On Other Blogs Today
On Other Blogs Today: Obamacare, Parking, and Eyman's Legacy
Our daily roundup.
1. The Seattle Times's "Truth Needle" takes a look at ads by supporters of state Sen. Nathan Schlicher (D-26) saying his opponent, Rep. Jan Angel (R-26) sponsored legislation that would reduce or eliminate access to mammograms and other cancer screenings.
They conclude that the Schlicher supporters' claim—that Angel supported a bill that would have repealed state mandates that require insurance companies to provide cancer screenings and mammograms—is "mostly false." Their reasoning: The Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare) will soon replace the state mandates, so it's inaccurate to suggest that Angel opposed state mandates because she wanted to reduce coverage for women. Angel, they imply, just wanted to replace the state mandate with Obamacare.
That claim, in itself, is pretty disingenuous. Not only does the state of Washington currently require more expansive access to mammograms and cancer screenings than Obamacare, Angel joined her party in opposing the ACA—then turned around and used the passage of the ACA as a reason to oppose a state mandate for preventive care for women.
2. Speaking of disingenuous: The Times also reports that U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-5, Spokane) is seeking constituents' comments, via Facebook, on their experiences attempting to sign up for Obamacare via the glitchy healthcare.wa.gov web site. Calling the health care law "unworkable," McMorris Rodgers writes, "Please share your experience with us so we can address your concerns and help give you the protections you need."
(Congressional Republicans are using problems with the web site as fodder for their ongoing efforts to kill health care reform—because no web site in the history of the Internet has ever crashed, and because early technical problems are definitely a good reason to shut down a program that will provide health-care coverage to 30 million uninsured Americans. For a good accounting of GOP efforts to rally public outrage to kill Obamacare, check out this column in the New York Times.)
So far, though, the Seattle Times reports that the comments about Obamacare have been largely positive. The very first comment, in fact, says in part: "I signed up the first week, saving me about $50/month. I'm so glad you were not able to stop this."
"Not exactly what McMorris Rodgers was looking for," the Times writes.
3. Another two-fer, this one on parking. KOMO News reports that drivers are "confused" and "annoyed" by a long-planned cycletrack—a wide, brightly green-painted section on the east side of Broadway dedicated to two-way bike traffic. The (easily confused?) drivers KOMO interviewed aren't sure whether they're allowed to just park smack in the middle of the cycle track (no), and they complain that the signs telling them where they can and can't park aren't clear.
The real reason some drivers are pissed, though, comes out pretty clearly in the second half of KOMO's story: They don't want to give up a single space of parking for cyclists, even if it means those cyclists are safer. "As a motorist, it's very difficult to find parking," one driver says. Welcome to the big city.
Meanwhile, the Atlantic Cities reports on a very different side of parking in Seattle: The bright side! In a piece titled, "How Seattle Transformed Parking Without Spending a Fortune," they praise Seattle's demand-based parking system (which charges different rates in different areas at different times based on demand, with the goal of having one to two empty spaces per block), calling it "evidence that, contrary to popular belief, the point of priced parking is not to squeeze city drivers for every penny."
Although parking rates (and hours) have gone up in some neighborhoods, they've gone down in others.
4. If you're confused about all those "tax advisory votes" on your ballot, you're not alone. Mandated by Tim Eyman's I-960 (which requires a vote on any taxes approved by the legislature), the advisory votes are inscrutable by design: No ballot title, no pro or con statements, and only a cursory description of what the measures are about. Dave Ammons, on Secretary of State Kim Wyman's blog, has a (somewhat sarcastic) primer on the measures, which are nonbinding and basically a waste of time and taxpayer dollars.