All Jay wants for Christmas is a vote
If a vote actually takes place on — prospects uncertain — Boeing and IAM may both come out ahead in the proposed contract to win 777X assembly work here. Not because one side shut the other down, but because they compromised. The union would get to keep its six-years-to-max pay scale; Boeing would unload potentially costly and outdated worker pensions. Boeing also gets a plane delivered by 2020, machinists get an additional $5,000 and the satisfaction of knowing that their votes paid off. Moving R&D jobs out of state was a signal that Boeing doesn’t need WA as much as we would like, but returning to the table for quiet negotiations indicates that the aerospace giant still needs Everett’s expertise. Union leadership remains divided over whether to schedule a vote, but with many machinists demanding a chance to decide on this contract, one will likely be scheduled. In the meantime, we wonder whether the reluctance to schedule a vote is an attempt to avoid charges of shoving a second contract down the rank and file’s throat, while at the same time building support for the deal. But with Gov. Jay Inslee — advocate of tax breaks and transportation improvements — now jumping in with a request to let the members vote, at least Boeing knows somebody wants to build its planes here. — A.S.
They don't call it "King" County for nothing
A new survey reports that Washington residents believe King County has too much power in state politics. As Joel Connelly of seattlepi.com notes, the state's biggest elections tend to go the way King County voters do. Even a majority of King County residents in the poll agreed with the assessment. Of course, there is that whole thing about one-person, one-vote: It's wrapped up in democracy, which might even be more important than polling. — J.C.
Take the A Train — to Ballard?
Sound Transit is wrapping up public comments on the possibility of rail service from Downtown Seattle to Ballard. On Seattle Transit Blog, Ben Schiendelman argues that a subway running through Fremont would be the best approach, rewarding neighborhoods for absorbing so much growth, shaving travel times and generating the excitement needed to win voter support for a city financing plan. Sure, rail critics will laugh. But Schiendelman might have a good point about voter psychology in Seattle. — J.C.
Bus drivers at risk
Portland's TriMet transit system is offering a $1,000 reward for information on the vicious beating of a woman bus driver by a passenger who hadn't paid the correct fare. As The Oregonian's transportation writer Joseph Rose notes, the bus drivers' union there has been fighting to keep its generous benefits, arguing that the profession is high risk. The Portland beating and the shooting of a Metro Transit driver in Seattle this summer only support the union's position. — J.C.
Getting out the vote
A new study says Washington and other states using an advanced data system to identify eligible but unregistered voters have seen an increase of about 1 percentage point in election participation. The states used the demographic data from motor vehicle licenses, voter registrations, postal records and other sources to send postcards to eligible but unregistered residents urging them to sign up to vote. Washington is one of seven states to pioneer the system, supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts. — J.C.
Green Power vacuum
The head of Green Power, an alternative energy operation that was supposed to be built in Pasco, is being held on federal charges of defrauding investors, according to The Tri-City Herald. CEO Michael Spitzauer claimed to have a technology that turns municipal waste into biofuels. The Port of Pasco has started eviction proceedings to get him out of the facility he leased in an industrial park. In 2009, the state Department of Ecology shut down Spitzauer's operations after he failed to get the necessary air-quality permits. — J.C.
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