Tag Archives: Christine Gregoire

The perplexing push for affordable housing

snoco houseBack in 2003, Mr. Words and I decided that we needed more open space than our tiny postage stamp yard afforded, so we started looking for a new home with a bigger yard. At the time, we lived in a virtual hovel in what was probably the worst neighborhood in a very expensive area and we knew we’d have to move farther “out” to find a house on more land within our price range.

Before that, many years ago, I lived in Sumner (now Bonney Lake), Washington, and worked in what is now called the SoDo District of Seattle. At the time, it was a 45 minute drive on good days, but could be much longer depending on traffic. In a car with no air conditioning. On bad traffic days in the summer, it could be brutal. But I did it because Sumner was the place we could afford a cute little house with a nice, big yard and friendly neighbors.

That’s what fiscally responsible people do, right? You live where you can afford the rent or the mortgage payment.

So you  might wonder why people like Seattle Mayor Ed Murray are constantly going on about the need for affordable housing and cutting deals by upzoning, or rezoning, various Seattle neighborhoods for more intensive use. This allows developers to build taller buildings, yielding more units with smaller footprints. The upzoning triggers a Seattle ordinance that requires developers include a minimum number of rent-controlled units in their buildings or pay a fee to help develop them elsewhere.

micro unitThat might also lead you to wonder why Seattle effectively killed the micro housing industry, which naturally provided affordable housing units without the need for government intervention.

To get back to my question, why doesn’t Ed Murray (or other mayors in large metropolitan areas, for that matter) just let market forces work? Why do he and the city council prefer to force developers to include rent-controlled (i.e., government controlled) units in their buildings?

Let me propose this: Affordable housing is only an issue of government concern when that same government wants or needs “everyone” to live in densely populated urban centers, and rent control only when government pursues perverse policies that unnaturally limit the affordable units that would otherwise be provided through the free market.

High rise housing in Hong Kong

Is high-rise housing, Hong Kong-style, in your future?

If you’re wondering why the government cares where you live, let me direct your attention to ESS HB 2815. This was passed into law in 2008 in response to then-Governor Christine Gregoire’s executive order 07-02. The executive order set some fairly aggressive goals for CO2 reductions which, to an ordinary person, seem rather arbitrary and unattainable given the current state of technology. At least one provision of the law, participation in the Western Climate Initiative, was abandoned when it became clear that the State Legislature was not likely to to enact cap and trade.

One thing that did come to pass was the implementation of a work group to study various policies that could be utilized in pursuit of those carbon reduction goals. In November of 2008, the work group presented a report with their recommendations. Among other things, the report concludes, “However, to significantly reduce VMT and GHG emissions in Washington State, the majority of people in Washington State will need to live and work in places that both support bicycling and walking for shorter trips and provide reliable and convenient public transportation that meets mobility needs for longer trips.”

Right now, just under half the population of Washington State, roughly 48%, live in the three most populous counties, King, Pierce and Snohomish. But not everyone in those counties lives in an urban area with access to public transportation. Consider this system map from King County’s Metro division. Do you see all those areas that have no bus routes? Those are areas where leftists would prefer that people not live.

This is an aerial view of Covington, Washington, an area included on the linked system map. Does this look like an area that can ever “support bicycling and walking for shorter trips and provide reliable and convenient public transportation that meets mobility needs for longer trips?”  No, it doesn’t, because going almost anywhere is going to be more than a short trip. Is it ever going to be close to where the majority of the people living there work? No again.



Remember, the study group concluded that the majority of people in Washington need to live and work in urban areas. That means that to meet their goals, people who currently live in exurban and rural areas are going to have to accept that their lifestyles will change. This, in a nutshell, is why it’s vitally important to Ed Murray that the city include affordable housing.

ratsIf our leftist overlords are going to herd us into the cities so that we can live and work there like rats, there needs to be housing available. And too bad for you if you’d rather not live that way. Do you think it’s beyond the reach of government to make your daily commute a living hell? Or tax you out of homes outside the reach of economically feasible public transportation?

Leftists embrace an ideology that’s diametrically opposed to liberty. They want to control where you live, how you live, where you work, what kind of vehicle, if any, you can drive, and where you can go. That doesn’t leave much to your discretion, does it, but, I mean, really…is anyplace you can’t reach via public transportation a place that’s worth going? So no big deal, right?

You have to admire leftists; they never do anything that doesn’t move their agenda forward. So the next time you see a leftist say or do something that doesn’t make any logical sense at all, look for the hidden agenda.


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A Strategy For GOP Success

It appears as though Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser has won reelection to the Wisconsin Supreme Court over challenger and union darling Joanne Kloppenburg after a reporting error was discovered in Waukesha County. The correction represented a net gain of over 7,500 votes for Prosser in a race where only yesterday Kloppenburg was leading by 204 votes. Cross your fingers that the lead is outside the margin of fraud.

Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus said Thursday that she failed to save in her computer and consequently report 14,315 votes cast in the city of Brookfield, omitting them entirely in an unofficial tally released after Tuesday’s election. The new totals give 10,859 more votes to Prosser from Brookfield and 3,456 more to Kloppenburg, she said. Smaller discrepancies turned up in two other communities as well.

If Prosser’s new lead holds, – and there’s more than a good chance it will as a Democrat canvass watcher confirmed that the votes are legitimate (H/T @Jake_W) – it will be cause for hope for Washington State conservatives, whose electoral failures in close contests have occasionally garnered national attention. The “keep ’em counting” strategy employed during the 2004 gubernatorial race that resulted in Christine Gregoire winning the governor’s mansion over Dino Rossi served as a template for Al Franken’s win in Minnesota in 2008.

Now it appears that Kathy Nickolaus has inadvertently hit on a strategy that can be used as a template in states like mine where one densely-populated and heavily liberal county (do you hear me, King County? I’m talkin’ to you!) wags the political dog. Each of the other counties can simply withhold the vote totals from one (or two!) of it’s most conservative precincts, thus confounding those tasked with “finding” the votes needed to squeak out a win in a close race. Imagine the confusion! How many is enough? How many is too many?

Just kidding, of course. (Or am I?)

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Washington’s Negotiator-In-Chief

Washington taxpayers are lucky to have a tough negotiator like Governor Christine Gregoire looking out for their interests as the State faces an epic budget crisis. Who can forget the deal she negotiated with the Indian Casinos? That was a classic, with the Casinos making an opening offer of $140 million a year and the State hanging tough until they’d  managed to hammer that down to $0.

Now the Seattle Times is reporting that – after months of tough talk and posturing – Governor Gregoire has abruptly changed course and agreed that the State will pay 85% of health care premiums for State workers rather than the 74% she originally proposed. Currently the State covers 88% of the cost.

We know the Governor’s not very good with numbers (and who can forget her insistence during the 2008 campaign that there was no budget deficit?) I can understand that. Numbers aren’t really my thing, either but I didn’t campaign for a job where one of the requirements is presiding over multi-billion dollar budgets and negotiating tough contracts. If Gregoire can’t handle the negotiations without collapsing, she should delegate them to someone else.

For someone who projects all the warmth and softness of a harpy, it’s surprising when she crumbles…and for the taxpayers, it can be calamitous.

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Chris Gregoire Steals A Play

Guest Blogger, Brittney Boop

Taking a cue from Washington DC, Governor Gregoire commented on a story that she hadn’t read or seen but rather had been briefed on.

King 5 news has been covering since March of this year different ways that there is waste in the Washington State Ferry System. In their series titled “Waste on the Water” they have covered such things as ferry workers getting paid to commute to work, approving their own unnecessary overtime, and the inflated salaries.

In this video, Governor Gregoire sits down with Susannah Frame from King 5 to discuss their reporting. Gregoire starts out the interview by saying, “I have not seen them.” Susannah then says, “Oh so you have not seen any of our stories” and the Governor shakes her head no.

This reminds me of another such video that I have seen recently… hmmm… if I could only remember… oh yes, here it is:

I feel like I am forgetting something… hmm… oh yes:

I don’t know about you, but I am getting a bit tired of politicians commenting on things that they haven’t read or viewed personally.

King 5 is doing the taxpayers of this state a favor by bringing to light waste and abused in the ferry system. The Governor should have come to this interview prepared. She should have at least watched the few 5-10 minute videos. It wouldn’t have taken her long at all, but she didn’t and instead she said she was briefed. Rather than addressing the waste that the reporter brought up, Gregoire instead asked if there was anything illegal that they uncovered. When Susannah said that the taxpayers don’t necessarily have illegality as a threshold but rather waste, Gregoire turned to her talking points about how much money the director of the ferry system and the head of the state department of transportation have saved. I don’t know about you but I am not buying it.

If you want to see all of the videos about the waste in the ferry system on King 5’s website.


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Strange Bedfellows

Politics makes strange bedfellows and none so strange as that on display in I-1077’s alliance between Bill Gates, Sr., and self-avowed socialist, Lonnie Lopez. For those of you who don’t know, I-1077 would “tax adjusted gross income above $400,000 joint ($200,000 individual), reduce the state property tax levy, reduce certain business and occupation taxes, and direct any increased revenues to education and health.”

While Gates is probably best know as the father of one of the most successful men ever to profit from the free market system, Lopez says this about himself at MySpace:

I am a socialist and a literary theorist and critic. I have a BA degree in English from California State University Bakersfield that, of course, I’ve never applied to my work life. I’m a member of the International Socialist Organization….

As ironic/troubling/confusing as that association may be, if you’re wondering who’s really pulling the strings, it’s possibly more illuminating to look at the leadership of “Washingtonians for Education, Health and Tax Relief/Yes on 1077.” The committee is headed up by Kelly Evans. You may remember Evans as Christine Gregoire’s 2008 campaign manager, for starters, and treasurer Philip Lloyd has also served as treasurer at the Washington Leadership Council and The Legacy Fund. The latter, especially, demonstrates strong ties to labor and Washington State’s Democrat establishment.

This is just a teaser; Olympia Newswire does a thorough job exploring behind the scenes. It’s safe to say that I-1077 has the fingerprints of some of Washington’s most prominent Democrat operatives all over it and what’s up with that, really? Isn’t $800 million in new taxes enough for them? If not, what will be enough? Is the next step to have our paychecks direct deposited into the General Fund?

And if the Democrats wanted to add an income tax, what was stopping them from passing it during the legislative session? Lack of political courage might be one way of saying it, but I could say it another way if I didn’t mind being indelicate.

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It’s For The Children. Really, This Time. Promise.

Yesterday I watched Her Royal Highness Christine Gregoire’s press conference marking the end of the special legislative session. (Honestly, the things I go through in order to write this blog! You all should be paying me, but I digress.)

I don’t agree with HRH on much of anything, but I do admire her skill as a politician, something that first struck me during the 2008 gubernatorial debates with Dino Rossi. I noticed at the time that she was very disciplined about sticking to her talking points; yesterday, she exhibited the same skill by turning each question back to one of a handful of talking points. Of these, the one she mentioned most by far was that three-year-olds from disadvantaged families would continue to have access to subsidized preschool.

It’s a good strategy. If you have to talk about raising taxes new revenue sources, you have to sugar it up somehow and who can resist a cute three-year-old in need? Only a miserable excuse for a human being (or a Republican!) would object to helping three-year-olds, right? One snag; early pre-school programs for disadvantaged children don’t confer any long-range benefits to the children they’re designed to help.

Why, then, are these early childhood programs included in the State budget at all? Because it makes the liberals in the State legislature feel good to do so. They get to feel good about helping toddlers and, since it’s the thought that counts, they don’t feel the need to hold themselves accountable for delivering results.

Don’t you think it’s time Washington voters started demanding a return on their investment?

Random questions: What are our “State values” that HRH mentioned so many times? Did we vote, because if we did, I missed it.


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It’s All About Me! Me! Me! Says Queen Christine

"We are not amused."

Because, really, she is the State of Washington, isn’t she?

Washington’s governor, Christine Gregoire, says she will oppose Attorney General Rob McKenna’s plan to to file a lawsuit against the federal government on behalf of the State. Says Gregoire, “He did not call and consult me. I don’t know who he represents. He does not represent me (emphasis mine).”

The staggering arrogance of that statement leaves me (nearly) speechless and I assure you, I am rarely at a loss for words. I am wondering why Gregoire feels that the job of the Attorney General is specifically to represent her personal interests?

Gregoire supports the federal health care legislation. Well of course she does. She’s never met a piece of budget-busting legislation she didn’t like, which is why Washington is in a budget crisis and the State Treasurer tells us we’ll run out of cash in mere months.

For his part, McKenna says:

“…He does not need Gregoire’s ‘blessing’ to file a lawsuit on behalf of the state.

‘My role is to defend the State Constitution and the people of the state,’ said McKenna, ‘That includes defending the state from inappropriate actions by the federal government.’

McKenna says the 10th Amendment protects states from being forced to follow federal laws that are not covered by the U.S. Constitution.

‘That’s why the federal government has never imposed an auto insurance mandate, has never imposed a drinking age minimum, has never imposed a motorcycle helmet law…'”

So listen up, Christine, the Office of the Attorney General operates independently of the Governor’s office and McKenna really doesn’t need your permission to act, or even to consult with you before he acts. Get over it. And while you’re at it, get over yourself, too. It appears that you may have mistaken the meaning behind the words when people call you Queen Christine.

Update 1: An interesting perspective Stefan Sharkansky at Sound Politics showing why why it’s far more likely that Washington voters agree with McKenna than Gregoire.

Update 2: The gloves are indeed off, as the Democrat controlled legislature considers adding language to the budget to prevent McKenna from using State funds to pursue the health care challenge. Gregoire says she would sign such a measure into law. God forbid McKenna take steps to protect Washington citizens from this unconstitutional over-reach by the federal government.

Update 3: Dave Boze is collecting letters of support to forward to Rob McKenna.

Update 4: Attorney General McKenna and Her Royal Highness appeared (separately) on King 5 News this evening. After lying through her teeth about the amazing wonderfulness of the health care legislation, Her Royal Highness admitted that there’s nothing she can do to stop AG McKenna from participating in the suit. I guess that would be other than sign into law that measure they’re kicking around in the legislature.

Update 5: This poll commissioned by King 5 news might give Her Royal Highness an inkling of who AG McKenna is representing…the people, baby!


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A Tale Of Two Governors

Virginia’s new governor, Bob McDonnell, sounds like my kind of guy. Barely sworn in and already he’s advocating for a change that’s proven to save states money – privatizing the sale of liquor, wine and beer.

Here in Washington, we’re not so lucky. Even though some State legislators are calling for such a change in light of our current budget difficulties, Governor Gregoire opposes the idea, partly on the grounds that the State won’t realize any immediate savings.

When you’re in a tough time like this people put that idea out there, like that will save us,” Gregoire said. “(Auditor) Brian Sonntag’s report doesn’t show one penny for this biennium. Not one.”

I think almost everyone can see that if you never make the change, you’ll never realize any savings, but it’s a concept that appears to be just beyond the reach of Governor Gregoire. Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time she’s had difficulty recognizing whether or not something helps or hurts the State financially. As I outlined here, Gregoire once claimed that a $1.5 million settlement was a “good deal” for the State when compared to the $500,000 it would have cost to try the case.

Not to mention that this kind of short-sighted thinking surely has contributed to the State’s current fiscal woes. Just look at the way the budget gap was closed last year, with accounting tricks and one-time stimulus grants, with no apparent thought given to trying to address the root causes of the budget crisis. Hey, slap a Band-Aid on it and call it good!

Or it could be that she doesn’t dare risk any more lawsuits (and here) from the State employee’s unions. Quite understandably, the unions are reluctant to renegotiate, but persuading people to work together as a team is part of being a good leader, something about which Gregoire appears to be quite ignorant.

Stefan Sharkansky discusses the Governor’s claims in depth at Sound Politics.

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The Obama Principle

Update 3:  Sure, IBD is saying it now, but, remember, you heard it here, first.

Update 4: This time, Gregoire’s name really is being bandied about as a possible choice to head the Department of Interior. God. Help. Us. All.

You may be familiar with the 1969 book, The Peter Principle, in which Dr. Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull promulgated the theory that, “in a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.” This came to mind when I heard yesterday, via @nwdigest, that a “top Democrat” from Washington is rumored as a potential replacement for Interior Secretary Ken Salazar if he runs for governor of Colorado. I wonder if that’s code for Christine Gregoire.

If so, a new theory will need to be formulated. I’d like to suggest the Obama Principle: “in a political hierarchy, players tend to rise beyond their level of competence in direct proportion their WTF!?! factor.”

Obama’s Administration would seem to be a case study. Does Janet “The System Worked or Didn’t Work” Napolitano ring any bells for you? Or “Safe Schools” Czar Kevin Jennings, perhaps?

It seems Christine Gregoire would be a perfect fit for this Administration. She’s certainly proven herself to be incompetent. During her tenure as Attorney General, two avoidable errors cost the State millions of dollars. One of those errors led to the forced resignation of Janet Capp, who sued and eventually settled with the State to the tune of $1.5 million. “Gregoire said the settlement was a “good deal” for taxpayers. She estimated that it would have cost the state more than $500,000 to try the case.” I admit to having weak math skills, but it occurs to me that $500,000 is $1 million less than $1.5 million…so I’m going to conclude that the only way this could have been a “good deal” for the taxpayers is if Gregoire expected to lose in court on the merits of the case.

Either that or her math skills are even worse than mine, which could go a long way toward explaining our current budget situation. Speaking of the budget, Gregoire’s incompetence is truly remarkable. In just five years under her leadership, Washington has plunged from a series of budget surpluses and a fat rainy day fund to a situation so dire, the State Treasurer is warning that the State is about to go broke.

Gregoire’s dismal record on public safety and her penchant for blaming others for her own shortcomings (Gregoire has long-standing experience in this highly prized skill) add to her qualifications for an appointment to any position within the Obama Administration.

As much as I would love for Washington State to be rid of Gregoire, an Administration appointment would be a travesty. So I suppose she’s in.

Update 1: I heard a rumor that the “top Democrat” in question was Jay Inslee rather than Christine Gregoire. I don’t know if that’s accurate or not, but Inslee is another Democrat I’d like to see out of Washington politics. Inslee would qualify for a position in the Administration, not by The Obama Principle, but due to his long-time membership in the Church of Global Warming. However, Salazar has declined to run for governor of Colorado, making continued speculation pointless.

Update 2: Liz Mair tells us “Word on the street in the Evergreen State is that she is actively seeking a new job, specifically in the Obama administration, which would enable her to resign her office and move on to better and brighter things.” I can’t say that I blame Gregoire; being governor undoubtedly isn’t as much fun as she thought it was going to be.


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I Couldn’t Make This Stuff Up

And I assure you, I have a vivid imagination.

State of Washington Department of Corrections has lost an Arkansas felon. Sean Robinson, writing at the Tacoma News Tribune, fills us in on the details.

He’s William T. Forbes, one of 14 Arkansas parolees Washington is required to supervise under the terms of an interstate agreement.

Forbes is a fugitive – the only wayward parolee in the Arkansas group. His whereabouts are unknown; last known address in Moses Lake. An active warrant, valid anywhere in the country, calls for his arrest.

The Arkansas offenders, including Forbes, represent a sliver of the total; Washington supervises 2,393 out-of-state offenders, according to records from the state Department of Corrections.

It’s unclear how many of those offenders have violated the terms of their parole or absconded from supervision. The News Tribune recently requested a state-by-state breakdown from the Department of Corrections, with particular emphasis on Arkansas.

I especially love this part:

The numbers also reveal an apparent trade deficit. Washington’s exported offenders number 1,046 – less than half as many as the 2,393 the state received from elsewhere.

Corrections officials cite multiple reasons for the disparity.

“Offenders – like a lot of people across the country – are attracted to Washington’s quality of life,” said DOC spokeswoman Maria Peterson.

Other factors revolve around differences in state corrections law, officials say. Washington’s community supervision system differs from other states’, many of which use more traditional parole and probation systems. Some Washington offenders are from Washington originally, and have convictions here as well as elsewhere, Peterson said. She added that the interstate agreements governing offender supervision are not designed to create a 1-to-1 ratio among all states.

Right…our “community supervision system” differs from other states. I wonder if that isn’t some sort of code for “we just sort of shoo them out the door and hope they report in once in a while.”

Meanwhile, Governor Gregoire’s moratorium on accepting parolees from Arkansas is still in effect; smoke and mirrors of little substance that does little to protect the public, designed primarily to deflect attention away from her own abysmal record on public safety.

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