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June 19, 2006

Gregoire worries about North Korea attack, wants troops out of Iraq

Posted by David Postman at 5:55 PM

Gov. Christine Gregoire says the threat of an attack by North Korea convinces her that U.S. troops should leave Iraq as soon as possible. Gregoire told reporters this morning that she talked over the weekend with the head of the Washington National Guard, Major Gen. Timothy Lowenberg, who convinced her that America's defenses are down because of the war effort.

Gregoire made her statement at the end of her regular media availability. Rather than take a last question from the press, she told reporters:

"I've wanted to respond to the very disturbing news this morning of North Korea and a three-stage rocket that literally could reach Seattle. And I wanted to do so by saying to people of the state of Washington, this reinforces me and the state that our security is going to have to be at the forefront of our thinking and our attention — that in fact out there remains considerable risk around the world. Not just to Washington state but to the entire country. And I think that also tells me very clearly, in talking to General Lowenberg, that it is very important that we, as timely as we possibly can, ensure that we are turning Iraq over to the Iraqi people and bringing our troops home so they are ready and prepared to do whatever is necessary to defend this country.

"I'm disturbed by what we're hearing. It is not the news that I think any of us should have to hear from North Korea and I want Washingtonians to understand the security risks to the nation and to us, but to understand that we've got to remain ever diligent and I ask every Washingtonian to be smart about their own personal security, and again any time they see something that raises a concern they get to law enforcement right away."

This was unusual for Gregoire. She hasn't spoken about Iraq before. She doesn't bring up international matters unless they connect pretty directly with the state. It was the news that Seattle could be reached by a North Korea rocket attack that prompted her comments, said communications director Holly Armstrong. The governor is alarmed enough about the North Korea news that she and Lowenberg talked about "tabletop exercises" for the guard "because the security and safety of Washingtonians has to be our No. 1 priority."

Gregoire said earlier this month that she would not order any Washington National Guard troops to the Mexico border as part of President Bush's immigration enforcement plan. She said that duty would be voluntary.

While Gregoire has stayed away from foreign policy, she has been asserting the state's international standing, saying Washington "is more like a small nation than a state." Apparently she now will make sure that the nation-state is well defended.

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Gay group to back two in 43rd District race

Posted by David Postman at 11:48 AM

I see I've been beat on this, but when the Seattle Metropolitan Elections Committee, "Rating candidates on issues of importance to the LGBT community since 1977," candidate ratings come out — which is expected to happen today — there will be two people endorsed in the 43rd District, Jamie Pedersen and Lynne Dodson.

We cover the race today with a story about those who argue the 43rd should be a "gay seat." That has Dan Savage reacting.

Here's the e-mail that went out to the SEAMEC listserve Friday:

Hello all,

Here is a recap of this evening's ratings. All ratings have been adjusted
based on SC decision to rate on median as opposed to average interview

43rd House

Lynne Dodson AAABB 5 (Endorsed)
Dick Kelley AAABA 4
Linde Knighton (postponed until general election - this information
will not appear on ratings sheet/ad, but candidate will be notified)
Jamie Pedersen AABAA 5 (Endorsed)
Stephanie Pure ABBBB 3
Bill Sherman AAAAA 3
Jim Street AAAAA 3

43rd Senate

Ed Murray AAAAA 5 (Endorsed)

48th Senate

Luke Esser di 0
Rodney Tom AAAAA 4 (Endorsed)

Again, candidates will be notified on Sunday morning (it gives me a day to
work on the announcements/press release). The announcement will go to SEAMEC members Sunday afternoon and the press release to the press Sunday evening for publication on Monday (or after).

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NASCAR cash, strip club cash and other news

Posted by David Postman at 7:56 AM

I missed this in last week's News Tribune. Business columnist Dan Voelpel has interesting news about the proposed NASCAR track and its connections to a Tacoma car museum, as well as recent and apparently unusual NASCAR-related campaign donations to Norm Dicks and Patty Murray.

In December, James France, of Daytona Beach, Fla., donated $2,000 to "Norm Dicks for Congress," which might not seem unusual. Until you review Federal Elections Commission records that show France has contributed to 30 congressional campaigns since 1997 — 26 of them those of Republicans. Other James France contributions went to the Republican National Committee, Republican state committees and President Bush. Other members of the France family in Florida — also consistent Republican donors — have donated in the last few months to Dicks and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.

More from Pierce County: Here's a report from the county's GOP chair on Friday's presidential visit. From up close we get a report that Bush showed "every mannerism the press whines about but that are endearing to Americans."

One self-proclaimed "violence worker" is crowing about the small protests against the Bush visit.

The Wall Street Journal says Congress may make another run on repealing the estate tax before the July 4th break, and again GOP leaders are looking to Maria Cantwell as a possible vote.

Republicans say Democrats have their own candidates to help, such as Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington, who was one of the swing votes against permanent repeal last week and is running for re-election in a state where the estate tax is a hot issue.

On The Stranger's blog Erica C. Barnett is following donations to the campaign to repeal the city's strip club ordinance. The group, Seattle Citizens for Free Speech, has collected more than half a million dollars. See the reports here and last week's additional $25,000 here.

The money comes entirely from the operators of Seattle's strip clubs. On the group's Web site the organization attacks the nanny city and its new strip club regulations.

Is this the type of City we want? Where the Council plays the role of nanny, unnecessarily restricting our choices of legal adult entertainment?

We think the City has more important issues to attend to. Let's reject these misguided, nanny-state rules and regulations.

They don't like nannies, but they are for women finding work.

These establishments provide a viable high-wage job for many women who are raising families and earning college degrees. If we shut down the clubs, we will put these women out of work.

The group and its Web site should not be confused with, the group that tried to repeal the city's poster ban.

UPDATE: The campaign manager, Timothy Killian, just told me that about half the group's money went to collecting the signatures for the referendum. But once the city council officially puts it on the ballot this fall, Killian says his group has a "commitment to running a visible campaign."

Most of the money has come from Seattle Amusement Co., Inc., the company that owns the Déjà vu strip club, and the Colacurcio's Lake City LLC, which operates Rick's.

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