Thursday morning's headlines

Jan 6, 2011

Making headlines this morning:

  • Flap Over Govenor's Education Proposal Intensifies
  • Domestic violence victims face system "failures"
  • Governors meet to discuss Columbia River coal-shipping terminal

A state Education Department? Not So Fast, says Dorn. Or...?

The saber rattling from the Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn's office came quickly yesterday, after Gov. Chris Gregoire proposed the elected post should report to a new position. As KPLU's Austin Jenkins reports, Gregoire wants to create a cabinet-level Education Department, appoint its leader, and have the OSPI chief report to them. 

Dorn issued an angry statement, that included these words:

I’ve been a legislator, and every governor I’ve known has wanted more power. They’ve tried to abolish offices. That is not in our Constitution. Ours is direct election by the citizens of this great state.

Publicola, citing a 2008 story in the News Tribune, found that when Dorn was a candidate for OSPI, he appeared favorable to such an idea:

 

"At the time, the Tacoma News Tribune reported:

One interesting revelation from Thursday’s debate between RandyDorn and Terry Bergeson is that Dorn, the challenger, said he would support a constitutional amendment to eliminate the school superintendent as an elected office. Dorn said the top schools job should be appointed, perhaps by the governor. Bergeson, the 12-year-incumbent, said she thinks it should continue to be elected by the voters."

Dorn's statement claims he had received no briefing from the Governor's Office of her proposal, and that some in the media had more information about her plans than he did.

 

Coalition: Systems Failing Domestic Violence Victims

"Failure at every point" in the state's criminal and legal systems plague state and local efforts to curb domestic violence deaths. That's one of the findings of a review into 135 killings over the past 13 years.  The Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence announced 11 recommendations following their review.  

 

According to The Seattle Times:

The report noted that in 24 of the cases, an abuse victim had asked a court for a protection order. But in nearly every case, the victim hadn't received follow-up help from a domestic-violence advocate to create a "safety plan" to protect themselves.

The review found most courts do not have policies in place to connect victims with domestic violence advocates.

Since 1997, there have been 566 domestic violence related killings of women, children and men, with 160 abusers committing suicide.

The News Tribune reports failures were found across agencies:

from the 911 calls to the police response, prosecutors, sentencing and probation. While there were examples of excellent responses by police, prosecutors and courts, they were “not (the) consistent practice,” according to the coalition.

 

Governor Meet Over Coal-Shipping Terminal

In a follow up to a story we brought you earlier this week, Gov. Chris Gregoire met Wednesday with Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer to discuss a proposed coal-shipping facility on the lower Columbia River. Cowlitz County has granted permits for the terminal. Environmental groups are appealing that decision, and the state's Ecology Department has asked to intervene.

Montana's leaders are taking keen interest because the coal would come from the southeast part of their state. The Olympian reports the meeting between the two governors was 'fact finding':

Schweitzer said he’s trying to understand why there’s resistance to exporting coal as opposed to burning it to produce electricity in Montana and then transmitting it to Washington and other states. Gregoire’s position is that she doesn’t want to stand in the way of progress, but wants to make sure the proper environmental and regulatory processes are followed, said spokesman J. Cory Curtis.

A company called Millennium Bulk Logistics would build the shipping terminal west of Longview.