Monday, July 17, 2017

League of Women Voters Forum for Kennewick City Council Candidates

The Benton-Franklin League of Women Voters (LWV) sponsored a forum for Kennewick City Council Candidates tonight at the Kennewick Library on Union St. in Kennewick. The library parking lot was full to overflowing. Many people, like myself, were forced to park in the adjoining Grange parking lot. My rough estimate is that 100-plus people attended the forum.
A large crowd attended the forum
Cameras were there
Leo Perales answers a question with a touch of humor

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Tri-Cities Pride March, 2017

The Tri-Cities Pride March #TriPride2017 was a wonderful, enriching, inclusive, just plain fun event. Thanks to all those who worked so hard to bring it off, and to all those who attended.

There were rumors that Richland Mayor Bob Thompson was there for the festivities, but I didn't see him. He may have been in drag. Who knows? In any case, perhaps he'll change his mind and support an "inclusiveness resolution." Let's keep trying.

Here are some pictures I took today.

#TriPride2017 at John Dam Plaza, Sunday, July 16, 2017

Friday, July 14, 2017

Voters' Guide 2017

Indivisible WA State 4th Congressional District has produced a Voters' Guide for the 2017 local election. As you know, Indivisible is non-partisan, thus the Voters' Guide does not endorse any individual candidate, rather the Guide provides expanded information about the candidates based in part on responses to questions posed to them.

Susannah Burrows, of Indivisible, writes:

"A team of community members, led by Indivisible WA-4, has been working hard over the past couple of weeks to bring you this Voter's Guide, with responses to questions from candidates for local public offices. This will improve voter information about the upcoming primary and is part of Indivisible WA-4's efforts to defend democracy at the local level."

Indivisble plans to distribute a print version of the Guide to local businesses (coffeeshops, bookstores, etc.) and at events around the Tri-Cities. They would appreciate help in doing this, with the first priority being help paying for the Guide's printing. Please make a donation to their crowdfunding campaign.

The next action you can take is to pick up a bunch of guides from Susananah and drop them off at your favorite hangout, or at the Pride Event this weekend, at your church, or anywhere that gets a lot of traffic (except GW Way & 240!). You'll be facilitating democracy by doing this. The guides will be available by Wednesday, July 19th.

The Voters Guide is also available on Indivisible's blog, where you can read about other Indivisible activities/issues.

Finally, share Indivisible's crowdfunding campaign, and the Voter's Guide, with your Facebook friends and groups.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The End is Approaching!

Monday, July 24th, is the last day for in-person registration in order to vote in the August Primary.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

2017 Primary Candidate Forums

Seeking council seats on the Columbia
Ballots for the Aug. 1 primary election will be mailed next week in Benton and Franklin counties. These are nonpartisan races for city councils and school boards.

The League of Women Voters of Benton and Franklin Counties has scheduled three forums in July to offer people an opportunity to meet the “top-two” primary candidates.

The first forum for Richland City Council candidates will be held 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 11 at the HAPO Stage at John Dam Plaza in Richland. Candidates for four Richland City Council positions will be questioned by a LWV moderator, and if time allows, questions from the audience will be allowed as well.

The Kennewick City Council candidate forum will be 6:30 p.m. Monday, July 17 at the Mid-Columbia Library on Union Street in Kennewick. Candidates vying for two different city council positions will participate. As the Tri-Cities Herald has written, “Of particular interest will be a chance for people to see all six candidates running for the at-large post being vacated by Kennewick City Councilman Bob Parks."

The Pasco LWV forum will be 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 19 at the Pasco Police Regional Training Center, 204 Clark Street. It will feature candidates for two Pasco School Board and two Pasco City Council positions.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Does that banner still wave?

Fox News, in its inimitable fashion, has pinpointed what Americans should be thinking about this Independence Day. In an article today headlined, “Stars, stripes, and suds: Where to drink this Independence Day,” the author, Katie Jackson, gleefully tells us that July 4th is “America’s biggest drinking day,” with guzzlers spending more than $1 billion for beer alone. Katie opines that, “Any bar worth its weight in margarita salt is hip to this spending trend, and goes out of its way to celebrate Independence Day.”

Well, I hate to throw cold water on Katie’s beer, but I won’t be so much celebrating Independence Day this year as reflecting on it’s meaning, and in my reflections wondering how we find ourselves with someone like Donald Trump as President, and how we can free ourselves from his deceitful, destructive, potentially disastrous rule.

It isn’t just the President’s rule that we must resist, of course, but also the agenda of a Republican Party that sees itself in charge of both houses of Congress, and dominant at the state level, with 33 governors and 32 republican-controlled legislatures — legislatures in which the GOP has majorities in both houses. Democrats and their progressive base find themselves in a deep hole, and the consequences have been rapid in developing, with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act only the most egregious — I almost said “visible”— of those consequences.

As Richard R. Beeman has said, we have been so successful, “in building a powerful and cohesive democratic nation-state in post-Civil War America that most Americans today assume that principles of democracy and national harmony somehow naturally go hand-in-hand.” They don’t. We are beset by challenges internally and externally, seen and unseen, imminent and inevitable.

And all the while, we are ruled by a man with no moral compass, whose only objective is to “win” — win against his enemies, his critics, and his personal demons. His weapons of choice are insult, innuendo, threat, fear, and anger, and, like a terrorist, he wields them with disdain for any collateral damage he may cause.

This Independence Day we are fearful for our Republic. We do not accept Mr. Trump’s refusal to abide by the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, we do not accept Mr. Trump’s defaming of the FBI, we do not believe the Press is “the enemy of the American people,” we will not allow our personal voter records to be easily surrendered to an autocratic regime. We will resist, and in the end, we will, working together, overcome a tyrannical despot and keep our Republic.

O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave 
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Friday, June 30, 2017

Tri-Cities Young Democrats Candidate Forum

The Tri-Cities Young Democrats hosted a forum for candidates vying for city council seats in Kennewick, Pasco, Richland, and West Richland. Click on the color-coded hyperlink to see a video of the forum.

Candidates participating in the forum included: Dori Luzzo Gilmour (Richland P-7), Willian 'Dan' White (West Richland P-1), David Milne Pasco P-5/5), Bob Hoffman (Pasco D-6), Rhoda Williams (Richland P-1), Jim Millbauer (Kennewick P-4), Michael Alvarez (Richland P-7), Ryan Lukson (Richland P-4), Kalen Finn (Richland P-1), Steve Lee (Kennewick P-2/2), Craig Maloney (Pasco P-6), Sandra Kent (Richland P-3), Rick Rios (Pasco D-3), Jess Monterey (Richland P-1), Shir Regev (Richland P-3), Eldon Eskeli (Richland P-7), Ginger Wireman (Richland P-4), Blanche Barajas (Pasco D-1), Mike Luzzo (Richland P-4), and Kate Moran (West Richland P-6).

Candidates made opening remarks and then participated in a lengthy question and answer session. Again, to view the forum, go to:

One can read the statement of candidates who chose to make them on the Benton County On-Line Voters Pamphlet, and/or the Franklin County On-Line Voters Guide.

City Council positions are ostensibly non-partisan. Nevertheless, it isn't too difficult to see that the candidates' political positions tend to align with conservative or progressive values. For example, ccandidates not participating included Richland Mayor Bob Thompson (P-1), who's been in a bit of hot water over an unfortunate remark he made at the State of the Cities gathering at the end of May this year.

In my opinion, his remark illustrated a pro-growth bias at the expense of environmental and sustainability concerns, as well as a disdain for community members who voiced concerns about this. The Richland City Council under Thompson leadership has also been reluctant to take up the issue of inclusiveness -- an important value for progressives.

The primary for 2017 elections opens in just two weeks. Ballot drop boxes open Wednesday July 12th. Voting runs for 18 days.

Do your due diligence, determine for whom you'll cast your ballot, and VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! (please only vote once, but do it).