“Cathy, How much is my life worth?”

Tomorrow, Wednesday, May 24 at 4:30 PM

In front of Cathy McMorris Rodgers office (10 North Post St.)

***The event has been moved to Wednesday because the CBO is releasing its report on Wednesday***

We came to Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers on Valentines Day asking her to have a heart for the tens of thousands of people in our community who rely on the Affordable Care Act for their health care. Now, Cathy is the ONLY Representative from Washington to have voted FOR Trumpcare.

Join us this Wednesday, May 24 at 4:30 pm in front of Rep. McMorris Rodgers Office (10 N. Post Street)

73,276 Medicaid Expansion enrollees stand to lose their insurance as the result of her support for the ACHA. Many, if not all, of these folks have no other way of getting health insurance!

Our hearts are broken now that she’s sided with billionaires and President Trump and voted for the ACHA. The ACHA will strip our healthcare away from us all to essentially give a tax cut to the wealthiest Americans. So we’re having a bake sale to buy her a much-needed conscience!

This is a joint action of the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane, SEIU Healthcare 1199 NW, SEIU 775, Spokane Regional Labor Council, Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho, Fuse Washington, Greater Spokane Progress, and other organizations. All are welcome!

We’ll continue to speak out and call on the Senate to reject tax cuts for billionaires and to instead put patients first by ensuring everyone in our community has care. That means no cuts to Medicaid, and no rollbacks to care. We’d like to thank Senators Cantwell and Murray for their leadership on this issue and ask that they continue to be champions on protecting the ACA. Please don’t go breaking our hearts like Cathy!

Please share the “Cathy: How much is my life worth?” Facebook Event at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1046372542163160
Join us for sign-making tonight, Monday, May 22 at 6pm at the Community Building (35 W. Main Ave.).

We hope you can join us on Wednesday!

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Smith-Barbieri Fund

(Letter-to-the-Editor) What a great, informative article Shawn Vestal wrote for the Friday Spokesman Review! Our community is richly blessed to have Sharon Smith and Don Barbieri doing their magic in many directions.

For several years, my husband and I were the State Committee man and woman representing Skamania County for the Democratic Party. Sharon Smith was the outstanding state vice-chair for a time, and we were so disappointed when she chose not to run again. Now we have moved to Spokane and your article beautifully explains the great ways she is using her skills and energy. We can see that the change was in a good cause, and feel that Spokane is very lucky to have this team living out their values with such generosity.

Roz Luther
Spokane, WA

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Randy Ramos for Spokane City Council in 2015

Eastern Washington Voters has endorsed Randy Ramos for Spokane City Council over that of incumbent Republic Mike Fagan for the 1st City Council district. All it takes is a google search to see that Fagan has been an embarrassment to Spokane.  He has been widely criticized in the national media for his crazy ideas and telling parents not to immunize their children against deadly diseases like measles.

On the other hand, Randy Ramos is a level head guy who wants to focus on recreating more jobs and opportunities for people in Spokane. These are serious issues that affect our City.  In contrast, Fagan is constantly distracted from the needs of Spokane by his imaginations of United Nation’s plots and the dangers of bikini baristas.

Randy’s practical focus probably has a lot to do with having to work hard for a living, understanding what it is like to have to pay bills, and go to work every day.  Randy is a painter by trade and works seasonally as a recruiter for the local Indian colleague.  Randy Ramos of Hillyard will represent Spokane well.

Bryan E. Burke

Executive Director
Eastern Wa. Voters

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Spokane City Initiative 2015-1: Immigration

(Letter-to-the-Editor) Any pretense for passing proposed Spokane City Initiative 2015-1, allowing city police to stop and interrogate anyone strictly to ascertain immigration status, would already have been eliminated if US House Republican leadership, including Cathy McMorris Rodgers, had done their job. They never allowed a full House vote on the bipartisan immigration bill passed June, 2013 by the US Senate, even though the bill had enough House votes to pass. And President Obama would have signed it. The bill resulted from bipartisan cooperation among lawmakers, business groups, labor unions, agricultural interests, and immigration advocates, and would have rendered Initiative 2015-1 obsolete. Read the rest of this entry

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Moral Leadership: Gay Marriage and Legalized Pot

Well what do ya know.  The lion share of Washington State voters now say they are supporters of gay marriage and legalized marijuana use, which were passed by state wide initiatives.  Washingtonians now favor gay marriage and  legalized marijuana use by 20 percentage points and 19 points respectively, according to Public Policy Polling.  Hats off to all the courageous people who have been fighting for these issues for decades if not longer and who had to endure scorn, ridicule, and sometimes worse.

It appears that some voters in Washington State had the heebbie jeebies about gay rights and pot smokers in 2012, and they just could not get themselves to vote for it.  I suspect many of them even knew in their gut that a “yes” vote was the morally correct one.  Now that both of these have passed, the issues are no longer as taboo.  That is what progressive moral leadership does.  It changes people’s world view in favor of human dignity and civil rights.

In 2012 Washingtonians voted to approve gay marriage by 8 points. Now voters in the state say they support gay marriage by 20 points, 56/36. 78% of voters say that its being legal has either had a positive impact on their life or no impact at all, with only 22% claiming gay marriage has affected them negatively. Also 65% of voters in the state think gay conversion therapy should be illegal to only 14% who think it should be allowed. Majorities of voters across party lines- 78/6 with Democrats, 63/14 with independents, and 51/27 with Republicans- think conversion therapy should not be allowed.

Also in 2012 Washingtonians voted to legalize marijuana usage by 12 points. Now voters in the state say they support marijuana being legal by 19 points, 56/37. 77% of voters say marijuana being legal has either had a positive impact on their life or no impact at all, with likewise only 22% claiming marijuana legalization has affected them negatively.

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Here is an update from the Northwest Leadership PAC on the lack of paid sick leave in Spokane and work on the issue by City Council.

~ In 2014, a comprehensive community survey indicated 87% of Spokane residents agreed: “working people who are sick or have sick children should be able to take paid sick days.”

Currently, about 40,000 workers in Spokane lack earned sick and safe leave- risking the health and safety of themselves, the public, and their families. Access to earned sick and safe leave reduces employee turnover, protects the safety of domestic violence and sexual assault survivors, increases employee morale and productivity, and ensures workers don’t spread illnesses.

Read the rest of this entry

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Spokane City Council: Freedom of Speech and Decorum

spokane cit coun free speechMike Fagan‘s eighth man circus has caused another ruckus. I support what Councilman Jon Snyder wrote about it. Still, there is a lot of confusion about what free speech really is.  The City Council did not ban any words the other day, and it is hyperbola for KXLY to claim that it did.  A TV station should have a better grasp of the legislative process and what the word banning really means.

If I want to, it is within my personal 1st amendment rights to ask you to stop talking. I most likely would not do that, because it is a bit overbearing and disrespectful. However, it is also not even what the Spokane City Council did the other day.

I might, however, ask you not to use a word that I consider offense or respectful.  Freedom of speech is not restricted simply because someone is advised not to use a word. It is their right to ask you, and it is your right to ignore their request if you choose.

Restrictions only happen when you are actually denied the right to expressed yourself. Read the rest of this entry

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Wamend.LincolnRally(By Stacey Cossey) Saturday, April 25th marked the launch of Wamend’s Initiative 735: Get BIG Money out of Elections!   Over a hundred Spokane and Northeastern Washington citizens took to the streets to protest the ‘big’ money that is flowing into our political system, influencing the outcome of our elections.

Ordinary citizens carried signs, marched across the Monroe Street Bridge and gathered around the statue of Abraham Lincoln.  In a statement of political art, Abraham is seen to ask “Whatever happened to a government of, by and for the people?”while the people reply “Get BIG Money out of Elections!”

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LaDuke and Moore on Politics and Human Dignity at EWU

mOORE AND LADUKEWinona LaDuke, Native American leader, spoke about political and spiritual solutions to our world’s problems in Showalter Hall at the Cheney campus of Eastern Washington University today, Wednesday.  Winona LaDuke is a well-known internationally recognized Anishinaabeg (Ojibwe) author, speaker and activist.  She was joined by Liz Moore, an engaged local activist from the Spokane area. Liz is the Executive Director of the Peace and Justice Action League.

The speakers and audience explore questions and told stories about outreach to diverse communities, building alliances and partnerships for effecting social change, spirituality, and ways to learn from each other. They questions aimed at examining the challenges of advocating for social justice and organizing for social transformation in different cultures and environments.


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Why Does Avista Still Use Coal to Generate Electricity?

Coal plant closeup

Photo credit Erica Dellwo.

Avista Utilities has a reputation for supporting renewable energy in Eastern Washington—so why do they still power our homes and businesses with dirty out-of-state coal from Montana’s Colstrip Generating Facility?

Avista’s Reliance on Coal Power

The largest source of U.S. carbon pollution is burning fossil fuels for electricity. And Colstrip stands near the top of its industry according to the US. Environmental Protection Agency. Eastern Washington already faces the impacts of climate change including longer wildfire seasons, reduced snowpack and extended droughts. Meanwhile, Colstrip pumps more than 15 million tons of carbon pollution into the air every year from burning sub-bituminous coal from a nearby mine. That’s equal to the carbon pollution from half of all passenger cars in Washington State. Overall in Washington, coal provides about 20 percent of the state’s power but contributes more than 80 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector.

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