Western State crisis shows lack of action, lack of leadership

No one in state government gets to plead ignorance on this one. Western State Hospital, a mental health facility, has been in crisis for years. The deficiencies, management turnover, aging facilities, escapes, and workforce problems are well-known and much discussed. The state has suffered numerous lawsuit losses over conditions at the hospital, and several courts […]

Why the Janus v. AFSCME court decision matters

In his Gettysburg Address President Abraham Lincoln did not close by saying, “Government of the government employees, by the government employees, for the government employees.” Yet, for the past couple of decades that is exactly what has occurred in our country. No other entity spends as much money to influence government policies and has as […]

Wait, voters can’t say whether drug injection sites are OK?

A judge ruled Monday that an initiative to ban drug injection sites in King County cannot go on the February ballot as planned. The Seattle Times reports: “Letting voters decide whether to ban safe-injection sites would infringe on the power of the King County Board of Health, King County Superior Court Judge Veronica Alicea-Galván ruled […]

The ridiculous idea that new fees don’t raise housing prices

Any political movement has its shibboleths and sacred cows. There are beliefs that must not be deviated from to be a member in good standing, and “truths” that aren’t really true. It’s good to see stale ideas get challenged, regardless of where on the political spectrum the debate is happening. In this age of social […]

McKenna on KIRO: Wealthy neighborhood’s private street sold by city

KIRO 97.3 host Dave Ross asked Rob about the controversial sale of a private street in San Francisco. Investors bought the street at auction from the city after the homeowners association for the wealthy neighborhood neglected to pay its $14 annual property tax for three decades. Dave Ross: “Now what about the right to at […]

Seattle needs to get real on housing costs – the whole region does

Raise your hand if you think the best way to make housing more affordable is to impose new costs on developments. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Of course, there are some who think that makes perfect sense. Some on the Seattle City Council are forever cooking up new ways to “raise costs for affordability.” On KIRO Radio […]

McKenna on KIRO: Oregon engineer fined for saying he’s an engineer

KIRO 97.3 host Dave Ross asked Rob about the case of Mats Järlström of Beaverton, Oregon, who appealed a red light camera ticket, noting problems with the yellow light timing. He brought the issue to the attention of the Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying. The board was not only uninterested, […]

Inslee politicizes process for export project – to Longview’s detriment

Any large project in Washington must go through an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process. In the main, that’s a good thing. An EIS is how we spot environmental problems that could arise and identify how to mitigate those problems. That’s the theory, and for a long time, that’s been the practice in our state. But […]

We’ll have to force government to be more transparent

Open data – perhaps one of the nerdier and more obscure topics we discuss with some regularity on SGW – is clearly the future of government information. The clumsy, time-consuming ask-and-approve public records request system is the past. It’s a creaky old way of doing things that is due for an update. Proacatively publishing government […]

This era might change how the left feels about federalism

Federalism – the idea that states retain powers not granted to the federal government and they should exercise them – has long been more popular on the right. With President Trump in the White House and Republican majorities in Congress, the left is discovering, hey, maybe federalism isn’t so bad after all. If federalism gains […]