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thrice all american - politics finding passion for life in tacoma,2005:a06200f80a3d5afe752de87383147dcf/politics Textpattern 2010-12-06T00:38:21Z jamie jamie 2009-04-20T20:08:45Z 2009-04-20T22:23:45Z Dirty Goings On at the Assessor-Treasurer's Office,2009-04-20:a06200f80a3d5afe752de87383147dcf/2090e9549b1b4a44e1077230cf1ee0db It seems that the chickens are finally coming to roost in the office of Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer Dale Washam. Buried in the “Dale’s Bulletin” portion of the office’s website (screenshot captured below for posterity), Washam includes information on an Equal Opportunity Employment complaint levied against him by one of his employees, alleging discrimination and harassment on the basis of both age and gender. Washam even goes so far as to include a link to a pdf of the letter he received from HR director Betsy Sawyers detailing the complains (or if that gets disappeared, I grabbed a copy).

This is certainly an interesting tactic by Washam in making the allegations public, and some of the comments on a TNT blog post seem to suggest that people are praising him for “transparency”. But here’s the deal: in calling this an “unnamed person’s bogus complaint”, Washam is essentially retaliating against HR’s duty to fully investigate complaints such as this, and by extension belittling the employee in question, who should not be dragged through the mud. EEO allegations need to be taken seriously, and for Washam to not only make a private matter public, but to do so in order to argue about an unrelated matter (namely, the lack of property inspections under his predecessor) goes beyond being in extremely poor taste, it also opens up Pierce County for a big fat lawsuit. I won’t go so far at this moment as to say that Washam needs to be immediately recalled from office, but I’m relatively certain that if he were a county employee rather than an elected official, he would be severely reprimanded if not fired for his handling of the matter.

See also at the TNT.

jamie 2008-02-11T20:13:27Z 2008-02-11T20:13:27Z Additional Caucus Thoughts...,2008-02-11:a06200f80a3d5afe752de87383147dcf/7e2a226128eb3087d75035e72d24b73d Ok, just two more thoughts from the caucuses, and then I’m done:

1) Bringing homemade cookies was a great idea. We were way short of having enough for everyone, but they were quickly gobbled up by our fellow-Democrat neighbors, and I heard many commenting on how cool it was to bring something to share. I’m sure we didn’t sway any votes, but that really wasn’t the point. Hopefully we’ve planted a seed, and we’ll see more “snacks to share” next time around. (Granted, if my positive thoughts of a Democratic win in November come to fruition, attendance should be much smaller in 2012…)

2) Shouldn’t Calvin Goings been at his own caucus instead of traveling from location-to-location to press palms?

jamie 2008-02-11T18:52:32Z 2008-02-11T19:18:18Z Caucuses and Our Superdelegates,2008-02-11:a06200f80a3d5afe752de87383147dcf/2c6972c86cc54be2b66fa3b9c2cf29d4 Washington went 2-to-1 for Barack Obama at Saturday’s caucuses, with near uniformity of voting throughout the state. But I think many of you are aware that Senators Cantwell and Murray have both endorsed Hillary Clinton. And for those in the 6th Congressional District, Norm Dicks has done the same. As superdelegates, they each hold a vote at the national convention that could swing the nomination to Hillary Clinton even if Obama has been favored by the majority of Democrats in the primaries and caucuses. Now, I will grant that it is totally their right to vote as they feel appropriate, but as representatives of our state and our area, I would like to consider they will look closely at how their constituents voted and think long and hard about how they vote at the national level. An overly contentious national convention could create some damaging divisiveness within the party, especially if the grass-roots gets the snub.

I’m attaching below a copy of the letter I sent to Sen. Cantwell, Sen. Murray, and Rep. Norm Dicks, and encourage you to contact them as well. has some great tools for contacting your state and federal representatives, so you might consider using that. I sent a differently-edited version to the TNT as a letter to the editor.

Dear (insert appropriate dignitary name here),

The Democrats of our state spoke resoundingly at their precinct caucuses on Saturday in support of Barack Obama for the presidential nomination by a ratio of nearly 2-to-1. This margin essentially transcended geography, and with a few exceptions held in nearly every county throughout the states.

I am aware that you, as my elected representative, have a superdelegate vote at the national level that is not beholden to any vote of the people, and that you have stated that they are endorsing Hillary Clinton. I respect your decision, and feel that Senator Clinton would be an excellent president.

There is a significant chance that at the national convention that the delegates elected by and representing the people of our country, via the primaries and caucuses, will pledge their votes in favor of Senator Obama, only to have the nomination decided for Senator Clinton on the shoulders of the nearly-800 superdelegates whose votes represent only themselves. This would essentially snub the grassroots of the Democratic party, and unnecessarily create division and frustration within the rank-and-file in a time when people are genuinely excited about participating in the political process.

I respect the right of the Democratic party to control their nominating process, and your right as a part of that process. I would hope, however, that if there is a chance your vote could swing the tally away from the nominee favored by the electorate, you would carefully consider the will of your constituents against your own preference.

Jamie Don’t-like-to-broadcast-my-last-name-all-over-the-web

These people represent us in Congress, so it is our right to ask them to represent us now.

jamie 2008-02-11T15:41:00Z 2008-02-11T15:41:00Z Central Tacoma Caucusing,2008-02-11:a06200f80a3d5afe752de87383147dcf/596fbae09e0b0d7ed3afe2fe73409b94 So I’m a couple of days late on this…but I don’t see anyone talking about the caucus in our area. Most of Central Tacoma found itself caucusing at Epworth-Lesourd Methodist Church, which was convenient for us, as it is essentially less than a block from our house.

In 2004, the house was pretty packed for the Kerry/Edwards/Dean/Kucinich/Clark showdown, but there was still room for all of the precincts to split up inside the sanctuary. This time there was standing room only, and at 1:30 (the earliest that precincts were allowed to start caucusing) we were still waiting for people to finish signing in. Our precinct (27-320, yo) had pretty formidable turnout (I believe 113, or so, versus probably 25 at most in 2004) so we were sent to the basement.

Conversation was heated at times, and many (including yours truly) had a chance to state a case for their candidate. In the end, I think few changed their minds…just some of the undecideds fell one way or another. In line with the 2-to-1 proportions seen in the state results, and from what I understand really consistent nearly anywhere you look, we are sending forward 11 delegates for Obama and 5 for Clinton.

Both Melissa and I will be heading to the 27th District caucus and the County Convention. (This will be my second time as a delegate in a row, having represented Kucinich in 2004.) This was way exciting: killer turnout, and it seems like everyone is really excited about both candidates that are still in the hunt for the Democratic nomination.

jamie 2008-02-07T17:43:04Z 2008-02-07T17:43:04Z Lessig on Barack,2008-02-07:a06200f80a3d5afe752de87383147dcf/8e17813c53c9170e77d3825406be5667 Lawrence Lessig posted an awesome video on his website about why he supports Obama for the Democratic nomination. In addition to being the guy behind the Creative Commons license, Lessig is pretty famous for his presentation style, which is shown well here. It’s about 20 minutes, but is absolutely worth watching.

20 minutes or so on why I am 4Barack from

jamie 2008-02-05T17:12:24Z 2008-02-05T17:12:24Z Super Fat Tuesday,2008-02-05:a06200f80a3d5afe752de87383147dcf/a12338f8b4559477cdf1c9dbf3619277 Does your inner political junkie want to glue itself to CNN tonight to watch primary returns, but your inner party animal want to hit the town for Mardi Gras? Why don’t you get your drink on and watch the returns at the same time? You can even bust out those beaded necklace if you want, who knows how wild those policy wonks can get after a few margaritas…

Barack Obama supporters will be gathering at Meconi’s starting at 6:30, and Hillary Clinton supporters will be gathering at the downtown El Toro starting at 6:00 to cheer on their respective candidates. I can’t find any information on events for the Republican candidates, which I guess means they’re just less fun. (Which begs the question: If Mitt Romney is elected president, will the inaugural ball be alcohol-free?)

Feel free to toss any additional events into the comments!

jamie 2008-01-31T17:22:52Z 2008-01-31T17:22:52Z Olympia Trying to Kill Pierce County Polling Places,2008-01-31:a06200f80a3d5afe752de87383147dcf/4ee467f44ceb30ec744828bd104278a6

Last fall, there was much speculation that Pierce County was holding its last-ever election with polling places, and that shortly thereafter we would move to all-mail voting. Amidst this activity, several bloggers, including Jenny from, TacomaChickadee, and TacomaMama chimed in with their fondness for poll voting, and many others, including myself, agreed in the comments. There is a certain magic to going to the polling place, talking to the older folks that run them, and exercising your constitutional right in the local school, church, or community hall, and the fact that many relatively young bloggers were waxing poetic about it showed that poll voting isn’t just for the old-fashioned. And aside from the tradition of the act, allowing both poll voting and mail-in voting helps to keep voting as accessible as possible to the population. (Even better for enfranchisement would be election day registration, but that’s a whole different topic…)

Thankfully, the County Council stepped in, and, against the wishes of Auditor Pat McCarthy, voted to keep polling places open. Despite the merit of questions raised by McCarthy about some of the open meetings procedures exercised by the council leading up to this decision, this vote was without a doubt the right decision to defend the voting rights of Pierce County citizens.

But if you thought it was over, think again. An opinion piece in today’s Trib discusses the introduction of House Bill 2833 in the state legislature, which, among other things, would force Pierce County to immediately switch to all-mail voting. (King County, having more than 500,000 registered voters, would have until 2009 to phase out their polling sites.) Sponsored by four legislators, none of whom represent Pierce County, the bill states that the all-mail voting provisions are “necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions”.

I think it speaks volumes that none of the bill’s sponsors are from Pierce County. The County Council vote shows that our council listened to its constituents and the consensus was that the people of Pierce County want to be able to vote at the polls. And I would argue that preserving my effective “support of state government” would require that I continue to be able to vote in a way that I feel is effective, secure, and inclusive.

One of the things that fascinates me most about the bill is that all four sponsors are Democrats. Traditionally, Democrats tend to fare better in elections where barriers to voting are low. From what I understand (though I have no sources to cite), prior to counties moving to all-mail voting, mail voting registrations were disproportionately Republican voters as compared to the general voting populace. I would rather see the Democrats at the state level working towards keeping polling places open, working towards offering election day registration, working towards making sure that every citizen who meets the legal requirements exercises their right to cast a ballot on election day, whether by mail or in person.

So go here, find your legislator and write them a letter, telling them that you demand the right to vote in person. Write a letter to the editor. Let’s protect our voting rights, people!

(Image via theocean@flickr)

jamie 2007-07-06T16:01:09Z 2007-07-06T16:01:09Z Central Tacoma, My Home,2007-07-06:a06200f80a3d5afe752de87383147dcf/129341a085c1c15bb5c9dcde45437883 I was reminded yesterday that Central Tacoma rocks.

I’ll admit that when we went for an evening stroll, the majority wound through the North End, North Slope, and Stadium Districts before heading back home. However, after we crossed Sixth Avenue and returned to the land of addresses containing “South”, we encountered Lauren Walker, who was out knocking on doors as part of her campaign for the District 3 Council seat. We managed to miss Lauren when she knocked on our door a week or two ago, so we though it would be appropriate to stop and introduce ourselves.

We chatted about what’s important to us: creation and preservation of green space, environmentally-friendly choices by the city, bicycle and pedestrian safety, affordable housing, public involvement. We were happy to hear that Lauren and her family are avid bicyclists, and her husband commutes to work on a bike. But most of all, we were happy to hear her excitement about Central Tacoma: her passion for continued economic development along Sixth Avenue and along MLK that preserves the unique characteristics of the surrounding neighborhoods; the drive to be an area that celebrates a diverse mix of racial groups, economic classes, sexual orientation, etc.; a love for the countless wonderful little neighborhoods that make up Central Tacoma.

There’s a lot of work to be done to grow the area in ways that keep it affordable for the economically disadvantaged and first-time home buyers, not to mention without tearing down lots of great old houses, but it’s pleasing to know that we have a candidate this excited about the district, given the impending departure of Tom Stenger. We got back home that much more happy with where we live, and a little bit more excited about where things can go.

jamie 2007-05-01T16:11:02Z 2007-05-01T16:12:01Z May Day in T-Town,2007-05-01:a06200f80a3d5afe752de87383147dcf/d3a7e32513fd4bff01da94dc6774f622

May Day is upon us. And aside from twirling around Maypoles and such, it is a day to celebrate the working class and labor movement, the heart and soul of Tacoma, the United States, and the World.

Here in Tacoma, King’s Books, in partnership with local grassroots labor group America in Solidarity, will be holding a May Day Celebration this evening. Festivities are from 6:30-9pm. The new documentary Battle of Local 5668, telling the story of workers affected by a West Virginia aluminum plant lockout, will be shown at 7pm. The celebration will also include music and comments from local leaders.

Details from King’s Books.

Note: The picture? Totally not from Tacoma. I just thought it looked cool…

jamie 2007-04-25T17:41:15Z 2007-04-25T17:48:14Z A Nice Sock in the Face Should Wake You Up...,2007-04-25:a06200f80a3d5afe752de87383147dcf/cc6c6dc4767071c52ef289fb9e0930c0

I’m not sure I can top the “fisticuffs” quote cited by GritCity for sheer level of awesomeness in commenting on the Gig Harbor Fire Commission mug-punching incident. However, linking to this sweet Ceramics For Breakfast mug design by Cristobal Karich might come close…