Tag Archives: Washington State

School teacher compares student’s ‘Build the Wall’ shirt to a swastika

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The “offensive” t-shirt Jack wore to school

From Tri-City Herald: A Kennewick middle school teacher landed in hot water when she pulled aside a student wearing a “Build the Wall” shirt. The language arts teacher at Chinook Middle School compared the shirt’s message with wearing a swastika.

Now, the young teen’s mother is hoping her son’s experience shines a light on political bullying. “It does happen,” said Michelle Fischer. “I think (politics) should be taught in our schools, but only in a two-sided positive way.”

Fischer posted her outrage over the teacher’s handling of the issue on Facebook and the story went viral. Conservative talk show host Sean Hannity shared her story to his 2.8 million followers, contributing to more than 100 comments on Fischer’s original post.

Fischer said she hoped her seventh-grade son’s experience makes it easier for other children to talk about feeling bullied for their political views.

Her son Jack told her that the teacher had appeared opposed to Donald Trump since the beginning of the school year, including the way she’d handled discussions of the presidential election and candidates in class.

Jack had worn other pro-Trump shirts to school but it wasn’t until he wore the “Build the Wall” shirt on Inauguration Day that the teacher pulled him aside. “She asked, ‘How would you feel if someone wore a T-shirt with a swastika on it?’ ” Fischer told the Tri-City Herald. “He said, ‘You can’t compare my shirt to wearing a swastika. They aren’t the same thing.’ ”

Fischer said the teacher asked Jack to stay in her class during lunch to talk about the shirt. Kennewick School District officials said the boy wasn’t forced to stay in the classroom during lunch as some social media reports said.

During the lunchtime conversation, the teacher reportedly told Jack it wasn’t appropriate to wear clothing with a political message. Jack noted that he’d seen a math teacher wearing a shirt with Barack Obama on it.

After school, when Jack shared what happened with his mother, she was upset and posted her concerns on Facebook with a picture of her him wearing the shirt along with a message that his teacher “compared my shirt to wearing a swastika.”

Later, Fischer spoke with Chinook’s Principal Kevin Pierce, and was told there wasn’t anything wrong with the shirt.

“My goal is not to get this teacher into trouble,” Fischer said. “I made it clear to him. She’s a nice person. I just haven’t agreed with the way she’s taught the class.”

On Friday, school district officials said in a statement that Pierce investigated the incident and took appropriate action. Details were not released because it’s a personnel issue.

The district said students expressing themselves is an important part of education in a democratic society. District policy allows them to express their opinions as long as it doesn’t disrupt the education of others.

“I think most parents would agree with me,” Fischer said. “If this was the other way around, I guarantee there would be some parents that were pretty upset.”

DCG

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Washington state sues Trump over immigration order

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AG Bob Ferguson

The state where mayors proudly continue to remain sanctuary safe havens for illegal aliens unlawfully in this country is all of a sudden concerned about harming Washington residents? Tell that to the family of Jill Sundberg.

From MSN: Washington state’s attorney general says he is suing President Donald Trump over an executive order that suspended immigration from seven countries with majority-Muslim populations and sparked nationwide protests.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced his lawsuit Monday, becoming the first state attorney general to announce a legal action against the Trump administration over one of its policies.

Trump signed an executive order Friday that suspends all immigration for citizens of the seven countries for 90 days.

Ferguson was one of 16 state attorneys general who released a statement Sunday calling Trump’s immigration action “un-American and unlawful.”

Trump’s order sparked large protests around the country over the weekend. Trump has repeatedly said that the move is aimed at protecting the nation against extremists looking to attack Americans and American interests.

According to MyNorthwest.com, the complaint says that the president’s actions are “separating Washington families, harming thousands of Washington residents, damaging Washington’s economy, hurting Washington-based companies, and undermining Washington’s sovereign interest in remaining a welcoming place for immigrants and refugees.”

DCG

Five illegal aliens arrested for the December execution of Jill Sundberg in Washington state

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Jill Sundberg: Murdered by illegal aliens

From NBC (George, Washington): Arrests have been made in connection with the shooting death of Jill Marie Sundberg, age 31, whose body was found 1.5 miles west of Silica Road around 12:25 p.m. on December 22nd, 2016.

A team consisting of Grant County Sheriff’s Office Detectives/Deputies, Interagency Narcotics Enforcement (INET) Detectives, U.S. Marshalls, all worked together during the investigation and subsequent arrest of:

  • Gustavo Tapia Rodriguez, and alleged shooter, age 39, charged with murder in the first degree and kidnapping in the first degree;
  • Ambrosio Mendez Villanueva, age 25, charged with murder in the first degree and kidnapping in the first degree;
  • Julio Mendez Villanueva, age 25, charged with murder in the first degree and kidnapping in the first degree;
  • Fernando Marcos Gutierrez, age 33, been charged with being a material witness along with immigration charges;
  • Salvador Espinoz a Gomez, age 24, charged with being a material witness, and possession of a firearm, drug charges, as well as immigration charges.

According to multiple witness accounts, the victim, Jill Sundberg, was in an argument with the alleged shooter, Gustavo Tapia Rodriguez, at the Shady Tree RV Park, on the evening in question. Shortly after the argument, she was reportedly taken against her will to the location where her body was later discovered. She was reportedly shot 13 times by the alleged shooter.

Sheriff Tom Jones said, “This was an immense collaborative effort between responding agencies. Our sincerest thanks to all and continued prayers to the Sundberg family for their senseless loss.”

More on this story:

Sundberg’s body was found just days before Christmas along Old Vantage Highway, and this week deputies arrested five people for her murder. Now her sister, Robbi Sundberg Rubio, is speaking about Jill’s death for the first time.

She says hearing about the arrests was tough, but it was the best possible thing they could have heard. “I mean I know it doesn’t bring her back,” said Rubio, “[but they’re] not out on the streets anymore.”

Deputies say Sundberg was kidnapped and shot 13 times after getting into an argument with one of her killers. Her sister says their family is especially grateful to the deputies for their hard work capturing the men responsible.

Other details surrounding the murder of Sundberg are still under investigation as her family continues to search for justice.

Grant County Chief Deputy Ryan Rectenwald verified the killers were illegal aliens. He called it an execution-style murder. Here him discuss this story here.

DCG

Unsecured firearm law in Washington state would hold gun owners accountable

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Author of this bill, democrat senator Guy Palumbo

From MyNorthwest.com: The deadly shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School. The mass shooting at the Cascade Mall. The accidental shooting of an 8-year-old Bremerton girl at the hands of her 9-year-old classmate. All of these tragedies were the result of people getting their hands on an unsecured firearm. (One could argue that many shooting tragedies were the result of criminals pulling the trigger.)

But Washington state doesn’t have a law to punish gun owners whose weapons get in the hands of the wrong people.

Democratic state Senator Guy Palumbo is trying to change that. Palumbo introduced a bill that would make unsafe storage of a gun a crime. “It’s basically to keep the guns we do have out of the hands of dangerous people,” he said.

As the bill is currently written, a gun owner would either get a misdemeanor or felony — depending on how the gun was used — if their unsecured firearm was used illegally by someone.

You can never guarantee those wouldn’t happen — those tragedies — but certainly in those cases, this all would have had ramifications for the people’s whose guns were used in those tragedies.”

Palumbo, a gun owner himself, says it is just “common sense” to lock up firearms. “I’m a gun owner, but it’s unfair to keep them unlocked,” he said.

He admits he is not sure how well the bill will do. “It will be interesting to see if we get a hearing on it or if it passes or gets to the floor, but we’re going to keep fighting for things like this…”

A companion bill is being introduced in the House. The measures were inspired by successful policies in more than two dozen other states. The legislation would also require firearms dealers to offer gun buyers a lock box or gun lock at the time of sale, as well as post signs about the new law.

“This bill is about accountability,” Palumbo said. “So many of the tragic shootings we have seen lately could have been prevented if the gun owner had simply taken the time to store the weapon properly. As a result of this legislation, I hope we’ll start seeing more news reports about people fulfilling their potential and less about lives being cut short.”

DCG

Mukilteo shooter: ‘I wish they never sold me a firearm’

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What a coincidence the timing of the criminal’s statement: This will give ammunition to the Washington state attorney general, Bob Ferguson, who is trying to push an “assault” weapons ban through legislation. How convenient to have this talking point for an anti-gun agenda.

From MyNorthwest.com: The convicted murderer in a tragic Mukilteo (Washington) shooting last year was granted his right to make a statement before his sentencing Thursday. He used the time to say that the access to a gun was a factor in his crime.

“I will never speak to the public again, I forfeited that right,” Allen Ivanov told the courtroom Thursday. “But I would like everyone to hear loud and clear that it was the ease of acquiring a gun that enabled me to act on my emotion. I don’t mean to absolve myself of guilt or dodge responsibility, but I know for a fact that given the feverish state I was in, I never could have done this with my hands. I wish they never sold me a firearm. And I wish I was never legally allowed to buy one.”

Ivanov, 20, shot and killed three people, and wounded a fourth on July 30, 2016 — shortly after purchasing an AR-15 rifle. He was angry over his ex-girlfriend Anna Bui, and how she had moved on with her life after their breakup. Ivanov shot and killed Bui, Jake Long, Jordan Ebner — all 19 years old — at a small party at a Mukilteo home. Will Kramer was shot and wounded during the incident.

Saying that “life is precious” and that he was “hopeless, suicidal and outraged” on the day of the Mukilteo shooting, Ivanov provided additional details about what happened on the tragic day. He reportedly read the user’s manual for the AR-15 in the car before he used it to take the three teenagers’ lives. In court, he said he waited for hours outside the home before the shooting.

Ivanov said he pulled the trigger in a moment of shock and that “Satan was in control.” Since the murders, he said he has cried his eyes out every day and that his ex-girlfriend, Bui, visits him and talks to him in his dreams.

“I have ruined my life,” Ivanov said in court. “I have caused my family a lifetime of sadness and loss. I have ended all my friendships.”

“Even though I can’t put myself in any of your places, I do have an idea of how awful my actions were and the damage I have caused,” he said to the victims’ families. “A damage which cannot be undone. I want to apologize wholeheartedly for all those whose lives I have taken — Hannah, Jordan and Jake — and all of you whose lives have been so darkened by my actions, parents, relatives, friends as well as Will and his loved ones. I understand this has been a nightmare for all of you. It certainly has been for me.

DCG

AG Bob Ferguson unveils assault-weapons ban for Washington — and a backup plan

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AG Ferguson working hard to protect your Second Amendment rights…

I’m so glad I now reside in Oklahoma instead of Washington state!

From Seattle Times: Attorney General Bob Ferguson proposed legislation on Monday that would ban the sale of assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines in Washington.

Recognizing the political difficulty of such a bill, Ferguson, who announced in September that he would seek an assault-weapons ban, also released an alternative on Monday: a bill that would keep assault-style weapons legal, but would make them more difficult to buy, by raising the minimum age to legally own such a firearm and requiring them to be licensed, similar to a concealed-weapons license.

The draft bill Ferguson released Monday, the first day of the 2017 Legislature, would ban semi-automatic rifles that have a detachable magazine and a pistol grip beneath the barrel. It would also ban magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition and semi-automatic pistols with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

Ferguson, a Democrat who easily won re-election in November, said the definitions of “assault weapon” used in his bill are similar to those used in laws in New York and Connecticut that withstood legal challenges. The ban would apply only to sales of such weapons, grandfathering in currently owned guns.

A second bill from Ferguson would not ban such weapons but would require them to be licensed. To get a license, a person would have to be at least 21 (rather than 18), would have to complete a gun-safety class and could not have been convicted of a felony. To buy an assault weapon, a person would need a license, an additional in-depth background check and be subject to a 10-day waiting period.

“I believe a ban on the sale of assault weapons is the right policy for Washington, and I will keep fighting for that,” Ferguson said in a prepared statement. “I’ve said from the beginning that it would be an uphill battle. My alternative represents meaningful reform that will enhance public safety now.”

Both bills will be sponsored by Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle, among others. Frockt was one of dozens of solely Democratic lawmakers and officials at a September news conference, in which Ferguson said he’d been spurred by the July killings of three teenagers in Mukilteo.

Allen Ivanov, the shooter in the Mukilteo killings, pleaded guilty in December. Ivanov, then 19, had, according to police, legally purchased an AR-15 — a common assault-style weapon that would be banned by Ferguson’s bill — just days before the killings. Similar weapons were used in high-profile mass shootings in Newtown, Conn.; Aurora, Colo.; San Bernardino, Calif., Dallas and Orlando, among others.

Among the supporters standing with Ferguson in September were the parents of Will Kramer, who was wounded in the Mukilteo shooting. Kramer’s parents spoke in support of an assault-weapons ban then, and his father did so again Monday. “If our current political leadership doesn’t have the will to pass a ban on the sale of assault weapons, I would support the assault weapons enhanced background check bill as an incremental step towards increasing public safety and reducing gun violence,” Paul Kramer said in a statement.

Gun-safety measures have had far more success in recent years as ballot initiatives than in the Legislature, where Republicans control the state Senate and generally oppose new restrictions on guns.

A push for universal background checks passed on the ballot in 2014 after failing in the Legislature in 2013. A process to keep guns away from people deemed dangerous — following a court order — passed on the ballot in November after previous legislative failures.

DCG

Seattle voters will soon get $100 in ‘democracy vouchers’ to donate to candidates

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Yes, Seattle voters approved this: Taking money from private property owners to redistribute to the candidate(s) of their choice. How progressive

From the Seattle Times: Seattle voters will receive “democracy vouchers” for the first time next week. The Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission plans to mail the taxpayer-funded campaign-contribution vouchers on Tuesday to every registered voter in the city.

Each voter will get four $25 vouchers to distribute among candidates in 2017. The City Council’s two citywide seats and the City Attorney’s Office are up for election. The vouchers will be part of mayoral races starting in 2021 but won’t be allocated to candidates as Ed Murray seeks re-election next year. Mayoral races are the city’s most expensive and the wait will allow the voucher program more time to accumulate funds.

Seattle voters ensured the city would be the first in the country with democracy vouchers when they approved Initiative 122 in 2015. The “Honest Elections” measure authorized a 10-year, $30 million property-tax levy to pay for the program.

People not registered to vote can obtain vouchers as long as they live in Seattle, are at least 18 years old and are a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or green-card holder. The voucher-program application for nonvoters is available in 15 languages.

People participating in the program will sign the vouchers, assign them to candidates and mail them back to the elections commission. When given vouchers, candidates will relay them to the commission.

The commission, which is mailing out postage-paid return envelopes along with the vouchers, will verify them before releasing the money they represent to the candidates. Each voucher will have a unique identification number and bar code.

Only candidates who apply to and qualify for the program will be allowed to receive money from vouchers. To qualify, they’ll need to drum up a baseline number of campaign contributions, take part in multiple public debates, adhere to lower campaign contribution limits and agree to special campaign spending caps.

People with vouchers will be able to look up which candidates have qualified for the program by visiting the city’s website. Thus far, City Council candidate Jon Grant and incumbent City Attorney Pete Holmes have qualified.

The commission will publish a list of the candidates who have received money from vouchers along with names of the people who assigned the vouchers. In other words: If you assign a voucher, your support for a candidate will become public information.

The levy paying for the program will raise $3 million per year — not nearly enough to pay for every voter’s four vouchers. That sum would be about $50 million. But the campaign spending caps ($300,000 for citywide City Council candidates, for example) should work to limit the number of vouchers that will need to be paid out.

Wayne Barnett, executive director of the elections commission, said one aim of the program is to get more people involved in the electoral process. People who contribute to campaigns are later on more likely to volunteer and more likely to vote, Barnett said. “We know that only 1 to 2 percent of people in Seattle ever make a contribution to a candidate for city office,” he said. “So ideally this will get more people engaged.”

Another aim of the vouchers is to level the playing field for grass-roots candidates “who otherwise would in no way be able to raise $150,000,” Barnett said.

Opponents of I-122 said the voucher program would be complicated to supervise. They said the city would spend $28 of every $100 on administrative costs. The commission has the program under control, Barnett said. To run it, he hired René LeBeau, who previously helped King County Elections move to voting by mail.

I-122 opponents also warned about shenanigans and predicted the program would mostly benefit membership groups able to drive many vouchers to certain candidates.

Barnett has asked the state Public Disclosure Commission for advice on the program and Washington’s ban on bundling but has not yet heard back, he said. Bundling is when an individual or intermediary group collects many contributions on behalf of a candidate.

I-122 proponents said the bundling rules that apply to regular contributions would similarly apply to vouchers.

Proponent Aaron Ostrom, executive director of the progressive activist organization Fuse Washington, hailed the program’s launch. “This is an exciting chance to strengthen democracy and level the playing field in Seattle,“ Ostrom said. ”Candidates can compete based on their values and leadership abilities rather than their connections to wealthy friends and corporate donors.”

DCG