M & I are working on two campaigns for the regular election. The first is Thomas Bjorgen's run for the Court of Appeals. Tom would simply make a superb judge and I think it's going to happen. I am certainly going to work to make it happen.
The second campaign we are pounding on is the Thurston Public Power Initiative. This initiative will allow the existing Public Utility District to expand from water services to water and electricity. Thurston is the only county in SW Washington that does not have a public power option. We are going to fix that. This is a pretty simple matter of keeping electric rates low by allowing for competition.
A private banking company from Australia purchased Puget Sound Energy a few years ago. PSE is not a local company and the Macquarie Group that owns PSE took 17 million dollars out of Thurston County last year in profits. These profits were offset by the power outages that occurred in Thurston County last winter with the ice storm. I am on PUD power in Lewis County, my power never blinked. Some PSE customers in Thurston County were without power for a week or more. Some advocates for the PSE power monopoly think the solution is that homeowners buy generator sets for back up power.
Lots of us think the solution is local jobs trimming the trees and maintaining the lines, local power generation through a PUD that is rooted in the local community and has a commitment to local, sustainable power generation, and local accountability. The PUD commissioners get to face the voters on a regular basis. When do we get to vote on the management of the Macquarie Group or Goldman Sachs or other private financial institutions?
Public power or private profits? That is the choice.
We have a chance in Thurston County to assert local control through the ballot to establish local power, local accountability, and local jobs.
The Thurston Public Power Initiative is on the ballot. This a very simple measure that opens the door for competition for efficient power generation. The Macquarie Group PSE is pulling out all the stops to defeat the Initiative and it's easy to figure out why. I think the figure is 17 million dollars in profits that were take out of Thurston County last year and deposited in the coffers of the Australian banking giant - the Macquarie Group.
I notice that an R Castaneda was posting in the Daily Zero with a letter in favor of the The Macquarie Group PSE yesterday. Castaneda says he(?) lost power for one day last winter with the ice storm. and his recommendation to folks who lost power for many days is simple: buy a generator.
Who needs local jobs maintaining the lines, trimming the trees, restoring the power? Just ship the profits to a struggling international bank and buy a generator set.
I am not sure what to say about that, but I am not planning to buy a generator set.
Turnout was low. I think it was first primary in August and maybe competing with the Olympics played a part as well, but anyway you look at it, the election turnout yesterday looks a little low. Secretary of State shows turnout at 22.1%.
I was at election night party for my friend, Thomas Bjorgen, who is running for the Court of Appeals, Division 2, Position 2. That election was a real scramble with six candidates traversing six counties to get the top two positions and advance to the regular election. Pam Loginsky did well in all six counties and was the top vote-getter overall. Thomas Bjorgen appears to be in second place and ready to take on Loginsky in the regular election. I think Loginsky worked hard for votes, she is a qualified candidate to be on the bench, and she is backed by some powerful folks who want her on the bench. In a six name race with five men opposing, I think she also was the beneficiary of WA gender politics. We like to elect women in this State.
I think there is some reason to believe that change may be available through simple gender choices in elections, but in this regular election match-up, I will be working for the election of Thomas Bjorgen. He will be a wonderful judge. Fair, considerate, beholden to none and inclined to uphold the law over and over and not play politics for any powerful interests... except ours, the electorate.
Are we keynesians or would we prefer to be serfs?
It's an election year, so we get to weigh on this and other questions. I really think we need to be thinking about creative economics. Market-based economics that are sustainable, that create useful commons instead of quarterly profits, dividends and obscene bonuses. We all get to decide how to make that happen. As for me, I will be voting for posterity economics. Raise taxes and reinstate the steeply progressive tax rates that discourage bald-faced greed and encourage investment in useful infrastructure.
Have to pack and set up the Really Really Free Market in Olympia. Contracting other relationships, behaving differently toward one another? Can we really destroy the state by behaving differently?
Well, the news in Olympia is that the agents came knocking in the last few days.
Our free society has generally embraced the political freedom of aligning with either the Republican or the Democratic Party!
For those of us that find that range to be a little too tight, you can stray into the fringes of the Justice Party or the Green Party.
If you are drawn to politics beyond this range, you should expect to be surveilled, investigated, possibly indicted and maybe jailed for your politics.
There are some important considerations to consider if you have a hoody on your coat rack in the closet today. Claim and exercise your Constitutional rights.
Don't fall for lying schemes and conversational gambits such as "you know why I am here, don't you?"
"Let me come in and let's talk."
You may want to exercise your right to remain silent.
You may want to exercise your right to counsel.
I expect we will be having meetings to discuss the suppression of political thought, the continuing criminalization of poverty, the politics of oppression.
Sunday, July 29th at Sylvester Park at 2:30. See you there?
Here are a couple of online resources:
We are running a write-in campaign against Jim McIntire for Washington State Treasurer. I have imposed on my friend Dana Walker to accept the role of running against the previously unopposed Jim McIntire for Washington State Treasurer.
Here is what Dana had to say about the write-in campaign:
Hi, I am Dana Walker and while I am somewhat ambivalent about this ad
(I am proud of the fact that I would make a lousy politician) I approve of it nonetheless.
Now it's official.
Do you think McIntire would debate me?
I don't think McIntire will want to debate Dana, but we will make the offer.
Jim McIntire has been running unopposed for State Treasurer. He has been running unopposed despite the fact that he has done everything in his power to keep the power of the big banks intact in the State of Washington. He actively opposed the State Bank legislation that could provide economic stability for investment in Washington State that Chase Bank and Goldman Sachs never will.
It can be hard to figure out how to cast your votes in the non-partisan judicial races. It's also hard to figure out if election or appointment is a better way to put a judge on the bench, but in Washington State we vote for judges.
So, here we go. Who are we going to elect to serve as judges in the State?
There are a a couple of reasonable sources for gathering information about who to vote for. Let's just start with the question of who is running and well-qualified for the position. The Justice for Washington Foundation says it is the only bi-partisan judicial rating process in the state. JWF issued a press release on July 24th about the races and here is what they had to say:Justice for Washington Rates Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Candidates
The Justice for Washington Foundation released its bi-partisan 2012 rating for appellate level judicial candidates in the contested races for the state Supreme Court and Division II of the Court of Appeals.
OLYMPIA, WA - The Justice for Washington Foundation released its 2012 evaluations for contested appellate court elections in Washington State. The Foundation operates the state's only expressly bi-partisan evaluation of appellate level judicial candidates. The Foundation rated only one candidate as "exceptionally well qualified" and four as "unqualified".
Washington State Supreme Court, Position #2
Want to know more about the history of public utility districts? Want to know how many communities in the State are getting public services at competitive costs from public utility districts? Hey, you are in luck. The WPUDA maintains a website that carries all that stuff.
They also have a great building on Union that showcases the kind of distributed electrical generation grid that we could develop locally through expanding PUD in Thurston County from water to water and electricity.
Do you think Macquarie Group has great interest in the quality of life here in Puget Sound or are they primarily interested in the profits they can bank in Australia from your PSE bill here in Washington State?
Another thing to study up on is the connection between PSE and coal fired power. Read about it on Sightline.
Thurston County voters will get the opportunity to expand the Thurston County PUD from water to water and electricity in November. This is a no-brainer. You get local control, local ownership, local accountability and the profits that are currently traveling abroad from PSE can be used for local jobs that will do maintenance andprevent an ice-storm electric outage like we had last winter.
Connect the dots.
The WA Post has back to back stories in my digest this morning that I found interesting.
In the first story, the Government Accountability Office found that the Republican's budget showdown over the debt limit coast the county 1.3 billion dollars last year. That is money that we could have used somewhere else in my opinion. But it shows the hypocrisy and stupidity of the current republican congressional legislators. And don't get me wrong, it's not that the democrats are just chomping at the bit to pass the kind of legislation that the country needs, look at their record in 2009-10 when they controlled Senate, House and White House and we could get banker bailouts, but not the public option for health care. Single payer was not even on the table. The dems are clearly beholden to their corporate funding sources, but they don't engage in wasteful theatrics like the debt ceiling fight or endless votes to repeal legislation that clearly go nowhere. There are significant differences between the parties, but both parties understand that they cannot legislate against the interest of the wealthy interests that now decide our elections (thanks to Citizens United and Scotus Inc.)