Friday, June 30, 2006

Wednesday, Rep Dan Roach (R-31) called and asked if I had read this week’s Bonney Lake Courier Herald. I had not. I called the paper and got a copy and read. One article in particular got me pretty miffed (this is a family friendly blog). I called the paper back and asked if I could respond. They said yes, if I could get a rebuttal back to them by this morning at 10 AM. Now, I usually don’t work well at 3 AM, but below is my response. It is way too long so the paper will likely cut it down. Did I miss anything? (After my response, you can read what the Democrats wrote.)

Here’s what I wrote on the Party’s behalf:

In an editorial last week, you were treated to a somewhat inflammatory class warfare editorial on why you should vote against your locally elected Republicans. The article suggested that because oil companies were getting record profits (much of which comes back to us as dividends to retirement trusts, 401k’s, and mutual fund distributions, etc) we should vote against the one group of people who are trying to make sure that the profits are directed to research, dividends (well, not me, I chose high tech stocks and am getting lambasted), new wells and refining capacity. The article aims at the wrong target. The profit per gallon of gas is far less that the taxes we are paying per gallon (and we are paying three more cents per gallon starting this week). It’s big government that needs reining in. In fact, during this last legislature, our Democrat majority and our Democrat governor approved the single largest spending increase in state history – 17%. Yikes! The Democrat majority, faced with an unexpected increase in revenue because the state’s economy finally started to climb out of its anti-business doldrums, couldn’t spend the money fast enough. Yet we have a state retirement account under-funded by billions and no where near the 5% emergency fund we should have.

If “all politics is local” (apologies to Speaker Tip O’Neil) then we need to elect local politicians who are more skeptical of big government spending than our local democrats appear to be. Around here, that means re-electing Senator Pam Roach and Representatives Jan Shabro and Dan Roach. I have worked for Pam and Jan (and worked with Dan on his campaigns) and I can tell you first hand, they are the most trustworthy, dedicated, hard-working folks you will ever meet. And they get part-time wages working for you full-time. In fact, I got more money working as a Legislative Assistant ($36k) than they did as YOUR elected representative ($34k) – and I went home at 5PM and they stayed on for hours going to committee meetings, constituent meetings and town hall meetings. Yet they are willing to stay on and fight for you. They listen and translate that listening into law or defeating bills that interfere with your daily lives. In fact, each of your Republican legislators spends far more time stopping intrusive, land-grabbing, “I know what’s best for you” legislation submitted by the majority than almost any other job.

I was a little offended by the comment that “Pam Roach has received the maximum amount of donations allowed from big oil companies.” And “…Pam Roach voted against the Energy Independence Bill…” Well, in her last campaign she took $1,350 from Chevron and $600 from BP - $1,950 out of a total of $169,321.15: 1.2%. It makes absolutely no sense to then suggest that Pam would sell her vote to oppose legislation that requires nothing more than what the governor had already mandated for state vehicles – the use of some ethanol in gasoline and 2% bio-diesel. And yet, not enough ethanol stocks existed to do more than what did happen: force a per gallon gasoline price increase this summer. Even worse, bio-diesel quality forced the only other state to have such a requirement (Minnesota) to temporarily suspend its bio-diesel requirement and the Washington State Ferries requested exemption from the Governor’s Executive Order after experimentation with bio-diesel clogged fuel filters. This law was not ready for prime time and Pam said so. That’s her job.

At the national level, we in the 8th Congressional District have one of the most effective freshman legislators America has ever had. He is the most respected elected authority on Homeland Security in the nation; he has direct access to the President; and, after only one year of his first two year term of office was selected as a Subcommittee Chair – only the sixth time in US history that Congress has selected a freshman for such responsibility. And where did he convene one of the crucial First Responder hearings in the field? Washington, DC? Nope. New York City? Nope. Seattle? Nope. Bellevue? Nope. Orting. Right here in our neck of the woods. Why? Because Congressman (and Chairman) Dave Reichert felt that we here in the rural and suburban areas have just as much at stake in Homeland Security as the big city boys and a lot fewer resources to do it with. Besides, I have a real problem when someone slams a guy whose integrity and dedication is proven beyond the shadow of a doubt. Dave Reichert is a real hero, whose 35 years of public service in the Air Force Reserve and the King County Sheriff’s Department exceed his opponents total life experience. Here is a guy who maintains a positive attitude, unbeatable work ethic, phenomenal energy and absolute dogged determination to get the job done. The proof: Dave Reichert literally gets his throat slit defending a woman whose husband was beating her. And still he comes back to doggedly chase down and jail the worst serial killer in US history – the Green River killer – and was the law enforcement officer who chased WTO vandals who were destroying Seattle businesses. Most of all, when you meet Dave you know that here is a real gentleman, a gentle giant of a leader who listens to you and then gets the job done. This guy is made of Presidential timber. For us in the 8th District it should be a no-brainer to return Dave Reichert to Congress this November

Where Washington has less effective representation is in the US Senate. Why? Mostly because that august, ponderous debating society too often degenerates into a rancorous, uncivil, squabbling mess. We need Senators who talk about facts, keep a civil tongue and treat colleagues with respect. Alas, we hear nothing but sound bites and biting sounds. That’s why Republican Mike McGavick is doing so well against incumbent freshman Democrat Maria Cantwell. Mike brings a fresh sense of civility. He is a quiet, thoughtful guy who bases decisions on facts, human need and common sense. He has served in Washington, DC and knows the territory. He was called up on to captain one of Washington’s premier companies – SAFECO. And at the time SAFECO was on its proverbial butt, it was bleeding millions of dollars. We were going to lose the company. But Mike saved it and then turned it around from big-time loser to profitable. Mike’s opponents will say that he fired a bunch of employees in order to save the company. But if a company only has one real cost, its employees, and if the company’s sail has to be trimmed in order to save it, you have no other choice but to trim some of the fat. Oh did it hurt! Yet we have talked to some of those same “fired” (downsized) employees who swear by Mike and believe that he did exactly the right thing for the company, for its thousands of policy holders, and for Washington. (Besides, I have finally gotten used to calling it SAFECO Field. You “gotta love those guys” when a winning company is sponsoring a winning team.)

Where I do agree with last week’s article is that YOU determine which way our state and federal policies go through the ballot box. You send the message and they write the law. Please hear out the candidates of both parties. Listen to them with your heart and head. Ask yourself if their ideas and vision are about what yours are. Don’t expect to agree with anyone 100%, but at 70-80% agreement, they are probably your best bet. Then look them in the eye and let your heart decide if you can trust them. It’s your money not theirs. I recommend to you our Republican candidates. In the words of the Car Pro guys, “You’re going to like what you see.”

This is what our Democrat brethren and sisteren (?) wrote:

Last month, Congress, with President Bush¹s blessing, passed a Republican-sponsored tax plan that allows the big oil companies to continue receiving tax breaks. Why now, when big oil companies are raking in record-breaking windfall profits while the little guy is getting gouged at the pumps?
U.S. Congressman Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) supported this skewed plan by voting, as usual, his party¹s line. U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) voted against it, noting, ³The oil and gas industry does not need more giveaways, and they certainly shouldn¹t come at the expense of tax cuts like the sales tax deductionŠ² In this tax-break plan that assures big oil companies even bigger profits, the Republicans eliminated a sales tax deduction that would have afforded much-needed tax relief for many Washington citizens. Earlier this year Cantwell championed that same sales tax exemption and the Senate approved it.
Since her election in 2000, Pam Roach, Republican state senator from the 31st District, has accepted the maximum amount of donations allowed from big oil companies. These maximum donations were from Chevron, Texaco, Tesoro and the BP Corporation. Also, in 2005 Sen. Roach received a donation from the Washington Oil Marketers Association. Does the ³Pay to Play² behavior so prevalent in Washington, D.C., have the same effect in Washington state?
During the 2006 legislative session, Pam Roach voted against the Energy Independence Bill (ESSB 6508) designed to decrease our reliance on foreign oil ­ a bill that was vehemently opposed by big oil interests. Does the ³Pay to Play² behavior so prevalent in too many Washington, D.C. politicians possibly have the same effect on Sen. Roach and other career politicians in Washington state?
What is fair or ethical? While you and I continue to be robbed at the pumps, the five largest oil and gas companies pulled in gross profits of
$287 billion in 2005. Recently retired Exxon Mobil chairman Lee Raymond received an astoundingly lucrative retirement package. Even a U.S. House committee looking into Raymond¹s package of nearly $400 million called it an ³exorbitant payout.² Yet this unbelievable tax plan designed to benefit big oil companies passed that same Republican-controlled House.
The Republicans¹ response to the consumer¹s plight, instead of promoting energy independence, they proposed a one-time payment of $100 per consumer.
Most realized this ploy did little to address price gouging; for many, it played out like a bad joke. Entrenched Republicans can¹t seem to break from the ³pay to play² philosophy.
How do these facts set with you? Each time you gasp at the cost of filling your gas tank, remember that by voting you can initiate change. Washington state voters have viable choices in District 31, the 8th Congressional, and the U.S. Senate elections. It is your job as a voter to send a message.
Yvonne Ward, a community lawyer who has a long track record of helping local citizens and neighborhoods, believes in energy independence and renewable fuels. She is running for the 31st District Senate Seat against Pam Roach.
Karen Willard, a new, fresh, independent voice, is running for the 31st House Seat, position 1, currently held by Dan Roach. Former State Rep. Chris Hurst has left retirement to reclaim House seat No. 2, currently held by Jan Shabro. Democrats Ward, Willard, and Hurst have long histories with, and a depth of understanding of, the 31st District; they are independent of big business influence; and they will champion what is best for all Washington
Finally, send a message to the folks in Washington, D.C. that we in the other Washington demand change. Democrat Darci Burner has strong ideas to make Congress more responsive to citizens rather than special interests.
Burner is challenging Dave Reichert for our 8th Congressional District Seat.
And our community benefits from Maria Cantwell¹s strong, tireless efforts to help our nation become energy-independent.
We need to free ourselves from big oil gauging and corporate misconduct; the key is at the voting box.
Sandra Loveland works for the Democratic Party.

Ok, now it’s off my chest.


At 30 June, 2006 22:42, Anonymous sagacious one said...


The energy crisis/dependency on foreign oil/energy policy rhetoric and frequent diatribes is all BS on both sides.

EPAct (Energy Policy Act) of 1992 was designed to reduce our dependency on foreign fuel by 10 percent by 2000. It was ignored by the WH, Congress, government bureaucrats and agencies. The bureaucrats were unable to establish and implement rules in time. Several industries were subsidized and cottage industries attempted to capitalize on the law.

However, the EPA and the Clean Air Act quickly moved to “protect the citizens” (read protect their own jobs). They hindered the implementation of EPAct with bogus worries about air pollution and with their own onerous regulations. Thus bureaucrats from other federal agencies effectively derailed the opportunity to reduce our dependency on foreign oil. Politicians from both sides of the aisle ignored the problems, often ignorant of the laws they, themselves, had passed.

So, it is disingenuous for either side to point fingers. Both sides, at every level of government, have shirked their responsibilities since the gas lines of the seventies. Rhetoric and pure BS have flowed freely while any action was a purely by accident. Like so many other knee jerk reactions, the State (Legislature and executive branch) promptly tossed dollars and rules at the problem without careful thought to the ramifications. You mentioned some of the problems with the hasty implementation of the new rules and the requests for exemptions.

There is plenty of fodder for the rhetoric about the oil company profits and tax credits and on and on ad nauseam. I would remind the whiners that they, too, get tax breaks if they are buying a house and credits if they have kids. Hell, if they don’t make much, we may even give them money. So, everyone may just “can” that argument.

As an example of technology and the many administrations and congresses (both Republican and Democrat) that ignored it, take a look at and w from 1959. Fuel cells are now an Administration priority. Yeah guys, only 50 years after the fact! Just as with the border, they do not have the guts to make a hard decision or enforce it.

Sagacious one


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