THE OLYMPIAN | • Published August 23, 2011
"The bait-and-switch arguments of Service Employees International Union and its beneficiaries in support of Initiative 1163 – in and out of state government – are getting tiresome.
The latest comes from Brendan Williams, a former state representative who now works as a deputy in the Office of the Insurance Commissioner.
In a recent column in The Olympian, Williams claims that the 2011 Legislature “ignored” the public’s will by refusing to fund Initiative 1029. This SEIU-sponsored measure claimed to protect vulnerable adults by requiring a longer, watered-down training curriculum (a more efficient example of which is already in place) and background checks (which are already mandatory). What it actually would have done is provide redundant jobs for union members and a source of new, dues-paying members to fatten SEIU 775’s coffers.
There’s no mention, either in the language of Initiative 1029 or Williams’ opinion article, of how SEIU proposes to pay the $80 million biennial price tag for this measure.
So the Legislature did no such thing as “ignore” the public’s will. A majority of legislators recognized Initiative 1029 for what it is – a cynical SEIU power grab – noted that it had no funding mechanism, and tabled it.
In a period when the state is taking desperate measures to close a yawning $5 billion budget gap, SEIU’s selfish, cavalier approach to the current budget crisis is unconscionable. Whose school lunches does Williams intend to cut to pay for this? Whose taxes does he intend to raise?
In his opinion article, Williams is forced to reach back 15 years to justify “actions” taken in 2011.
Yes, there were tragic examples of resident mistreatment, and all good adult family home operators supported the bad actors being shut down. But so much has changed in the state – in this industry – that dredging up what happened 15 years ago to justify a modern-day initiative is like demanding modern bidding reforms to stop Teapot Dome.
And even in those tragic cases, training (as today) wasn’t the issue. It was about the Department of Social and Health Services’ lack of timely, effective oversight of rogue operators."