Thursday, August 20, 2009

Rep. Dunshee hosting two town halls this Saturday

Residents of the 44th legislative district are invited to meet with State Rep. Hans Dunshee this Saturday.

Lake Stevens Town Hall -- 10 a.m. to noon at the Lake Stevens School District Admin Building, Room A, 12309 22nd Street NE

Everett Town Hall -- 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Southeast Family YMCA, 13723 Puget Park Drive

Bicyclists, birders and biodiesel supporters especially welcome (or so we're guessing by this delightful YouTube video).

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Rep. White wants to expand hate-crime legislation to protect the homeless

State Rep. Scott White never forgot David Ballenger, a homeless man who was brutally murdered by three teenagers under an I-5 overpass in the Ravenna neighborhood 10 years ago this month.

When the National Coalition for the Homeless released an Aug. 7 report on the growing number of violent hate crimes against the homeless — Hate, Violence, And Death on Main Street USA — White was struck by how closely the murder of Ballenger fit the typical profile of today's growing violence against homeless individuals: the report showed that most (58 percent) of the violent attacks on the homeless are committed by teenagers, and bias is often the only motivation for the attacks.

The new national report also showed that the number of fatal attacks on homeless individuals over the past decade was more than twice the total number of hate-motivated homicides that targeted victims because of their perceived race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.

The ten-year pattern of hate crimes against America's homeless, which has claimed 242 lives, convinced White that homeless people in Washington need the protection of the state's malicious harassment laws.

Seattle added homeless people to the city's malicious harassment statute in December, 2007. White said he is proud that Seattle is a leader in fighting hate crimes against the homeless, but that "now it is time to make our state a national leader."

We have a moral duty to do everything in our power to make sure that what happened to David Ballenger never happens again anywhere in Washington.