Saturday, February 23, 2013

Heartburn with Rep. Paul Harris.

I've been hearing some disturbing things about Rep. Harris, lately... things that are causing me to re-evaluate my support of him for county commissioner (He wants Steve Stuart's seat) or much of anything else.

I've the first thing I noticed was that he failed to co-sponsor Rep. Liz Pike's School District?Armed Teacher's bill.

That troubled me for a variety of reasons... and I started to hear rumors of why he didn't co-sponsor it... and then I heard about what happened at the last PCO meeting, where he proceeeded to get up and lie about the bill, what it meant, and what it would accomplish.

I freely admit I have a quick trigger.  But in this case, I thought I would give Paul the benefit of the doubt and ask him what was up with that.  So I sent him this, first on Facebook (Feb 16):.
Kage McClued
Paul,
I'm given to understand you are condemning Liz Pike's arming teachers bill.
First, I would like to know exactly what you believe is wrong with it and second, precisely what would you propose that's better?
I keep thinking about what I would want if my child at age 7 or so were in that classroom in Sandy Hook... that guys coming through the door... the teacher knows he's coming... and all she's got to defend herself and those babies is a stapler.
I need to know: if you child were in that classroom... what would you have the teacher do?
because frankly, nothing else matters.
I'd appreciate it if you could help me with this.
Thanks... K.J. Hinton
And then, on email:.

From: K.J. Hinton 
Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 11:33 PM
To: 'paul.harris@leg.wa.gov'
Subject: Pike's armed teacher bill.
  
 Paul,

I'm given to understand you are condemning Liz Pike's arming teachers bill.

First, I would like to know exactly what you believe is wrong with it and second, precisely what would you propose that's better?

I keep thinking about what I would want if my child at age 7 or so were in that classroom in Sandy Hook... that guy is coming through the door... the teacher knows he's coming... and all she's got to defend herself and those babies with is a stapler.

I need to know: if your child were in that classroom... what would you have the teacher do?
Because frankly, nothing else matters.

I'd appreciate it if you could help me with this.

Thanks...
For whatever the reason, Paul has not seen fit to respond.

Here is a summation of what took place at the PCO Meerting, all, of course, in Liz Pike's absense from the Called Unto Liberty Blog, the only summation I could find..

Paul Harris Comes Out Against Bill to Arm Teachers

At the first meeting in 2013 of the Clark County Republicans Central Committee, 17th LD State Representative Paul Harris was asked to give a spur-of-the-moment report on developments in Olympia. Among his comments was the rather surprising admission that he and “several legislators in his caucus” were not in support of HB 1788 , the bill initiated by Liz Pike and sponsored by such pro-Constitution stalwarts as Reps Matt Shea, Jason Overstreet, Elizabeth Scott, Cary Condotta and David Taylor, which would allow permanently-employed teachers to pay for their own training and certification in order to carry a concealed weapon onto school grounds.
The context of his comments was in relation to the resolution that was being considered by the Central Committee to oppose “any holder of public office and any candidate for public office who the Board finds has taken any action to infringe, impair or usurp our Natural and Constitutional right to keep and bear arms, regardless of their party affiliation.”  Harris argued that his failure to support Pike’s bill could be considered grounds for such opposition by the CCRP, but that he actually had good reasons for not doing so. He stated that Pike’s bill could have unintended consequences, such as opening the door to teachers being forced to register firearms. He also expressed concern that teachers would have to pay large fees to be trained and certified by the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission per the bill’s requirements. He doesn’t want teachers to have to pay large fees, which could reach $500 or more, according to Harris.
So in one fell swoop, Harris attempted to both justify his lack of support for Pike’s bill, and his opposition to the CCRP resolution, while still trying to keep his ‘conservative credentials’ intact. The only problem was that word has apparently reached Pike and other sponsors of the bill that he was undermining it before the PCOs. She is apparently meeting today with Board members and PCOs in Clark County to clarify the contents of the bill. In reading it (see link above) I find no requirement to register weapons at all, only a requirement for school personnel to be designated as potentially carrying after being trained to the Commission’s satisfaction. Harris used the ‘slippery slope’ argument here, but frankly, I don’t see where he is deriving the fear that it would be a precedent for gun control. I think it more likely that Harris, who hails from a swing district, is afraid to be on record voting for a controversial bill to arm teachers.
A hint at his real position can be found in this article in the Columbian from December, in which he is quoted:
State Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver, said on Thursday that he would need to research Pike’s proposal before taking a stance on it. He said he could support more police in schools, if there was a way to pay for it, but arming teachers?
“I’d have to give that some serious, serious thought,” said Harris, a former Evergreen school board member. When it comes to preventing school shootings, Harris added that he’s yet to see a solution that addresses both sides of the issue.
I can’t imagine that he had never had a chance to ‘give serious thought’ to the issue before he was approached by the media. It is highly likely that he was among the first people that Pike consulted before publicly speaking on the subject. It seems clear that Harris is afraid to stand up for this application of the 2nd Amendment, and has instead chosen to cast doubt on the bill among the conservative base so that he is not alone when he opposes it. A calculated political move that one would expect from the invertebrates who currently lead the National Republican party.
This bill would add no cost to taxpayers. It would only take advantage of the fact that there are many citizens among our population, including teachers and administrators in schools, who have chosen to acquire training at their own expense in the proper use of firearms so that they can protect themselves and others in public. It even allows for the option of the school paying for the teacher’s certification expenses. It is a local, citizen-based solution rather than a big-government one. I applaud Representative Pike and her co-sponsors for taking a political risk in order to provide a safer environment for school kids.
Categories: Uncategorized
On this, we agree.

I have heartburn with Rep. Harris's actions here for three reasons:

First, he offered up nothing better.

Second, he was busy ginzuing Rep. Pike in her absence.

Three, he lied to do it.

Here is Rep. Pike's response, again from the CUL Blog.

Liz Pike Clarifies Safer Schools Act

This morning, in response to criticism from Paul Harris at yesterday’s CCRP Central Committee Meeting, Liz Pike distributed the following email to all PCOs:
Dear Clark County PCOs:
I am writing to clarify details contained in a bill I introduced, House Bill 1788 – the Safer Schools Act of 2013. Recent massacres at “gun free zones” in public schools prompted me to start a broad community discussion about how we can make our schools more safe in Washington. I believe in government that’s closest to the people. Elected school boards are without a doubt – government closest to the people. This bill gives them the authority to allow certain permanent employees the opportunity to carry a concealed firearm onto school grounds.
Here is a link to the full bill:
The following colleagues helped craft the legislation and also co-sponsored the bill:
Rep. Matt Shea
Rep. Jason Overstreet
Rep. Dave Taylor
Rep. Elizabeth Scott
Rep. Brad Klippert
Here is an overview of the Safer Schools Act of 2103:
• Bipartisan legislation allows school boards more options for school safety
• Allows coordination between School Administration and local law enforcement officials.
• Hundreds of parents, teachers and School Board members support my idea.
• School boards would adopt written policies within the guidelines of the bill.
• Allows qualified permanent school employees to enter a physical training program created by the Criminal Justice Training Commission. (CJTC)
• CJTC trains every law enforcement officer in the State of Washington.
• Liberals hate this bill because it’s perfect.
The person who entered Sandy Hook Elementary School last December broke at least 8 laws when he committed those terrible crimes. One more law on the books would not have stopped him. Criminals intent on harming innocent victims do not care about gun laws. For this reason, I am morally opposed to any sort of restriction on firearms. When government restricts second amendment rights of citizens, it just means that the bad guys are the only ones with the guns. US crime statistics have shown that as the number of concealed carry permits rise in each state, violent gun crime goes down in those states.
When gun violence occurs in a public school, who is the first person called to the gun free zone? Answer: a cop with a big gun. Who is the second person called? A preacher to conduct a memorial service. The two very things not allowed in public schools, guns and prayers, are the first responders when gun violence occurs.
Rep. Pederson, the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, is not willing to move this legislation out of his committee. The deadline for him to hold a public hearing and committee vote on this bill is this Friday, Feb. 22nd. There is only a limited amount of time for legislation to pass through the process and we are near the end of that cycle. If we don’t come up with a better solution to ensure the safety of our children and school teachers, I will introduce this bill again next year because I am looking for solutions.
Lastly, my overall goal with this legislation was to elevate the community discussion to identify ways to make our schools more safe for our children.
I am happy to address any specific questions you may have. Thanks!
Liz Pike
WA State Representative, District 18
Protecting life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness!
Cell (360) 281-8720
Personal Email: ElectLizPike@comcast.net
Legislative Email: Liz.Pike@leg.wa.gov
Liz Pike
WA State Representative
ElectLizPike@comcast.net
Categories: Uncategorized
I don't know what Harris is thinking here.  I do know that this kind of apparent idiocy combined with a complete lack of responsiveness removes him from any further consideration on my part for any political office.

It's fine to disagree with a bill.  But failing to have a better idea, failing to address your concerns when the bill's author is around and failing to respond to questions about your position are all disqualifiers for me.

10 comments:

normallysane said...

I support Paul Harris stance. In her quest for an answer Liz Pies bill admits that self evident rights are not applicable in federally mandated areas. How can that be an affirmation of the right to bear arms? Have you become so twisted by the logic here that we fail to see the real problem. Lift the prohibition on guns at schools, the very gun free zone nonsense that created the problem in the first place.

I applaud Rep. Pikes bill here for attempting a timely solution to what is a self inflicted wound. One which will take some real grit to set right.

Just a guy said...

Liz has no say over "federally mandated areas." I have been and will remain a fervent supporter of arming teachers... not an idea that thrills me, but the lack of any better idea that would have impacted the Sandy Hook situation mutes the naysayers as far as I'm concerned.

I have no problem with Rep. Harris's opposition to Liz's bill IF he can logically and truthfully explain it and IF he can come up with a better idea.

He has done neither. And his lack of responsiveness to this question combined with his misrepresentation of the bill FURTHER combined with his decision to ignore my questions is the thing.

Opposition is fine. I may not agree, but it's his right to oppose and my right to support. However, as a state representative, he has something of a duty to explain himself, factually, and to explain what's going on here. I'm not swayed by his oft-stated concern over his political future about this bill; I could care less.

The security of our children is the thing, and if I have a problem with Pike's bill it's that it doesn't go far enough, since the sensitivities of the teachers seems to be a more important aspect of this controversy than the security of our kids in the naysayer's minds.

But I support Liz's bill as a first step. And for those who oppose it, they'd better have a superior idea to the Pike bill.

Doing nothing isn't an option. And neither is misrepresenting the only bill that makes an effort to address this issue.

http://unelectjimmoeller.wordpress.com/ said...

How did Rep Harris mis- represent the bill?
Did I not just hand to you wrapped and tied in a pretty pink ribbon, the better idea? Is this faux anger even about the merits or is it just a ruse to smear an honorable Representative. Check your motives and not you weapon.

Enforce our 2nd amendment protections, bear arms at school.

unelectjimmoeller said...

If doing nothing is not an option, and I agree it is not. Then how do you propose to end the federally mandated "Gun Free Zone" around our children's schools?

Just a guy said...

Like the federally mandated prohibition against pot, you mean?

Pass the law. Let them try and shoot it down. 10th Amendment defense.

The fed isn't responsible for school security; they cannot regulate how the states implement security.

Piece of cake.

normallysane said...

Passing the law, IF the law could find traction in Olympia, is an admission that self evident rights can be altered, that the constitution is that living breathing bit of flubber that liberal theology claims. If the lives of Children are at stake now which they are, then a lawsuit seeking immediate relief from these gun Free, free fire zones is in order. Either that or a massive coordinated action by armed grandparent/citizens encamped in the halls and on the floors of our schools is required. The latter is flashy, he former is not certain.

Just a guy said...

it has ti start somewhere and doing nothing is unacceptable.

normallysane said...

Then to seek relief from a bad law is a more sure solution than trying over the course of a few years to get one passed.

Otherwise pull your kids from those schools. Start one that respects all of your self evident rights

Carolyn Crain said...

This set of opinions reflecting on the gun issue and surrounding the comments made by Paul Harris at the PCO meeting is really proof positive that there is no such thing as consensus in eye witnesses. Some people saw and heard things one way and others saw them completely different. I heard Paul argue that people do not understand what Olympia is like and how bills can be altered. I heard him say that the resolution would cause Liz's bill to be blackballed by them. Here I read people denegrading him for it. He simply wanted people to slow down from what I can see. Good luck to both of them and us all if the eye witness (ear/hearing witnesses) can be so far apart based on perceptions.

Just a guy said...

NS, you have your perspective, I have mine. I support the bill as is for a first step... a first of many. You don't agree, and that's your privilege.

Carolyn, I asked Paul for an explanation in his own words and he has chosen not to respond. It's difficult to conclude anything but that he has no response.

No one forced him not to sign on to the bill; he has yet to come up with any idea on his own, and he decided, for whatever the reason, not to respond to me.

That was his decision. And as I will respond to anyone and I'm not even elected to anything, I believe that's the least he can do. I'd be more than happy to put his side up, unedited.

But until or unless he can come up with a better idea, Liz's bill is the only game in town and I am disappointed that he would speak to a bill that is not his without the author present.

Just like I'm disappointed that he has not responded to my repeated request for an explanation.

These were his decisions and no one else's. As a result, he bears responsibility for those.

Thanks for stopping by.