Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Legislature ignores Public Records Act requirements, hoping Supreme Court bails them out.

Those paying attention may recall that last year, a Thurston county judge ruled that the Public Records Act (PRA) applied to the Legislature as much as all other state agencies.

Now, the PRA was put into place by the voters as far back as 1972 (I-276) with a view towards transparency to those these people work for.

Allegedly.

And, like so many laws the people pass, the Legislative reaction to the voice of the people is simply to ignore it.  Initially, they come out in favor of many of these efforts, and they count on the leftist, Seattle-centric Supreme Court to get rid of the more conservative efforts.

This is what they've been doing since this initiative became law, legislative arrogance being what it is.

That was the way it worked since then; I was personally involved in one particularly memorable attempt to pry the lid off Legislative immunity from this effort, when then-Rep. Marc Boldt involved himself in an issue involving a rather notorious sham prosecution of a mother accused of raping her own children... and then serving 11 years for a crime, we concluded, she had not committed.

Oh, but people got mad over THAT one.

I was bombarded with demands to see everything related to that case that we had, and refused to obey any of those demands.

That was, at the time (98?) what I had been told the law allowed: Legislative immunity.

Until early last year.

Early last year, a Thurston county judge ruled, rightfully, I believe, that the PRA ALSO applied to every aspect of the Legislature, just as it did to every other state agency.

These posts, in order, explain the situation and my response to the legislatures shameful, bi-partisan efforts to continue the status-quo, an effort so repugnant that stunningly, the normally clueless Governor went on to veto in its entirety.

Briefly, these scum introduced this bill one day, refused to hold any public hearings on the bill, and by close of business the NEXT DAY, the bill had passed both Houses for presentation to the governor.

Legislatively, that is moving at the speed of light in a vacuum. In my 6 years on staff, I had never seen anything like it.  And, as expected, it hid everything from public scrutiny as these scum carved out an unconstitutional exemption for itself (look up "ex post facto.")

The depth of the betrayal of SB6617: the Legislature's speed of sound bill to remove itself from public scrutiny.




As I said, Inslee (in an admittedly rare moment of sobriety) read the tea leaves and vetoed the entire bill.

Which begs the issue: what did they do to address this issue THIS year?

Guess.

C'mon, I know you can do it.

Here, let me end the suspense:

They did nothing.

Now, the moment word on the judge's ruling got out, I filed a FOIA on my Senator, Ann "Gas Tax" Rivers.

Beginning in 2015, Rivers "reframed" her thinking...and representation... to more closely reflect the representation of a downtown Seattle district than the 18th Legislative District. 

She has been instrumental in massive gas tax and tab fee increases, massive property tax increases, and the resurrection of the hated CRC/Loot Rail scam where, she has publicly indicated, she has "reframed her thinking" to exclude the only reason to replace the I-5 Bridge, which is to reduce congestion... which, of course, replacing that bridge will not do.

I wanted to review the correspondence between Rivers and those she actually works for... which obviously doesn't include her constituents if her support for billions of dollars in tax increases is any indication... to find out who was behind all of that "reframed thinking."
Sent 1/19/2018
to: brad.hendrickson@leg.wa.gov 
Based on today’s decision in Thurston County Superior Court, I am requesting electronic copies of all of Sen. Ann River’s emails and text messages dating back to December 1, 2014. 
Please contact me with particulars if you have any questions.
This was the response:
Sent: 1/25/2018
To: Me
CC: Hendrickson, Brad; Bell, Laura; Cantore, Victoria; Rivers, Sen. Ann; Pebley, Elizabeth 
Dear Mr. Hinton, 
Pursuant to RCW 42.56.520, this email responds to your public records request directed Brad Hendrickson, Secretary of the Senate, dated January 19.  The Secretary of the Senate is the records custodian for the Senate, and my office routinely answers public records requests on the Secretary's behalf. 
You have requested, “electronic copies of all of Sen. Ann River’s emails and text messages dating back to December 1, 2014.” 
Please note that a specific definition of “public records” applies to the Legislature.  RCW 42.56.010 and RCW 40.14.100 define the scope of that term.  The portions of those laws most relevant to your request are as follows: 
  • “Public record" includes any writing containing information relating to the conduct of government or the performance of any governmental or proprietary function prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristics. For the office of the secretary of the senate and the office of the chief clerk of the house of representatives, public records means legislative records as defined in RCW 40.14.100 and also means the following: All budget and financial records; personnel leave, travel, and payroll records; records of legislative sessions; reports submitted to the legislature; and any other record designated a public record by any official action of the senate or the house of representatives. (RCW 42.56.010)

  • "Legislative records" shall be defined as correspondence, amendments, reports, and minutes of meetings made by or submitted to legislative committees or subcommittees and transcripts or other records of hearings or supplementary written testimony or data thereof filed with committees or subcommittees in connection with the exercise of legislative or investigatory functions, but does not include the records of an official act of the legislature kept by the secretary of state, bills and their copies, published materials, digests, or multi-copied matter which are routinely retained and otherwise available at the state library or in a public repository, or reports or correspondence made or received by or in any way under the personal control of the individual members of the legislature. (RCW 40.14.100)
As you are aware, the issue of whether individual state legislators are fully subject to the disclosure requirements of the Public Records Act (RCW 42.56) is currently the subject of a lawsuit. While a Thurston County Superior Court has determined that lawmakers are required to provide public records pursuant to the act, this ruling is pending appeal to the Supreme Court to determine whether the types of records you have requested are subject to release. 
As such, additional time is needed to respond based on our need to determine whether the information you've requested is exempt from disclosure under RCW 42.56.520(2). Given that legislators and staff needed to make those determinations and gather any responsive records are engaged in legislative session, we will need time to respond free from the time, resource, and personal constraints associated with session. (RCW 42.56.100).  Documents potentially responsive to your request will, of course, be held until we receive clear direction from the Supreme Court. 
I anticipate that we will be able to provide any responsive records by April 1, 2018.  (which didn't happen, of course.)
Sincerely, 
Jeannie Gorrell, Senate Counsel
Washington State Senate
The Legislative response, however, was even more despicable:

SB6617 and the Art of the Legislative Lie: Sen. Jaime Pedersen, Chair of Senate Judiciary

Cliff notes:

This was a legislative attempt to shield all members from any public scrutiny as they attempted to cover their asses from their communications with the special interests who actually own them.

It was such a despicable bill that even the Seattle Times (who, if memory serves is hardly a conservative bastion) condemned it. (My post on this is here:

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Doing the people’s business is apparently a lot easier without the people      
 

...
This past week we had the sorry spectacle of state lawmakers exempting themselves from the Public Records Act. Arguably worse was the tornado of spin and falsehoods they unleashed after that. When that petered out, it was a mass retreat into the panicked politician’s favorite safety blanket: the formation of a task force. 
At the core of the entire mess was contempt for the public. (Edit: my emphasis)
It is of note that every legislator in SW Washington, Save Rep. Vicki Craft, voted for this abomination.

Which brings us to... here:

The legislature did what they frequently do when confronted with issues they don't like: they set up a committee to "study" the issue.

Well, study it they did.  But that's about all they did.

A bill was dropped this session that never made it out of committee when, once again, it was determined to be as worthless as teats on a boar hog.

The Legislature is in a state of constant terror.  There is only one reason why they've done this, this way.  And that is these actions on the part of the legislature to keep their curtain of secrecy in place is to protect themselves from the public scrutiny which is obviously both their moral... and legal... duty.

They did nothing because they're counting on the Supreme Court to bail them out.... a massive cloak of legislative immunity to hide their corruption and illegality.

Oh, they have a variety of excuses ready:  constituency privacy and all that nonsense.  But there are obvious solutions to privacy problems and they damned well know it.

But what they're covering are special interest communications, communications with lobbyists and the moneyed interests that call the shots.

Oh, no... they damned sure don't want us to see THOSE.

It's not altruism that results in their opposition to the equal application of the law... nope.  It's something entirely different.

Meanwhile, the wheels of justice continue to grind, albeit at a slower pace.  Perhaps, when the Supreme Court rules in the Legislature's favor, we'll see the quid pro quo resulting from the Legislature unnecessarily bending us over on McCleary.  There HAS to be a reason the GOP-controlled state senate raped us like that.

Could this be it?

Time will tell.

Sunday, April 07, 2019

Maybe it's time for Lefty Lou Brancaccio to just go away.

Sadly, the Daily Democrat has been under the control of a thug named Lefty Lou Brancaccio for over 2 decades now.

No one has caused this community more damage and divisiveness than Lefty.

When he hates you, he hates you as his most recent diatribe concerning the CRC/Loot Rail scam shows.

His latest twisted view of the CRC scam left out some salient points while being used to, once again hammer the defenseless who cannot fight back on an even footing, something of a Brancaccio specialty.

Failing to take his own advice ("Don't do stupid stuff") has led to a newspaper that most to the political right of Mao simply cannot abide.

For years, Brancaccio and many of those who worked for him who had sunk to the level of scum, lied, twisted and exaggerated about the non-existent benefits of replacing the I-5 Bridge which was completely and entirely being done to bring the infestation of the hated loot rail into Clark County, a forbearer of wasted billions to come in the future.

Lefty never acknowledged that light rail was the ONLY reason to replace the paid for, functional and safe I-5 bridge.  He does not care that it will cost the commuting public more than $2000 a year in tolls to get to work and back... or that such a horrific toll would blow at least a $100 million hole per year... to start, with ever increasing toll costs to come... into this county's economy... making hundreds of millions of dollars in disposable income that small business around here depends on to survive.... simply vaporize.

Lefty the Thug, BEING Lefty the Thug, again doesn't fail to take a shot at David Madore.  His hatred for Madore is legendary, as is his hypocrisy.

While his love for Tim "The Liar" Leavitt is ALSO legendary... and equally hypocritical.

Lefty, you see, hated and still hates Madore for several reasons, not the least of which is he "blames" Madore for actually implementing the will of the people whom, on every occasion when given the chance, have been overwhelmingly opposed to Lefty's 4th Reich view of Vancouver generally and the I-5 Bridge/Loot Rail scam particularly.

He also hates Madore because Madore never kissed his ring... I mean, ass... so to speak, and as a result he did not and never will get the deference he stupidly believes he's due.

Making The Reflector the official newspaper of Clark County also frosted his shorts as far as that goes.

The result was vitriolic, weekly lie-fest columns filled with his hatred of Madore, and to a lesser extent, Commissioner Tom Mielke, that he obsessed over...

Yet, when it comes to Leavitt... WHO OUTRIGHT LIED TO GET ELECTED (yes, as I pointed out DURING the election Leavitt was lying) Lefty gave... and continues to give... him a complete pass, making Lefty perhaps the biggest public hypocrite available locally today.

Oh, it's not that he fails to mention The Liars efforts.  It's just that he fails to hold Leavitt accountable for them.  Lefty has two standards.  He applies one to his friends... and he applies the opposite to his enemies... the very definition of hypocrisy.

See, if Leavitt had also come out in favor of the CRC like Pollard, and THEN changed his position to one in opposition after he was elected, there is no doubt the local editorial thug would have beaten him to a pulp.

But in Lefty's world, it's OK to lie to get what you want, as long as when you do it, the lie favors HIS agenda (pro-toll, pro-bridge) instead of opposing his agenda.  For example, the entire CRC scam lied about public involvement.

But that was OK with Lefty, wasn't it?  Because if you oppose Lefty's agenda, you're in for it from the fringe-left editorialist and reporters of the daily Pravda of Vancouver.

For years during the lie fest of slavish support of all things and politicians that supported the CRC rip off, *I* pointed out that the CRC scammers were lying.  How many times did the worthless rag of a newspaper point out that we "seeking public input on this project?"  How many times did I point out that any such conclusion was an outright lie?  (See, the reality is that if they ever HAD been seeking out public input, at least SOME of that public input would have mattered.  It would have resulted in some change... ANY change to their scam plan.  And it never did.)

When then Commissioner Steve Stuart screwed Clark County by voting for sublimating OUR control of eminent domain to TriMet, for example... or pay them $5 million if we didn't (it was never about what was right or wrong... it was about the money, you see) did Lefty come after Stuart the way he's gone after Madore?

Nope.  Because he supported that betrayal.  To Lefty, he really doesn't care how his bidding is done as long as it IS done.

Years ago, for example, I broke the news concerning the true reasons for Jim Jack's resignation from the House of Representatives (misconduct with female staff) and the rag never drilled down on that.  They ignored it.  They made excuses for him and for themselves.  They soft-pedaled it and softballed it... because Jacks was their guy.

But then, the #MeToo movement broke out, and with it... YEARS LATER, the rag found out they could no longer sit on the truth that had had written about years before.

But that is the nature of Lefty.

So, in his column today, he once again allowed his hatred of Madore to spill over, although I do give him props for one thing: acknowledging that the reportage had been in lockstep with the democratian vision... or else:
There were going to be lane closures and commute headaches and big wrenches and all that good stuff. Sure, The Columbian had a great plan for coverage — both before and after the repairs began — and executed it superbly. But the point Tom wanted to make to me was all that bridge coverage was just what the doctor ordered for the newsroom. 
Tom said the newsroom had been in a bit of a funk and having the entire staff coalesce around an important project was critical. It brought notoriously individual staffers together. So that stubborn old bridge became a good thing for the newsroom. “It reinvigorated newsroom careers,” he said. 
Right.  And where are those people now?

So, you see, with the thug Lefty replaced, it was never about what was best or what was right or what the people of this county/community wanted.  That played zero role in it.

It was about getting the little robots to "coalesce" around der fuhrer's vision.  And back during the 3rd Reich, we all know from history what happened to those who didn't see it Adolf's way.  Lefty merely picked up Tommy the K's mantle and ran with it, while he ignored the reality of the community's needs (additional bridges in other locations) wants (cross-river infrastructure that would reduce congestion, i.e., additional bridges in other locations) and desires (no loot rail).

Instead, he became the CRC's bitch.  He supported every lie, every exaggeration and every politician who agreed with him on that point.

And then, a memo surfaced that laid bare the lies of public involvement and the efforts, by policy, to ignore any public input while going through the motions of seeking it out.

To this day, the rag continues to lie about the lack of "public input," referring to it as a "straw man argument."

The FACTS say otherwise, of course, the facts they knew all along, but the rag has never really acknowledged the facts about this horrific waste of money.

Yes, Lefty has been the most damaging figure Clark County has ever known.  He's used his bully pulpit to beat the hell out of those he despises and to support a horrific change in government purely out of admitted spite over his hatred of David Madore.

His incessant rants combined with RINO support and possibly a little less heart had the desired effect, And Mr. Madore is no longer in government, replaced by the worst possible system of government allowed in this country and with fake Republicans (along with a leftist hater who makes AOC look normal) who now typically do whatever Lefty wants them to do (though the jury remains out on Councilor Medvigy, who is working on concerns over his political support)

Nevertheless, Brancaccio's hatred of the man continues unabated.  That moron just got done writing this garbage:
David Madore is known for a bunch of stuff, including manufacturing widget thingies that created a bunch of local jobs and made him a millionaire. But he would have forever been just another rich guy who flew below the radar if it weren't for the stubborn old bridge. Yes, Madore has helped a number of faith-based groups, but you rarely see him at a community luncheon or event.
So.

He's a successful small businessman.  He made money from his work/company. He helps a number of faith-based groups.

But his cardinal sins are two-fold:

He doesn't show up on Lefty's rubber-chicken circuit, which are typically leftist "hooray for me" affairs and, of course...

his opposition to that "stubborn old bridge."

Never mind that David has done more for charity on any given day before 9 a.m. than the scumbag former editor of the democratian has done in the entirety of his life.  Never mind that he provides dozens of jobs where employees typically make family-wage pay and also typically like working there.

He doesn't do it the way Lefty likes it done... and then... there will always be that bridge because, well, in the end?

He made Lefty look like an idiot.

Lefty was SO sure it was a "done deal."  Attacks on the opponents, a slimy worm named John Laird referring to those opponents as "cockroaches" and malignant attacks, individually, on many who have spoken out in opposition to this insanity that will waste billions, foment loot rail and the massive waste of billions that comes with it all while ignoring the 8000 pound gorilla in the room of overwhelming public opposition and a failure to increase capacity through additional bridges over the Columbia.

Image result for trump inauguration snowflake imagesAnd his reaction is typical of what has now become termed the anti-Trump snowflake when it all blew up in his face.

And he has never recovered.

We will continue to hear about Lefty's hatred of Madore until he dies.  And on his deathbed, he will likely find a way to blame Madore for it, as he's found a way to blame him for everything else he doesn't like.

Lefty's hatred of Madore preceded Trump Derangement Syndrome, but it was the model for that exact variety of stupidity.  The day the CRC was put into hibernation, I can envision Lefty in his office, doing an imitation of this snowflake at Mr. Trump's inauguration.

It's just sad that to be a leftist is to live your life based on hatred and hypocrisy.

Meanwhile, it's time for Lefty to realize he's the David Gellatly of local politics and just move on.  He's a has been... a used-to-be-somebody... who thinks what he says or does matters... when we all know that the reality is... something different.

Like Gellatly, who did his best to turn the GOP into either his personal fiefdom or, failing that (and he DID fail that) a serious effort to destroy it... Brancaccio COULD have been a voice for this community that reflected the will of the people of this county and not just the downtown mafia that obviously owned him... and kissed his ass, appealing to his massive vanity to get them the earned media he so cheerfully provided.

He COULD have been somebody.

Instead... he merely became an egomaniacal leftist hack, late and unlamented... just like whats-his-face.

If he were to vaporize tomorrow, would he be missed?

Maybe it's just time for you to go away, Lefty.  I assure you, few would notice.