Coal train support rears its head
At meetings around the Northwest, opponents of proposed Washington coal ports that would send coal to China have so far held center-stage. Supporters of exports through Bellingham and elsewhere appear to be picking up their game.
A pro-coal group, Northwest Jobs Alliance, said it delivered petitions with 10,000 signatures in support of the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal to Whatcom County officials, who will have a key role in the decision about the project near Bellingham.
In a press release, a union official and alliance co-chair, Chris Johnson, said, “These aren’t people from California signing an online petition — these are real local folk, mostly from Whatcom County.” The group also points to a poll from this summer done for a Northwest public radio consortium, EarthFix, as showing public support throughout the Pacific Northwest for exports. The poll found 55 percent in favor and 27 percent opposed among Washington, Oregon and Idaho residents.
The next round in an unprecedented series of seven statewide meetings on the issue will be a Thursday event in Ferndale. The emphasis on local thinking in Johnson's statement probably hints at a big turnout for supporters in Ferndale. A meeting in Seattle had to be rescheduled because of the public interest, mainly from opponents.
Police video out
Seattle Police took issue with claims that they were withholding a video showing possible abuse of a suspect and pointing to a long list of document requests from attorney James Egan, representing the suspect. And, they noted, Egan already had a copy of the video from another city department. Egan then released the video this afternoon. We are just starting to look. Earlier, The Stranger’s Dominic Holden suggested it might turn out to be less explosive than expected.
Police also screened the video for the press and defended the arrest. KIRO has that story here.
Senate gets all bipartisan
Washington state's Senate Democrats have released their list of who should chair committees during the upcoming 2013 Legislature. As The News Tribune points out, they seem to be looking ahead to the likelihood that their majority will be so thin that some sort of coalition with Republicans becomes necessary.
One key pick may be representative of the Democrats' desire to work with Republicans. Sen. Jim Hargrove would become budget chair, and a party press release pointed to his ability to work in a bipartisan fashion. He would replace Ed Murray, assuming Murray becomes majority leader.
The Democrats would keep union-friendly Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe as education chair, but would create a new bipartisan education funding committee with a Republican and Democrat as co-chairs. It could be a sign that Democrats recognize the demand for more progress on education reform than McAuliffe has ever wanted. But it also recognizes the reality that education funding decisions will be critical in the wake of the state Supreme Court's McCleary decision, requiring more ample financing of public schools.
UW activists best adidas
The University of Washington has dropped its apparel contract with adidas. The Seattle Weekly attributes the action to two factors: alleged labor violations by the German multinational and student pressure.
"At the root of the decision is Adidas' refusal to pay $1.8 million in severance to workers in an Indonesian factory, a decision UW United Students Against Sweatshops and others say clearly violates the university's Code of Conduct," writes the Week.
This counts as a win in the Garment Cup for worker rights, which might make up just a little for this week's Apple Cup loss.
A spike for home prices
Local and national home prices are up, according to a new report cited on seattlepi.com. Aubrey Cohen wrote that housing prices in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties were up 4.8 percent in September compared to a year earlier, somewhat better than the national average of 3 percent.
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