Getting away, making hay
After sticking around to strike an admirably upbeat tone on the less than upbeat Boeing developments, Gov. Jay Inslee hopped a plane to Shanghai to join a trade mission that started without him. The governor's delegation already stopped in Beijing, where U.S. Ambassador — and former governor — Gary Locke joined them at a biomedical technology conference. Among other successes claimed so far by the governor's office are inked deals with a Chinese investor to build foreign-student housing and with China's biggest motion picture production company to film in Washington state. The city of Bellevue says Mayor Conrad Lee signed an agreement that paves the way for a major Chinese construction company to open an office there. Lee has aggressively promoted Bellevue as a city for international businesses. — J.C.
A Boeing prediction
Boeing will consider its other options, but will ultimately assemble the 777X airliner right here in Washington state. The alternative candidates are Huntsville, Alabama; Salt Lake City, Utah, and Long Beach, California. Huntsville, where Boeing has a plant, is a military and space manufacturing base, but it isn’t turning out aircraft at all. Utah has advantages for Boeing: It's a right-to-work state and the team at Boeing's plant in the Salt Lake City suburbs has experience working with composites (for the 787-9’s vertical stabilizers). Alas, the Utah workers lack experience with final assembly, and transportation costs for wings are high.
Then there's Long Beach, Calif. whose union workforce is sure to bridle at the kind of pared down contract Boeing is offering its Wahington machinists. So . . . we predict that Boeing will solicit and review offers from other states, and then do what Boeing does best: quietly negotiate. The company will aim for a contract that is palatable enough to win 51 percent of the union vote in Everett but still heavy on the cost-cutting measures. And who knows? Maybe Boeing can wring even more concessions from us. One Spokane legislator just suggested making Washington a right-to-work state. — A.S.
Don Benton goes after citizen on comments
State Sen. Don Benton and an attorney have sent a letter to a Clark County resident, 80-year-old Ed Barnes, asking him to stop criticizing Benton as unqualified for his new (additional) job as head of the county's environmental services office, according to The Columbian. Benton tells reporter Erik Hidle that his letter is a courtesy before pursuing legal action which he believes he would win "hands down." As Hidle's excellent article reports, noted Seattle attorney Bruce E.H. Johnson says that Benton would face "a high bar" in court for any attempt to rein in speech about political concerns. And there can be a $10,000 penalty imposed under a 2010 law to ensure lawsuits aren't used to silence legitimate speech. The Columbian says Johnson helped draft the law — and Benton voted for it. Senator, how about taking a deep breath and returning to that happier time when you supported a person's right to criticize? — J.C.
Mourning an officer in Portland
Thousands of people turned out for a procession and memorial service in Portland to honor fallen reserve Oregon City police officer, Robert Libke, 41. He was fatally shot Nov. 3 while responding to reports of a house fire and a gunman. At the service, Oregon City Police Chief James Band said Libke's arrival saved lives by diverting the gunman's attention from a woman who was at home with her two grandchildren. OregonLive's live blog of the memorial and procession, which drew hundreds of law enforcement and emergency personnel, is here. — J.C.
A black woman's questions for white people
Naima Lowe is a queer, black (and prolific) artist and a professor at Evergreen State College. She works in many mediums — primarily film and performance — and has won more awards than any normal person should be allotted in their time here on earth. But Lowe is not normal. She is pushing boundaries, physically, artistically, intellectually, in relation to sex, love, body image, identity and race. Most recently, as Colorlines reported, Lowe released a limited edition print of her book "39 Questions for White People." The book, a collection of simple questions intended to generate discussion about white privilege, is on display at the Wing Luke Museum as a part of their “Under My Skin: Artists Explore Race in the 21st Century” exhibit, but only through the end of the weekend. Don't miss it. — B.A.
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