Features

Close Call on Grain Exports Offers a Lesson

by Seattle Times Editorial

Wheat shipments resume as grain-terminal operators settle with longshore union, averting a serious threat to sales and market share, in which the state played an unwise role. What is troubling, though, is Gov. Jay Inslee was willing to imperil sales and world market share for an industry worth billions to this state and the inland West. It shouldn’t happen again.

28 Superintendents to Parents: Schools Are Not Failing

by MELISSA SANTOS | Olympian

School districts throughout Washington state are starting to notify parents that many of their schools aren’t making the grade, a long-dreaded consequence of Washington losing its waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind Act. But as those letters go out, many Puget Sound districts will also be telling parents that No Child Left Behind is “regressive and punitive,” and that their schools aren’t failing at all. Superintendents from 28 school districts have signed a cover letter that will accompany the official notifications.

How Public Financing Changed Politics in Arizona

by Andrew Prokop | Vox

One argument is that these public funding candidates are more ideologically extreme than candidates who have to raise money from private donors. It’s an unresolved question.

Looks Like SEIU Organizing Strategy May Backfire — on Washington Taxpayers

by Erik Smith | Seattle Times Op-Ed

The problem is that a class-action lawsuit anticipating the U.S. Supreme Court decision was filed in federal court in Seattle last April on behalf of four Washington home health care workers. The lawsuit seeks a full refund, plus attorney fees, from both the union and the state. Tens of millions of dollars are involved.

Tentative Agreement Reached in N.W. Grain Terminal Dispute

by Aaron Corvin | Columbian

In a statement issued to The Columbian on Tuesday, state Agriculture Director Bud Hover said, in part, that “with this change in the situation, inspectors from our Grain Inspection Program are prepared to report today to the (Port of Vancouver), resuming the inspections that allow the flow of grain to resume particularly at this critical time when our state’s farmers are in the middle of grain harvest.”

Time for a 21st Century Social Contract

by Rebecca Vallas et al | Center for American Progress

Demographic shifts, insufficient access to jobs that pay decent wages, and an economy that increasingly serves only the wealthiest among us pose a new set of challenges. In addition to common-sense policies to grow and support a strong middle class—such as raising the minimum wage, ensuring access to paid leave and paid sick days, and universal pre-K—a robust and responsive system of work and income supports is essential.

Exchange Officials: When Our Website Doesn’t Work, Pay Your Insurer Yourself

by Atia Musazay | Puget Sound Business Journal

Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler announced last month that he would step in if problems were not fixed by Aug. 1. His office said that the option for a special enrollment period is still on the table if the direct payments option doesn’t cut down on the backlog that currently exists.

Why Gov. Jay Inslee Goes Against the Grain Industry

by Erik Smith | Seattle Times Op-Ed

A letter from Washington Gov. Jay Inslee explains a curious decision that has bollixed up the wheat harvest throughout the western United States this year. In it the Democratic governor appears to say the issue is purely a labor dispute involving 44 union positions at the Port of Vancouver. The only acknowledgement of the enormous disruption he has caused for rural economies from here to the Midwest is a throwaway line: “I remain committed to a healthy, thriving agricultural industry.”

In the Future We’ll All Be Renters: America’s Disappearing Middle Class

by Joel Kotkin | Daily Beast

In ways not seen since the Gilded Age of the late nineteenth century, America is becoming a nation of increasingly sharply divided classes. Joel Kotkin’s “The New Class Conflict” breaks down these new divisions for the first time, focusing on the ascendency of two classes: the tech Oligarchy, based in Silicon Valley; and the Clerisy, which includes much of the nation’s policy, media, and academic elites.

A Month In, Marijuana Sales at $3.6 Million

by JORDAN SCHRADER | Olympian

State-licensed growers, processors and stores took in $3.6 million over the first 30 days of sales between July 8 and August 6, the most recent available numbers. On top of that was a 25 percent tax that goes to state government: $899,000.