@ 34th District Democrats: Complaints filed; endorsement made

From last night’s 34th District Democrats meeting, last one for our area’s largest political organization before the November election:

CHAIR ANNOUNCES COMPLAINTS: 34th DDs chair David Ginsberg warned the group that his monthly report would be different this time around. He used it to announce that the group had become the subject of complaints filed by Glen Morgan, who Ginsberg described as a lawyer trying to “bankrupt progressive causes” via legal action.

“On Thursday afternoon I got word that he had filed a number of complaints against the 34th District.” Ginsberg said they’ve hired lawyers “and we’re going to have to spend money on lawyers that we should be spending electing Democrats.” Ginsberg added, “We’ll be OK,” since they’ve already made contributions to some campaigns, though he’s not recommending any more. “We’re not going to have to face dissolution like some of the legislative-district organizations already have.”

Another 34th Democrats board member said that they’ve hired a lawyer who is handling “hundreds of these complaints” and that they will ask the state Attorney General to sue them because that’s “preferable to Glen Morgan suing us,” and they would be able to settle quickly and move on.

No specifics of the complaints were mentioned at the meeting. We checked the state Public Disclosure Commission’s files and found this complaint by Morgan against the 34th DDs filed Wednesday, alleging three violations constituting “failure to accurately and timely report contributions, expenditures, and debts.” Another search of the PDC site showed this is one of more than three dozen complaints Morgan has filed against various individuals and groups in the past month alone.

Then it was on to the main pre-announced agenda item – a speaker urging support for what’ll be on your ballot for November as King County Proposition 1:

LEVY FOR VETERANS, SENIORS, VULNERABLE POPULATIONS: Leo Flor, while saying he manages the current levy for King County, said he was not at the meeting in an official capacity but rather “here as a West Seattle resident, a Democrat, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, and a person who believes in what this levy does.” Currently, as he explained, the Veterans and Human Services Levy has been in place since 2005, renewed in 2011 with 69 percent voter approval, but now it’s expiring, so County Executive Dow Constantine and the County Council sent a new measure to the ballot, and you’ll be voting on it when your ballot arrives (going out one week from today).

The levy description is here. Flor says it’s the smallest voter-approved levy in King County. For veterans, it provides job training – those who get that increased their annual income an average of $28,000 – to almost $40,000, Flor said. The levy in all “funds 42 different activities across King County.”

Planning the current levy, he said they took a look to assess changing conditions around King County, noting that for example, people are getting older – 25 percent of the population will be over 65 by 2040. “The first members of Generation X are going to start retiring in about 13 years,” for example. Housing affordability, he noted, is a big issue, and yes, he noted the irony of talking about a property tax while also talking about the ability for seniors to stay in their homes. He mentioned the exemption program, for which more than 23,000 people are eligible but haven’t applied. So part of what this levy will do is enable them to go out and find those people. It will also address “social isolation,” which can affect longevity the same way health problems such as smoking do. “It’s just as bad for your health and your life as smoking 13 cigarettes a day.” The issue is ensuring that people feel they belong when they re-enter the community, from military service, incarceration, etc.

*10 cents per $1,000 valuation – “more than the current levy” (double, actually) – $52.80 a year for the median house valued at $528,000
*One-third for veterans and their families, one third for seniors (55+) and their caregivers, one-third for vulnerable populations – LGBTQ, immigrants/refugees, domestic-violence survivors, sexual assault survivors, human-trafficking survivors.
*Half the proceeds in the first year will be “used to promote housing stability”

Also regarding social isolation, “a lot of seniors want to work on their terms … there’s a lot (they) have that they want to give back … experience, perspective, skills …” So the county hopes that work programs will help connect them so they can be earning “a little bit of income” and staying involved.

In Q&A, Flor was asked what happens if the levy doesn’t pass. “The $18 million in services it currently funds will stop.” Another question was from someone who read the plan and wanted clarification about the provision that much of the money goes to homeless senior veterans in the beginning; Flor said that the provision lifts once about 350 of those people are housed, or once the county has spent $24 million in an effort to house them. He was also asked for more details on who’s considered “vulnerable populations” – for example, “are people with developmental disabilities included?” Flor acknowledged that definition had evolved as the proposal was developed – “any person or population inside King County who is acted on by the system in a way that marginalizes them,” in a definition that continues for “about three pages,” he said.

He also sought to debunk the enduring “Freattle” myth, saying that the homeless veterans who are here are largely from this area, and most of those who are homeless here have lost their housing because they lost their job.

He was followed by County Council Chair Joe McDermott, who urged a “yes” vote.

Shortly thereafter, on a show of credentials, the group voted to endorse the levy.

SAFE INJECTION SITES: Also from Council Chair McDermott: After he said that the initiative to ban them has submitted enough signatures to make it onto the ballot, he talked about the counterproposal that County Councilmembers are seeking to also get onto the ballot so a “full range” of dialogue can be had. It would propose a 3-year pilot project for 2 sites. “How do we make sure that people are safe and stay alive until they are able to seek services, able to detox and break their addiction?” he asked. He expets the countermeasure to be taken up by the County Council next week.

TRICK-OR-VOTE: Second vice-chair Michael Taylor-Judd suggested that members go out and doorbell on Halloween “at a time when (residents) are open to people coming to their door.” They’re taking signups for people who are interested – gathering groups for Burien, West Seattle, or Vashon – or, you can do it on your own.

UPCOMING INITIATIVE: Ann Martin told the group that a ranked-choice-voting initiative is going to be circulated. One prime reason it’s needed, she said, was exemplified by the Seattle mayoral primary earlier this year, with 20-plus candidates on the ballot. She said it’ll be “explain(ed) in more detail later,” but first, 31,000 city ballot signatures need to be collected by next March.

The 34th District Democrats meet at 7 pm second Wednesdays most months at The Hall at Fauntleroy; watch 34dems.org for updates between meetings.

10 Replies to "@ 34th District Democrats: Complaints filed; endorsement made"

  • B. Jonssen October 13, 2017 (8:55 am)

    Oh wow Glen Morgan again. 

    A shining example of how NOT to be a decent human being.

  • Jort October 13, 2017 (9:31 am)

    I wonder what it is about the Democratic Party that Glen Morgan is so afraid of? 

    You know what they say about politics: it is the healthy exchange of alternating viewpoints on how to help our society and move it forward. And, of course, the filing of hundreds of frivolous, time-wasting lawsuits because the Democrats hurt your feelings.

    Remember how a liberal activist filed hundreds of lawsuits against local Republican parties in Washington? Oh … … wait ….    

  • Peter October 13, 2017 (10:48 am)

    Their is no lie Republicans won’t tell to discredit Democrats. Dishonest, abusive, and harassing tactics are par for the course for Republicans everywhere. 

  • Rusty October 13, 2017 (11:23 am)

    I’m curious – from the Glen Morgan allegations, it looks like the 34th has been unresponsive and in non-compliance with filing dates and information. Are all of you saying that this is of no consequence, and they shouldn’t have to ‘follow the rules’, or are you arguing that all the allegations (thousands of days delinquent in total) are not valid?

    Serious question, as I have never heard of Glen Morgan prior to this and just followed the links – so got curious about everyone just dismissing his claims. Is it just because he’s on the opposite side, or have you looked into whether the complaints have merit? If Glen was a democrat looking into whatever republican outfit that may be ironically trying to gain a foothold out here, would you be having the same reaction?    

  • Chris October 13, 2017 (3:51 pm)

    Trick or Vote is a terrible idea. Residents are open to children coming to their door for trick or treating. Not an adult who is using the opportunity to trick you into voter contact.

    However, I can see how reverse trick or treating might be an interesting idea. You have to turn it into a gimmick.  “Hi, we’re from the blah blah blah doing some reverse trick or treating to raise awareness about blah blah blah here’s some candy from us.” And hand them lit and a small piece of candy… and then, most importantly, immediately walk away.

    I think that’s probably less of a terrible idea.

  • Don Honda October 13, 2017 (7:48 pm)

    Portugal is held up as the gold standard for “decriminalizing” drugs and not “judging” the addict.  Their programs has some success due to wrap-around services and is mandatory.  Drug dealing is still illegal and dealt with harshly.  Other EU countries tried to emulate the program.  With the 2008 recession, their budgets were slashed for the addicts in program and caused overdoses, increased crime, and increased disease transmission, increased homelessness.  Can you see us having an Injections Site AND wrap-around services?  I don’t believe there will be funding for both.  Why not use any proposed funding and increase needed detox/rehab facilities and sober living environments along with all the needed physical/mental health and social services.  The way I see it, Injections Sites are prolonging the suffering and misery of the addict with the usual end result of death.  Which would be more compassionate?


    “The four pillar approach only works when each pillar is properly funded. Prevention reduces the flow of people into addiction. Treatment reduces the number of addicts including those living in the DTES. Policing keeps a lid on the open drug dealing and the affects of the associated problems on the community. Only after these three pillars are properly funded can we afford to spend money on Harm Reduction initiatives that do not encourage abstinence. Putting HR first is like running up debt on your credit card and never paying more than your minimum payments.”


    A Critical Evaluation of the Effects of Safe Injection Facilities
    Garth Davies, Simon Fraser University

    Conclusion: Taking Causality Seriously
    On the subject of the effects of SIFs, the available research is overwhelmingly positive. Evidence can be found in support of SIFs achieving each of the goals listed at the beginning of the evaluation. In terms of our level of confidence in these studies,the assessment offered here is far less sanguine. In truth,none of the impacts attributed to SIFs can be unambiguously verified. As a result of the methodological and analytical problems identified above, all claims remain open to question.


    Vancouver’s INSITE service and other Supervised injection sites: What has been learned from research?

    Final report of the Expert Advisory Committee


    “At the Vancouver site, the manager said since opening in 2003, the overdose death rate in the area around the clinic has dropped 35 percent. But the clinic also estimates 15 to 20 percent of people using the site come from other parts of the country specifically for it.”

    “Although research appears to bear that out, many of the studies that attest to Insite’s success are small and limited to the years after the center opened. For instance, a 2011 study published in the journal The Lancet found a 35 percent reduction in overdose deaths in the blocks surrounding Insite, versus 9 percent in the rest of Vancouver.

    But that often-cited study looked only at the period two years before and two years after the center opened, not the ensuing decade.”


    “Although Insite is paired with a drug-treatment center, called Onsite, Berner and other critics point out that completion rates are low. Of the 6,500 people who visited Insite last year, 464 were referred to Onsite’s detox center. Of those, 252 finished treatment.”

    The Vancouver Insite was placed in a crime-ridden, drug-ridden, low-income neighborhood. It only got worse.

    “Although the Insite center is a model, the Vancouver neighborhood surrounding it is nothing to emulate, advocates acknowledged.

    “If I came from a city like Seattle and I went to that Insite place, it would scare the hell out of me,” Kral said. “I would think, ‘Are we going to create one of those?’ ””

    Vancouver’s ‘gulag’: Canada’s poorest neighbourhood refuses to get better despite $1M a day in social spending

    What do you think would happen if this was placed in a middle-class neighborhood, or, ANY neighborhood?


    Brian Hutchinson: Finding used drug needles in public spaces has become the new normal for Vancouver


    “Ten years later, despite any lofty claims, for most addicts, InSite’s just another place to get high.”

    The 100% positive studies on Vancouver’s Insite (Safe Injection Facility) was done  “Early last decade, Montaner and Kerr lobbied for an injection site. In 2003, the Chretien Liberals acquiesced, gave the greenlight to B.C.’s Ministry of Health, which, through Vancouver Coastal Health, gave nearly $1.5 million to the BC Centre (that’s Montaner and Kerr, you remember them) to evaluate a three-year injection site trial in Vancouver.

    I asked him about the potential conflict of interest (lobbyists conducting research) and he ended the interview with a warning. “If you took that one step further you’d be accusing me of scientific misconduct, which I would take great offense to. And any allegation of that has been generally met with a letter from my lawyer.”

    Was I being unfair? InSite is a radical experiment, new to North America and paid for by taxpayers. Kerr and company are obligated to explain their methods and defend their philosophy without issuing veiled threats of legal action.”

    In the media, Kerr frequently mentions the “peer review” status of his studies, implying that studies published in medical journals are unassailable. Rubbish. Journals often publish controversial studies to attract readers — publication does not necessarily equal endorsement. The InSite study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, a favourite reference of InSite champions, appeared as a “letter to the editor” sandwiched between a letter about “crush injuries” in earthquakes and another on celiac disease.”

    Really? What kind of “science” produces dozens of studies, within the realm of public health, a notoriously volatile research field, with positive outcomes 100 per cent of the time? Those results should raise the eyebrows of any first-year stats student.”

    And who’s more likely to be swayed by personal bias? InSite opponents, questioning government-sanctioned hard drug abuse? Or Montaner, Kerr and their handful of acolytes who’ve staked their careers on InSite’s survival? From 2003 to 2011, the BC Centre received $2,610,000 from B.C. taxpayers to “study” InSite. How much money have InSite critics received?”

    There has never been an independent analysis of InSite, yet, if you base your knowledge on Vancouver media reports, the case is closed. InSite is a success and should be copied nationwide for the benefit of humanity. Tangential links to declining overdose rates are swallowed whole. Kerr’s claims of reduced “public disorder” in the neighbourhood go unchallenged, despite other mitigating factors such as police activity and community initiative. Journalists note Onsite, the so-called “treatment program” above the injection site, ignoring Onsite’s reputation among neighbourhood residents as a spit-shined flophouse of momentary sobriety.”


      Reducing the Transmission of Blood-Borne Viral Infections & Other Injection Related Infections

         “Self-reports from users of the INSITE service and from users of SIS services in other countries indicate that needle sharing decreases with increased use of SISs. Mathematical modeling, based on assumptions about baseline rates of needle sharing, the risks of HIV transmission and other variables, generated very wide ranging estimates for the number of HIV cases that might have been prevented. The EAC were not convinced that these assumptions were entirely valid.
          SISs do not typically have the capacity to accommodate all, or even most injections that might otherwise take place in public. Several limitations to existing research were identified including:
          Caution should be exercised in using mathematical modelling for assessing cost benefit/effectiveness of INSITE, given that:
            There was limited local data available regarding baseline frequency of injection, frequency of needle sharing and other key variables used in the analysis;
            While some longitudinal studies have been conducted, the results have yet to be published and may never be published given the overlapping design of the cohorts;
            No studies have compared INSITE with other methods that might be used to increase referrals to detoxification and treatment services, such as outreach, enhanced needle exchange service, or drug treatment courts.
        Some user characteristics relevant to understanding their needs and monitoring change have not been reported including details of baseline treatment histories, frequency of injection and frequency of needle sharing.
        User characteristics and reported changes in injection practices are based on self-reports and have not been validated in other ways. More objective evidence of sustained changes in risk behaviours and a comparison or control group study would be needed to confidently state that INSITE and SISs have a significant impact on needle sharing and other risk behaviours outside of the site where the vast majority of drug injections still take place.”

    “It has been estimated that injection drug users inject an average six injections a day of cocaine and four injections a day of heroin. The street costs of this use are estimated at around $100 a day or $35,000 a year. Few injection drug users have sufficient income to pay for the habit out through employment. Some, mainly females get this money through prostitution and others through theft, break-ins and auto theft. If the theft is of property rather than cash, it is estimated that they must steal close to $350,000 in property a year to get $35,000 cash. Still others get the money they need by selling drugs.”


    “In addition, the federal government’s Advisory Committee on Drug Injection Sites report only five per cent of drug addicts use the injection site, three per cent were referred for treatment and there was no indication the crime rate has decreased, as well as no indication of a decrease in AIDS and hepatitis C since the injection site was opened.”

    Massive Price Hike for Lifesaving Opioid Overdose Antidote

    Suddenly in demand, naloxone injector goes from $690 to $4,500

    Should we follow the money?  Who would be profiting bigly from the increased use of naloxone?


    “Setting up free injection sites to deal with the recent spate of drug overdoses does not address the root of the opioid problem, says Ted Brown, executive director of Brampton’s Regeneration Outreach Community.

    Instead, Queen’s Park and other tiers of governments should consider investing resources and dollars toward rehabilitation programs to help those dealing with addiction and mental health issues, said Brown. “

    Supervised injection sites—a view from law enforcement

    Jamie Graham, former chief of Vancouver Police has outlined the successful model of dealing with an epidemic: Support, mandatory treatment, abstinence, and counseling as all part of the solution. My recover(ed)(ing) addict friends say they would agree.

    Iceland knows how to stop teen substance abuse but the rest of the world isn’t listening

    In Iceland, teenage smoking, drinking and drug use have been radically cut in the past 20 years. Emma Young finds out how they did it, and why other countries won’t follow suit.


    “The current campaign reports significant reductions in drug overdoses, yet the Government of British Columbia Selected Vital Statistics and Health Status Indicators show that the number of deaths from drug overdose in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside has increased each year (with one exception) since the site opened in 2003.”


    Pigeon nest of needles highlights Vancouver’s drug problem

    Some graphs about how overdoses in Vancouver, BC have increased:


    One more: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d2f8aa542d4033a1f198a3b0e3e802482a4becf1e45b04e77079e989e5c6460a.jpg

    The “Safe” Injection Movement is sponsored by the Drug Policy Alliance, an advocacy group that works to decriminalize drugs and is funded largely by billionaire George Soros. The group has pushed, thus far unsuccessfully, for similar legislation in New York, Maryland, Massachusetts and Vermont.

    Here’s some examples of their thinking:  


  • Suzanne Krom October 14, 2017 (2:26 am)

    I would be concerned about anyone attempting to bankrupt one side of the other. In Glen Morgan’s case, his goals are pretty obvious (and despicable IMO).  Here’s more information about him  —  http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/politics-government/article169489892.html. . 

    Like you, I had not heard of him before reading this story.

    • Rusty October 15, 2017 (11:07 am)

      So Morgan has filed a lot of complaints (all against democrats), but some have even forced Ferguson to pursue cases – so there’s merit to at least some of them. I think he (and now apparently Smith) are actually doing a service – by forcing the parties to either comply with what appears to be a labyrinth of political finance law, or to get frustrated enough to change it.  I have no issues with anyone (Morgan or Smith from the article) going after each other – if groups aren’t in compliance, they should be – and if it’s too ‘difficult’ to comply with the letter of the law, then they should change it.

  • Question Authority October 16, 2017 (9:57 am)

    How strange this all has become due to the fact the 34th is contributing to the Leftist candidates in the Burien council race.  A “non partisan” race is being influenced by outside political money for what purpose?  Oh that’s right, the 34th wants to bring to Burien it’s “progressive” agenda by buying it’s way on to the council and expecting payback by those members touting the 34th line.  Non partisan election my arse, and those failed policies you brought to Seattle and take no ownership of causing now you want in Burien by buying your way in.  Despicable behavior and all the more reason your Socialist/SJW views need to be held in check.

    • WSB October 16, 2017 (10:05 am)

      Hi, QA! Whether you agree with where contributions are made and by whom or not, neither 34th District legislative organization represents “outside political money” in Burien. Most of Burien is in the 34th Legislative District. (I doublechecked the map on the State Legislature site to be sure something hadn’t changed.) In fact, the group devoted last month’s meeting mostly to Burien issues (Burien’s outside our coverage area and has multiple news publications of its own, so we skipped it), and has long been making Burien endorsements and hearing from candidates (again, not usually mentioned here even if we are covering their meeting) – TR

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