Using Boeing as cover, Gov. Jay Inslee called the Legislature back to Olympia this week for a special session. But with Boeing unions yet to agree to build the new 777x aircraft here, the aircraft manufacturer is hardly the reason for lawmakers to be back in Olympia. Rather, Gov. Inslee is calling on them to approve a new transportation package, and with it a 10-cent-per-gallon gas tax hike.
It seems like these days fewer and fewer politicians are asking their constituents’ opinions and seeking direction on laws and taxes.
Offering public transportation throughout Okanogan County is a worthwhile goal. But in considering our economic status, wide-spread population and large geographic coverage area, we don’t think Proposition 1 will be sufficient to attain the bus service suggested by the Okanogan County Transit Authority.
Year after year, the voters in our state approve an initiative requiring tax increases to either require a two-thirds vote of the Legislature or a majority of voters to raise taxes.
Former 7th Legislative District Sen. Bob Morton was a fiercely independent leader. He brought his own ideas to the state Senate, even when it meant bucking the system, standing up to Western Washington and defying the Republican Party, of which he was a member.
The official reopening of the Omak Wood Products mill comes as welcome news for Okanogan County. This business will help revitalize the area’s economy, not just by providing a significant number of jobs at the plywood and veneer plant, but also in logging, shipping and dozens of other avenues that the manufacturing industry will lead into. The increased cash flow into the area will also benefit local shops, restaurants and the housing market.
In this age of highly divisive political debates, intimidation is becoming more prevalent. And in recent years’ state elections, more and more voters are complaining about intimidation. Initiative 517, on the ballot in the Nov. 5 general election, would take some small steps to help curtail intimidation, and at the same time protect the voters’ right to initiative guaranteed in the state constitution.
Although the Okanogan County Parks and Recreation Board has had some internal strife in recent weeks, I hope that won’t stop people from attending this weekend’s fair.
Two superintendent searches in Okanogan County — one just completed and the other still under way — point out some gray areas in state law concerning the hiring process. Candidates for such influential and important public offices need to be selected in the open, so the public can take an active role in the new leader’s selection.
Ah, summer. This week’s hot weather is giving just a hint of what’s around the corner, weather-wise, and this weekend’s events mark the opening of community festival season.
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