Rep. Reuven Carlyle will host a coffee chat Jan. 9 in Crown Hill as part of a series of four coffee hours that Saturday to hear from neighbors before the start of the legislative session.
"The legislature convenes on Jan. 11, and we're again facing a massive deficit of nearly $3 billion,” Carlyle said in a press release. “It's critical that I hear from our community directly about your views, issues, concerns and thoughts on the budget, taxes, education and other important issues."
"I'm asking people to reach out and share your views so I can better represent you in Olympia during these difficult times," he said in the press release.
The Crown Hill coffee hour takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on Jan. at Caffe Fiore, located at 3125 W. 85th St.
There will also be a chat from 10:30 to 11:30 in Greenwood at Herkimer, located at 7320 Greenwood Ave. N.
The final two coffee hours take place at 1 p.m. in Magnolia and 2:30 p.m. in Queen Anne at Serendipity and Caffe Fiore respectively.
The 2010 legislative session begins Jan. 11 and is scheduled to run 60 days.
With 2009 coming to a close, here is a look back at some of the biggest stories of the year. Click the image above for a slideshow of the year in photos.
Ballard thief arrested
By Michael Harthorne
A 46-year-old man suspected of stealing from numerous businesses in Ballard in the past weeks was arrested Dec. 31 near 20th Avenue Northwest and Market Street for an outstanding warrant in Missouri.
According to victims, the man is suspected of entering businesses on Market Street and Ballard Avenue during business hours and taking money from back offices, safes and employees’ purses.
“I’m glad he’s been caught,” said Kylee Harris, owner of Cugini Café on Ballard Avenue. “But, I think the real thing we need to figure out is how to bust him for what he’s stolen.”
Macefield house to be sold
By Michael Harthorne
The house once belonging to Edith Macefield that has stood empty in a cocoon of new development since her death in June will be sold by its new owner, Barry Martin of Ledcor Construction.
The looming 2010 budget crisis and two pieces of marijuana legislation seemed to be the topics of the night for the three legislators and two dozen constituents at the 36th District open house Dec. 15.
One attendee said she hoped to hear what legislation Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Rep. Reuven Carlyle and Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson were working on, but had a feeling budget talk would largely preempt that.
"We are in a crisis, a very real crisis," Dickerson said. "I don't think the general public realizes the crisis we are in."
Kohl-Welles said the legislature will be facing making amendments to Gov. Chris Gregoire's balanced 2010 budget in the upcoming legislative session, which starts in January.
The state is facing a $2.6 billion shortfall, even higher than what was anticipated at the end of the last session in April, she said.
"We have to find cuts," she said. "And, there is just very little space to find cuts to make."
Kohl-Welles said many in the legislature believe any further cuts would have a horrendous effect on the quality of life in the state.
One of the only options to get around that is to create new revenue sources, she said.
By Andrew Dziedzic, staff member to 36th District Rep. Reuven Carlyle
The names, addresses and signatures of those who sign initiatives and referendum petitions would be public information under legislation introduced Dec. 7 by 36th District Rep. Reuven Carlyle.
“Initiatives and referendum are part of the soul of our state’s history from the progressive era of the 1880s, and this bill is an effort to make it clear that the public deserves full, open and transparent access to petitions,” Carlyle said. “Signing a petition is your fundamental constitutional right, and with that right comes a public responsibility to ensure our state provides open access to that information.”
Carlyle believes legislation will clarify the state’s intent that public access to this information improves the initiative and referendum process.
“It’s the public’s right to solicit signatures, and it’s the public’s right to access signatures,” Carlyle said.
The legislation, House Bill 2418, explicitly states that referendum and initiative forms, and the names and addresses contained on them, are open to the public.
Gov. Chris Gregoire and the state Department of Ecology approved clean water projects in Ballard, as well as Spokane and Olympia, worth a total of $5.6 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding Nov. 24.
Project proponents estimate the projects will support approximately 75 construction jobs.
The low-impact development projects will provide enhanced stormwater treatment. Such projects mimic nature to capture or slow stormwater runoff so it can naturally infiltrate back into the ground.
Seattle Public Utilities’ Ballard Green Streets project gets $1.54 million of the $5.6 million.
The utility will install 10 blocks of swales to naturally detain and infiltrate stormwater.
This Green Streets project will control runoff from 2.6 acres of hard surfaces, reducing sewer/storm overflows. The swales will help reduce stormwater pollution in the Lake Washington Ship Canal, which serves as a key migration corridor for threatened Chinook salmon and steelhead, coho salmon and regionally significant sockeye salmon.
By State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles
Ed. Note: This was originally sent as an email by the Approve Referendum 71 campaign.
Last legislative session I proudly voted for Senate Bill 5688 – ensuring that all Washington families would be treated equally under state law, with the same protections and the same obligations as their neighbors.
The bill passed both houses with large majorities and the Governor proudly signed the bill.
Now, thousands of families in Washington state are at risk of losing these protections contained in the domestic partnership law unless voters APPROVE Referendum 71.
SB 5688 contained important protections for families, especially in times of crisis, including:
-The ability to take unpaid leave from work to take care of a seriously ill partner without fear of being fired.
-The ability to receive hard earned pension and death benefits when a partner dies.
-Protections for children when a parent dies.
The Washington State Department of Transportation Ferries Division (WSF) is inviting the public to a series of meetings in ferry-served communities Nov. 4 through 19.
In these meetings WSF will provide information, answer questions and hear public comments on a variety of issues related to the ferry system, including the legislated vehicle reservations pre-design study, winter vessel maintenance schedule, new 64-car ferries, crewing schedules and preparing for the 2010 legislative session.
“I look forward to this series of community conversations,” said David Moseley, Assistant Secretary for WSF in a news release. “We will discuss work being done now as well as work moving forward into the 2010 legislative session.”
The community meeting for the Vashon Island and Southworth routes are as follows:
Wednesday, Nov. 4, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
South Colby Elementary School, 3281 Banner Road S.E., Port Orchard
Monday, Nov. 9, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
McMurray Middle School, 9329 S.W. Cemetery Road, Vashon Island
State Sen. Karen Keiser, chair of the Senate Health and Long-Term Care Committee, and state Rep. Eileen Cody, chair of the House Health Care and Wellness Committee, brought the national healthcare debate to Ballard and the 36th District Oct. 27.
The town hall meeting at the Swedish Medical Center was markedly different than what Keiser and Cody experienced while touring elsewhere in the state over the summer.
"This room is a lot different than the rooms we had in July and August," Cody said. "There were a lot of people concerned over whether we should do this at all."
Of the 26 Ballard, Magnolia, Belltown and Queen Anne residents at the Oct. 27 meeting, only one expressed concern over healthcare reform and the possibility of a federal healthcare system.
"It's almost incomprehensible that we don't have universal public healthcare," said one attendee.
"I'm pretty disgusted with the way it's gone on national level," said another.
Keiser said she thinks there will be a healthcare reform bill on the President's desk for approval by Christmas, though it will not include everything members of the 36th District want.
To quote Doug Bandow, senior fellow at the Cato Institute, “[Government entitlements] have become the worst sort of fool's bargain—at least for everyone but the politicians who take credit for handing out money to a pliant population.”
This past September, I finally got hear our Congressman Jim McDermott speak on healthcare reform, and his vision of the ‘public option.'
He stated at that time: “My druthers – the public option would be a single-payer option." In defense of instituting a public option, he referred to Medicare and its successes as an example of how the government got it right.
My question to him is, “OK… at whose expense?”
Congressman McDermott is either ignorant of the facts or dishonest about the burden which entitlement mentality places on us and future generations. But I seriously doubt the former.
Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP and the Prescription Drug entitlement have already dragged this country to the brink. In my opinion we are already doomed if how the federal government operates, and how Americans perceive its role, are not radically changed.