July 27, 2014
Does Governor Inslee Care About Starving Children In Asia?
Democrats News
by Jim Miller, 04:03 PM

First, some background so that you can understand why I ask that question.  There has been a long dispute between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and a grain exporter, United Grain, which has a facility at the mouth of the Columbia River.

Last year, the National Labor Relations Board found that both sides were at fault:

NLRB regional director Ronald Hooks in Seattle says United Grain should have provided the union with a "timely, clear and complete offer" of what it needed to do to avoid to a lockout.

United Grain disputes the finding. An administrative law judge will hear the matter June 30.

Separately, Hooks said the longshoremen violated labor law by engaging in threats and violence early in the lockout.  For example, he said, picketers threw rocks at a security officer and threatened to rape a manager's daughter.

I don't know about you, but to me violence, and threats of violence, seem worse than not making a clear offer.

United Grain continued operating, and the picketing continued.  As did threats of violence against anyone crossing the picket line, including state grain inspectors.   For a time, Washington state Governor Jay Inslee provided state patrol officers to protect those inspectors, but he has now withdrawn them.

With the expected result:

To assuage the fears of state inspectors from the Washington State Department of Agriculture, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee directed state troopers to provide an escort past the longshoremen's picket lines in October 2013.

"They were being harassed. A lot of verbal abuse, obscenities and remarks our staff took as threats," said Hector Castro, spokesman for the WSDA.

Citing a lack of progress in labor talks between ILWU and several Northwest grain handlers, Inslee discontinued those escorts, which caused state inspectors to stop entering the United Grain facility on July 7.

(WSDA = Washington State Department of Agriculture.)

If the grain isn't inspected, it can't be exported.

Let's summarize:  On the left side, we have Governor Inslee and the ILWU.   On the right side, we have United Grain, farmers and farm workers, all the people who move that grain from the farms to the markets, the state inspectors, and those starving children in Asia.  (All right, technically, not all of the food will go to children, and not all of the children are currently starving, though some of them are certainly very hungry.)  I know which side I'm on.

We can't say, from this evidence, that Governor Inslee doesn't care about those children (and all the others on the right side of that dispute), but we can say that he cares more about the ILWU than the children and the rest.  And we can say that he isn't put off by the ILWU's tactics.

By way of Lars Larson, who has an interview with Hector Castro you can listen to.

Cross posted at Jim Miller on Politics.


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July 22, 2014
President Obama Deserves Some Perverse Credit For The Scheduling On His Latest Fund Raising Trip To Seattle
Democrats News
by Jim Miller, 07:24 AM

If he were trying to wreck the afternoon and evening commute, that's what the schedule would look like.

This has happened often enough in this area so that I suspect that Obama — and his millionaire contributors — are timing these visits to disrupt traffic intentionally, that they enjoy the pain they cause for so many ordinary commuters.  (Here's another example of bad timing in a Seattle visit from last November.   Note that Obama was also able to disrupt traffic in Los Angeles on that same visit.)

Polls before the 2012 election showed that most voters thought that Obama cared about ordinary people; these fund raising schedules show that he doesn't.

Cross posted at Jim Miller on Politics.

(For those unfamiliar with the roads in the Seattle area:  There are two bridges over Lake Washington connecting Seattle with the east side suburbs.  The main one, I-90, has just one lane open in one direction, thanks to construction; the other, 520, will be closed by the Obama motorcade between 5 and 6 PM.  To get back to the airport, Obama will probably close I-405, one of the two main north-south routes, between 6 and 7 PM.

For the record:  I don't think the traffic tie-ups will be quite as bad as some are predicting — mostly because the people who can will change their schedules to avoid the president.)


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