Inslee checking on hospitals
In response to increasing controversy over the affiliation of Catholic healthcare systems with several secular hospitals, Gov. Jay Inslee is ordering an update to rules on how the state decides whether to approve hospital expansions. Two Catholic healthcare systems, Providence and Peace, are competing with UW Medicine and Virginia Mason to affiliate with three northwest Washington hospitals: Island in Anacortes, Skagit Valley in Mount Vernon and Cascade Valley in Arlington.
The ACLU of Washington and other groups have expressed concern about the availability of reproductive services — including birth control and tubal ligations — as well as assisted suicide and full care for LBGQT families if Catholic healthcare systems expand. The Puget Sound Business Journal this morning reports that Inslee wrote in a letter that he had not found any instance in which people were unable to receive services so far. But, he said, "I am very concerned for the potential of these relationships to lead to restrictions in constitutionally protected care for Washingtonians." The ACLU called Inslee's action just one step toward addressing the worries.
State Sen. Ed Murray came out on top among Seattle mayoral candidates in the Municipal League of King County's candidate ratings. Murray earned the only outstanding ranking from the civic group. How did Muni Leaguers rate the other mayoral candidates? Very good for incumbent Mike McGinn and former city councilmember Peter Steinbrueck; good for councilmember Bruce Harrell and business leader Charlie Staadecker; adequate for planner Kate Martin and community change consultant Joey Gray; and not qualified for Socialist Workers Party candidate Mary Martin.
Forgive McGinn if he doesn't lose any sleep over his rating: His 2009 general election opponent Joe Mallahan got an outstanding — to McGinn's good, but McGinn's the guy in the mayor's office.
The mayor may end up as just one of two incumbents around the county with a lower ranking than a challenger. The other is Port Commissioner John Creighton, whose rating is currently listed only as pending. (Creighton apparently didn't participate in the endorsement process initially but is now doing so.) His opponent, Auburn Mayor Peter Lewis, received a very good.
As Joel Connelly of seattlepi.com notes, there's also a high profile Seattle race where an incumbent received the same rating as his opponent: That would be Seattle City Council's Mike O'Brien and his opponent business leader Albert Shen. Both got very goods. In addition to the port and city races, the Muni League rated candidates for King County positions; city contests in Bellevue, Federal Way, Issaquah, Kirkland, Renton, Sammamish and Shoreline; and Seattle School District.
Canadian authorities say two al-Qaeda sympathizers brought pressure-cooker bombs onto the grounds of the provincial legislative building in Victoria on Monday, where large crowds had gathered to celebrate Canada Day. Authorities discovered the bombs outside the legislature, but they had been monitoring the two alleged bombers in advance, according to the Vancouver Sun. Police arrested John Stewart Nuttall, 38, and Amanda Marie Korody, 29, on Monday afternoon. Both are native-born Canadians.
Grocery workers, upset about ongoing contract negotiations, will set up informational picket lines at many stores in the greater Seattle area from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday. Workers say a coalition of employers — Safeway, Albertson's, QFC and Fred Meyer — is trying to eliminate health care coverage for many workers and premium holiday pay, while holding down wage increases. Efforts to get comment from their employers have been unsuccessful. The negotiations, which started in March, typically take many months to resolve.
Lotto and pets
The Washington Lottery is looking for dog or cat photos to feature on a new scratch ticket that will be launched late this year, KING5.com reports. Six winning dog and cat photos will be selected through online voting (July 29 to Aug. 4). Submissions can be made here. Sure, participating in the Lottery in any form is beneath you, but think of how proud your pet will be. And speaking of pet lotto projects, this ad for the New York lottery makes us wonder: Did lottery marketeers all go to a conference a few months back where someone hyped pet promotions?
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