In 32nd District Town Hall, lawmakers address Boeing tax breaks, oil trains — and take swipe at Liias

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State Sen. Maralyn Chase (D-32nd District) listens as State Rep. Cindy Ryu states her opinion on an issue during the 32nd District Town Hall meeting Saturday at the Shoreline Fire Station.

You can watch our video of the entire 32nd District Town Hall meeting here.

Two Washington State legislators representing the 32nd District — which includes a good chunk of Edmonds, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace as well as the Town of Woodway — held a lively exchange with about 100 constituents gathered for a Town Hall meeting at the Shoreline Fire Department Saturday afternoon.

State Sen. Maralyn Chase and Rep. Cindy Ryu offered their views on pressing legislative matters, including the challenge of trying to balance the state budget while also meeting the State Supreme Court mandate to fully fund basic education.

Ryu also took a jab at State Sen. Marko Liias — a fellow Democrat who represents portions of Edmonds and Lynnwood located in the neighboring 21st District — for his support of SB 5899, which would re-shape the state’s payday loan regulations to allow longer-term borrowing.

“If you know Marko Liias, go slap him up the side of the head,” Ryu said. “What was he thinking? There are all sorts of rumors going on that he is running for higher office, that he got money from the Money Tree folks.”

Ryu went on to say that while she thinks that Liias and other SB 5899 supporters “truly believe it’s good for the people – I don’t.”  During a 21st District Town Hall meeting held Saturday morning in Lynnwood, Liias acknowledged the contentious debate in the Senate regarding SB 5899. Responding to a question from Keith Skore of Faith Action Network, Liias said that his decision to support the bill was based on his conviction that of all the possible approaches, the bill provided the least-cost impact on users of payday loan services.

(You can read more about the payday lending issue in a story by our online news partner The Seattle Times here.)

Other issues addressed by the Chase and Ryu included:

HB 2147, which would impose new conditions on the Boeing Company’s multibillion-dollar tax break: Ryu and Chase both said they support the bill, which requires Boeing to maintain certain job levels to keep the tax breaks the company originally received in 2009 and were extended in 2013. “There is no question” that Boeing is going to move more of its workers out of state, Chase said, and the company is now “a global corporation. They are no longer a Washington corporation.” Chase said she would rather focus on ensuring that community-based businesses are successful, “and not be so dependent on anything Boeing says.”

Ongoing work to improve the safety of coal and oil trains traveling through Puget Sound. Ryu mentioned a bill that would require BNSF to have two additional engineers present on trains carrying these materials, so that they can uncouple cars in case of an accident. “I’m definitely for making sure that they have much more stringent laws and regulations,” Ryu said. Noting the number of oil train accidents reported lately, Chase added: “It’s only a matter of time before we start losing hundreds of people, when they (the trains) come off the tracks.”

Income inequality: Chase started her presentation by declaring that the economic recovery is an illusion to 99 percent of the population, which has seen their income fall by 3.4 percent while the top 1 percent saw income growth of more than 200 percent. Thirty-six percent of children in the Edmonds School District and 26 percent from the Shoreline District come from “families in poverty,” as indicated by their qualification for free or reduced school lunch, she said. “Our tax system is built upon consumers having enough disposable icome in their pokets so they can go shopping and pay sales taxes,” Chase said. “Our people are not makig enough money to be able to go shopping. So our system is broken.”

Raising the minimum wage: While both Ryu and Chase said that they support efforts to raise the minimum wage, Chase said that such an effort is not going to solve the income inequality problem. “People are not being paid enough money to make this tax system work,” Chase said. Even if people made $19.67 an hour — the state’s current median wage — that translates into a maximum of $1,030 a month that can be spent on housing. “That is not enough to sustain a family,” she said.

Several of those attending also told legislators they were worried about the impact of Sound Transit’s light rail extension from Northgate to Lynnwood — with stations planned for Shoreline and Mountlake Terrace — on surrounding neighborhoods, due to increased traffic and housing density. Chase promised that she would start becoming more active regarding that issue as she is concerned about the effects on her neighborhood as well.

18 COMMENTS

  1. I am very disappointed in the lack of true response by our representatives when it comes to the Bakken crude oil trains. Our reps appear to be ignoring the fact that these trains are highly explosive and kill and cause extensive damage. Are they ignoring this fact because they don’t want to do the amount of work that it will require to get these trains stopped? These trains have already exploded and caused much damage and killed and injured people throughout the United States and Canada. Can you imagine what that would do to downtown Edmonds and all along the coastline? There are going to be an increasing amount of these trains going through our community. Add that to the increasing amount of coal trains and that leads to an increasing amount of traffic tie up which will increase problems with ferry schedules and people waiting for those ferries. These Bakken crude oil trains are dangerous and must be stopped before they kill anymore people, destroy homes and businesses. And I want our representatives to take this seriously and do all they can to stop these oil trains. And we must not forget that if one of those trains goes off track going along the water ways – it would be an environmental hazard that could take years to recover.

    • I am confident that our legislators fully understand the potential ramifications of oil trains traveling thru Edmonds. I believe that their likely assessment of the situation is that they can more productively spend their limited amount of time by dealing with issues where they have a better chance of success. The oil trains are going to follow some route; I’d prefer that they not travel thru Edmonds, but this largely comes down to a “not in my back yard” issue.

      • After seeing how much destruction these trains can cause, this is much bigger then ‘not in my back yard’. These trains should not be in anyone’s ‘ back yard’. These trains go right adjacent to both Seattle stadiums; and then under downtown Seattle. It would be catastrophic if one of those trains explodes under downtown Seattle. We are vulnerable to earthquakes and mudslides. The chronic mudslides along Puget Sound could cause big problems for those trains. No this is much bigger then ‘not in my backyard’. Much bigger. I’ve only mentioned local but there are many other just as vulnerable areas throughout the US and Canada.

      • Again, this is an issue of safety……..and pretty much trumps other issues…….There is absolutely no reason this old 100 year old rail line cannot be moved to more stable ground, and the unsafe transfer of Bakken oil be stopped. Citizens have the right to demand their legislators take on this issue as a priority NOW. This is not a nimby issue
        at all, particlarly with all the mudslides and loss of shoreline

        • Thank you Mr. Ryder. Here is the OilTrain Blast Zone map. Just put in an address anywhere in the US and Canada to find out if one of these Bakken crude oil trains are near where you, your friends, your relatives live. I hope this is helpful for anyone that is concerned. http://explosive-crude-by-rail.org

  2. I am so disappointed in State Senator Marko Liias’ support and sponsorship of SB 5899. I have suggested he read the article by Jim Brunner of The Seattle Times outing Moneytree as leading the full-court lobbying press to relax payday lending laws. Then explain to us why he supports people like this.This company profits on the backs of those who struggle from paycheck to paycheck, those who can least afford it.

  3. One need only walk our beaches and particularly north of Bracketts Landing to see the ever increasing small amount of land/shoreline actually holding up these old rail tracks……We were there recently as a double decker car train passed and we are talking a FEW inches to the slight, very small now rock foundation. Anyone can stand there when a train goes by and clearly see this…….Clearly an accident waiting to happen with Bakken oil train (explosion would wipe out a good portion of Edmonds and surely kill many) coal train, double decker, etc…..all trains……and then throw into the mix regular occuring mud slides from Seattle to Everett, the red unsafe zone as noted by Washington state mudslide map last year……..we have seen a small amount of new rail put down recently to contain some of the gravel…….One can see this is hardly a fix at all.

    The citizens should be saying NO to the dangerous Bakken oil. Ms. Massey is absolutely right……..This is not just a local issue and we need to get on board so to speak…….Fixing something after the fact (with the possibilty of many dead and our waters sullied) is
    too late!!

    I noticed our local billionaire Bill Gates playing bridge last week with Mr. Buffett and those other small town folks…….Wonder if they were talking about how to fix this…..hope so……how ’bout our legislators?? ……as being at the top of a dangerous PRIORITY list

  4. Regarding the thirty six percent of children and families living in poverty in Edmonds, a test of great peoples and nations, cities, states is how they take care of their most vulnerable……..that’s what being civilized means

    Recent large sums of taxpayer money spent on projects selected by and for a select few of the very wealthy is a gauge of the failings of our society. Even the small (considered “small” by many recently in reference to certain well known projects) amount of $10,000 can go a long way for a measurement of how we do or do not take care of our most vulnerable, particularly children first. Thirty six percent living in poverty in any community is shameful and EDMONDS is known as being a wealthy community.

    Perhaps the “other Edmonds” as referred to by our current Mayor shows we need new leaderership……all around.

    We need to be a community, above all, that stands up FIRST, not last for its most vulnerable. This is what makes greatness.

    Put your thinking caps on……Who can lead us to this greatness?!

  5. I think it is important to note that we do in fact have several programs and resources for those who are working their way from living in poverty to a more sustainable subsistence.

    Our schools provide meals for those students who need them (of which our tax dollars pay for), we have several programs locally that assist with those who need employment, whether it be Workforce or Worksource, we have a mobile clinic that provides free dental, mental, and medical care to those who are in poverty, and several of our churches and non-profits will often provide sleeping arrangements so if one lands on the street they have options.

    We have safety nets in place for those who need them. The dollars spent in this community are designed to benefit the population at large – not a select few – unless we are talking about the 36% who live in poverty…then one could argue that their tax dollars are only benefiting a select few.

    • I just have to say WOW!………We shouldn’t have ANY children or people in our country hungry or living in cars or on the streets.. One out of five are hungry in the United States, living below twice the poverty level. . This is not the select few………..”Several” programs doesn’t cut the enormity of this.

      All of society benefits when children are healthy, fed and ready to learn. All of society benefits when its most vulnerable are lifted up. These are documented facts.

      The select few here already reap the benefits of being the “select” few!.

  6. Oil pipe lines and regulated storage facilities are much more environmentally friendly than shipping oil by barge, rail, or tank trucks. Just try to get a pipeline approved in WA.

    • I normally don’t reply to nonsensical remarks like yours, and I usually don’t write words like that either or as direct, but seriously, you and anyone can just Google to find just how many oil pipeline leaks there already have been in the US and Canada and how much long term serious damage each of those leaks have caused. They are an environmental hazard. As far as oil tank trucks, oil barges and rail – again – just Google and you will see there are numerous events of explosions and fires with each of these transports. It does appear though that if you do take the time to search these out that transporting Bakken crude oil by rail and by pipeline are both the most dangerous to the public and the most hazardous to the environment. They have already proven they are not safe for anyone or any place.

  7. Tere – I agree. We shouldn’t – but we do. And as one who has taken part in the Point in Time count and works closely on issues that you are raising, I welcome you to my office at any time to discuss the reasons why we always WILL have this issue. It certainly isn’t by design or intent nor is it by oppression by those who have more that we have this issue.

    I was being a bit conservative when I said “several.” We have many services in place to assist those who are in poverty or facing crisis.

    And while I agree with your statement that all of society benefits when children are healthy, fed, and ready to learn – your next statement, “when it’s most vulnerable are lifted up” requires further explanation. Who is doing the lifting? If the individual is continually “rescued” or fed, he or she will expect a handout and be a burden on society. If he or she is taught how to stand on his/her own, in time that individual will no longer be a burden.

    Society benefits to a greater extent when people are empowered to better themselves, not when society coddles and removes incentive to better ones self.

  8. Im not talking about military people who have access to much more counseling, food, housing, medical care, pensions from serving, upfront bonuses monetary bonuses for joining, first take on new jobs in many areas, discounts on buying, etc….than actual homeless people that sleep outside or children that for a myriad of reasons are not getting any help…….The numbers dont lie across our country. It is simply shameful. A lot of people that have simply lost their jobs because of businesses closing and are living in their cars with their children in front of foreclosed homes is shocking. This list goes on

  9. I am reminded of Victorian England and its level of poverty at which time in 1843 Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol…….If I remember correctly his father had been in debtor’s prison…literally…..because they were poor

    …..”Are there no workhouses?”…..”.Are there no prisons?”……..”if they would rather die, do it to reduce the surplus population”…….

    and lastly, “God bless us everyone”

    A simple and classic tale of old, bitter misers…..and written in 1843

  10. Tere…I’m not talking about those who serve our country either. There are ample programs for those who are in poverty regardless of whether they serve or not. And a few of your assumptions are a bit off regarding some of the benefits for serving. But as I’m often reminded, perception is often reality regardless of the facts.

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