Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Still More News and Notes

I'm making another attempt to clear off my desk. I'm beginning to think it's hopeless.

> TNT says state's mental health system must change

In response to the tragic incident in Skagit County where a mentally ill man killed six people, the News Tribune Editorial Board wrote an excellent essay about how our incoherent mental health policies have put both the public and the mentally ill directly into harm's way. "Releasing [the mentally ill] from institutions was supposed to free them – and it could have, had enough treatment money followed them. But in too many cases, they were freed to go hungry and homeless, to crowd expensive jails and emergency rooms, to live under bridges or get kicked to death by gangs. And, in a few cases, freed to assault or kill random people who crossed their paths."

> Boy, is I-985 a bad idea

Alia wrote a nice post the other day explaining why state employees should be opposed to I-985, and I hope you had a chance to read it. Of course one of the biggest concerns is it imposes significant new costs on state government with no way to pay for them. According to an analysis prepared by OFM, I-985 would cost $256 million in the 2007-09 biennium, and would have a $623 million price tag over a five year period. Are you getting sick and tired of Tim Eyman's antics? Maybe the Tim Eyman Update we posted a couple of weeks ago will help.

Note: Speaking of OFM, they recently unveiled new web-based tools to allow the public to track state spending and performance. Now maybe you can find out what your agency is up to. Check it out and let us know what you think.

> Dino Rossi says collective bargaining is corrupt, but the Seattle P-I has a more rational perspective

Dino Rossi has been relentlessly attacking Governor Gregoire for bargaining with state employees. He even went so far as to say having the governor bargain with workers during an election season has "the appearance of corruption. I'm not sure this kind of thing is even legal in New Jersey."

Obviously, Rossi has never served on a school board or city council. If he had, he wouldn't be so frightened by the prospect of having elected officials bargain with their employees. Regardless, the Seattle P-I's editorial board provided a more reasonable, less reactionary analysis when they wrote "Gregoire will be judged on what kind of deal she crafts... Will the agreement meet the test of fairness for employees and taxpayers?"

> Fun in the 3rd CD

The local Republican Party organization refuses to endorse Michael Delevar, the Republican Congressional candidate who finished in the top two in last month's primary, because Delevar thinks the Iraq war was a bad idea. Delevar is running against WFSE-endorsed incumbent Brian Baird in the 3rd Congressional District.

> Republicans get hit in the pocketbook, and I'm not talking about taxes

Speaking of the Republican Party, David Postman, of the Seattle Times, reports the WA St Republican Party has agreed to a $15,000 fine for failure to properly report contributions made on behalf of candidates in 2004 and 2006. Over the years, both parties have been hit with substantial fines for campaign finance violations. When you're receiving and spending millions of dollars, mistakes happen. Still, for the WSRP, the timing couldn't be worse.

Man, I feel a lot better after getting all of these articles off my desk. I sure hope our one reader finds something here that is useful. -- Dennis

No comments: