.

Washington should enact changes to rules governing legislative redistricting

Letter To The Editor

The guest editorial on legislative redistricting by Bill Finkbeiner and Krist Novoselic emits an hysterical alarm for a phantom problem. They charge that “Washington needs to put in place safeguards against the abuse of our imperfect system. . . . .and wrest control of our democracy from the hands of the political parties.” They refer to the political parties’ “raw lust for heavy power.” It sounds like a steamy romance novel.

The calm truth is that Washington has a balanced, bipartisan redistricting system that is the envy of the nation. It was brought about as the result of a citizen initiative passed overwhelmingly in the 1980’s, and it has served our state well in the years since. Each majority and minority leader of the State Senate and State House appoints one member of a civilian Redistricting Commission. A fifth, nonvoting member is appointed by the four voting members to serve as chair. The result historically has been a fair map which favors neither party.

Re-districting can be a shameful exercise in partisan political power in other states. In overwhelmingly Republican states the Republican majority can draw the new districts with no input from Democrats. In overwhelmingly Democratic states the Democratic majority can draw the new lines with no input from Republicans. But in Washington neither party can force their will on the other. The bipartisan members of the Redistricting Commission either have to agree on a map that is fair to all, or the responsibility for drawing the lines is turned over to our State Supreme Court. It’s hard to imagine a system that could be more fair or ethical.

The voters got it right when they passed our current redistricting system into law. This system promotes openness, cooperation and bipartisanship. Our state’s process for redistricting not only isn’t broken, it’s a shining example of good government that other states would do well to copy.

Dwight Pelz is the Chair of the Washington State Democratic Party

Luke Esser is the Chair of the Washington State Republican Party

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

May Meeting in Goldendale

Klickitat Democrats are invited to the May meeting at the Goldendale Library, 5:30 pm on Friday, May 21st.

The program will include a brief business meeting, introduction of Tomas Villanueva, candidate for State Senate in the 15th LD, a video message from Sen. Patty Murray, and the History Channel's production "Renewable Energy". Please join us for this timely discussion!

From Netflix:
Renewable Energy(2006) NR

With an eye on the future, this thought-provoking History Channel special examines the potential of wind, water and the like to literally change the way we live. The higher gas prices climb, the more people look to alternative energy sources that are reliable and renewable. Could harnessing the power of biofuels, geothermal energy, the sun and shifting tides be the key to humanity's long-term survival?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Press Release from CD4 Caucus Chair

You've probably all heard about the threats to Patty Murray and the subsequent arrest of Charles Wilson for making them. Lest anyone think this is making a big deal out of nothing, George Fearing lets us in on the content of these threats, and calling on our Congressman to step up and call for civil discourse. Our CD4 Democratic Candidate, Jay Clough, also had a letter to the editor printed this week. You can see it here. Following is George's press release:

Last week’s news propelled central Washington into the national spotlight when federal authorities charged Selah resident Charles Wilson with threatening to assault and murder Senator Patty Murray in an attempt to intimidate her in her official duties and to retaliate against her for her Health Care Reform Act vote.

From March 22 to April 4, central Washington’s Charles Wilson inundated Senator Patty Murray’s Seattle office voice mail box. During a March 22 message, Wilson intoned:

There are many people out there who want you dead. Just remember that as you are politicking for your election. It only takes one piece of lead.... Kill the f***ing senator! Kill the f***ing senator! I’ll donate the lead... Now that you have passed your health-care bill, let the violence begin. Let the violence begin.... We are not a country of cowards, as one of the high ranking people of this administration says. You’ll find out how f***ng cowardly we really are, my dear. Better get under your desk, get on your (unintelligible). [Expletives modified]

On March 23, alliterative Charles Wilson boasted God and guns as his bedrock beliefs:

With the passing of your health-care bill, it is living proof that ... This great country that believes in God and guns. Since you’ve done this, there’s going to be some bigger targets on your f***ing back.... I hope somebody kills you, and I hope somebody kills [the President]. Yes, die dead. You’re signing my death warrant, so I want to sign yours, f***ing b****.

A later message on March 23 read:

By your attempts to overtake this country with socialism, somebody’s gonna get to you one way or another and blow your f***ing brains out, and I hope it does happen. If I have the chance, I would do it.... I hope you f***ing die. I want to f***ing kill you. I hope somebody f***ing hangs you, blows your f***ing brains out. We will not be socialized, you f***ing c**t.... You are a marked person for the rest of your f***ing life, you f***ing slut.

Apparently not satisfied with his earlier barbaric broadsides, Charles Wilson, who happens himself to benefit from Social Security, Medicare, government roads, and socialized education, added a third message on March 23:

Kill the f***ing Senator! Hang f***ing Senator! I hope somebody puts a f***ng bullet between your f***ing eyes. Far left liberal socialist democratic b****. I hope someone f***ing [sic] erasers your f***ing life. Yes, I hope somebody f***ing assassinates you, you f***ing bitch.

Then during an April Fool’s Day conversation with an undercover agent, Charles Wilson boasted carrying a .38 revolver; registration records confirm that Wilson owns such a gun. Wilson told the agent he would “not blink” to use it. Even before the threats of violence, Wilson, while cowardly blocking his telephone number, devoted months to leaving off-hour vulgar voice mail messages to Senator Murray’s office.

On April 1, Tea Party emissaries assembled outside the Yakima Red Lion to protest the presence of Patty Murray. In an April 4 message to Senator Murray, Wilson confirmed his participation in the protest. My son and I were present at the protest to raise signs in favor of Murray. We were met with insults from Tea Party acolytes, including taunts about Democrats too vulgar to quote here, from a man who met the description of Charles Wilson.

Republican leaders accuse Democrats with advertising, for political gain, the reprehensible threats issued by people like Charles Wilson. Although purporting on the one hand to denounce the threats, Republican leaders add on the other hand that the American people are angry over the health care bill. For his part, our central Washington congressman hasn’t gone even that far, choosing instead simply to remain silent about the obscene and savage comments of his constituent, Charles Wilson.

Central Washington Democrats implore our Republican, Libertarian, and Independent neighbors and friends to respect our Democratic President, Senators, and other government officials. Please use the ballot box, not hate and violence, to meet your political goals. We Democrats are also Americans and have more in common with you than differences with you. Please also remember that you benefit from programs begun by Democrats, such as Social Security, Medicare, and agricultural subsidies, which were earlier denounced as socialism. Also, Democrats built irrigation systems that water our central Washington crops, dams that bring our region cheap energy, and the Hanford site that employs thousands of our neighbors.

For eight years, central Washington Democrats persisted under the rash and reckless policies of the Republican Bush administration. We endured a stolen presidential election, tax cuts benefiting the wealthy, ruinous economic policies favoring the rich, deregulation of the financial industry that brought a financial crisis, growing budget deficits, lies leading to a costly and deadly war, appointment of ideological judges, and torture in the name of Christianity. For the last sixteen years, we have also endured a robotic, ethically challenged Republican congressman, purchased by big oil and large corporations. Despite strong disagreement, we never issued threats of violence against a government official. Instead, we successfully worked to overturn wrongs through the ballot box.

George Fearing, Chairperson

Fourth Congressional District Democrats