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.

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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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jacina rally

Photo Credit to Richard Bocook

That was the message at noon today, Friday, by the community and business owners on the double digit block of West Main Ave, downtown Spokane. Last Friday, a transgendered woman, Jacina Carla Scamahorn was assaulted, inside of Boots Bakery, at 24 West Main Ave.  The series of events that followed paints a picture of the Spokane Community that, as a whole, does not tolerate violence or bigotry against gays and transgendered.

Within days, the community demand quick action by the police.  On Monday evening, around a hundred citizens showed up at the scheduled Spokane City Council meeting to voice their outrage and ask for a quick action by the Spokane Police.  On that same day, Spokane Police posted online pictures of suspects that were capture by surveillance cameras, and local media covered the incident.  By Tuesday, Spokane Police arrested two suspects, 45-year old Adam Flippen and 43-year old Marc Fessler.

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breean head

Breean Beggs

I have admired Breean Beggs for a long time.  It is good see him involved in the public debate about why Sean Oie’s killer was released. I am also intrigue about Breean Beggs’ candidacy for Spokane County Prosecutor. Read the rest of this entry

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Photo Credit to Bryan Burke

Photo Credit to Bryan Burke

This does not surprise me.  From what I have heard about the management at Deaconess Hospital, Spokane, WA, and their Hospital in the Valley, Community Health Systems should have had a complaint filed at them sooner.

The hospitals in Spokane owned by non-profits don’t seem to have these problems.  We should never forget the value of the labor movement our capitalist economy.  Read the rest of this entry

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Immigration Reform

To the Editor:

In an historic bipartisan 68-32 vote, last June the US Senate passed an immigration reform bill that included a path to citizenship for eleven million illegal immigrants, an innovative temporary worker program, and increased visa numbers for skilled foreign workers, as well as a nationwide employment eligibility verification system and stricter border control.  This was a result of bipartisan cooperation among lawmakers, business groups, labor unions, agricultural interests, and immigration advocates. Although many predict that the bill would pass in the US House, the majority Republican leadership there refuses to bring it up.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects the bill would reduce federal budget deficits by $197 billion over the next decade. Furthermore, it is supported by such pro-business and pro-agriculture groups as the US Chamber of Commerce and the local Washington Growers League, an influential Eastern Washington agribusiness association working on immigration in an unusual alliance with the Washington Federation of State Employees.   Interestingly, the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Migration has also expressed support.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers needs to represent her constituents, many in business and agriculture, by standing up to US House leadership so as to pass this bill.

Roz Luther

Spokane, WA

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