Joan McBride: I am a Democrat and a progressive

Former Kirkland mayor Joan McBride  spoke Sunday at the Legislative Action Committee meeting of the King County Democrats. Joan McBride

McBride is challenging Rodney Tom for the state senate seat in the 48th LD.

Contrary to rumors that had been spreading around facebook, Ms. McBride never was a Republican.  She is apparently a real Democrat and a progressive. She volunteered for the George McGovern campaign.  She recently married Margaret, her partner of 14 years   As mayor and city council member in Kirkland, she worked hard to support growth management, public transportation, and human services.  She was active in numerous civic groups (biography).

She said she’s running out of anger and a sense of betrayal at Rodney Tom’s kowtowing to the hard right Tea Party and climate denying Republicans.

“I am going to run as a Democrat. I am a progressive.”

Asked about her opinion of charter schools, McBride said that she supports any way that helps educate kids, as long as it doesn’t take money from public schools.   She said she you can’t evaluate teachers by the test scores of their students.

It’s not evident from her photo, but she has a sparkle in her eye and a good sense of humor. (See video below.) I got good vibes from her. With 16+ years of experience on the Kirkland city council, she is good with people.

Her website is



Environmentalists target Rodney Tom

Washington Conservation Voters is holding a canvass/door-to-door  On Tuesday, March 11 from 3PM to 5PM to in Rodney Tom’s district, the 48th LD, to inform voters of his bad deeds with respect to thwarting environmental legislation.     See details here.

They write:

As the Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Rodney Tom must be held responsible for his caucus’ decisions. This session, Senator Tom’s Environmental Committee Chair (Sen. Doug Ericksen, 0% WCV Lifetime Score) have: brought climate deniers in to testify, have proposed a Senate Budget that extends a loophole to out-of-state oil companies for millions of dollars and has even refused to hold hearings on environmental bills that passed the House in a bi-partisan fashion. These are bills that would have protected our community from toxic chemicals and volatile and hazardous oil trains!

We need to set the priorities straight in Olympia and there is only one more opportunity left this session. Washington Conservation Voters is going door-to-door this Tuesday to talk to voters in the 48th District about closing the Big Oil Tax Loophole.

Combined with Tom’s squashing of a bipartisan bill, SB 6313 to help the homeless (see Rodney Tom harms the homeless) and the Senate’s opposition to a transportation bill that would fund Metro Transit, Rodney Tom has given more than enough reason for voters to kick him out of office.

Rodney Tom harms the homeless

Rodney Tom hurts the homeless

From Publicola (third item):

Word is Sen. Rodney Tom (D-48, Medina), head of the Republican-dominated Majority Coalition Caucus, wanted the bill killed to snub ardent low-income housing advocate and speaker of the house Rep. Frank Chopp (D-43, Wallingford).

Bill co-sponsor Sen. Hobbs tells Fizz: “Tom told me and Sen. Benton that he told Angel to stop the bill in committee.”


I’m baffled as to why Tom wanted to kill this bill,” Hobbs concludes. “It was bipartisan. And wasn’t that why the MCC was formed?”

Rodney Tom lives in Medina, opposes $15 minimum wage

Rodney Tom lives in Medina, opposes $15 minimum wage

See Dems plan minimum-wage hike; Senate leader dumps on it.

Noisy protesters should target his house in Medina.  I’m thinking of the raw, Seattle area protesters who like to get arrested.

I wonder if  such people would be willing to get involved in what might seem to them to be partisan politics.  For example, if the Democratic Party were sponsoring the protest, I bet that some of them (Occupiers, Socialists) would boycott the protest.  This is sad, because the Republican Party (and ex-Republican Rodney Tom) are greatly obstructing progressive legislation.

The apparent hostility between Democrats and those further to the left is the defining problem of the progressive movement and the Democratic Party.

SLOG has an announcement for a rally in support of the $15 minimum wage. “Sterling Harders, vice president of SEIU 775NW; Dave Freiboth, executive secretary of King County Labor Council, AFL-CIO; Kshama Sawant, Seattle City Council member; Socialist Party member of the Irish Parliament for Dublin; Robby Stern, former co-chair of McGinn campaign; fast food workers and employees at the airport, and others who are being booked right now.” More Dem speakers would be good?

Surprise finding: What's blocking Bertha, the tunnel boring machine?

Matt Preedy, deputy WSDOT viaduct replacement program administrator, and Chris Dixon, project manager with Seattle Tunnel Partners, announced today that engineers had discovered what’s blocking Bertha, the giant tunnel-boring drill stuck beneath Pier 48 on the Seattle waterfront:  Rodney Tom and Pam Roach of the Senate Majority Coalition.

What's blocking Bertha, the tunnel boring drill: Rodney Tom and Pam Roach of the Senate Majority Coalition

Engineers discovered that Tom (D-48th LD) and Roach (R-31st LD) had sabotaged Bertha by inserting rocks in its gear mechanism.

This is fitting news, since the Senate Majority Coalition has been blocking passage of the Democrats’ transportation passage, including funding for Metro Transit. Tom and the Republicans are holding the transportation package hostage to their demands.  They want to overturn the prevailing wage (more union busting), weaken environmental requirements for road projects, and exempt transportation projects from the sales tax (thus further starving the general fund).  And they won’t allow King County to institute a local funding option for Metro.

Nor will Tom and the Republicans close tax loopholes.

A certain Democrat State Senator told me that Pam Roach is perhaps the most powerful person in the legislature, because she regularly blocks bills for consideration. Like the Tea Party Republicans in the US House, Roach makes sure to veto any measure that might help the middle class and the poor.

By the way, the wikipedia article on Pam Roach has the following story about her infamous temper:

In 2010 fellow Senate Republicans banned her from the Senate Caucus after colleagues told her she had repeatedly mistreated staff and should get counseling to manage her anger. Republicans barred her from the caucus room, though she could still vote on the Senate Floor.[6]

Despite Roach’s attempts at appeal, the disciplinary sanctions against Roach were maintained for almost two years, until they were abruptly lifted in February of 2012, when the Senate Republican leadership wrote a letter to Sen. Roach inviting her back into the Republican caucus.[7] Not long after Roach was invited into the Senate Republican caucus, Senate Republicans- joining with three Democrats- utilized an obscure procedural motion to wrest control of the budget writing process from the Democratic caucus and pass their own budget. [8] However, in Roach’s absence, even with the votes of the three Democrats, the Republicans would still come up one vote short of being able to pass their budget on the floor of the Senate. In one interview, Roach said, “I was the 25th vote (for the GOP), and my caucus finally did the right thing.” Her return to the caucus room prompted Mike Hoover, a GOP staffer who had been verbally abused by Roach in the past, to sue the Washington State Senate for $1.75 million for creating a hostile workplace by readmitting Roach back into the caucus room.[9]

In September of 2012, the Washington State Senate reaffirmed their sanctions against Senator Roach. [10]


Rodney Tom should act like a Democrat or switch back to the GOP

(originally published at the Bellevue Reporter, in condensed form)

Anyone paying attention to the goings-on in Olympia would know that there’s nothing bipartisan about the Senate “majority coalition” under the leadership of Bellevue’s Sen. Rodney Tom.

Rodney Tom, a former Republican, is nominally a Democrat. But he’s been voting and speaking like a Republican.

Recently, when asked about the state Supreme Court’ mandate to increase funding for education, Tom said: “We should never have a conversation that we need new revenue for education.”  Yet despite our relatively high cost of living, Washington teachers earn $2,500 less than the national average and $12,000 less than their peers in West Coast states.  (source)  See also How much teachers get paid — state by state.

Tom and the Republicans are holding the transportation package, including funding for Metro buses, hostage to their demands.  They want to overturn the prevailing wage (more union busting), weaken environmental requirements for road projects, and exempt transportation projects from the sales tax (thus further starving the general fund).  And they won’t allow King County to institute a local funding option for Metro.

Nor will Tom and the Republicans close tax loopholes.

Come on, Tom!  Either act like a Democrat or return to the Republican Party where you belong.