Monday, May 30, 2011

Cherry Point Coal Terminal

In a letter to the editor of the Action News, Richard Austin questions RE Sources for Sustainable Communities  sponsorship of Bill McKibben presentation Tuesday in Fairhaven. The presentation was announced in the  Skagit Democrats Action Newsletter last week.   According to Richard: 
"The announcement about Bill McKibben contains opinions trying to pass as fact.  People have been working on perfecting the Cherry Point project for years. They are taking great pains to insure there will be no environmental degradation.  In my opinion, RE Sources is pursuing a position that is not consistent with facts. The organization is resorting to emotional hooks rather than honoring proven actualities.  Thousands of jobs would be created constructing the facility (the area was approved for such an undertaking years ago).  Hundreds of new, permanent jobs would be produced.  The state and the county would receive millions of dollars of tax revenues.  Currently, the coal is being railed through Washington into British Columbia.  The coal is going to China. That will continue with or without the Cherry Point project.  Why should we forgo those good-paying jobs?  Let’s keep them in the U.S.
The Northwest Washington Central Labor Council, and Jobs with Justice, and other worker-centered organizations have endorsed the project.  Members of those organizations are environmentalists by nature. They also need jobs."

Richard Austin also asked why the discussion is being advertised in our Newsletter.  I published the McKibben event because the Skagit Democrats Sustainability and Environment Committee has been asked to look into the Cherry Point coal terminal issue and how it will affect our community.  Committee Chairman Steve Crider felt the event “will be our best opportunity to educate ourselves about the issue and who is engaged on various sides.”  However,  since the Skagit Democrats have not taken an official position on this issue McKibben’s presentation should have been and will be listed under Community Events rather the Democratic Events.  Thanks go to Richard Austin for pointing this out.   I began to edit the action news this winter - so I have just begun to publish the discussions about Cherry Point.  The Whatcom County Democrats have a summary of the approval process for the Cherry Point facility on their website.   Another description of the jobs vs the environment debate was published this year by Floyd McKay

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Congressman Rick Larsen visits Stanwood Democrats

Saturday morning, May 14th Representative Rick Larsen of WA 2nd Congressional District made a special appearance at the Stanwood Democrats monthly meeting at the Viking Restaurant.  Among others, Stanwood Democrats  listened to Representative Larsen’s visions for the future of our country and the Democratic Party.

Larsen reinforced WA 1st District Congressman’s Jay Inslee’s fervent claims last week at the Skagit Dems Gala.  Both WA Congressmen believe that clean energy along with modernized infrastructure and  manufacturing will again make our country competitive in the World market.  Larsen worked for over a decade to create jobs in Western WA by helping the Intalco Alcoa plant in Ferndale reopen with reduced energy rates. 

When asked by a Stanwood Democrat about the Apollo Alliance Project  award this week of $2.02 billion for high speed rail,  Congressman Larsen endorsed the Project as 
a source of Job creation and much needed public transportation

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Skagit Democrats Gala

Last Saturday 220 Skagit County Democrats packed the the Cotton Tree Convention Center  singing the Pete Seger classic "If I Had a Hammer" accompanied by a smooth Jazz trio - violin, guitar and keyboard.  About a dozen local chapters of various national and local labor unions were represented at the Gala as well as the Swinomish Tribal Community and our Latino Outreach Committee.

The dinner featured local produce which was exceptionally fresh and flavorful.  Never knew red potatoes could be so good.  A delicately dressed curly kale salad was unique and just the right accent for the beef noodle and chicken main courses. 

After the silent auction and dinner,  Chairman David Goehring introduced King County Councilman Bob Ferguson (pictured right) , who is actively campaigning to succeed Republican Rob McKenna as Attorney General of Washington State. 

To hearty cheers at the Gala, Ferguson promised that if elected he would withdraw WA from the Republican lawsuit A.G. McKenna joined against President Obama’s new health-care legislation. 

The Keynote Speaker was US Congressman Jay Inslee's (below left) , who represents WA 1st Congressional District.  Inslee now serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee because he believes a clean energy economy can create jobs.  As one example Jay cited the Stimulus money spent on lithium ion batteries.  These high tech batteries will be manufactured in Holland MI and employ laid off auto workers.  Jay has worked to get funding for this and other clean energy technology projects in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  According to Jay: “It is real clear that there is going to be a huge market for clean energy. We want to make sure that those jobs and those products are created in America. Now, if we do what Darrell [Issa]wants to do, which is to not act for another 10 or 20 years, China is going to eat our lunch. Good jobs are going to go to China.”  (Darrell Issa is a California Republican Congressman in control of the US House Oversight Committee.  As Chairman Darrell Issa has chosen to work closely with the oil industry).   Congressman Jay Inslee reports that the GOP members of congress have not passed one bill that will create jobs.