ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here

Eye On Olympia

Posts tagged: state workers

Catching up…

Farmers markets and the state of the state treasury have been keeping me busy lately, but here’s some interesting stuff that’s been piling up in the in box:

-Former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, who created a stir earlier this month by declaring himself a candidate for county clerk in tiny Wakhiakum County, has pulled out of the race.

“My protest is over,” he wrote recently in a column on the Seattle Weekly’s blog. He said his very-brief candidacy was a stunt to draw attention to what he sees as a grievous wrong about Washington’s new “Top Two” primary elections. Under the new system, which allows people to specify virtually any “party preference,” political parties have no control over who runs under their name. To demonstrate this, Novoselic filed as preferring the non-existent “Grange Party.” Writes Novoselic:

Looking back, perhaps I should have chosen an organization which would have been more willing to protect its trademark? How about the Prefers Starbucks Party? Maybe Microsoft? The best would be the Prefers Walt Disney Party—because claiming Disney would further demonstrate what a Mickey-Mouse system this is.

We undoubtedly haven’t heard the last of the topic from Novoselic, though. He’s the guest speaker at a lecture at the capitol July 2nd. TVW will tape it to play on the public affairs network statewide and on their website.

-Politico’s “lighter side of politics” column has the tale of a bizarre overreaction when Elizabeth Becton, the scheduler/office manager for Congressman Jim McDermott, was addressed as “Liz” in a quick email from someone wanting an appointment with the congressman.

Becton’s emailed responses — all seven of them — to this perceived slight start with an icy “Who is Liz?” and quickly move on to browbeating the woman:

“If I wanted you to call me by any other name, I would have offered that to you…Now, please do not ever call me by a nickname again…Sounds like you got played by someone who KNOWS I hate that name and that it’s a fast way to TICK me off. Who told you that I go by that name? They are not your friend.”

The executive assistant trying to set up the appointment apologized. Over and over. Six times, in fact. Becton was not mollified.

“In the future, you should be VERY careful about such things…Quit apologizing and never call me anything but Elizabeth again. Also, make sure you correct anyone who attempts to call me by any other name but Elizabeth. Are we clear on this?”

etc. etc. The story has generated hundreds of comments on Politico’s website, many suggesting a very different nickname for Becton. But I think the first one sums it up best:

“Settle down Liz. You sound like a sack full of crazy.”

-The Olympian’s Brad Shannon points out that the governor’s guidance on more budget cuts also calls for a hiring preference for state employees. From Gregoire’s memo:

If agencies need to hire, I want to reiterate my direction that agencies should not hire from outside state government until efforts to consider qualified candidates from among those affected by layoffs are exhausted. We cannot underestimate the value of trained and experienced state employees.

Multiple hat tips: Dave Ammons.

State workers rally: An all-cuts budget would be disastrous…

In a scene replicated throughout the state today, a small group of state workers held a rally on the muddy capitol lawn today, calling on lawmakers to look at raising taxes to offset some deep budget cuts.

“Hey hey, ho ho, an all-cuts budget’s got to go,” they chanted.

Given Washington’s $8.5 billion budget shortfall, state workers have virtually no hope of getting the 2 percent cost of living increases they’d expected for this year and next. At this point, they’re more trying to protect state jobs, programs and services.

“The only thing we’re concerned about is what is quality of life going to look like under an all-cuts budget,” said the Washington Federation of State Employees’ Carol Dotlich.

Instead of a much bigger capitol rally, the union slated more than 60 similar events Tuesday across the state. Executive director Greg Devereux said the federation felt it was more important to relay the message from as many lawmakers’ districts as possible.

Apparently getting the message were local Rep. Sam Hunt and Sen. Karen Fraser.

Hunt, who noted that state lawmakers are state employees too, said the upcoming budget plan will be “drastic,” and that he’s lobbying to layoff to start at the top, with supervisors. This drew a cheer.

“And as a last resort, we reduce line workers,” he said. “…because that is the guts and glory of state service.”

Fraser told the workers that it’s important to get out the message of how critical state services are.

“It’s very important that people understand this,” she said. “…Once these horrible cuts come out, you’re going to hear people talking about how important you are.”

A few hundred yards away, a smaller group of anti-tax advocates held a “Push back, no tax” rally of their own. With families across the state struggling with their budgets, people can’t afford more taxes, said the Evergreen Freedom Foundation’s Amber Gunn.

“It’s not an ideal world. This is reality,” she said. State revenue over the next two years is still forecast to increase — albeit barely — she said. And her side argues that the term “all-cuts” is misleading when the state will actually collect slightly more money than in the last two years.

“A reduction in an increase is not the same thing as a real decrease,” said Gunn.

Both sides plan more — and bigger — rallies in the coming weeks.

Get blog updates by email

About this blog

Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

Latest comments »

Read all the posts from recent conversations on Eye On Olympia.

Follow Richard Roesler
Search this blog
Subscribe to this blog
ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here