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Postman on Politics

Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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June 24, 2008 7:01 AM

Two Republicans with two views of one meeting

Posted by David Postman

From a press release sent by the state Republican Party at 9:52 a.m. Monday:

Just four days from the legal cutoff to spend taxpayer money, Senate Democrats will hold a Ways & Means Committee meeting on June 26th from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon (Sen. Haugen represents part of Mt. Vernon and part of Skagit County).

It is the only time in recent memory a Ways & Means Committee meeting has been held in Skagit County. Could it have anything to do with the fact that Sen. Haugen faces another tough race this year after winning in 2004 with 50.1% of the vote?

"Sen. Haugen and the Democrats have no shame in using hard-earned taxpayer money to pay for what is little more than a staged campaign event," said Washington State Republican Party Chairman Luke Esser.

From a press release sent by Sen. Val Stevens, R-Arlington, at 3:31 p.m. Monday:

Sen. Val Stevens, R-Arlington, is urging citizens to take advantage of a unique opportunity: Telling their stories directly to the Senate Ways & Means Committee, which will be hearing public testimony on property taxes Thursday, June 26 from 1 - 3 p.m. at Skagit Community College.

“Scores of people in Skagit and Snohomish have told me that property taxes are an urgent concern,” Stevens said. “For most, they finally own their home and have retired, but their property taxes have climbed so high, they can’t afford to stay in the home. Our seniors need property tax relief or they face being taxed out of the homes they’ve spent a lifetime purchasing.”

The committee is meeting in several cities around the state this summer in order to hear from people about their property taxes. So far, local governments and powerful special interests have captured this committee’s full attention. If you want to be heard, now’s the time!”

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Posted by Turbine

7:53 AM, Jun 24, 2008

What a great opportunity to "address" the Ways and means committee outside the Hallowed Halls of Olympia. Will there be a "NO LOBBYIST" rule in effect? You know the usual suspects that are paid to seek favor of the electeds, the one who stuff campaign bucks into Haugen and Stevens pockets. You can identify them by the knowing smirk on the committee members face as the lobbyist steps forward to testify, the committee knows that the lobbyist will be full of praise for their work in front of the home folks.

Just once let's have the public armed with the knowledge that they are facing a 2.65 Billion dollar deficit next session have a go at these representatives.

Posted by John

9:22 AM, Jun 24, 2008

Is Haugen even going to be at the meeting? She isn't a member of the ways & means committee.

Posted by upchuck

10:33 AM, Jun 24, 2008

sorry, WAY off topic, but did anyone else see this headline? all I can say is WOW...

Iraqi Council Member Kills Two US Soldiers: a local Iraqi council member from the town of Salman Pak shot and killed two US soldiers on Monday. Four others were injured. The shooting occurred outside a municipal council meeting.

Posted by John

11:03 AM, Jun 24, 2008

Yeah, Iraq is getting like city of seattle deaths everyday.

Posted by John

1:10 PM, Jun 24, 2008

The "d's" just bailed out there partners “countrywide” with 300 billion of our tax dollars.
On another note:
Even the far left liberals will be pissed off when gas prices hit $6.00. The "d's" want to tax our way out of the crises whereas the majority of American wants to drill now!
Gas prices will lead the polls in Nov.

Posted by thekaj

1:35 PM, Jun 24, 2008

John is correct. Haugen isn't even ON the Ways & Means Committee. She's the chair of the Transportation Committee. So maybe if that committee was meeting in Skagit County, they'd have a point.

As it is, it's just an embarrassment for Esser, who apparently can't be bothered to check who's on what committee before sending out the attack memos.

Posted by JimD

6:06 PM, Jun 24, 2008

"...John is correct. Haugen isn't even ON the Ways & Means Committee. She's the chair of the Transportation Committee. So maybe if that committee was meeting in Skagit County, they'd have a point.
As it is, it's just an embarrassment for Esser, who apparently can't be bothered to check who's on what committee before sending out the attack memos..."

I'll say. Republican chair Esser must be running out of ammunition if he has to stretch that far.

Posted by Karen B.

7:13 PM, Jun 24, 2008

The Democrats made it clear this meeting was for Haugen in a press release on June 12th:

"Property taxes are on everyone’s minds, and I hope that people will take advantage of this opportunity to discuss it with the experts," Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, who will be attending the committee hearing.

“Many people may not realize that we hold committee meeting all over the state when the Legislature isn’t in session,” said Haugen, who travels around the state as part of her job as chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. “I’ve taken my committee on the road to visit transportation projects and meet in communities all over the state, and I’m glad that my colleagues on the Ways & Means Committee have decided to hold a meeting here to hear firsthand the concerns of the people in our area.

Looks like Esser hit it on the head. The Democrats are playing campaign politics with the Ways & Means Committee.

Val's point is also valid. Citizens should come and make sure their voices are heard on property taxes.

Postman makes it sound like there's a contradiction when, in fact, they are pointing out two separate and valid points:

1) People should make their voices heard on this issue.
2) Democrats are holding it in Skagit County to help Haugen.

These points do not contradict.

Posted by JimD

9:30 PM, Jun 24, 2008

Karen B,
How do you extrapolate "this meeting was for Haugen" from the documentation at hand?
Just because she's mentioned in the press release?
Are you saying the meeting wouldn't be held there if she wasn't attending?
How do you build this connection?
Would you prefer it WASN'T held out in the community where the committee can hear input they'd otherwise may not get?
I do of course agree it's a good opportunity to go and make your feelings known - the stated purpose of the meeting and how Haugen characterized the meeting in the press release.
Are you angry at fellow republican Val Stevens for inviting folks out to vent their opinions - contradicting the dismissive tone Luke Esser takes to what he calls a staged campaign event?

This is a classic damned if we do, damned if we don't from "GOP" outsiders who can't seem to decide how to feel about democrats actually giving the citizens of Skagit and Snohomish counties what one would think they'd want - a chance to speak up to representatives who've come to them.

Posted by Stephen

8:58 AM, Jun 25, 2008

Jim D,

Let's not be naive. This is politics, after all. A couple of important facts here:

- The deadline for this sort of activity is June 30th, meaning they held this four days before the deadline for using state resources
- They put this in Haugen's area
- They send out press releases announcing the meeting quoting Haugen - even though she's not on the committee

They did everything but put "Paid for by Haugen for Senate" on the release. But this is how "the game" works. Public resources are shamelessly used to campaign.

Posted by JimD

9:29 AM, Jun 25, 2008

Public resources are also used to hold open meetings in outlying communities to give residents greater access to their elected officials.
The concept, and this meeting is hardly unprecedented.
You sound like you'd rather they miss the deadline, instead of trying to squeeze it into the schedule before it's too late.
What kind of an argument is that?

The advantage to politicians associated with these meetings is no less than any other activity they may perform as part of their official duty.
That's the inherent advantage of being an incumbent.
Would you rather she stayed out of sight and didn't meet the public because performing part of her job because it might make her look good?
Wait, don't answer that ;-)

What I find a sure sign of political desperation is how the party chief would rather suggest that a pro-active approach to getting input and feedback from a citizenry that truly needs and wants it, is invalid because there might be some political advantage to those attending the meeting.

Val has it right.
It's good government.
So go.
Speak up.
Make your feelings known.
If you don't like Haugen's performance, let her know ;-)

Posted by dk

1:01 PM, Jun 25, 2008

I don't see two views. This is certainly a campaign stop, but nonetheless, it can be used to tell them what you think of high property taxes. I see your conclusion as a non sequitur.

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