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.