Off the Press

August 14, 2012

Election enthusiasm, fresh from New Jersey

Warren Kagarise
Press reporter

Election Day, as a barrage of ads across all media reminds us, is only weeks — days, really — into the future.

Forget the Aug. 7 primary and the gaggle of also-ran candidates for state auditor, state insurance commissioner and other unglamorous-but-important roles. Until Nov. 6, all attention is focused on the race for governor.

Yes, I realize the presidential contest represents a watershed moment, but Washington is not a battleground state and the most locals can expect to see is more in-state fundraising from President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

Though the presidential race inched tantalizingly close to Issaquah in recent months — Obama in Seattle, Bellevue, Hunts Point and Medina; and Romney in Bellevue and Medina — neither candidate crossed Lake Sammamish.

So, in the meantime, amid the ubiquitous TV ads featuring Jay Inslee’s bulldozer and Rob McKenna’s family, do not overlook the races farther down the ballot.

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Voters endorse property tax measure, incumbent candidates

August 7, 2012

NEW — 8:40 p.m. Aug. 7, 2012

King County voters endorsed a $200 million property tax measure to build a juvenile justice facility, as King County Elections released initial results Tuesday night.

Officials asked voters to fund a replacement for the aging Youth Services Center, a juvenile detention facility in Seattle.

The measure appeared on a crowded primary ballot alongside federal, judicial, legislative and statewide contests. Voters in Issaquah and throughout Washington returned ballots in recent days, as the calendar inched closer to the summer primary — and the Tuesday deadline to postmark or return ballots.

The electorate chose the top two candidates, regardless of party affiliation, in the all-mail primary election. The top vote recipients then advance to an all-mail general election Nov. 6.

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Off the Press

July 24, 2012

Greg Farrar
Press photographer

There are many measures that can be used to determine a life well lived. How many buildings are named in one’s honor, how much airtime on television is given to broadcasting a memorial service, the total lifetime amount of one’s charitable giving and others.

One measurement in particular is hard to define, because it requires generations of observation not capable in one lifetime. But let me propose a question. How might Issaquah have looked two or three generations from now if Maureen McCarry had not voted against the Southeast Bypass, and had not chaired the planning and growth committee that secured the Park Pointe agreement?

With a little imagination, picture a future 60 years out, with a four-lane bypass and highway to state Route 18, and the big residential development on Tiger Mountain above Issaquah High School.

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State offers help to struggling homeowners

July 24, 2012

State Attorney General Rob McKenna announced efforts July 20 to connect King County homeowners facing foreclosure to mortgage resources.

In a stop at a Seattle nonprofit organization, McKenna touted the Washington Homeownership Information Hotline. The resource connects struggling borrowers to resources such as the backdrop for McKenna’s announcement, nonprofit organization Solid Ground. Call the hotline at 1-877-894-HOME toll free.

McKenna used funds from settlements with mortgage lenders — $600,000 from a settlement with Countrywide/Bank of America and $550,000 from the Wachovia Wells Fargo settlement — to help fund the hotline to connect borrowers to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-approved nonprofit counselors.

Office of the Attorney General staffers also posted step-by-step instructions, including a how-to video, for borrowers facing potential foreclosure at www.atg.wa.gov/foreclosure.aspx.

“We want people to know that they don’t have to navigate a personal mortgage crisis all by themselves,” McKenna said in a statement. “The state’s homeownership hotline is staffed by experts who work directly with lenders — at no charge to borrowers — to resolve underwater mortgages.”

McKenna, a Republican and former King County Council member, is in a close race for governor against Democrat Jay Inslee, a former U.S. congressman.

Turnout is expected to rise for August primary

July 17, 2012

The top elections official in Washington, Secretary of State Sam Reed, predicted above-average turnout in the August primary election — 46 percent, or about 3 percent more than the last comparable election.

The summer primary — bumped up to Aug. 7 to accommodate military and overseas voters — allows local voters a chance to decide a property tax measure and cull the field in federal, judicial, legislative and statewide contests.

Reed made the turnout prediction July 12, about a week before ballots started to reach voters.

The electorate selects the top two candidates, regardless of party affiliation, in the all-mail primary election. The top vote recipients then advance to an all-mail general election Nov. 6.

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Secretary of State Sam Reed predicts above-average turnout for August primary

July 12, 2012

NEW — 11:45 a.m. July 12, 2012

The top elections official in Washington, Secretary of State Sam Reed, predicted above-average turnout in the August primary election — 46 percent, or 3 percent more than the last comparable election.

The summer primary — bumped up to Aug. 7 to accommodate military and overseas voters — allows local voters a chance to decide a property tax measure and cull the field in federal, judicial, legislative and statewide contests.

The electorate selects the top two candidates, regardless of party affiliation, in the all-mail primary election. The top vote recipients then advance to an all-mail general election Nov. 6.

“The people of Washington are pretty revved up by the campaigns and issues this year and that should result in a darned good turnout, starting with our primary election,” Reed said in a statement. “We have an extremely competitive presidential race nationally and the media, campaigns, parties and special interest groups have been flooding us with campaign coverage and voter information.”

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Rob McKenna defends health care lawsuit in Issaquah High School stop

June 5, 2012

In a stop at Issaquah High School early June 1, state Attorney General Rob McKenna defended Washington’s participation in a lawsuit against the federal health care law, days before the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling.

Rob McKenna

The top legal officer in the state used the health care lawsuit to illustrate the concept of federalism — powers shared by state and federal governments — to seniors in Jeremy Ritzer’s Advanced Placement Government & Politics class.

The lawsuit stems from a provision in the Affordable Care Act — a requirement for all Americans to enroll in a health insurance plan or pay a penalty.

“Under that mandate, for the first time, Congress is attempting to do something which they’ve never tried before in our country’s history,” McKenna said. “They’re telling Americans that they have to go into the private markets to buy a commercial product — health insurance — with their own money.”

If the Supreme Court upholds the health care law, the individual mandate is scheduled to go into effect in 2014.

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Rob McKenna defends health care lawsuit in Issaquah High School stop

June 1, 2012

NEW — 12:20 p.m. June 1, 2012

In a stop at Issaquah High School early Friday, state Attorney General Rob McKenna defended Washington’s participation in a lawsuit against the federal health care law, days before the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling.

Rob McKenna

The top legal officer in the state used the health care lawsuit to illustrate the concept of federalism — powers shared by state and federal governments — to seniors in Jeremy Ritzer’s Advanced Placement Government & Politics class.

The lawsuit stems from a provision in the Affordable Care Act — a requirement for all Americans to enroll in a health insurance plan or pay a penalty.

“Under that mandate, for the first time, Congress is attempting to do something which they’ve never tried before in our country’s history,” McKenna said. “They’re telling Americans that they have to go into the private markets to buy a commercial product — health insurance — with their own money.”

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Campaign season starts as candidates file for election

May 22, 2012

The ballot voters receive in the mailbox by late July is all but certain to contain some familiar names, as elected officials campaign for higher offices and other candidates try another run for elected office.

The period for candidates to enter races up for election on the August and November ballots ended May 18 in a buzz of activity.

Local voters face choices in countywide, legislative, statewide and federal offices.

Voters pick the top two candidates, regardless of party affiliation, Aug. 7 in the all-mail primary election. The top vote recipients then advance to an all-mail general election Nov. 6.

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Online survey benefits Issaquah History Museums

May 22, 2012

Citizens can help the Issaquah History Museums earn a grant by completing a survey online and then forwarding the link to others.

The nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving local history is participating in a program to earn up to a $2,000 grant from Community Forums Network and Dick’s Drive-In Restaurants.

The participating organizations help Community Forums Network gather information. The network then awards grants based on how many people complete the survey and designate a particular organization as a beneficiary.

The survey topic is young adult employment. The survey includes a topic video featuring interviews with state Attorney General Rob McKenna, former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, state Sen. Jim Kastama and state Rep. Cary Condotta.

The survey takes about 15 to 20 minutes to complete. Find the survey at www.communityforumsnetwork.org/take-survey. Incomplete surveys do not count for the beneficiaries.

The museums received $100 last year after encouraging citizens to participate in a previous survey.

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