Spin Control: farewell to 2021 and some of its ups and downs

The year started with such high hopes. After all, 2020 was so bad, its replacement had to be better, right?

It was better in some ways but worse in others, that’s about how the years go. But looking back from the perspective of the past 51 weeks, here is Spin Control’s list of 2021 highs and lows:

Politician most likely to miss: Kim Wyman. The longtime former secretary of state resisted pressure and even threats from members of her own party who somehow believed that the 2020 Washington election was rigged to mislead Donald Trump and future Governor Loren Culp over hundreds of thousands of voices; calmly explained why the circus in Arizona was not a forensic audit and was not needed here; and was the only Republican elected in all of Washington state. In October, she accepted a position in the Biden administration to help make national elections safer.

Most calculated political maneuver: Wyman’s departure less than a year after his last term meant Governor Jay Inslee had to appoint a replacement. Unlike local nominations for vacant seats, the party of the outgoing official is unable to name the list of possible replacements. Free to choose anyone, Inslee didn’t just go with a fellow Democrat. He picked State Senator Steve Hobbs, removing from the Senate Transport Committee one of the more moderate members of the caucus and one who has been an obstacle to some of Inslee’s proposals for dealing with climate change.

The biggest rocker: Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who arguably did an about-face on who won last year’s presidential election. She joined a US Supreme Court motion challenging the results of four states and announced that she would vote against the House’s certification of the results to “amplify the voices of millions” who did not trust them. to the process. When some of those associated with those voices stormed the Capitol, the nine-term congresswoman turned and voted to certify. When the House voted to impeach Trump for his role in inciting the riot, she turned around and was the only member of the Washington House to vote no. She has since voted against requests by the special House committee investigating the riot to issue contempt summons to witnesses who refuse to testify. Republicans and Democrats will disagree on which of these flips were flops.

Least ambidextrous maneuver: Governor Inslee turned what is usually a pro forma ceremony, the signing of a bill, into a political mystery when he signed two bills at the same time, one with the right hand and the another from the left. To be fair, the problem started with the Legislature, which loved two broadband expansion bills so much that, while slightly different, they both passed. Because state law says the more recent law takes precedence, signing the two at the same time raised questions about who was in control of who has the power to expand broadband in certain areas. “Unserved areas”. That left it up to Wyman to determine which one was more recent. Upon checking the record, she discovered that one was signed in both the Senate and the House on April 24, but the other was signed in the House on April 24 and in the Senate on April 25, it s ‘was therefore the most recent law and therefore of control.

When trying to beat the stopwatch: The Washington Redistribution Commission. When it embarked on its unique task of redrawing the legislative and congressional boundaries, the committee appeared to have plenty of time, even though the deadline was extended from Jan.1 to Nov.15. But with the slow results of the census data and the creation of time-consuming maps, the really tough decisions have been pushed back to the deadline. For the commission, this meant that the horse trade on the final boundaries of the Legislative District extended into the evening, behind closed doors, and the commission did not vote for the final deal until after midnight on November 16. It sent the job back to the Supreme State. To research.

Close enough for government work: The aforementioned tribunal, deciding that it did not want a coach to become a pumpkin again – and perhaps to stay as far as possible from drawing the boundaries of another branch of government – ruled that the commission’s ‘was substantially consistent’ with her job. and gave the panel the power to complete the job. But the commission will be back in court over complaints it violated the state’s open meetings law during behind-the-scenes negotiations.

The latest legislation to be adopted: Ban on most uses of Native American names or mascots by Washington high school teams. Such use can only be permitted if the school boundary includes tribal land or is in an adjacent county AND the school obtains tribal approval after negotiating and forming a partnership.

LATEST LEGISLATION NEEDED: How long does an emergency last? When COVID-19 began to take hold in 2020 just after the Legislature left town for its short session, Inslee declared an emergency to deal with the pandemic. Some 20 months later, certain emergency rules remain in force. That’s not to say that some of these rules aren’t necessary, but that the deadlines in state law seem designed to deal with emergencies of shorter duration – like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, or fires. forest – than a multi-year pandemic.

The most fragile straw man: Critical theory of race. Originally presented as a way for jurists and lawyers to examine the effects of systemic racism in American society, it has become a catchphrase for some people to describe everything they don’t like about representations of racism or fairness in history, literature or social studies. . Efforts to ban critical race theory from Washington public schools seem to ignore the fact that it’s not something schools teach.

Worst New Trend: Face mask litter box. Whether we support or oppose the requirement to wear a face mask in certain public places, can we not all agree that it is bad, unsightly and unsanitary? to throw the used mask on the sidewalk, parking lot or street after you have removed it?

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About Hector Hedgepeth

Hector Hedgepeth

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