House Democrats today released their proposed state budget, which they trumpeted as "best for schools." The budget plan dedicates a whopping $1.9 billion in new spending to public school education. Much of it will go to meet the state Supreme Court's McCleary ruling on the shortchanging of Washington's constitutional obligation to fund schools. Republicans were less impressed, with Sen. Mike Hewitt saying the Democrats' real priority is taxes. Crosscut's John Stang will sort through the numbers and rhetoric in a story later.
In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine today, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance researchers said that patients and caregivers there have been generally well-satisfied with a program that allows the terminally ill to make use of the state's Death with Dignity law. A statement from the Alliance said the program was "rarely used." In a rougly 32 month period, only 114 patients inquired about the option; 24 eventually took a lethal prescription. The study said:
The most common reasons for participation were loss of autonomy (97.2%), inability to engage in enjoyable activities (88.9%) and loss of dignity (75.0%). ... Qualitatively, patients and families were grateful to receive the lethal prescription, whether it was used or not.
WSU beating arrest
Pullman police made one arrest in connection with the severe beating of Washington State University instructor Dr. David Warner, who remains in critical condition in a Spokane hospital. The school's Daily Evergreen paper reported that Police Chief Gary Jenkins announced the arrest at a Native American Student Center gathering. Warner is Native American as well as a lifelong resident of Pullman. His research interests include tribal sovereignty. A press conference was scheduled for late afternoon.
WSU President Elson Floyd had earlier announced a $10,000 reward, expressed disappointment at a lack of help on campus in the search for suspects and said he is setting up a Commission on Campus Climate:
Dr. Warner’s attack has revealed an underlying fear and anger among some on campus regarding issues of race and marginalization. These must be addressed. I am creating a new Commission on Campus Climate to give shape to the discourse and to develop specific action steps to improving the situation. I can assure you, this will not be “yet another task force.”
Mayor Mike McGinn said today that he wants to move up studies on possible transit projects to cross the Ship Canal as part of a Downtown-Fremont-Ballard streetcar route and to connect South Lake Union with the University District on high capacity transit, possibly rail. The proposal, according to the mayor's press release, is "to help ensure both projects can be eligible for competitive federal grants and other funding sources." Nothing to do with the competition in the mayor's race, right?
Sacramento: We're right there
California Senate leader Darrell Steinberg is reportedly boasting that Sacramento's NBA offer matches dollar-for-dollar that of the Seattle investment group led by hedge fund manager Chris Hansen. MyNorthwest.com's Stephanie Klein notes that the Seattle group could still up its offer. Who says NBA Commissioner David Stern is stressed about the difficulty of this decision? Art Thiel is working on a column about the NBA's decision making.
Rainier Beach High School
There have been signs that things are looking up for Rainier Beach High School, which has frequently had academic achievement problems over the years. Most visibly, it received approval last month to launch a coveted International Baccalaureate program beginning in the fall. The 37th District Democrats just posted this video of what looks like a worthwhile panel discussion about Rainier Beach and Southeast Seattle education issues generally.
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