Midday Scan: Leaving school funding to the next governor

Gov. Gregoire thinks that an education tax hike is needed. On the next governor's watch. Gary Locke in spotlight over dissident's handling. Joel Connelly on the 'war on women.'
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Gov. Chris Gregoire.

Gov. Gregoire thinks that an education tax hike is needed. On the next governor's watch. Gary Locke in spotlight over dissident's handling. Joel Connelly on the 'war on women.'

Washington requires additional revenue to underwrite education, Gov. Chris Gregoire announced. But it's something she and the legislature failed to do this year, even though she had originally proposed a tax increase when offering her budget last November. As a result, the overhang of new taxes will avalanche onto the next intrepid soul to occupy the Governor's mansion.

"Gov. Chris Gregoire challenged her future successor Wednesday to pursue new revenue in support of education, saying that she wished the state had committed more money to that this year," the AP's Mike Baker writes. "The leading candidates to replace Gregoire - Democrat Jay Inslee and Republican Rob McKenna - have both said they don't see the need for new revenue. But Gregoire said the budget they will have to adopt shortly after taking office is already in need of $1 billion for education."  

Gov. Gregoire could be pondering President Eisenhower's 1961 farewell address, his celebrated broadside against "the military-industrial complex." The public and political class must be warned (or scolded, it depends.) It could also represent a cross of Eisenhower-like brooding and the psyche of an antsy home seller burdened with a century-old furnace. Better to leave it to the next owner to fix, yes?

Former Washington Gov. Gary Locke, now the U.S. Ambassador to China, is back in the headlines, appearing Eisenhower-like escorting Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng to and from the U.S. Embassy. What looked to be an Alexander Solzhenitsyn or Natan Sharansky moment in history, however, may devolve into a diplomatic imbroglio. As the Atlantic Wire's Dashiell Bennett writes, "Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng talked to the media a lot yesterday and his version of events is making it look like American officials abandoned him to avoid upsetting the Chinese government. Chen believes he was misled about what would happen to him and his family if he left the U.S. embassy and stayed in China, but it's becoming clear from his comments to American news outlets that he also feels it was not the Chinese, but U.S. diplomats who wronged him." 

It's the proverbial "when did you stop beating your wife" query that demands a politician respond with a no-win "I never beat my wife." How then do lawmakers react to the "war on women?" Isn't eveyone a pacifist? As the Seattlepi.com Joel Connelly writes, Democrats have seized the "war on women" as a rhetorical brickbat to blast Republicans on reproductive health and the Violence Against Women Act. Now it's emerged as a political football in Washington's gubernatorial campaign.  

"The Democrats’ cry of a 'War On Women' was at full volume on Wednesday:  Party luminaries and former CIA covert operative Valerie Plame Wilson used a Planned Parenthood Votes luncheon to rally the home front for Governor candidate Jay Inslee," Connelly writes. In a subsequent interview, Republican Rob McKenna acknowledged the war and told Connelly, "It is seen in domestic violence and in human trafficking and in underage prostitution.  It involves actual physical assault on women in a variety of situations.  It is in contrast to a lot of political hype."  

Former President George W. Bush summed up the Pacific salmon crisis in what will always be a consummate George W. quote. "I know the human being and fish can co-exist peacefully," he said. Fisher Slough in the Skagit River Delta gives expression to Bush's wisdom. The Skagit Valley is a mosiac of farms and fish habitat. Striking a balance and restoring the estuary is a big deal. 

"Rebuilding an estuary is a complex business," High Country News' Eric Wagner writes. "Starting in 2009 with $5.2 million in federal stimulus dollars, as well as additional millions in private donations and other funds, the project reconfigured dikes and rerouted ditches. Workers dug out the slough's original channels, and replaced a box culvert from the 1930s, which had been a major fish passage barrier. Water now leaves the slough through state-of-the-art floodgates."

Lastly, is it sacrilegious to give naming rights to public infrastructure?  The AP reports in a story that runs in the Seattle Times, "Washington state Rep. Jan Angel says she exploring whether the state should start sell naming rights to raise revenue for transportation projects. The Republican from Port Orchard says she particularly wants to see alternatives that could keep toll fares low on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge."  We live in interesting (or perhaps a better word is "austere") times.  

Read more here: http://www.theolympian.com/2012/05/02/2090482/gregoire-to-successor-new…

Read more here: http://www.theolympian.com/2012/05/02/2090482/gregoire-to-successor-new…

Link Summary

The Olympian, "Gregoire tells successor new revenue needed for education"

Atlantic Wire, "Chen Guangcheng is making the United States look pretty bad"

Seattlepi.com, "'War on Women:' real or 'political hype'?"

High Country News, "Balancing fish and farms on a Washington estuary"

Seattle Times, "Boeing Bridge? Washington lawmaker eyes naming rights"


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About the Authors & Contributors

Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson is the former editorial-page editor of the Everett Herald. Follow him on Twitter @phardinjackson