Common Ground podcast: Joel Connelly reflects on politics, government and journalism

We're delighted to have as our guest Joel Connelly, longtime scribe for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Joel regales us with tales from his career in journalism covering politics and environmental issues, plus his earlier days as a volunteer for Eugene McCarthy in the 1968 presidential campaign and staffer for George McGovern in '72. Politics has certainly changed over the years: Joel notes that campaign fundraisers not only used to be open to the press, but they were bipartisan!

Seattle's new job-scheduling mandate: Union recruiting tool?

To the surprise of no one, the Seattle City Council yesterday approved the most restrictive employee-scheduling mandate in the country. Coined "secure scheduling" by the labor groups that backed the effort to pass it, the new law - which goes into effect next July - is far-reaching. As The Seattle Times reports,

Affordable housing in Seattle: a touchy subject

Housing in Seattle proper, and the greater Seattle region, is expensive. And with many more residents expected to settle here in the coming years, people are looking for ways to increase the housing supply. But adding more housing - especially within the City of Seattle itself - is proving to be a highly controversial issue.

Aerospace tax incentives could help lure startup to Seattle

The Puget Sound Business Journal reported earlier this week on some new business that may be coming Washington state's way:

Spike Aerospace, a Boston startup developing an ambitious new supersonic business jet, is talking with Washington state officials and aerospace suppliers about possibly locating its new manufacturing plant in Seattle.

Policy Today podcast: Trade & Washington's Tree Fruit Industry (including apples)

Washington's apple industry alone accounts for 40,000 jobs in this state. Add to apples our state's other tree fruit crops - cherries, pears, peaches and the like - and you've got a major economic driver. In this episode we talk with the president of the Washington State Tree Fruit Association, Jon DeVaney, about the importance of international trade agreements to keeping the sector healthy and competitive. As Jon points out, trade agreements lead to predictable, consistent trade rules for Washington apples, one-third of which are exported overseas.

Previewing tomorrow's McCleary hearing

Tomorrow the state Supreme Court will hear arguments in the McCleary case, after which it will decide whether to continue sanctions on the Legislature. The News Tribune has a preview of what could happen.

Making trade more difficult would harm the economy

Bloomberg View has an interesting pair of stories in which former U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick and economist Tyler Cowen discuss trade, which has gotten a bad rap this election season.

In the first installment, Zoellick notes,

Policy Today podcast: Update on McCleary, K-12 education funding

Today we're catching up on the McCleary court case and state efforts to fully fund public schools. We give an update on the latest filings with the state Supreme Court, as well as the actions of the Legislature's Education Funding Task Force.

Checks and balances are great -- until there are too many of them

San Bernardino, California has been in bankruptcy for four years now. According to a story in Governing Magazine, it's not because of debt or pensions (which tend to be the culprits in other city bankruptcies). Instead, the problem is

San Bernardino’s lengthy and convoluted charter, a document that gives so much authority to so many officials that it’s completely ineffective.

The property tax has a long history (and plays a key role the McCleary case)

In Washington, schools are funded mainly by the property tax (levied at the state and local level). In the McCleary case on school funding, the state Supreme Court said that local levies are not dependable and regular enough to be used for basic education.