McCleary comes to a close: Levy swap prevails, funding now fairer

What a long, strange journey it has been. 11 years after it was filed, the McCleary education funding case wound to a close this week. Since the state Supreme Court first ruled on the case in 2012, it has been the Sword of Damocles dangling over state government. I did not agree with the court’s […]

Housing: We can build up, build out, or accept astronomical prices

I am frequently confounded by what passes for housing policy in Seattle. City government has lots of ideas on affordable housing and no clue on how to actually make housing more affordable. Or maybe it’s more of a matter of no interest than no clue. The Seattle City Council seems more focused on “affordable housing” […]

It’s my privilege to stand up for charter schools and students

Politicians tend to overuse some phrases. “It’s such an honor” to be part of this, “it’s a privilege” to do that. So considering I’m a recovering politician, you might wonder if I’ve lapsed into saying things that sound rote. But I mean it sincerely when I say it’s a great honor and privilege to represent […]

The three H’s – heroin, homelessness, and the head tax – hurting Seattle’s reputation

Has Seattle’s leadership lost its collective mind? Many are wondering lately. A glance at the headlines shows a city government that is of activist groups, by activist groups, and for activist groups. Because let’s be honest, it not average everyday voters who are pushing a head tax that will reduce jobs in the city. They’re […]

Hopeful kids and families a contrast to union’s cynical suit against charters

It was quite a scene in Walla Walla last week. There was a food truck, music, and balloons. And there were smiles, on a Friday night, from kids who are already looking ahead to the next school year with excitement. What was it? Well, it was a “signing event” for students joining Walla Walla’s new […]

Despite promise to “protect” them, trade spats are bad news for Washington farmers

It seemed, for a moment, like a bright spot on trade: A year after pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), President Trump suggested last week that the U.S. might rejoin the trade agreement. That was a welcome prospect for Washington farmers and others who are nervously watching other countries forge closer trade ties while […]

Why have a Rainy Day Fund if state leaders don’t even grasp its purpose?

We will suffer another economic downturn at some point – that’s a given. The “when” is unpredictable, as ample history should make obvious. As much as some like to search after-the-fact for those “voices in the wilderness,” such as those issuing warnings in 2007 of impending problems, those cases may have more to do with […]

Public wants transparency, so shouldn’t Inslee veto SEIU giveaway bill?

The average voter, I think it’s fair to say, didn’t care much for the Legislature’s public records bill. A good chunk of Olympia took a gamble that voters wouldn’t care about a “boring topic” like open government. They bet wrong. The public doesn’t want to see governing conducted in secret. They don’t want legislation passed […]

House Republicans’ mics cut off for pointing out union giveaway

Most eyes in Olympia this week were on the will-he-or-won’t-he veto drama on the legislative records bill – and deservedly so. Legislators took a gamble that voters wouldn’t care too much about this issue. They were wrong, and I hope it clarified for public officials around the state that people care about open government. Lesson […]

Bipartisanship gone bad: Anti-transparency bill is insulting

We often praise bipartisanship, but some of the worst abuses of process have broad agreement from both parties. You saw a clear example of that Friday, when a bill to largely exempt legislators from the Public Records Act passed out of both chambers in record time with basically no debate. It’s hard to put a […]