Monday, July 20, 2009

Washington State Politics: Candidate Susan Hutchinson for the King County Executive Position

As I promised my readers a month ago, I will be bringing you my humble assessment of candidates for the King County Executive Position vacated by Rom Sims. If political polls are anything to base one’s judgment, then it seems that the likely successor to the Former King County Executive will be Susan Hutchinson. Or, maybe not! Well, King 5 News upfront Survey USA reported her as leading in the polls for the position at 39%. Others are Constantine (12%); Phillip (8%); Jarret (7%); Hunter (6%); Lobdell (2%); Goodspaceguy (2%); Lippmann (1%); and 22%, remain undecided. For many of us who appreciate what a month or week can do in the life of a politician, that is obviously a rather slim lead. However, you never call tell.

So who is Susan Hutchinson? According to reports from her campaign, she was formerly a KIRO Television News anchor woman with a BS from University of Florida. She has some great fortunes working for her, the first being that she is the only woman in the pack of eight candidates attempting to fill two non partisan spot that will enter the August 18th voting. She denies being a conservative Republican, recognizes that Transit spending may be justified but does not place any emphasis on commitment to further spending on the newly expanding transit network around the Puget Sound. She is committed to fighting divisiveness in the King County Politics and does not offer her firm affiliation with any of the two major parties in the state. There ends her fortune!

Ms. Hutchinson has not defined her party affiliation. She informs us that she takes a little bit of the Republican Party and a little bit of the Democratic Party. Are we talking about an bat here? This makes her look more of a flip-flopper. If she believes this is an unkind assessment, she must declare a party affiliation and let the citizens of King County assess her in completeness. She believes that the budget issue, the county’s 50 million dollars in the hole can be refilled through taxation. To that many under performing companies and unemployed King County residents say: No thanks, No, once again. You will need to be convincing and provide a much reliable and thought provoking decision that ensures that in reality, you can make an impact in refilling the gap in King County’s budget. When King 5 News Upfront plowed her further, she says she wants to cut spending and streamline the King County budget as an alternative to taxation. She wants the King County voters to decide if the ‘human stuff’ services that are hampered due to dwindling revenue to the county purse are worth raising taxes for. There she goes again: Avoiding confronting a huge budget problem and deferring the decision to those who actually are looking for someone to repose confidence in, someone who can take or make crucial decision when one is absolutely needed.

Maybe the greatest impending explosive in making is the unsealed record of a suit she brought against her former employer, the Cox Communications. No one knows what is in that unsealed record for now except those who were parties to the agreement. She indicated she will stop any effort to unseal the records of the case. This makes Voters wonder if it is a case of what you don’t know, won’t hurt you. Or, is the candidate for the highest office in King County administration attempting to hide something? This raises all flags and makes us reflect on the experience of Watergate or Clinton’s Ross Law debacle from Arkansas. Ms. Hutchinson, voters are tired of surprises. We live in a transparent world now. Like what President Nixon will rightly inform you, it not the crime that gets you, it is the cover-ups!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Reflecting on the past : A credit to ACHSA School Song

If you read my profile, you'll probably miss the name of my high school. I ran into my high school yearbook yesterday and found this school song; the wordings still resonate with me today just as it did thirty-nine year's ago:

1. Land of our birth, we pledge to thee

our love and toil in the years to be,

when we are grown and take our place

as men and women with our race.

2. Father in heaven, who lovest all,

O help thy children when they call,

that they may build from age to age

an undefiled heritage.

3. Teach us to bear the yoke in youth,

with steadfastness and careful truth,

that, in our time, thy grace may give

the truth whereby the nations live.

4. Teach us to rule ourselves always,

controlled and cleanly night and day,

that we may bring, if need arise,

no maimed or worthless sacrifice.

5. Teach us to look in all our ends,

on thee for Judge, and not our friends,

that we, with thee, may walk uncowed

by fear or favor of the crowd.

6. Land of our birth, our faith, our pride,

for whose dear sake our fathers died;

O Motherland, we pledge to thee

head, heart and hand through the years to be.

Please crave my indulgence. This is just one of the songs that moulded my life and wanted to share it with my readers. I realy appreciate the effort of Dr. Adam Stanislaw Skapski, Formerly of USAID and Ford Foundation. Without his tireless efforts, people like me wouldn't have had a shot at life.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Today we will remember our independence with excerpts of a letter from President John Adams to his wife, a day before our independence in the year of the Lord, 1776:

• Yesterday, the greatest question was decided which ever was debated in America; and a greater perhaps never was, nor will be, decided among men. A resolution was passed without one dissenting colony that those United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States.

• The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generation as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other from the time forward forevermore.

If I understand very well the two excerpts from President John Adams to his wife, it is not enough to celebrate July 4th we must celebrate July 2, 1776; for our independence was won two nights before we celebrate it in modern times. For this reason, All Americas deserve to take time off from July 2nd till July 5th, as long as time and the spirit of our independence persist.

Please pass on the pop corn, hot dogs, beer and all the good things that make pomp and circumstance worth it.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Washington State Politics: What did we get for the outdoor burning provisions of the Clean Air Act?

Two interesting voting events happened in Washington State Legislature on April 7, 2009 and March 3, 2009. Both Washington Senate (48 yea, 0 Nay) and House of Representative (98 yea, 0 Nay) voted unanimously, to support and pass the nonsubstantive changes clarifying outdoor burning provisions of the Washington Clean Air Act. The Law which will take effect on July 26th, twenty-three days from today, clarified some difficult issues regarding outdoor burning and the clean air act.

The bill initiated as Senate bill 5767, was signed into Law on April 16, 2009 by Governor Gregoire. As signed, the Law says no person shall engage in any outdoor burning, including the combustion of material of any type in an open fire or in an outdoor container, without providing for emissions control from combustion. In other words, those of us heading for the mountains hide away, recluses or wherever you go to kill time during the summer months, must now be careful as we attempt to combust our lunch leftovers, unwanted bag pack pieces and probably, our hunting trophies on our summer camp fires. Incidentally, this include the combustion of garbage, dead animals, asphalt, petroleum products, paints, rubber products, plastics, or any substance other than natural vegetation that normally emits dense smoke or obnoxious odors.

The bill is one of our many state’s efforts to maintain some level of sanity in our state’s environment quality, especially considering the higher emitted pollutants in outdoor combustion to the ambient air quality. The question before us now is: did the bill reach far enough to address our concerns about pollution from outdoor burning? Were all state residents equally subjected to the provisions of the soon to become law? Will all Washingtonians deem it necessary to work within the boundaries of the law, knowing well that the agricultural communities around the state were cut some slacks with the way the law has been written?

Apart from the slack cut the agricultural communities on this law, what I noticed in the discussion leading up to the final voting on the bill was the unspoken and fundamental assumption that the bill limited the freedom of rural residents and disproportionately put them at a constraint with respect to their daily agricultural activities. The constraint on outdoor burning and combustion of materials was seen as an affront for some regular activities associated with rural living and agricultural activities; and, their constituents’ representatives actively campaigned against some of the provisions of the bill. While some provisions of the bill may have sought some restraints in the way agricultural activities are carried on after July 26th, at least with the combustion of materials in the outdoor, the effort of the bill was to address all the concerns of Washingtonians regarding ambient air quality. While outdoor burning as part of agricultural activities may be part of the problem, air quality pollution are caused by other human activities. For example, automobile driving and industrial activities, activities involving engine combustion and other industrial processes are known to equally, if not more disproportionately, contribute to ambient pollution. The combination of all human activities, including automobile driving, industrial processes, agricultural activities and other, all contribute to the problem of air pollution in the environment.

As we all know by now, Senate bill 5767 becomes the law of the State on July 26th, 2009. From my experience with this type of law, the willingness to abide by the law is only weighted against the potential punishment for its violation. The possible penalties of violators were not clearly stated in the body of the document that was approved by both senate and the house in the 61st legislative session. The repercussion of violating the law will need to be revisited and issue of penalty adequately addressed, if we are serious about dealing with the problem of air pollution under the Washington Clean Air Act. The visitation of the potential repercussions of violating the law may want to begin by the legislature addressing the extensive exclusion notice given to violators of outside burning for the purpose of managing storm or flood-related debris.