Peter Callaghan is a columnist at the Tacoma News Tribune in Washington.
People often ask me, "Why can't the Washington State Legislature be more like Congress?"
Three columns, none deserving of full treatment:
It's sometimes called the "real" unemployment rate and it's always the number preferred by out-of-power politicians who use it as proof that the economy isn't as good as the incumbent president or governor says it is.
Everyone knows that if Gov. Jay Inslee really wanted the state Legislature to finish its work quickly — especially passing a two-year budget that boosts funding for public education — he should have brought them back into special session immediately.
Here's something to contemplate during the Legislature's version of spring break: the difficult job of finding $1 billion-plus in additional state money for public schools might be the easy part of meeting the state Supreme Court's mandate in the McCleary decision.
A white tent marked something of a milestone for the long process of expanding the reach of Sound Transit's Link light-rail line in Tacoma. Inside the tent next to the Tacoma Dome station earlier this month, the latest of a series of open houses was hosted by the regional transit agency to let folks comment on plans to grow the line that has been running for 10 years.
In his first three months in office, Gov. Jay Inslee hasn't been especially active in the legislative process. Compared to his predecessor, Chris Gregoire, who was perhaps a bit hyperactive, Inslee has been more hands off. Other than his recent assertive condemnation of a Senate budget proposal, his engagement has been limited.
When he was the director of the Washington State Association of Counties, Gary Lowe was one of my go-to guys for perspective on how things worked in the state Legislature … and why. Lowe was just cynical enough to be realistic about the failings of the process and just idealistic enough to keep trying.
It's No. 51 on the "Jacobsen and Metcalf Laws of Parliamentary Democracy."
Elected officials, especially one as prominent as a governor, tend to accumulate enemies. Booth Gardner, who died Friday night, is the exception to the rule. When he left office after two terms as Washington's 19th governor, his approval-to-disapproval ratio was two-to-one -- robust enough that he probably could have won a third term if he wanted. He didn't, which is also rare for a politician (and explains a bit about why he remained popular).