Misleading Comments about McMorris Rodgers

(LETTER TO THE EDITOR) Tom Horne’s 9/14/17 Spokesman-Review letter (“Read CMR’s Comments”) is very misleading.  Repeatedly, Cathy McMorris Rodgers has simply parroted Republican Speakers of the House of Representatives John Boehner and Paul Ryan, with no mind of her own.  Nevertheless, McMorris Rodgers is listed among House Republican leadership.  As such, she joined the leadership’s block of a full House vote on the June 27, 2013 bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill passed by the Senate, even though it had enough votes to pass the House at the time.  Enough House Republicans joining Democrats favored the bipartisan Senate bill for it to become law with then-President Obama’s signature had Republican House leaders, including McMorris Rodgers, allowed a vote by the full House.  The law would have ended deportations except in criminal cases. Thus Mr. Horne’s statement that “Cathy and the Republican leadership want ‘comprehensive immigration reform’ like the Senate passed in 2013, which would give legal status to almost all 11 million illegal aliens“ is completely false.

Most definitely, Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ idea of “comprehensive immigration reform” is altogether different from that of the bipartisan bill passed by the Senate.  As usual, McMorris Rodgers simply follows the Republican House leadership, and it advocates a draconian approach to immigration.

Norm Luther
Spokane, WA 99223

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Voter Suppression by Trump?

(LETTER TO THE EDITOR) Is suppression of Democratic voters the goal of President Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity? Prior voter fraud claims by the commission’s activist vice-chair and early Trump supporter, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, prompted the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice to respond (5/11/17):  “Kobach could have a platform for his exaggerated and debunked claims. His record in elections and voting reveals that…he has spent the last decade pursuing policies that are harmful to many Americans — particularly those Americans who are not white, who are elderly, or who are low-income.  Americans should be wary…now that President Trump has chosen to put Kobach in this role.”

This triggers memories of bogus Republican-alleged voter fraud in Washington’s close 2004 gubernatorial race between Democrat Chris Gregoire and Republican Dino Rossi.  Initial machine count favored Rossi by 261 votes, machine recount by 42, but final manual count elected Gregoire by 129 votes.  Rossi filed suit to overturn the result in Republican-friendly Chelan County Superior Court.  But the Republican-elected judge, after research, ruled negligible fraud, though more by Republicans than Democrats, and boosted Gregoire’s winning margin to 133 votes.  Chastened by his party’s own judge, Rossi abandoned his expected Washington State Supreme Court appeal.

Norm Luther
Spokane, WA

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After a three-year effort of members and advocates like you, the Spokane City Council finally voted to approve the Complete Streets Ordinance at the close of 2011. After the passage of a new street bond, Spokane started to see results on the ground.

Now that we are well on our way to creating a community with healthy transportation choices that work for everyone, a poorly worded concept in Spokane’s draft comprehensive plan update could stall our progress and subvert a core component of Complete Streets: the transportation project ranking system that ensures transportation projects we build reflect our community values and support our economic priorities.

The city’s proposed “Roadways of Significance” policy would allow projects deemed a “special economic opportunity” to duck the ranking and prioritizing process that keeps our system on track and to dodge Complete Streets requirements (such as bike and pedestrian infrastructure) – hinting that they be put in “eventually,” without requiring them to be planned. While the stated intent is for this loophole to be exploited rarely, there is no limiting language to prevent its abuse.

All of this, in the name of economic development. It is a widely acknowledged fact that Complete Streets are a key part of good economic development in Spokane. Let’s set our plan on the right path!

On Monday, June 19th at 6pm, the Spokane City Council has a hearing to approve the Comprehensive Plan Update that contains the “Roadways of Significance” loophole.

Tell the City Council not to gut Complete Streets. Send a letter here or attend the hearing.

Kitty Klitzke
Eastern Washington Program Director
Futurewise

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“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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