Let's Not Lose Track
Right now, most of our attention is focused on events in Washington, D.C. following the Trump insurrection January 6th. To be sure, the attempted coup, the violence and vandalism in the U.S. Capitol, was a riveting event will be forever seared into the memory of Americans. The havoc wreaked by the most extreme of Trump's followers, driven on by his lies and instigation, havoc that threatened the lives of legislators performing their Constitutionally prescribed duty, is a low point in our history. Many Republican electeds, including Cathy McMorris Rodgers (U.S. Rep. CD5), legislators who have enabled Trump for four years because he gave them some of the things they wanted, are, no doubt, concerned about their political future, caught between the seditious, militaristic followers of the worst President the U.S. has ever suffered and whatever remains of the former Republican Party.
In the midst of all this, the world has not stopped. City councils, county commissioners, state legislatures, and health departments are still working. Let's not lose track.
ELECTION, FEBRUARY 9th
There is another election coming up February 9th. It's important, especially in Spokane, since the result affects the education of our children and our grandchildren. We are asked to vote on a replacement levy for Spokane Public Schools, a levy that will continue to the cover around 13 percent of the budget, the part beyond Basic Education. (Basic Education is funded by money from the State of Washington [which comes originally from us, of course], baseline funding mandated by the McCleary Decision to insure that school systems in areas with low tax bases can afford to educate--but that is a whole other complicated story.)
The voters if District 81 (Spokane Public Schools) have a long history of approving replacement levies like this one, but it is never guaranteed. This year some folks, using social media, are running a disinformation campaign about the replacement levy that threatens to torpedo the vote. Among the arguments offered is the idea that teachers have it easy during the pandemic because some schools aren't holding in-person classes, so we should "hold them to account." On the contrary, every teacher I know is working twice as hard as usual trying to learn and keep up with the shift to online classes. It seems there exist people who object to funding public education as a common good either because they don't have children, they don't like the public school system because the curriculum offends them in some way, or because they project greed and fiscal mismanagement on the school system as one aspect of their polymorphous distrust of all tax expenditures and government in general.
Ballots will be mailed to all District 81 voters by this coming Friday, January 22nd. They are due back by 8PM Tuesday, February 9th. As soon as you receive your ballot, please vote it, so that it doesn't get buried in the junk mail. Put it in one of the drop boxes or drop it in the mail (long before Feb. 9). Please check, but I think the postage is covered.
But here is what else you can do for this effort: There is a great little video at https://yesforspokaneschools.com/ that offers the basics of levies. In the menu bar on that page is link to FAQ that is also worth visiting. Learn. Talk with your friends and neighbors about the importance of once every three year renewal. Click on endorsements and add yours (eloquence not required) and then click on Donate and add to this effort. This is legit. I know people volunteering a lot of time to assure this replacement levy passes. You can look at fiscal anatomy of the Citizens for Spokane Schools, 2021 PAC at the WA State Public Disclosure Commission.
If you're not in District 81 you're not off the hook. Nearly every school district in Spokane County has one or even two propositions on the ballot for February 9th. Check out your local district's proposal.
RANKED CHOICE VOTING
HB 1156 - 2021-22, "Increasing representation and voter participation in local elections," is in committee at the Washington State State House. This bill becoming law is necessary to adjust Washington State Law (RCW = Revised Code of Washington) to allow local jurisdictions to carry out Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) Elections. This bill does not mandate RCV elections it only makes the legally possible. A visit to the actual text of HB (House Bill) 1156 lists the House co-sponsors and quickly shows some of the complexity required in modifying existing law to make sure all the details are correct. The hope is to get this change in the law done this legislative session. Otherwise, a huge amount of effort will be put toward a ballot initiative in coming years--all that just to make it possible for local areas try ranked choice voting. If you already understand and like RCV go to https://app.leg.wa.gov/PBC/Bill/1156 and register a comment of support. If you're still fuzzy on the how it works, check out the resources at https://fairvotewa.org/
Keep to the high ground,