Thursday, December 1, 2016

Holiday Party

December 11th, 1:00 PM
Shilo Inn, Richland
Cost is $30 per person
Please register in advance at http://bencodems.org/contribute/
Make a contribution and put “Holiday Party” in the comments box. List the names of the people for whom you are paying in the comments box as well.
RSVP’s must be received by Wednesday, December 7.
Guest Speakers:
Benton County Prosecutor, Andy Miller
Jennifer Goulet, Coordinator
No Hate, Pasco Won’t Discriminate
Come celebrate the season and connect with your fellow Democrats!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

In Case You Missed It

The 2016 Election results are in. Benton County voters went in a big way for Donald Trump, favoring a man his own Republican Party stalwarts called unqualified and unfit to be President, by 59% to 33% over Hillary Clinton.

Among 3rd party candidates, Gary 'What's an Aleppo' Johnson garnered 6% of the vote, cast by republicans who just couldn't bring themselves to vote for a lying, cheating, confidence man.

Senator Patty Murray, a long-time friend of our region, lost in our county to Chris Vance, former Chair of the Washington State Republican Party, and one of the few republican candidates with the courage to refuse to endorse Trump. Murray won statewide, of course.

Incumbent Dan Newhouse edged out Superbowl Ring Wearer, Clint Didier, 54% to 46%, leaving Didier to ponder his next elective office run.

Governor Jay Inslee was soundly defeated in Benton County by Bill Bryant, 62% to 38%. Inslee won statewide, leaving county republicans once again calling for secession from the liberal-left West.

One surprise was incumbent AG Bob Ferguson winning the vote in Benton County, 55% to 45%, over little-known Libertarian candidate Joshua B Trumbell, who stressed his experience working in his father's auto body shop.

Rebecca Francik and Gary Downing both lost their races for 16th LD seats 1 and 2, respectively, by similar 40+% margins. They worked exceptionally hard in their campaigns, and we owe them a debt of gratitude for running.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

2016 Election Results for Measures as of Nov 29, 2016

The final ballot count for Benton County as of Nov 29, 2016, was 84,663, a turnout of almost 79%.

 In Benton County, measures 1491, 1501, and 735 passed. Measures 1433, 1464, and 732 failed to pass.

About 60% of Benton County voters voted "No" on raising the minimum wage to $11.00 in 2017, $11.50 in 2018, $12.00 in 2019, and $13.50 in 2020. Statewide, the measure passed 57% to 43%.

There were two "advisory vote" measures on the ballot. Voters could vote to "maintain" the legislation, or "repeal" it. Both bills brought up for vote were sensible "maintain" votes, and voters voted to repeal both. Mostly, in my opinion, voters have little or no idea what they're voting about. Here's what the Washington Budget Policy Center says about the measures.

Advisory Vote #14: Clarifying taxation of stand-alone family dental plans 
In the 2016 legislative session, the legislature overwhelmingly approved House Bill 2768, which clarified that some stand-alone family dental plans can be charged an insurance premium tax. This legislation is largely a technical change that allows the Washington Health Plan Finder to offer stand-alone adult dental insurance coverage through the state exchange.

Advisory Vote #15: Modifying tax exemption criteria for clean energy cars
Also in 2016, a broad majority of legislators voted to extend and narrow an existing tax break for customers who buy clean energy cars (House Bill 2778). This tax break is intended to encourage the use of clean alternative fuel vehicles in Washington. The public policy objective of this tax exemption is clearly stated, and a tax preference performance statement is included. While the exemption previously applied to all plug-in and alternative fuel cars, even niche, luxury cars like Teslas selling for $100,000 or more, the 2016 legislation limited the exemption to cars selling for $35,000 per year or less. This change will save the state money by more efficiently targeting the benefit toward consumers for whom a sales tax exemption would make a difference in their purchasing decisions.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Resolution Supporting Arlene's Flowers Rejected by Pasco

The "religious freedom" resolution — proposed earlier this month by Pasco Councilman Bob Hoffmann — was rejected Monday night, Nov 21, by a majority of the council. On a vote of 5 to 2, the council decided not to further consider the issue.

Read more here: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/local/article116358838.html#storylink=cpy

Monday, November 21, 2016

Pasco City Council to Consider "Arlene's Flowers" Resolution at Tonight's Meeting

Arlene's Flowers, Richland, Washington
The Pasco City Council will consider a resolution proclaiming the City Of Pasco's support of Baronelle Stutzman in the case brought against her by the Washington State Attorney General.

The council meets at 7 pm tonight, Monday, November 21st, at City Hall, 525 N. Third Ave., Pasco, WA  99301.

The resolution was proposed by council member Bob Hoffman.

To boil the case down to its essentials, the supporters of Arlene's Flowers and Baronelle Stutzman argue that it's okay to discriminate against others, if your religious beliefs dictate that you do so. The precedence this would set is so obvious it isn't worth elaborating.

The Alliance Defending Freedom is supporting Baronelle Stutzman. The ADF, a powerful, tax-exempt conservative religious group, reportedly stated that it, “seeks to recover the robust Christendomic theology of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th centuries." It has been prominent in taking a stand against, "the homosexual agenda," abortion, contraception, and other issues that violate the teachings of the Bible

Attend the meeting and have your say. You do not have to be a resident of Pasco to do so.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Another Dam Meeting

Lower Monumental Dam bridges the Snake River between Franklin and Walla Walla counties near Kahlotus. Courtesy Army Corps

Read more here: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/local/article114468843.html#storylink=cpy
The Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, and Bonneville Power Administration scheduled an additional meeting on a proposal to remove dams on the lower Snake River to save salmon. The meeting will be from 4 to 7 p.m., this coming Monday, Nov. 21, at the Holiday Inn Express, 4525 Convention Place, Pasco. The meeting will be open house-style, with more than a dozen information stations.

According to the Tri-City Herald, officials will solicit input on flood risk management, power generation, navigation, fish and wildlife, recreation, socioeconomic and other issues related to the 14 federal hydropower projects in the Columbia Basin, which include four dams on the Snake River.

Environmentalists, fisheries, and Native American tribes, and others have renewed a push to remove four giant dams from the Snake River to save wild salmon runs, after U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon criticized the government for failing to consider whether breaching the dams would save the fish.

In May 2016, the judge rejected the government's fifth and latest plan for protecting threatened and endangered salmon in the Columbia River system. Agencies must take a new look at all approaches to managing the southeast Washington dams, including breaching, Simon said.

"Scientists tell us that removing the four Lower Snake dams is the single most important action we could take to restore salmon in the entire Columbia-Snake river basin," said Sam Mace of Save Our Wild Salmon.

Opponents of breaching the dams say they provide irrigation, hydropower and shipping benefits, and allow grain barges to operate all the way to Lewiston, Idaho, more than 400 miles from the mouth of the Columbia River.

"We think those dams need to stay in place because of the multiple benefits they provide," said Terry Flores, executive director of Northwest River Partners, which represents public utilities, port districts and farm groups. "They provide clean, carbon-free energy." The four dams produce about 5 percent of the Northwest's hydroelectric power. "We think they're an important part of the Northwest economy and the environment," Flores said.

Chuck Lopresti, an 8th LD Precinct Committee Officer, and Chairman of the Platform Committee for the Benton County Democrats, has been following the dam debate. The final platform opposed Snake River dam removal, which the platform stated were, "integral parts of Washington State’s 'green' electricity production, agricultural and flood control systems, and recreational opportunities."

Despite this, Lopresti plans to attend the meeting, and urges others interested in the issue to do so as well. The better informed we are, the more cogent our comments to the involved agencies can be.

Please let Chuck know if you plan to attend, and if you'd like to meet to discuss the issue after the meeting. He can be contacted at: lopresti@owt.com, 509-946-0926.
Read more here: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/local/article114468843.html#storylink=cpy

Monday, November 14, 2016

First Meetings After the Election

The 8th LD will meet this coming Wednesday, the 16th, at 6:00 pm at Laborers’ Local 348 Hall, 2505 Duportail St, Richland, WA. The 8th LD meeting will be followed at 7 pm by the Benton County Democrats meeting.

Come and share your thoughts on getting through the next four years under a Trump Presidency (yikes!), how to strengthen our party, help our country, and make Trump a one-term president.