Retabulation 2004, Education, Quote

Retabulation 2004

Mostly overlooked in the state Supreme Court's decision last week, which allowed King County to tally previously uncounted ballots in the gubernatorial cliff-hanger, was a concurring but separate opinion written by Justice Tom Chambers, expressing thoughts "on a broader subject," as he put it: whether the courts should be making any decisions about unsettled elections. "I have observed a recent trend of political interest groups seeking judicial intervention before matters are placed on the ballot, before the people vote, and before election officials have fulfilled their duties to canvass and count the votes," Chambers wrote. "In my view, there is little to commend judicial intervention into the electoral process before the process is complete." Courts, he said, "should be reluctant to issue temporary restraining orders or grant emergency review of election matters before election officials have had sufficient opportunity to fulfill their duties." At the very least, Chambers' opinion hints at the court's displeasure with such cases and might be a signal to anyone planning further challenges to the election outcome. As Chambers wrote: "The Legislature should make the law, the courts should interpret the law, and the executive should execute the law." No crossovers allowed. RICK ANDERSON

Education

For 10 years, the Washington Education Association has maintained a fund that reimburses teachers who buy students much-needed items, like a coat or new pair of shoes. Lately, the statewide teachers union has noticed that many of the receipts coming in for reimbursement are from Wal-Mart. The union is "disturbed" by that, according to president Charles Hasse, who, in last week's edition of the WEA newsletter, cited Wal-Mart's "poverty-level wages and benefits." On Jan. 25, the board overseeing the union fund will vote on whether to stop reimbursing Wal-Mart purchases. Preliminary feedback indicates strong support for doing so. Hasse says he's received some 100 responses to his newsletter column—"more responses than to any I've written in the past." All but two wanted to give Wal-Mart the boot. Doesn't that mean teachers won't be able to buy a new coat for a kid as cheaply? Hasse notes there are price-competitive alternatives to Wal-Mart, Costco being chief among them. (See "Company for the People," Dec. 15.) But Costco's merchandise is variable; you can't count on finding a kid's coat there. Still, Hasse says, union members can find alternatives that aren't at "cross purposes" with its mission of helping kids and families. Wal-Mart's wages aren't the only reason for the move, though. Hasse says union members are steamed at Wal-Mart because John Walton, son of the Wal-Mart founder, was a huge contributor to the most recent campaign for charter schools. Walton dropped more than $1 million to the Approve Referendum 55 campaign. NINA SHAPIRO

Quote

"This isn't a mall or high-rise; it is 10 acres of the strangest place on earth." —Patrick Kerr, who runs Patrick Kerr Pen and Ink, on why just anybody can't be executive director of the Pike Place Market. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Dec. 28)

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