State Legislator$ Talk $, ‘Vexacious’ at County 

Money, money, money, money was a recurring theme at this afternoon’s Legislative Summit in Montesano. The 90-minute discussion touched on a wide range of local issues from capital budget requests (hi, third courtroom project) to “vexacious” public record requestors to unfunded mandates coming down from the state and smacking the stuffing out of small rural counties like Grays Harbor.

The meeting, which was cordial, included state legislators from the 19th and 24th legislative districts and Grays Harbor County Commissioners Wes Cormier, Vickie Raines, and Randy Ross.  Legislators in attendance were Sen. Kevin Van de Wege(D-19), Reps. Brian Blake (D-19), Mike Chapman (D-24), and Jim Walsh (R-19). Sen. Dean Takko and Rep. Steve Tharinger were not present.

Commissioner Cormier opened the discussion with introductions. He asked each legislator to give a quick one to two minute round up of their expectations for the next legislative session which begins in January.

Continue reading “State Legislator$ Talk $, ‘Vexacious’ at County “

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Ballot Picks

Wikipedia Commons

Ballots are out. They’re hitting mail boxes countywide. Got mine today.

It’s a pretty short ballot. Several Advisory Votes. My rule of thumb on these puppies is two-fold:

  1. If said advisory vote includes the words “without a vote of the people” and it relates to a tax hike, I vote to Repeal.
  2. If the advisory vote has the words “for government spending,” I vote to Repeal.

So basically, my ballot looks like:

Other items include lots of candidates running unopposed. If said candidate is a Democrat, I either go write-in or leave it blank.

Also on my ballot: Port commish (unopposed), hospital district commissioners, one city council position (unopposed), and two school board slots.

Regarding the hospital district: I’m voting incumbents out. You can find out who they are here.

Aberdeen school board: Devin Backholm is the only solid candidate. 

The other races remaining on my ballot are for Hoquiam School District 28, Positions 4 and 5. Chris Eide is running unopposed. The other race I don’t have any strong feeling either way. Holler if you do.

Btw, what’s up with all these one-horse unopposed races?

County Commishes to Host ‘Legislative Summit’

State legislators from the 19th and 24th legislative districts will be in Grays Harbor next week to discuss local issues.  Initiated by the commissioners’ office, the October 26  ‘Legislative Summit’ offers Harborites a rare opportunity to interface with these state legislators at the same time, in the same place.

The 24th legislative district is represented by state senator Kevin Van De Wege and state representatives Mike Chapman (pos. 1) and Steve Tharinger (pos. 2), all Democrats.

State senator Dean Takko (D-Longview) and state representatives Jim Walsh (pos. 1, R-Aberdeen) and Brian Blake (pos. 2, D-Aberdeen), represent the 19th legislative district.

A phone call to the county commission office this morning indicated that all legislators from the 19th and 24th legislative districts have confirmed their attendance as of today, with the exception of Steve Tharinger. (That’s pretty much par for the course. In case you’re wondering.)

The Legislative Summit is set for October 26 at 2:00 p.m. in the large commissioners meeting room in Montesano.

Sound like fun?

‘Grab Bag II,’ Conniption Fits, & Clueless Cassowaries

Holding tight to whatever? Good. Cuz we’re going to go fast today, covering a bunch of random stuff. You might want to buckle up.

First: Repealing Obamacare. I support Graham-Cassidy, basically for the same reasons the Family Research Council and the Susan B. Anthony List have endorsed Graham-Cassidy. Their September 15 press release reads in part:

Continue reading “‘Grab Bag II,’ Conniption Fits, & Clueless Cassowaries”

Grays Harbor: ‘Coast With the Most’

If you’re wondering about the music, my first choice was Mark Isham’s In the Half Light of the Canyon. But it wasn’t long enough. And it’s copyrighted. Or Ennio Morricone’s Gabriel’s Oboe, which is quite possibly the most beautiful melody ever written. Also not long enough. Also copyrighted. Or Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major. And a bunch of stuff by The Piano Guys. But. Well. You know.

So thank you, Johann Strauss II and The Blue Danube, for being out of copyright – and about the right length. (About 9.30)

For those of you with the attention span of a gnat or if you freak out at the mere mention of “Viennese waltz”you know who you are – here’s the ‘Director’s Cut.’ Micro version. About 2.20. With Silent Partner’s Last Call (still waiting for Isham or Morricone to go out of copyright):

Just for fun: Hello, Hoquiam (3.26). Featuring Kimber the Wonder Dog:

Sheriff Rick Scott Honored

Some milestones are bigger than others. Forty years is a big one any way you slice it. Especially when it’s for serving in one place, as is the case wth Sheriff Rick Scott. The Sheriff  was recognized via resolution at today’s BOCC meeting for serving 40 years with the county.

In the morning meeting, Raines noted that many people she’s talked to “have indicated that 40 years with law enforcement is a big deal. Forty years with the same agency is even bigger.”

This afternoon, Commissioner and Commission Chair Wes Cormier read the resolution, which expressed “appreciation and recognition” for Scott’s years of service and dedication to the county and the office.

Raines said she’s honored to be sitting on the Board as Scott reaches this milestone. She joked that Scott has served longer than Cormier has been alive.

Commissioner Randy Ross told Scott, “It’s been my honor to know you for the past ten years or so.” He said Scott is “well respected throughout the county and the state.”

Scott thanked the Board for the recognition. “I’m proud of the fact that I’ve been in law enforcement for 40 years, but even prouder that the whole time has been in Grays Harbor. It’s been an honor and a privilege to do this,” he commented. Scott clarifed that he’s “not retiring, just hitting the 40 year mark.”

Speaking of law enforcement – sort of – Bob Ferguson, Attorney General for the People’s Republic of Washington, is wearing a face omlette over today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Trump travel ban. Or should be. 

Want some cheese with that whine, Bobby?

Oh, yeah. Since we’re all about not discriminating these days – oh, the horror – SCOTUS finally got one right today:  Supreme Court Trinity Lutheran Decision – Say ‘No’ to Discrimination Against Religious Groups.

It’s about time.
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County Commissioners to State: Don’t Push Unfunded Mandates Down On Us

Grays Harbor County Commissioners are pretty much telling the state legislature where to get off when it comes to the latest harebrained idea out of Olympia: unfunded mandates related to ballot drop boxes.

In April the House passed Senate Bill 5472. The bill requires one ballot drop box per 15,000 residents in a county, with between 250 and 275 additional drop boxes expected statewide. According to the Spokesman Review, the measure “requires at least one ballot drop box for every 15,000 registered voters in a county and a minimum of one box in each city, town and census-designated place in a county with a post office.”

The problem, of course, is that it forces cash-strapped counties like Grays Harbor to fork out a significant chunk of change for the drop boxes with no $ help from the state. None of the Grays Harbor county commissioners are exactly turning cartwheels over another unfunded state mandate.

I’m really frustrated with this” said Commissioner Vickie Raines at this morning’s commission meeting. Noting that Grays Harbor isn’t exactly Fort Knox, Raines exprssed frustration with the expected price tag attached to the mandate. “You’re looking at around $7,500 to $10,000 per ballot box. There are 16 to 20 (drop boxes) on the (county) list” she said.

Do the math. (That’s okay. I’ll wait.)

Costs to the county don’t end with drop box placement. The new requirement will also cost the county – taxpayers – in staff time and wages. Raines continued, “Were going to have to have someone at each ballot box at eight p.m. on voting night” to ensure integrity of the drop boxes. 

Can you say ‘asinine’? Oh, wait. One of the commishes already did.

In fact, all three commishes expressed frustration with the unfunded mandate. Opined Commissioner Randy Ross, “There’s got to be a way through this, a way to appeal the decision.”

“I’m sure the state will pay for it,” joked Commissioner Wes Cormier.

Raines said she talked to State Rep. Brian Blake and State Senators Dean Takko and Kevin Van De Wege about the matter. She could not recall a conversation with (State Rep.) Jim Walsh. Raines said she’s fine with adding the drop boxes “if the state pays for it. But don’t push it (the costs) down on us.”

Supporters say the new law gives voters a way to cast ballots without paying for postage and increases access in rura areas. Opponents say the well-intended measure forces counties to spend thousands of dollars to serve small numbers of voters in remote communities.

What say you?