Eagle Forum Agenda | February - March 2003

Contents:

Taxpayers Rally in Olympia

Does More Money Guarantee Excellent Education?

The ‘Mother of All Battles’

Oregon Voters Reject Temporary Income Tax Increase

2003 Legislative Update

Gambling: Everybody Loses!

Gov. Gary Locke Marks 30th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

Don’t Judge a State by its Senator, by Alta Bode

Plundering 'for the children' by Michelle Malkin


Taxpayers Rally in Olympia

Cindy Honcoop speaking at rally
Cindy Honcoop speaking at Taxpayers Rally
On a clear, cold day in January the state capital hosted rallies by two groups with two very different messages about the priorities of the state budget. The first, sponsored by Citizens for a Sound Economy and Evergreen Freedom Foundation, drew about 200 supporters favoring lower taxes, fewer regulations and a more limited and accountable government. On the opposite side of the street more than 20,000 people rallied for education. This rally, organized by the Washington Education Association, provided teachers the opportunity to stomp their feet and demand that the Governor and legislators “Keep the Commitment” to spend more money on education despite our state economic crisis.

Speaking for the Taxpayer Rally, Rep. John Ahern, R-Spokane, said the state has been “on a 10-year drunk and it’s time to sober up.”

Bob Williams pointed out that the size of the budget deficit would shrink drastically if Governor Locke would abandon his plans to increase state spending by $235 million. He encouraged state officials to find practical ways to prioritize government spending rather than raise taxes.

Rep. Lois McMahan, a Republican from Gig Harbor, told the group that Washington has “a spending problem, not a revenue problem.”

Cindy Honcoop, speaking at the rally for Washington Eagle Forum said, “Both political parties need to step forward with bold political vision to resolve the state budget crisis without raising taxes. And expanding gambling is not the answer. We must never underestimate the consequences gambling has on our state, our families and our communities. Our message to legislators and to Governor Locke is ‘get your hands out of our pockets and tighten your own belts!’”

 

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Does More Money Guarantee Excellent Education?

Before the state legislature commits additional money for public school education they need to consider the following important facts:

Washington spends $8648 per public school student but most schools only receive $4000 or less per student. Where is the rest of the money going?

There are 150,500 K-12 employees and of them 58,919 are certified classroom teachers. We are the only state with more school employees than certified teachers.

The state legislature has allocated hundreds of millions of dollars for class size reduction. Dividing 1,101,167 public school students by 58,919 certified teachers is equivalent to 18.6 students per classroom yet most teachers have far larger classrooms than that.

Nearly half our general fund budget is allocated for K-12 education. Clearly we are not getting the best value for our money.

Information provided by Evergreen Freedom Foundation

 

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The ‘Mother of All Battles’

Word comes from Washington, D.C. that two Supreme Court vacancies are expected this Spring and leftist organizations are gearing up to unleash “judicial Armageddon” over the president’s nominees.

These same leftist groups have issued marching orders to Senate Democrats: Filibuster the Bush judges. As we go to press it looks like Senator Tom Daschle will oblige, as he threatens to filibuster the vote for Miguel Estrada, a superbly qualified candidate for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Democrats and their allies on the Left are promising a scorched earth campaign on “any nominee who does not affirm… a woman’s right to make her own child bearing choices.”

Phyllis Schlafly has warned, “This is going to be the mother of all battles and we had better be ready.”

What’s at stake? Bush’s judicial legacy will either be judges who respect the Constitution and the intent of the Authors or activist judges with a radical social agenda.

During the presidential campaign Bush liked to say he would nominate judges in the mold of Scalia and Thomas and now is the time to send an urgent message to President Bush that we want constitutionalist, pro-life nominees for any Supreme Court vacancies.

White House Comment Office
202/456-1111

Send a “no filibuster” message to Senators Patty Murray: 202/224-2621 and Maria Cantwell: 202/224-3441

“The central question of this debate is not whether government should decide how much money it will allow us to keep. Rather, it is how much money will we allow the government to spend.” Cal Thomas, on Bush tax cut agenda

 

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Oregon Voters Reject Temporary Income Tax Increase

On January 28, the voters of Oregon turned out in record numbers and defeated 54-46 a measure aimed at increasing their income taxes by 5% over the next three years, to "stave off $310 million in spending cuts." The defeated proposal was supported by a "well-funded, highly organized pro-tax campaign that enjoyed both the support of the state's public employees unions and their echo chamber in the press." In the face of state revenue shortfalls, the legislature had cut $700 million in spending last year. Following the typical bureaucratic strategy, officials this year turned to public safety and other critical programs to make their emergency cuts, forcing the release of prisoners from county jails. The Portland School District reduced its school year by 15 days last year, and is expected to cut another nine days this year.

Wall Street Journal and Eagle Forum

 

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2003 Legislative Update

Because stronger families create stronger communities Washington Eagle Forum supports the creation of family-friendly legislation for the common benefit of society. Currently we are busy tracking and lobbying the following bills in the state legislature:

SB 5252 - This bill requires libraries to provide filters for minors’ access to the internet. We support this bill and ask you to contact your legislators for their support.

HB 1178 - Planned Parenthood is the moving force behind this bill to stop sexual abstinence education in public schools. We oppose this bill and encourage you to contact your legislators to register your strong objection to this bill.

Expanded gambling - Acknowledging that gambling is a cultural cancer in our society we strongly oppose the wrong-headed notion of expanded gambling.

SB 5615 - This pro-life bill requires notification and consent of a parent or guardian before a physician performs an abortion on an unemancipated minor. We support this bill and ask for your help to lobby on behalf of the unborn. You can leave a message for your legislators with the Olympia hotline: 800/562-6000. You can also check these bills and more at www.washingtonvotes.org.

 

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Gambling: Everybody Loses!

A number of Washington State legislators of both political parties have laid their cards on the table, so to speak, by favoring the expansion of gambling as a means to solve our state’s budget problems.

Gambling is a cultural cancer that levies an incalculable social cost to families and communities. It leaves a horrifying wake of divorce, suicide, addiction, deception, domestic violence, homelessness and financial devastation.

The Washington State Council on Problem Gambling, in a 1992 report, cites 93,000 problem gamblers in our state with 49,000 of these classified as pathological gamblers. And consider the cost to our youth? The same report indicates 4,700 adolescents have gambling problems.

Gambling and poverty go hand-in-hand. It is a sad fact that the most vulnerable in society are the most negatively affected by the fallout of gambling.

The American Psychiatric Association qualifies gambling as a mental disorder. Will our legislators sacrifice public good for the public treasury?

The federal government has documented that casinos provide a red carpet for money laundering by terrorists, drug cartels and the mafia.

Las Vegas-style gambling will not bring financial benefit to Washington State because big out-of-state casinos take the money out of our state for their own profit.

Gambling contributes nothing positive to communities. For every $1.00 in tax revenue it costs local government $3.00 in social and criminal costs.

Expanded gambling will create an unfriendly environment for business growth and offers dead-end jobs with no transferable skills.

Gambling is unfair to cities who choose to ban casinos because the regulation of gaming is a prerogative the Legislature reserves for itself and the State Gambling Commission.

Citizens have voted twice to oppose casinos. Ask your legislators to consider the will of the people before they cast their vote.

 

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Gov. Gary Locke Marks 30th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

OLYMPIA – Jan. 22, 2003 – Gov. Gary Locke today marked the 30th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision by calling for even more vigilance in protection of a woman’s right to choose.

“Washington is a strongly pro-choice state,” Locke said. “We have laws in place that assure women’s reproductive rights. We have a long history of passing pro-choice legislation and pro-choice initiatives. We must work hard to guarantee that this critical protection remains strong and intact.”

In its historic 1973 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a woman’s decision whether to continue a pregnancy is a fundamental right alongside other rights such as freedom of speech and religion.
But, during a press conference in Olympia today, a Washington state abortion rights leader said the Bush administration is working to undermine a woman’s right to choose.

“Today, on this 30th anniversary of the Roe decision, never before has a woman’s right to a safe, legal abortion been more threatened,” said Beverly Whipple, chair of Pro-Choice Washington. “We believe in a woman’s right to make her own decision about pregnancy, based on the conditions of her life. We strongly object to government forcing its way into this critical and private decision-making process.”
This is an actual press release from the office of Governor Gary Locke.

 

 

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Don’t Judge a State by its Senator

by Alta Bode

Washington State once again faces the embarrassing spectacle of an elected official siding with the enemy. Senator Patty Murray, speaking to a high school group, praised Osama bin Laden for his altruism in the Middle East. The Vancouver Columbian quoted her as saying, “We’ve got to ask, why is this man [bin Laden] so popular around the world? Why are people so supportive of him in many countries… that are riddled with poverty? He’s been out in these countries for decades, building schools, building roads, building infrastructure, building day care facilities, building health care facilities, and the people are extremely grateful. We haven’t done that. How would they look at us today if we had been there helping them with some of that rather than just being the people who are going to bomb in Iraq and go to Afghanistan?”

Senator Murray’s mindless observations didn’t include the reality that bin Laden’s schools teach hatred of America, his roads facilitate guerillas, and day care centers are empty because mothers are not free to work. She joins the vociferous group of misguided Americans who insist September 11 is the fault of the United States. Apparently the billions we have sent to these lands for food, medicine, and economic aid is not enough.

In typical fashion the mainstream media relished the fall of Republican leader Trent Lott for his implied stupidity but ignored the blatant exhibition of ignorance by a U.S. Senator who told school kids we should be more like the terrorist who masterminded the murder of innocent Americans.

 

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Plundering 'for the children'

by Michelle Malkin

When corporate moguls get nabbed for ripping off shareholders, the media go ape-wild. Last year's front-page headlines were filled with Big Business scandals and barrels of op-ed indignation about capitalist greed. But when teachers' union officials plunder their members' coffers in Enronic proportions, the media go . . . AWOL.

I recently read a nauseating FBI affidavit filed last month in support of search and seizure warrants for three teachers' union officials in Washington, D.C. The accused villains under federal investigation are former Washington Teachers Union President Barbara Bullock, her aide, Gwen Hemphill, and her treasurer, James Baxter.

The union extracts nearly $700 a month per teacher from its 5,500-member group. The Trump-spending trio and several others are suspected of embezzling more than $2 million in member dues dating back to 1995. Here is just one excerpt of the FBI affidavit detailing Bullock's selfless expenditures:

"Among (her) purchases were: a $20,000 mink coat, along with other mink coats that . . . have been stored at Miller Furs in Chevy Chase, Maryland; nearly $500,000 in custom-made clothing from a Baltimore clothing maker known as Van Style . . . more than $9,000 at retailer Bloomingdales; more than $9,000 for clothing and accessories from a Florida vendor known as Body Scentre Limited; more than $11,000 in purchases from a retailer known as Friedman's Shoes in Atlanta, Georgia; more than $5,000 to Galt Brothers Jewelry in Washington, D.C.; more than $5,000 to Graffiti AudioVideo for electronic equipment; more than $12,000 at retailer Hecht Company; more than $3,000 at the Hermes Boutique in Vienna, Virginia . . . "

Wait, there's more:

Bullock spread the wealth to friends and family. According to the FBI agent, her sister received "a two-door, French, hand-painted armoire" from an Alexandria, Va., antiques dealer, Tradition de France. Bullock's driver and errand boy, Leroy Holmes, received checks "totaling in excess of $1,000,000, which he converted to cash to pay himself more than $90,000 per year, plus additional funds to maintain and pay for personal vehicles, and provide cash to others."

Meanwhile, the union's rent, phone bills and health premiums for retired teachers went unpaid.

This is a sickening and all-too-familiar case of education corruption involving the looting of compulsory union dues. Rank-and-file teachers have fought across the country for the right to stop union tyrants from siphoning money from their paychecks for political lobbying and personal aggrandizement. Big Labor's accounting system is a sham. But you won't read about this scandal on the editorial pages of The New York Times.

After all, the looters did it "for the children," right?

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(Another quote that we thought apprpriate to our mission)

“This is our moment to offer Christian hope. On the cross, Jesus won our victory two thousand years ago. And He told us, “As the Father sent me, so I am sending you”—not to hide, but to engage the world.”

Charles Colson

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