Refreshed at 5:29 AM Pacific on Saturday, April 25th, 2015

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In Brief

Aside

Computer glitch takes down Starbucks' point-of-sale systems, costing the company millions

Computer glitch takes down Starbucks’ point-of-sale systems, costing the company millions

A failed “system refresh” took down Starbucks’ point-of-sale systems this afternoon, leaving baristas unable to ring up sales. Lucky customers walked away with free drinks and cups of coffee, while the unlucky Starbucks IT department tried to figure out what went wrong. Many Starbucks stores ended up closing early.

# Permalink (Friday, April 24, 2015)

Aside

Seattle Times readers knock Richard Davis' idea to eliminate statewide elected offices

In Tuesday’s Seattle Times, prolific establishment business writer Richard S. Davis had a column suggesting we ought to do away with statewide elected offices like the Superintendent of Public Instruction of the state Treasurer.

“We elect too many statewide officials,” Davis begins, going on to declare, “As I’ve written before, this structural albatross reduces accountability, frustrates effective coordination within the bureaucracy and makes state government less responsive.”

Where’s the evidence for that conclusion? Davis doesn’t offer any. The most he does is suggest that a recent tax reform proposal by Treasurer McIntire and Superintendent Dorn, which Governor Jay Inslee doesn’t support, is “unproductive”.

Davis thinks it’s a problem “to have statewide elected officials lobbying each other, the Legislature and the public in pursuit of their policy goals.”

But amusingly, by the end of his column, Davis concedes that it would make sense to keep the attorney general, secretary of state, auditor, and treasurer as independently elected positions. That’s four of the nine.

And the lieutenant governor would still be elected too, just with the governor as part of a ticket. (We do agree that would make a lot of sense). That’s five and six!

So Davis is really only for eliminating the positions of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Commissioner of Public Lands, and Insurance Commissioner.

Those positions are all defined in our Constitution. Our founders thought they should be independently elected. They deliberately chose to construct an executive department that consisted of individuals elected independently of the governor. (At the federal level, the President and Vice President are the only elected officials; everyone else in the executive branch is an appointee or in the civil service.)

Seattle Times readers didn’t have many good things to say about Davis’ column.

“If we wanted efficiency, we could just elect a king for four years who could take the place of the Executive, Legislature, and Judiciary.  Wouldn’t that be a efficient?,”  retorted a commenter calling him or herself Drunk Fan. “Accountability would definitely follow authority and guarantee all laws and policies would agree.”

“Hmmm – seems his answer to an ill-informed apathetic public is to cater to them with more appointees and more centralized power,” said commenter Bottom Feeder.
“Doesn’t sound like a good idea to me. Speaking of ill-informed, he’s forgotten about the Supreme Court [justices] being elected statewide.”

“Well, I confess that I am confused,” wrote commenter Eastward.

“There is apparently a thesis that state government is inefficient or ineffective, and the way to cure this is to curtail the number of elected officials.”

“Did I read this correctly? We are not talking about eliminating jobs, or combining functions, or privatizing certain tasks. We simply want fewer people elected so that voters don’t have to choose, say, an auditor.”

“Now, that does not strike me as giving accountability for inefficiency or even corruption. It simply makes it easier to elect a single administrator, like a Dino Rossi, and have him appoint a bunch of folks that think like him.”

“What’s left off the ballot that makes you say they take up to much space? asked commenter RBTom. “Having appointed officials is what reduces accountability. Having appointed officials unable to act because their boss has other priorities is what makes government less responsive.”

“And exactly what’s wrong with having elected officials offer solutions to the state’s worst problem (the 2nd most regressive tax structure in the country)? You should thank them for trying to move the state forward.”

“There is one official elected to look exclusively after the interests of schoolchildren in this state,” noted Acadian04. “It would be unfortunate if that official had to subsume those interests to the broader policy agenda of the Governor.”

# Permalink (Friday, April 24, 2015)

Permanent Defense

Washington State Democratic Party joins coalition opposing Tim Eyman’s I-1366

Some very good news to share: This weekend in Pasco, the Washington State Democratic Party took a position strongly opposing Tim Eyman’s I-1366, following in the footsteps of the King County Democrats and several local Democratic organizations. A re… (read more)

Statement on Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen’s ruling upholding majority rule

Responding to a point of order from Senator Steve Hobbs of Snohomish County, Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen today ruled in his capacity as President of the Washington State Senate that a rule previously adopted by Senate Republicans that requires two-third… (read more)

Thirteen Years: Statement from the Founder

Today and throughout this month, Permanent Defense celebrates its thirteenth anniversary, marking one hundred and fifty-six months of continuous operation. Since going live on February 15th, 2002, PD has steadfastly provided the Union’s Forty-Second… (read more)

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PNW Topic Hotlist

The PNW Topic Hotlist curates blog posts from local blogs based on current events. Posts categorized under topics of the moment are shown below.

  • Randi Goes to Pearson Shareholders’ Mee....
    (Diane Ravitch's blog) — Randi Weingarten is on her way to speak at the Network for Public Education’s second annual conference in Chicago this weekend. But she detoured t....
  • Mr. President: The More You Attack Us, T....
    (Mike Lux) — The stories about the President and his aides escalating the fight with progressives over Fast Track and TPP are getting me worked....
  • The Unrealized Promise of MOOCS
    (Diane Ravitch's blog) — MOOCs are Massive Open Onliine Courses. Many see them as the grand destiny for higher education, opening access for all at a low price. Some courses are....
  • Fairtest: Computerized Testing Systems H....
    (Diane Ravitch's blog) — Bob Schaeffer of Fairtest has kept track of computerized testing systems. They have failed in seven states:  Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, Montana, Neva....
  • New CPS Leader Suspends $20.5 Million Co....
    (Diane Ravitch's blog) — Jesse Ruiz, the acting superintendent of Chicago public schools, suspended the controversial $20.5 million no-bid contract to SUPES Academy. Superintend....
  • NY Times: Should Students “Sit and Stare....
    (Diane Ravitch's blog) — The New York Times has written another article about the historic Opt Out movement in New York. Thus far, we know that 150,000-200,000 students opted ou....
  • Mercedes Schneider Reviews 20 Amendments....
    (Diane Ravitch's blog) — Mercedes Schneider continues her slog through the turgid legislative language in the reauthorization of ESEA/NCLB. It matters because the revision of th....
  • Heidi Hayes Jacobs: Don’t Just Sit on Yo....
    (Diane Ravitch's blog) — Heidi Hayes Jacobs has surmised that this is an ominous situation. Before you go into a paroxysm of laughter, remember that life is ephemeral. If you wo....
  • No Juniors Show Up to Take Common Core T....
    (Diane Ravitch's blog) — The Opt Out movement continues to grow. In Seattle, not a single junior showed up to take the Smarter Balanced Assessment at Nathan Hale High School. Ea....
  • Peter Greene Deconstructs Arne Duncan’s ....
    (Diane Ravitch's blog) — Peter Greene watched a video of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan testifying before a Senate committee about the budget. Watch what happens when a Sena....

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