Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Working the Primary--It's a Trust Thang

I've been hired to work as a polling site supervisor for the upcoming Feburary 19th primary election. To get the job I simply called the King County Records & Elections office. That's it.

The woman I spoke to said they were desperate for workers, so if you're looking for some temp work this is a good gig. I'll earn about $400 for attending a one-day traning session and working the day of the election.

As a site supervisor, prior to the election I am given a key to the site and I have free access to ballots, equipment and supplies. I also transport the ballots post-election to the counting center (I get to pick a poll worker from the "opposite" party to come with me while transporting ballots, but if there isn't an actual "opposite" available, I can simply designate somebody.)

While I deeply appreciate this opportunity, and I need the money, I am really bothered that our elections are still run primarily on trust. I care deeply about the sanctity of the vote, and it seems inconceivable to me that I can be hired as a site supervisor and be given such free rein simply by making a single phone call asking for a temp job.

Realistically, if the votes from just one small polling site were tampered with it probably wouldn't make a damn bit of difference in the outcome of our elections. But what if it did? Or what if one political party gamed the system by signing up party loyalists en masse to work at several polling places? Or what if a computer hacker gained remote access to the system via work at a polling place? I imagine that King County has instituted double-checks of some sort (especially given the fallout from the razor-thin election victory of Gov. Gregoire over Dino Rossi in the last general election), but still, what if the double-checks can be circumvented at the polling site?

WA Lawmaker Moves to Ban Plastic Bags!


I strongly support Rep. Chase's proposed legislation to ban the flimsy bags!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

If China Can Ban Flimsy Plastic Bags--Can We?

China passed a new law taking effect in June that will ban the sale of flimsy plastic bags, and will impose a fee for using the thicker plastic bags that would still be available to shoppers and merchants.

In an article highlighting China's new law by AP writer Christopher Bodeen, (;_ylt=ApMabP1VVqSbu4gxYSY7kIys0NUE), he reviewed the status of other worldwide efforts to ban the bags:

Internationally, legislation to discourage plastic bag use has been passed in parts of South Africa, Ireland and Taiwan, where authorities either tax shoppers who use them or impose fees on companies that distribute them. Bangladesh already bans them, as do at least 30 remote Alaskan villages.

Last year, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to ban petroleum-based plastic bags in large grocery stores. In France, supermarket chains have begun shying away from giving away plastic bags and German stores must pay a recycling fee if they wish to offer them. Ireland's surcharge on bags imposed in 2003 has been credited with sharply reducing demand.

ECS has a question--when is "green" Seattle going to address banning the bags?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Eternal Sunshine--Green Plug

As a dedicated Northwest denizen I will freely admit that I enjoy our cool, rainy weather and cloudy days, but lately I've been feeling "off." I've got a raging case of "Northwest blahs"--feeling like I will Just Go Bonkers if I don't get more sunlight.

It's just too damn dark around here. I've been contemplating taking a trip to the Southwestern United States, or Florida, or Hawaii, anywhere I can be in bright sunshine. But trips are expensive, and the benefits of brief sunshine-basking are short-lived. What to do?

A fantastic green product--Solatubes--offers a permanent solution to the Northwest blahs.

Solatubes are highly-reflective, insulated, UV-coated, sealed pipes installed through a roof. Available sunlight is magnified and projected indoors in a diffuse pattern, providing indoor "sunshine plus" on cloudy days. Because of Solatube's unique design, on bright sunny days, Solatubes actually baffle and moderate "excess" sunlight.

While there are similar knock-off products on the market Solatubes is by far the best. Northwest Natural Lighting is the distributor for Solatubes in the Puget Sound region

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Latest Wash State Attorney Disciplinary Actions

William Knowles has finally been disbarred. Per the latest Washington State Bar News:

In or about June or July 2004, Mr. Knowles engaged in sexually related communications over the Internet with someone he believed to be a 14-year-old girl from Portland, Oregon. Mr. Knowles arranged over the Internet to meet with this individual for the purposes of engaging in sexual activity and traveled from Seattle to Portland for this encounter. Unbeknownst to him, the person with whom he had been communicating was an FBI agent, not a 14-year-old girl. In July 2004, Mr. Knowles was arrested in Portland at the location where the meeting had been arranged.
For descriptions of publicly available attorney disciplinary actions (yes--there are disciplinary actions that aren't disclosed to the public) go to

About the Name

Greetings to all! This is my first blog.

Emerald City Scion, is a collection of musings, opinions, critiques, essays, interesting tidbits and (hopefully) investigative work.

"Emerald City" refers to Seattle, Washington, where I live. A "scion" per the Encyclopedia Britannica is:

. . . the act of placing a portion of one plant (called a bud or scion) into or on a stem, root, or branch of another (called the stock) in such a way that a union forms and the partners continue to grow.

So, this blog, Emerald City Scion, is a grafting of my work here to the larger body of web-based writing and journalism.

Nuff said!