May 22, 2013
Just who are "they"?
Ever-increasing revenues that are just never "enough."
Special sessions that happen with such regularity, there is nothing special about them.
A state government that is behind the times and spends boatloads of taxpayer dollars for the privilege (symbolized by a monument called the Jefferson Street Data Center).
A Legislature that can't promote reform in state government unless its financial backers acquiesce.
It's reasonable to ask, who is accountable for the great Olympia malaise? Ballotpedia has some nice new graphs and charts to remind us. Not only have the Democrats run Olympia as a permanent political class for decades, Washington is one of just four states that have had one-party control of its governorships for the last two decades.
So next time you wonder why "they" can't seem to get it together, remember to ask yourself who "they" are.
Posted by Adam Faber at May 22, 2013
05:52 PM | Email This
All this talk of who has been running the government in Olympia parallels with this complaint on the far left about those "evil" corporations and the taxes they're not paying on overseas monies. Well, it's the evil geniuses in government who write the tax laws, so if anybody is "responsible" for corporations not paying taxes, it's the morons that write the laws. Don't blame companies for looking out for their shareholders' interest by taking advantage of the existing tax laws. Corporate management would be negligent in its duties if it didn't seek to minimize their companies' tax liabilities.
Liberal progressives, if you want the evil capitalists to pay their "fair share," then enact a simplified, flat-rate tax code. Stop all the complaining and fix the problem of an overly complex and ridiculous tax code.
Adam, if you want to make any difference at all, whiny generalities, especially inaccurate ones (we had a Republican Attorney General at the start of this year!) won't cut it.
Now, in a previous thread, we had a case of a multi-state transit project, one with generous federal support, being held hostage by a minority faction which hates light rail. How about a look at why "they" don't want Clark County residents commuting to Portland via light rail?
3. The way I see it, "they" is everybody, including Adam and myself.
Clark County has voted light rail down 4 times and decisivley each time.
Anyone with functioning eyes and a functioning brain watches light rail in Portland that is unquestionably a complete failure in all aspects: no impact on traffic congestion, dramatic reduction of traffic flow on the arterials light rail operates, quick easy transport for the criminal element, a financial tragedy, and most of all light rail is void of riders the vast majority of the time.
The I5 bridge has at least 50 yrs of life left and the current CRC proposal does not increase lanes while deferring probably forever interchange improvements.
Clark County has no interest in the financial tsumani and uselessness of light rail and would rather dump the laughable folly of light rail and make do with the present traffic situation rahter than trash ourselves with choo choo train wet dreams.
Whoever "they" are, they are pretty incompetent. Because we always have to pay more, yet get less. The opposite of things in the private sector like consumer electronics where real market viability and competition exist and each year there are tremendous advances with lower prices.
Wherever there is interference or manipulation such as with corn subsidies, ethanol, subsidies for wind and solar, then we pay more and get less, food prices, cost of government services, utility costs, healthcare all going up, and we are getting less.
It is not a single party problem, but we have let the bureaucracy get so far out of control, it is now almost impossible to stop or fix.
A change in leadership would be a good start.
Adam, are you old enough to have been alive the last time a Republican candidate won the support of a majority of the voters in the state of Washington to become Governor?
Your problem is not with the Washington state government, but with the people of Washington who repeatedly REJECT what you and the candidates you support have to "offer".
"they" whooped your ass again in 2012.
So next time you wonder why "you" can't win a gubernatorial election, remember to ask yourself who provides policy advice.
What it boils down to is that there is a combination of too many low information voters and a less than articulate GOP candidate lacking charisma, Adam.
A candidate who is articulate and charismatic as Chris Christie would be a winner here. Just sayin'.
Republicans have very little chance of winning a state-wide office here in Washington. This state is just too blue for the Republicans to win any office like the governor's position.
That's just the way it is here, and there is nothing the Republicans can do about it.
Let's see. In the last 30 years of "one party rule" (and, for now, we can ignore that the Republicans have had people from Sam Reed to Slade Gorton to Adam's former boss in state wide office, or control of various houses of the legislature), this state has risen from an economy centered on bascially three things (Boeing, timber and agriculture), to a diversified, modern economy. We are a cultrual center, full of diverse people, and envied by most other states. In that time, our population has nearly doubled. We have realtively low taxes (http://dor.wa.gov/Content/AboutUs/newsroom/2013/010413.aspx), which have only gotten lower over time (cf. http://dor.wa.gov/Content/AboutUs/newsroom/html/TaxRanking.aspx), excellent health care and educational resources, and made it through the recession in decent shape. Heck, if the likes of the State GOP would take their job seriously and actually work on improving this state, imagine where we would be.
But, then again, I guess you can go to a state where the Republican's hold sway, which are undoubtedly doing much better than us under this terrible Democratic control. I'm sure there are tons of people who would join you as you leave the Evergreen State for Idaho, Missisipi, Wyoming, Texas or North Carolina. Enjoy. Personally, I think it would be nice if we just paid average taxes in comparison to the other 50 states, and reaped the benefits.
MBS @ 6:
The interesting thing is that Gov. Spellman was not a bad governor per se (better than the Democratic governor he replaced, and had he not been hobbled by a Republican legislature, may have been as good as the last strong Republican Governor we had, Dan Evans), but that the Republicans have failed to run a candidate that is capable of winning state wide since then.
Sure, you could be a low information voter like KDS and avoid facts and reality and believe that its the messenger, not the message, but lets face it, until this states GOP purges itself of people who have no interest in actually governing (which, gasp, would include occasionally raising taxes and actually governing), we will just have to put up with Democratic leadership and a prosperous state. The horror, the horror.
KDS & Ten's comments need to be put into perspective. When KDS refers to "low information" voters he's referring to voters too intelligent to vote against their better economic, health and cultural interests. When Ten refers to "too blue" he is also referring to the state's voters being too smart to fall for Republican corn swaggling like Adam and his last candidate offer.
Lionel hit the nail on the head. Those 30 years of Democratic political dominance in Washington has brought the greatest prosperity the state has known.
And Lionel, they won't depart to Republican greener pastures because their heart is set upon obtaining power to swindle the benefits we've achieved.
"When KDS refers to "low information" voters he's referring to voters too intelligent to vote against their better economic, health and cultural interests. When Ten refers to "too blue" he is also referring to the state's voters being too smart to fall for Republican corn swaggling like Adam and his last candidate offer."
Evidently economic intelligence does not enter into the equation - if you don't believe that, check out the big trend of increase in government spending and taxation since the latge 1970's. Also, what about the number of initiatives that Tim Eyman (pro-conservative and smaller government) that have passed in general elections. There is obvious jealousy about that from Goldstein and his blog where you like to hide out, when you aren't trying to whip up something over here.
I would submit that voters here are schizophrenic, voting more for Democrats and then for smaller less obtrusive government by approving more of Eyman's initiatives than have been rejected. The reasons they support one vs. the other are more correctly outlined in @7 and @8.
"...avoid facts and reality and believe that its the messenger, not the message, but lets face it, until this states GOP purges itself of people who have no interest in actually governing (which, gasp, would include occasionally raising taxes and actually governing), we will just have to put up with Democratic leadership and a prosperous state."
Hutz, unlike you I critically question the pap that comes from MSNBC - you parrot their talking points. That's why your take on reality is skewed. If you care to display some factual information about Democrat-governed states vs. Republican-governed states, you could better illustrate your point, which would be less inclined to be leftist-biased. The only thing I can concur is that divided government works better than one-party rule, as when Spellman was governor, while divided government with Inslee may well be more successful than one party government was with Gregoire.
It appears to have started on the left some years ago and then they got tired of using it and now it's used by the right. I've certainly heard it coming out of Beck and Limbaugh. And I see it used here of course, and quite often. I suppose it make me a little curious how many times must something be repeated before we can call it parroting?
Anyways, Republican Mike Lofgren has his own take on what's what these days. In his article "Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult", low-information voters are anti-intellectual and hostile-to-science. Ouch! And he further claimed Republicans are deliberately manipulating them to undermine their confidence in American government
Not that I agree or anything. I'm sure Republicans wouldn't dupe anybody into hating our government. That'd be awful. But that's what he thinks so I just thought I'd throw it out there as an opinion coming from my right. Certainly there's nobody here who meets that description. Just as I'm sure there's no parroting here no matter how many times I read about "low-information voters".
15. Oh, no, I just heard about a Skagit River bridge collapsing with cars and people in the water. I pray they all get out of this alive.
How much spending is "enough"? No words, just pictures ...
17. Luckily, the I-5 bridge over the Columbia is good for another fifty years, right, Hank?
@4 "The I5 bridge has at least 50 yrs of life left ..."
Interesting timing ...
Isn't one of those spans 100 years old and the other over 60 years old? Eh, I doubt that there's much improvent in seismic structural design for bridges since then. Yeah. And someone said they could go another 50 years? Possibly. But at what cost? I didn't see a citation. It'd be interesting to see where that one came from. It's certainly possible that this came from a engineering analysis of the existing structures but without a citation that's a hard sell. I looked around and I didn't see anything like that. But that's not so say that it's not out there somewhere.
Hmm, who said that?
@4 Hank said, "The I5 bridge has at least 50 yrs of life left"
Got a citation, Hank?
The Skagit River Bridge - OMG ! At least there were no fatalities !! Colossal collapse...
The latest on the IRS scandal as summarized by the head of Freedom Works (win at all costs and toxify the system in the process). It seems like he is speaking tongue-in-cheek because he should know that this president will never come clean...
"Ultimately, President Obama must be held accountable for the actions of his agency, according to Kibbe.
"I think the accountability has to start at the top. And it's not really about who talked to who, or who know what when, but this whole notion that we would use the executive power of the federal government to choose winners and losers and intimidate people based on their political philosophy," he asserted. "That's rotten to the core. And I think we need to get at that fundamental problem that stems from too much government power and too much discretionary authority acceded to unelected bureaucrats."
The damage has already been done with respect to the 2012 elections.
"It clearly made a difference. Would it have made a defining difference? We'll never know, but the fact that this was broadly known within the IRS, and the Treasury Department, and even within the West Wing of the White House before the election."
While Kibbe stopped short of accusing the Obama administration of attempting to cover-up alleged IRS abuses, he said "It looks like a cover-up because all of this conveniently comes out after the election."
He believes that the IRS targeting of conservative groups had a "stifling effect" on potential donors.
"I think there was an unspoken, but clear understanding amongst our potential donors that they could potentially be targeted either by the IRS or the executive branch," Kibbe added. "I don't believe that as many people -- either donors or activists -- participated as would otherwise because they were afraid of retribution and that is the scandal here."
Kibbe insisted that President Obama must "come clean" with the American people if he wants to restore confidence in his administration.
"But the evolving story coming out of the White House is leading to a fundamental lack of confidence that anyone's in charge, that anyone is willing to take responsibility," he charged.
"Stop stonewalling and let congressional investigators get to the facts -- and only then do we know what the real problem is. But right now there's a lot of circular finger pointing. Everyone is trying to blame someone else for something that was clearly a widespread practice within the Obama administration."
Jumping the gun as usual.
It was not known what caused the collapse of the bridge about 60 miles north of Seattle in Skagit County, but State Patrol detectives and the patrol's commercial vehicle enforcement bureau troopers were talking late Thursday night to a commercial truck driver whose rig was believed to have struck the bridge.
"It appears the commercial vehicle made contact with the bridge," Francis said. "Whether it was the cause" of the collapse or made contact as the bridge was falling "that will all come out in the wash. But it appears it hit the bridge."
Because a really well-maintained, multiton structure will just naturally collapse immediately after contact with a commercial vehicle. If you really believe that, then I have another bridge to sell you -- a really good bridge, mind you, one which has stood for over 125 years.
But the I-5 bridge over the Columbia River is good for another fifty years!!!! I read it at Sound Politics, which has never published a correction, so everything written here must be true!
Let's hope nobody proposes any mass transit in the replacement plan for the Skagit River bridge, because then Sen. Benton and his illegitimate majority would have no choice but to de-fund all of WSDOT.
The bridge had a rating of 57.4 out of 100 in the inspection last year, which is well below an "average rating" of 80. The bridge collapse was triggered by contact from an oversized truck's load with a crucial member, which triggered the collapse. Hopefully, a YouTube video of this event will surface soon.
Maintaining infrastructure costs crucial money. Whether or not the Interstate Bridge remains standing for another 50 years is beside the point. The prudent thing to do is replace this bridge soon WITHOUT light rail. The prohibitive cost of light rail will not permit adequate maintenance of existing infrastructure such as I-5. Case and point; the collapse of this bridge last night. I would suggest that BRAC/FHWA needs to be more proactive on bridge maintenance and although it is too soon to jump the gun (H/T Leftover) until a forensic investigation has been completed, the handwriting on the wall is abundantly clear.
Additional high cost large light rail and high speed rail projects in the Northwest will make it virtually impossible to adequately maintain our existing and gradually crumbling infrastructure.
Indeed, the Federal and State Government have spending problems.
24. Tensor - as usual you libs are full of shit. You want to spend all the money on "green" projects and shaft the highways.
RE bridge collapse - Thank God President Incompetent had all those shovel ready jobs from his utterly wasted stimulus ready to prevent tragedies such as this by using the money to actually repair old infrastructure... you know, just the way you loud lefty's screamed he would.
It's Bush's fault.
Is there nothing you loud lefty's won't use to further your political agenda?
Shame on you.
26. Hey Adam - I had a couple questions about the political climate of Washington State that I'd prefer to discuss over email, would you be willing to talk? If so, please email me via the address I've provided. Many thanks, I appreciate your time.
Interesting linking the original posts topic with the Skagit River bridge collapse. They actually do relate. The premise of the original topic was who is "they" when complaining why things aren't being done. I know the original post referred to one party control, but one also needs to look beyond control and first always ask what functions should the government perform. This is the first step in budgeting and last night's accident demonstrates the need for government and points to where its priorities should be and not where they currently have been focused.
Let's examine the government functions involved with last night's incident.
1. First responders: No one would argue that government shouldn't provide safety and security functions. The State Patrol, Count Sheriff, local police and fire departments where all heavily involved in this incident as we saw. There was also local volunteer search and rescue forces also involved. It does look like they had the right equipment for the jobs, including the hover craft. However, do we as citizens always support there role and needs when it comes to voting for funding?
2. Safety Inspections: It appears the bridge in question was recently inspected and its issues known. This incident shows that funding for things like safety inspections is important. However, this is an area that the select GOP politicians has wavered on. Hopefully, those that have waivered recieve a wake up call. On the Democrats side, the question is one of focus, are the Democrats focusing on the right types of safety inspections.
3. Transportation (Large Loads) Oversite: This dives to before the incident occurred and relates to the permit issued to the Canadian hauler. It is a combo function involving the WSDOT and State Patrol. The accident points out potential issues here. The current process leaves a lot of the review process to the pilot company's. Do they have proper oversight and information to do there job correctly? In this case, they may not have had all the necessary information on the load. Also, per one eyewitness, the front pilot car was too close to the load to warn if any danger, which brings under review the training and certification required for the pilot car operator. Also, was this load inspected by the State patrol? All questions that need to be investigated. This is an area where findings may arise where we need updated regulations and new processes. Will it be a priority for the legislature?
As demonstrated by the three areas above, government is necessary and it is important that we elect officials who understand and can prioritize the functions of government so the more important functions get the proper attention. It is a same that Inslee seems more focused on his own pet ideas that taking to heart the lessons the Skagit incident demonstrates. He did not give a very reassuring Press conference last night.
OBTW Disclaimer: I did not vote for Inslee.
28. @27 - Good points. Adequate Maintenance of transportation infrastructure and continued expansive light rail project delivery cannot coexist in this state or Oregon for that matter.
While I agree that Inslees priority on the Columbia River bridge is off. I would disagree that the new bridge shouldn't include in its planning the potential for future light rail. With bridges lasting 50-100 years at least, the capability should be considered. I just think the Light Rail portion should be a different (future) funding source. They should also plan the bridge for future traffic pattern expansion also (i.e., do they need to include how additional lanes would be added). The potential future light rail option could be factored into this additional capacity feature.
For example, the new Narrows bridge supports, I believe were built with the capability of adding an additional deck, which could be for light rail, rapid-bus, or other options.
The span of the Columbia River is such that it would be costly to just add additional parallel bridges in the same location. Additionally, there is always concerns with river flow when you have multiple parallel spans in close proximity.
30. tc: A different funding source could work in the future, or how about a separate bridge for light rail like for trains ? It may cost less for two bridges than for one humongous bridge.
The light rail bridge won't lessen the traffic flow that much in the near future, but out in the future, when population densities increase, light rail will be less of a financial drain.
"With bridges lasting 50-100 years at least, the capability should be considered."
Absolutey spot on.
A year or so ago I read a technical report about the 520 Bridge rail crossing because I knew their were some issues regarding what I like to call "the proper application of voltage". It's there and there were presently no solutions. It's kind of how you looked at it though. It's not like rail won't work. It's that the stated life-span of the bridge wouldn't be what everybody says it is. Unless solved, I see it as a deal-breaker for going ahead with rail until they get a handle on it. Don't mess with the life-span because that's lot an awful of money if it is cut in half. But it's not like I don't want them to not include the capacity for rail.
As for CRC, get on with it. I can appreciate it that when my government is building bridges that it displays an understanding that the sweetness of cheap costs that goes with lack of foresight can very soon be replaced with an awful lot of bitterness. I like my bridges built strong, built to last, and built for the future. It's no time to go cheap.
By the way, I seem to recall that there was some consideration of adding a deck to the old Narrows bridge before they decided to go with the new one. I hated what ended up doing to the views from and of the old bridge, but it was probably a good move. It certainly solved a huge traffic problem on Hwy 16.
Speaking of Tacoma and what lays west, when the US Open arrives in 2015 the Narrows Airport will have more private jets landing, taking off and parked there than anywhere else in the world because half of them will be there. There be one hell of a lot of limos crossing that bridge that week.
I was in San Francisco about 4:30PM the afternoon of Loma Prieta trying to decide whether to head home to Palo Alto and catch the game or head over to the Kaiser Permanente in downtown Oakland, going across the Bay Bridge and down the Cypress. To the dismay of many here, I'm sure, I chose the game. Sorry about that!
It's not either this or we do that when it comes to maintaining and replacing existing bridges or building the ones we need now and in the future. We are Americans and we can accomplish anything we want.
I don't know about you, but I hate HOV lanes. I'd fire every damned social engineer at DOT trying to train people in ride a bus as well as get rid of those lanes in a heartbeat. My God, they're everywhere! We talk of freedoms here. They are infringing upon my freedom to drive for nothing but a bunch of BS. I swear, it seems like they haven't built one damned highway lane for me in decades.
Not sure of river dynamics at that location. I do know last night, one of the concerns at the Skagit River Bridge, prior to the accident was the close proximity of three bridges and the Skagit River's effects of spring flooding on those bridges and levee system. The Seattle City light dams can only control flow to a certain degree.
I know from my youth days (in Wisconsin), that river currents have strange effects around bridge pilings. Railroad bridges, which had a lot more pilings were the worse to cross under with a canoe (let alone major shipping traffic, like on the Columbia or in my youth days case, the Mississippi traffic).
Fully agree with your statement on wanting bridges built strong. Just came back from NYC. The Brooklyn Bridge is still a marvel today, especially given the fact it was built pre-automobile.
Adam, you say
Ever-increasing revenues that are just never "enough."
They certainly are. As a policy advisor to the failed McKenna candidacy why didn't you and he make the case to forgo replacing functionally obsolete infrastructure and instead restrict Washington businesses and governments to using 1955 technologies and practices to maintain historically low tax rates?
I'm sure the citizens of Skagit valley will be open to hearing you espouse the benefits.
Rags -- we weren't trying to wring political advantage from the collapse of the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River; we were noting Hank's prediction concerning the expected longevity of another I-5 bridge. It's just amazing how well Hank's ideology compared with reality, wasn't it?
Do you find the encounter between a fact and your ideology to be an excruciatingly painful experience? You should; it's Mother Nature's way of telling you you're doing something wrong. Now, you can decide for yourself which thing you're doing wrong: holding the beliefs you do, or encountering facts. Given your chonic voluminous commentaries here, I think I could make a safe prediction as to which route you will choose.
35. @32 Perhaps using sweeping arches, strong foundations and all the other structural elements that so many designs have employed through the ages as well as the settings where they are located, bridges just naturally lend themselves to the creation of very beautiful structures and as with the wheel, are a significant achievment in human history.
Fully agree with your statement on wanting bridges built strong. Just came back from NYC. The Brooklyn Bridge is still a marvel today, especially given the fact it was built pre-automobile.
Posted by tc at May 24, 2013 04:18 PM
The Brooklyn Bridge just celebrated its 130th birthday today - built in 1883; still sturdy/ it can rightly be classified as a marvel of engineering.
1:30 PM to 3:00 PM
"Bridge Building Presentations" (continued) Emcee: Sam Reed, Secretary of State, 2001-2013
Group 3: "Asian/Pacific Islanders"
Speakers: Jinyoung Englund, Former Executive Assistant to Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers & Ron Chow, Former Chair for the WA State Asian/Pacific Islanders Commission and Co-Chair for Rob McKenna's Asian Coalition
Group 4: "Hispanics"
Speakers: Maria Rodriquez-Salazar, Former Co-Chair of Rob McKenna's Hispanic Coalition & Mike Sotelo, President of the King County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Group 5: "African-Americans"
Speakers: Marilyn Strickland, Mayor of Tacoma & Nat Jackson, Former President of the Black Republicans of Washington
Group 6: "Environmentalists"
Speakers: Bill Finkbeiner, Former WA State Senate Majority Leader & Mike Vaska, WA Conservation Voters Board Member
Gosh with a "Team" like that, how did McKenna lose?
Well watch the fun for yourself this Saturday. By the way Sid Morrison is a co-host of this event. If you don't remember him, well he was the Transportation Secretary under Governor Lowry (a Democrat).
RINOS on parade. As long as they are in control of the Republican Party in this state we are actually much better off with the Democrats in control. After all when they do wrong, we can blame them. But the RINOS would do the same exact things, but the Republicans would be blamed.
By the way, that link, until they show the 2013 program on TV-W right now goes directly to the 2012 Cascade conference. It is interesting to see what the RINOS were saying last year and how wrong they were!