Cantwell Watch

A site dedicated to tracking what U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wa) does (or doesn't do) to warrant her reelection, or ouster, in 2006.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Grandstanding to the masses

Staffers from Senators Barbara A. Mikulski, D-MD, Barbara Boxer, D-Ca, Patty Murray, D-Wa, Mary Landrieu, D-LA, Debbie Stabenow, D-MI, Maria Cantwell, D-WA. and Hillary R. Clinton , D-NY prepare to deliver 40,000 "Ask Roberts" questions submitted via the internet to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2005, in Washington. (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)

Sunday, August 28, 2005

More on the Base Realignment and Closure Commission activities

The BRAC has approved the Pentagon's plan to move eight air tankers out of Fairchild Air Force Base. The Pentagon estimates that will also mean a loss of 175 jobs from the Spokane area military facility.

Cantwell apparently disputes those numbers, but also apparently does not see this move as as much of a threat to regional security as removal of 15 fighter jets from Portland.

I'm beginning to wonder why Washington's senior senator, Patty Murray, hasn't taken a more active roll in this matter. Nearly every recent news report quotes Cantwell or some other northwest politician.

He Blogs 4 U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell

Here is a link to a blog by a self-professed independent "moderate" voter based in Sedro Wooley who supports Maria Cantwell, and who thinks she is doing just fine for Washington State, thank you very much:

I Blog 4 U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell.

Panel blocks plan to eliminate Northwest Air Guard

The Seattle Times reports the federal Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC)commission shuffled personnel and aircraft around dozens of units, but did not transfer 15 F-15 fighter jets from the 142nd Fighter Wing patrolling the Northwest's skies from an Oregon Air National Guard base at Portland International Airport to bases in New Jersey and Louisiana, as Defense Secretary Donal Rumsfeld had recommended.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., welcomed the commission's decision: "This was the right call to make. The Pentagon's original plan would have left Northwest skies vulnerable."

So, if this unit is based in Oregon, why is Cantwell crowing? It turns out, while Oregon Senators Smith and Wyden both testified against the transfer, Ms. Cantwell, uh, wrote a letter.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Vancouver Barracks on chopping block

While Maria Cantwell is supporting states who threaten suit over base closures in Washington and elsewhere, she is also entreating Interior Secretary Norton to turn the historic Vancouver Barracks, which currently is the home to the Army Reserve and the Washington National Guard into a
National Park.

So, what's the point?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Cantwell tours Itron, Inc.

Recently, for some reason, Sen. Cantwell and Senator Patty Murray found it necessary to tour the Itron Knowledge Center in Spokane.

Itron, Inc., based in Spokane, but with offices in California, provides facilities for collecting, analyzing, and applying electric, gas, and water usage data. The Itron Knowledge Center occupies a long wall of video screens and graphic representations of arcane procedures, much like a world's fair exhibit.

Perhaps the reason for the tour, besides the HQ in Spokane, is that Itron is going gangbusters on the stock market. Its stock value is more than doubled in the last year.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Cantwell draws opposition from the left

Former Marine Corps Veteran for Peace, Union Member, Surgical Technician, Commercial Fisherman and Small Business Owner Mark Wilson has declared his candidacy for Cantwell's seat.

It will be interesting to see what sort of interest and/or support he generates.

Cantwell blasts Superfund enforcement

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Edmonds) plans to discuss a GAO report she had requested, and which is due out today, during a news conference today in a Ruston yard that was abandoned by an Asarco contractor after last week's bankruptcy filing.

She told the Tacoma News Tribune: "This report confirmed what I feared. Corporate polluters are using bankruptcy and other corporate gimmicks to get out of their environmental cleanup obligations. Corporate polluters are contaminating our backyards and water, and then sticking us with the mess and the cleanup bill. I'm tired of this abuse. ... There’s more this administration could be doing to hold Asarco and other companies like it responsible for the harm they’ve done.”

Well, it turns out the EPA has already moved to take over the abandoned clean up projects.

The EPA Superfund was created in 1980. Cleanup cash came from a special tax on oil and chemical producers and an environmental tax on corporations. But the tax was allowed to lapse in 1995, on Clinton's watch.

At the end of the day, Cantwell is ignoring the fact that the teeth were taken out of the Superfund law when a Democrat was in the Presidency. And the Bush administration has already taken responsibility. Of course, there are the allegedly irresponsible corporations who are bankrupting to avoid the horrendous costs of cleanup. But corporations don't vote, which makes them an easy target.

So, from this observer's perspective, the whole thing is a cheap shot.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Cantwell speaks out for "regional homeland security"

In what is touted as a budgetary move, the Pentagon is proposing to reduce or close down Air National Guard operations in several states. Apparently, if the plan is implemented the nearest fighter jets available to the Pacific Northwest may be as far away as Fresno, Calif.

The libertarian leaning Independent Institute claims: "Rumsfeld is trying to create more of a force that can intervene in third-world hot spots." II warns, "Creating a force that makes it more flexible and easier to intervene overseas means the politicians will be tempted to use it more, thus creating more blowback attacks on the US homeland."

Cantwell is quoted as saying: "This boils down to regional homeland security." The question is: Is she talking about terrorism or jobs?

Cantwell on wind power

In a recent tour through Washington Senator Maria Cantwell stopped in Ellensburg to tour a wind turbine facility. On this, at least, she says she favors local regulatory control as well as federal tax credits for wind power generating systems.