YAY: LAKE-ESTUARY TALKS
Kudos to both the Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team and Capitol Lake Improvement & Protection Association. Questions over the future of man-made Capitol Lake – whether as a lake or returning to an estuary – have lingered for far too many years without answers to costly, long-term maintenance problems in the waterway. We encourage parties to continue talking even where they disagree about basic facts and costs of options. A forum that brings together the community and the groups is worth pursuing.
BOO: GENDER PAY GAP
Washington adopted an Equal Pay Act in 1943 to counter women’s lagging pay compared to men. But an effort to update the law is running out of time at the Legislature. House Bill 1646 passed in the House and awaits a Senate Commerce and Labor Committee hearing Monday (March 30); but it needs the panel’s approval by April 1 to stay alive. Democratic Rep. Tana Senn of Mercer Island says the bill prevents employers from requiring workers to keep pay information secret.
YAY: CANDIDATE WORKSHOP
Candidates wanting to run for office this year in Thurston County can get tips from the county elections staffers during a Thursday evening forum from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Thurston ballot center, 2905 29th Ave. SW, Suite E, in Tumwater. The Auditor’s Office is hosting the session with tips on candidate filing during May 11-15 and details about voter pamphlets and campaign finance disclosure. Seats up for election include a Superior Court judge position, two Olympia port commission positions, and seats for several city councils and mayors, school boards, fire districts, and park boards.
BOO: LOW SNOWPACK
Recent reports suggest that this winter’s low snow pack, which has inconvenienced skiers and boarders, may be a preview of what a changing climate will bring. Late-season precipitation rescued the region from low-snow conditions a year ago but is not expected to recur. Most Western Washington power and water systems say they have stockpiled adequate water for the coming summer.
YAY: GEORGE BRIDGES
The Evergreen State College hired a new president. George Bridges, currently president at Whitman College in Walla Walla, replaces Thomas L. “Les” Purce, who retires in August after 15 years as top TESC leader in his second stint at the Olympia liberal arts school. College trustees touted Bridges’ fund-raising skill.
YAY: STATE TRANSPARENCY
Washington received a B grade for state government spending recently in a rating of states’ online budget transparency. The Washington Public Interest Research Group Foundation, which compared states, gave highest marks to Ohio; it said Washington, ranked No. 22, improved slightly and highlighted the budget portal at fiscal.wa.gov, which added features in the last year. But PIRG wants Washington to adopt a check-book style system that lets a person look up every transaction.