Saturday, September 5, 2009

Recession over, recovery fragile

According to th eWashington state economist the leading indicators have turned around. The surprising part is that the overseas economies are blazing the trail to recovery ahead of the US rather than the other way around. It will be interesting to see what Paul Krugman has to say about this.

TEA Party Time

So there's going to be another TEA party rally Saturday 9/12 from 1-4 at John Dam Plaza in Richland. Who's up for a little counter-demonstrating? It's going to be a regional thing with TEA nuts coming from Walla Walla and Moses Lake.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


The floor is now open for fundraising ideas in preparation for the next election cycle. Wouldn't it be spectacular if we could donate the PDC limit to our next set of candidates? We have two state legislator offices and one state senate office to target.

If doc Hastings retires, I wouldn't be surprised that some of our Republican incumbents decide to vie for his seat in Congress. That should improve the chances of winning one of the open state seats.

What sort of ideas do you have?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Primaries and Caucuses

The issue between primaries and caucuses is that the independent voters want a say and like the blanket primary. But the parties like their say and want caucuses.
I think that both can be satisfied if there is a blanket non-binding primary before the caucuses. Then the party members will be informed of where the independent voters stand. It will also give folks of the minority party a way to influence the candidate selected by the majority party in races in which the minority party can not field a candidate.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Value of Opposition

Every day seems to bring another speech, comment, or action in which the Republican party proves itself to be more unconstructive and irrelevant. Specter and Powell indicate that their party has abandoned many of their supporters.

I'm really going to miss them. Not because they are interesting. But because of the dangers posed by unchecked Democrats. Not every idea proposed by a Democrat is a good one. Ideas must be refined and tested. They must be tempered by sound criticism. Sharp turnarounds happen when pendulum swings too far. In a sharp turnaround, the fluid middle gets forgotten. A turnaround is deceptive. It can appear that the mandate is greater than it really is. This was the Republican mistake and it can turn into the Democratic mistake. It gets so bad that it doesn’t take much for the folks in the middle to jump to the other side in a quantum shift.

As a party we need to be ready to welcome disenchanted Republicans into our fold. But in time we need to be ready to let them free again to rebuild a more reasonable Republican party when the current madness has run its course. In the long run, we should learn to be comfortable with a fair-sized chunk of undecided voters in between the two parties. Those voters should be targeted not to bamboozle them into voting democratic to win an election here and there. But rather they should be targeted as the constituency to whom and for whom we need to make the case for progressive policies.

It’s not enough to just have a good idea. As a governing party one needs to be able to articulate and defend that idea in a way that is understandable by the independent middle. One of my favorite physics professors told us that one really doesn’t know atomic physics unless one can explain it to one’s mother. Think about what sort of analogies one might use to explain the behavior of electron shell energy states to someone from a different generation with a completely different educational background. Similarly, if Democrats are to win and keep the middle they must explain progressive ideas in ways that makes good common sense to an independent-minded voter.

If there isn’t a viable opposition party gunning for that middle too, Democrats will become lazy. They will get used to winning elections by default. A case in point is the fire and energy of the Spokane democrats where elections are still a toss-up compared to the democrats of a place like Bellingham. In the former, the democrats have to make the case for going green in the first place. In the latter the only discussion is about relative levels of green-ness.

The other side of the coin is that in Benton County, the Republicans are in that lazy state. Here they win elections by default because of the paucity of viable Democratic candidates. Because of our own inability to speak to the independents, the Republicans have been able to put into office a batch of truly out-of-touch people that verge on being a laughing stock in the state-house and Congress. (Colonel Klink, indeed.) In Franklin County the Republicans are beginning to consume their own.

Even though winning elections is important, I think the party needs to be circumspect about playing political games to just get into or stay in office. The best policy for continued power and influence is to govern well. And quite frankly, when the opposition becomes irrelevant or ineffective, we run a high risk of beginning to use power for the sake of maintaining continued power. While we decry those tendencies in others we, all too often, fail to recognize the roots of those actions in ourselves.

It is my hope that the Republican party comes to its right mind soon. Not for their sakes but for the sake of accountable governance.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

BCDCC Meeting

Today, Wednesday, 2/18/2009, at 7:00PM at the IBEW hall.

Brad Klippert Co-sponsors Bill to Legalize Gender Discrimination

In House Joint Resolution 4204 (pdf) Klippert co-sponsors a bill to place gender-specific restrictions on marriage partners. 4204 is a resolution to submit an amendment of the Washington State constitution to the voters. The amendment requires the state to limit the recognition of marriages to those between a man and a woman. Under this proposed amendment a person's marriage will not be equally recognized by the state if both partners happen to be of the same gender.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Laurel Piipo goes to Olympia

Olympia, Friday, January 30, 2009. Report by Laurel Piippo:

Friday's headlines screamed, "President Says $18 Billion in bonuses 'shameful.'"

In Olympia, I screamed NO 500,000 $ BONUS FOR THE PRESIDENT OF WSU!

Public indignation at executives receiving bloated salaries and outrageous bonuses is at its peak. In public universities such reckless spending is intolerable.

Therefore, I took a bill to Olympia and named it The Out of Touch Bonus Bill: "No public university chief executive shall be awarded a bonus without approval by the legislature and signed by the governor."

This is a non-partisan win/win proposed law that costs the state nothing, saves half million dollars for the state, makes a hero out of every legislator who votes for it, and recognizes the need for economy in hard times. It's also a comeuppance to a CEO whose mismanagement created a huge mess at taxpayer expense.

Before leaving Olympia, I was told that Rep. Larry Haler assigned a bill-writing intern the job of providing proper legalese for "my" bill..

Friday Carol Moser met me at the Capitol Building and spent four hours leading me through the labyrinth of legislative contacts.

She had an appointment for us to meet with Rep. Phyllis Kinney, former chairman of the House Higher Education Committee. Kinney saw to it that WSU Tri-Cities became a four-year institution. Kinney looked at my "Cheapo-Piippo, Cranky Taxpayer" business card and read my proposed bill. I gave her a letter detailing reasons for citizen outrage at the "WSU Provost Fiasco" and a copy of an article in USA TODAY exposing how the university president and his bad hire made WSU a national joke.

Rep. Kinney' response to the bill was so positive that I jumped two feet in the air and squealed with glee the minute we were out the door.

Deb Wallace, chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee, overscheduled and with no time for an appointment, stepped outside her office and accepted my paperwork. Carol asked if she would sponsor the bill, and Wallace replied that she is asking other legislators to sponsor bills she favors. Wallace's job is to decide if bills should be heard and voted on and get out of committee.

Our appointment with Derek Killmer (sp?), chairman of the House Higher education Committee, reduced itself to two minutes. On the run he read my bill, took the other paperwork, and dashed off.

You may not like what legislators sometimes do, but rest assured they work hard all the time. I caught a glimpse of Rep. Haler with Rep. Klippert at a hearing, but no chance to talk with them. Rep. Haler reads my voluminous emails and puts them in a "Laurel" file. He and his staff have been very receptive.

Sen. Delvin was in his office where we asked about a bill written by Dr. William Kinsel, engineering professor at WSU Tri-Cities. Two more engineering professors are desperately needed. Ex-Provost Hoch's bloated $245,000 salary for teaching a dozen students one class could pay for three or four full-time needed professors in the engineering department. Sen. Delvin said he has talked to WSU Tri-Cities chancellor Dr. Vicky Carwein and Frank Armijo (sp?) of the WSU Advisory Council, who said they are working on it. Therefore, a bill may not be needed. Since Kinsel asked WSU leadership last September to provide sufficient faculty or close the program, why the delay in hiring needed staff? God knows the president throws money around for a history teacher and lots of administrators. Kinsel's bill also asks for citizen input.

What catapulted me to Olympia as a volunteer citizen lobbyist is the WSU president's $500,000 retention bonus to be paid in 2012, apparently regardless of job performance. The president hired a $300,000 provost without checking his references or reading his contract. Result: WSU Tri-Cities is stuck with a demoted provost being paid $245,000 to teach a class of a dozen students Russian history. And we taxpayers must pay for his mistakes, plus give him a bonus?.

"THERE OUGHT TO BE A LAW," I howled, but what can an irate citizen taxpayer really do? The "system," according to Chris Allejano, whom I visited in the Governor's Executive Policy Office on Friday, is that the Governor appoints a Board of Regents who hires a president and gives him few million of our tax dollars to do with as he sees fit with no accountability.

"As the president sees fit" wasn't "fitten."

What about a citizen oversight board, I asked. The Board of Regents is the citizen oversight, explained Allejano.

O n January 19 at my request Rep. Larry Haler asked for a copy of the ousted provost's contract and job description. No response. We asked again. No response. Friday in Olympia we asked a third time. I also want copies of the contract and job description of the president of WSU, a line item copy of the WSU budget, the ratio of administrators to professors and students; and by the way why haven't adjunct professors had a raise in 18 years? Yet the president was offered a $125,000 raised in addition to his $623,000 salary.

How compliant and stupid and indifferent do they think we citizens are? Do the arrogant Powers That Be really think this will all blow away by blowing us off? Chairman of the WSU Board of Regents seem to think we are, reassuring questioners that "it will all blow over." [See email from Duane Pepiot, if you can find it. I had his exact quotation, but Compter Demon took it away.]

If we're being stonewalled by lack of information, my volunteer lawyer will advise me the Freedom of Information Act.

I called Jim Brittain at the State auditor's office, but he gets 500 emails a day and had not yet read mine. I'll send it snail mail on Monday. Brittain is in charge of the "Whistle Blower" program that investigates "gross waste of public funds" and "improper governmental action defined as an action by a state employee that results in a gross misuse of public funds." I want to know when WSU was audited. and will go back to Olympia in a week or two to find out, if my energy returns.

By that time I hope to have an officially accepted legislative bill in the works for me to support. If so, a class at CBC wants to go with me and lobby. Dear Reader Citizen Taxpayer, uou come, too. It's the American way.


Acknowledgments: Initial research by anonymous professional researcher. Lawyer, Robert Rice, retired, cousin in Minnesota. Patty Heasler and Laurence Ernst, good wine, enormous research and time and suggestions way over my head, and the essence of "my" bill. Carol Moser (former student) time and expertise, connections, background knowledge, friendship. Transportation, food, hauling me up and down stairs, two other citizen lobbyists from the Tri-Cities, Glenn Stevens and Kelly McBride, who want their pension rights restored. Overnight accommodations in Chehalis with former student Shawn Bates and her husband. Big hugs and smiles and "let's go to dinner next time you're here" from former student Jim Jesernig who could not help me write a bill because he's a paid lobbyist for WSU. Many others you have already heard about.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Feel Good Bills

Brad and 42 other representatives sponsored a feel-good bill honoring our National Guard for the good things they are doing in foreign lands. Haler is among the army of co-sponsors. No one seems to want to address the question of why Washington National Guard soldiers are in a foreign land to begin with.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Brad Klippert Watch

Brad gets his first bill approved out of a committee. Judiciary says it's OK. Now it goes to the Rules committee.

Brad Klippert Watch

I'm just getting started with this so the first thing is to get the lay of the land.

Brad has positions on the Human Services Committee and the Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee.

Here's the blurb on the purview of Human Services:
The House Human Services Committee considers issues relating to persons with developmental disabilities, adults in need of general assistance, adults in need of drug and alcohol treatment, vocational rehabilitation, and juvenile offenders. The committee also considers mental health issues relating to civil commitment and mentally ill offenders in the criminal justice system. In addition, the committee considers programs and operations affiliated with certain state facilities and institutions, including those under the purview of the Department of Corrections, the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration, and the Division of Developmental Disabilities.

Here's the blurb on Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness:
The House Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee considers issues relating to law enforcement agencies, crime prevention, penalties and sentencing for criminal offenders, registration and civil commitment of sex offenders, and state and local government preparedness to respond to public emergencies, including the interoperability of emergency communications systems.

In the future I will try to examine how well Brad functions with these groups.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

TCH Report of our Inaugural Party

from Tri-Citians toast historic day (w/ video)

"I've never seen this many Democrats in one place in this county," joked David Chassin of Pasco while trying to squeeze through a crowd gathered at the Shilo Inn.

"They're not all Democrats," said Lyle Wilhelmi, 82, of Richland, who admitted he voted Republican lots of times years ago before moving from Oregon to the Tri-Cities. "I think some of them are Republican spies," he suggested.

But everyone there was focused on the 44th president.

Carol Moser, former member of the Richland City Council, led a toast for the crowd.

"This turnout is beyond our wildest expectations," she said.

Nathan Reyes of West Richland said he "woke up this morning feeling blessed (to have) an intelligent man as president who is going to fix our economy and everything that's crumbling under us."

Reyes' wife, Michelle, said she was encouraged by Obama's inaugural speech in which he called for Americans to work together regardless of color, creed, religion or politics.

"He wants to get us to a destination of change as a pragmatist," said Nathan Reyes' brother, Fitzgerald.

Arielle Eaton, 11, of West Richland, said she likes having a black president. "It's cool, and it's cool he's a dad because his kids get to live in the White House," she said.

Joel Staudinger, 11, of Pasco, said the new president is a good choice. "It's very good. He can turn the country around economically," he said.

"I think he's an organizer. He doesn't pretend to know everything, but he gets people together who do know," Wilhelmi said.

Michelle Reyes said President Obama offers change. "It won't be overnight, but it will be for the good. That's what I look forward to."

* John Trumbo: 509-582-1529; jtrumbo@tricityherald. com.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Double edged sword

It seems that terrorist training camps in Algeria have been struck by the plague. It's possible that contacts with other terrorist organizations have infected them as well. But it seems to me that it is also possible that a martyrdom-bent fanatic could just as well infect whatever city or country he chooses.

MLK Prediction

The BBC has an old clip of Martin Luther King predicting a black American president.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


It's a new year with a new (sort of) list of officers.
Kendall Miller continues a chair
Nancy Beitel as vice-chair
Zach Hopko is our new treasurer
Glynn Stevens is our state committee-man
Ann Eaton is our new state committee-woman