OOBT

1. Taking a baby-with-the-bathwater approach to I-522, the initiative that would require labeling of genetically modified foods, the Olympian argues against the measure, on the grounds that it will only "confuse" consumers by giving them too much information for their own good.

I-522, they write, "would splash a warning label on the front of food packages to suggest consumers have something to fear, when the real intent is to deter genetic engineering in agriculture by making the use of GMOs more complicated and expensive. Confusing consumers is a strategy toward that goal."

The editorial goes on to argue that GMO crops are nutritionally identical to regular crops and haven't been shown to pose any health risk. OK. But that's a straw man. The real reason to oppose GMOs—and as consumers, the most effective opposition is not buying them—is because they require the use of massive amounts of toxic herbicides and pesticides, produce monocultures that, among other ill effects, kill butterflies during their annual migration, and reduce America's agricultural biodiversity. 

2. All those pesticides, incidentally, have a real human cost—as the Washington State Labor Coalition points out in its endorsement of 522, farm workers are on the front line when farmers plant crops that require intensive use of poisons, like "Roundup-Ready" corn, which is designed to resist Monsanto's potent weed-killer Roundup.

"Imagine your boss dumping tons of toxic chemicals on you and your children!," the WSLC's Nicole Grant writes. "I-522 will give consumers the chance to decide against genetically modified organism (GMO) products that require the intensified chemical use."

If you want to find ballot measures that actually are designed to confuse, look no further than this year's gift from Tim Eyman.

3. If you want to find ballot measures that actually are designed to confuse, look no further than this year's gift from Tim Eyman (courtesy of I-960): Five advisory measures on tax "increases" (which include one tax break that expired and three minor shifts in tax assessments).

The measures, which are nonbinding, are limited to 13 words; the secretary of state is explicitly prohibited from providing a full description of the measures, or any pro or con information on them, in the voters' guide. 

The measures, the Seattle Times reports, will cost state taxpayers $130,000 to include on every ballot statewide.

4. Greater Greater Washington took a field trip to Seattle for RailVolution last week, and came away more impressed with our RapidRide bus service than many Seattleites who use the service more frequently, saying the new streamlined buses and routes are, based on ridership gains, "clearly working for more people than the lines [RapidRide] replaced."

However, they did note that RapidRide is "bus rapid transit lite," in the sense that it doesn't have dedicated lanes like real bus rapid transit. 

5. It's come to this: One week before the mayoral election, reporters have so little left to write about that they're resorting to stories about the candidates' unpaid parking tickets. Make that ticket, singular.

The Seattle Times uncovered a $60 ticket mayoral challenger Ed Murray got back in 2008 which Murray, in the article's words, "refused to pay" because, Murray said in a letter at the time, he had "no knowledge" of it and would only have been visiting the campus at the time the ticket was issued in his official capacity as a state senator.

 

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