Friday, February 03, 2006


The Secretary of State’s office should have heeded election reform guidance when it was first offered by the many groups that desire true election reform. Now Secretary Reed is caught up in a boondoggle of mediocre measures to implement Washington’s new statewide voter database.

The federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) required all states to create a statewide voter registration database by January 1, 2006. Each state was given the opportunity to customize their methods of doing so. The Evergreen Freedom Foundation, an Olympia-based non-profit public policy group, recommended a list of best election practices for Washington to adopt. Since then, Sec. Reed and the legislature have neglected to enact much of EFF’s measures for true reform.

One recommendation was to place all voters on an inactive status. Voters would be required to update their registration by mail or in person in order to vote a regular ballot in the next election. Anyone failing to do so would be able to vote a provisional ballot.

Just yesterday, the Secretary of State’s office acknowledged that the new voter database found at least 5,224 dead people registered to vote in Washington and more than 3,000 voters registered twice. While these registrations are still being investigated, we are “assured” that there is no election fraud or misconduct that occurred as a result of these findings.

Not so fast. Have we already forgotten that previous elections in Washington didn’t exactly go off without a hitch?

It needs to be made clear that the only way to restore the confidence of the people is to enact serious election reform before November’s mid-term elections. By clearing all voter rolls and requiring voters to reactivate their registrations is one of the best ways to restore public trust. While this may be an inconvenience to many, it is a necessary step for Washington to again have free and fair elections.

View the Seattle Times story here.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Higher salaries, not better education is WEA motive

I came across this statement on WEA’s website. For a group who consistently touts the mantra, “it’s for the children,” it is ironic that pay is the WEA’s most important political goal. Here’s what is straight from the WEA website:

Compensation remains WEA members' top priority
· Voters passed Initiative 732 by nearly 63 percent in 2000. WEA was the major force behind the initiative. It provided all public school employees with an annual state-funded cost-of-living salary adjustment. But when the Legislature and Gov. Gary Locke suspended I-732 in 2003, many WEA members lost thousands of dollars in salary and retirement benefits.

· Restoring funding for our COLAs in the 2005-2006 school year will be a top priority in the 2005 legislative session. Support for I-732 was a major issue in WEA PAC recommendations during last fall's elections.

Keep in mind that you will always here the WEA cry wolf about good education and student needs. But to them, teacher strikes for top pay are apparently in the children’s best interest. Oh, and this means they will always protect current jobs. They are not for the creation of new jobs.


On that note, I also reference you to a
formal opinion released by Attorney General Rob McKenna’s office this week. The opinion states that “state and local public employees do not have a legally protected right to strike. No such right existed at common law, and none has been granted by statute.”

This marks contrast between McKenna and his predecessor, now-Gov. Gregoire—who was often caught in bed with Washington’s education unions.

Evergreen Freedom Foundation has spearheaded this issue and published a HB 2808 would allow courts to impose up to $10,000 a day for violators.

This should send a message to public employee unions that their days as free-range policy manipulators are drawing to a close.

Legislators have until Friday’s (Feb. 3) “cut off” date to pass the bill out of House Commerce and Labor committee.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006