Submitted by John C. Alessio.
Senator O’Ban’s 7/27/20 letter, “Setting the Record Straight,” states he would have appreciated the chance to discuss his legislation and votes with me before I wrote my 7/19/20 letter about his record. I visited Senator O’Ban’s office with three other people during our LD Lobby Day. We tried to make an appointment to see him, but the best we could do was meet with his assistant. As we spoke with his assistant, he walked into his office, stayed for a while, and then left without offering to speak with us. I found that unusual and was disappointed.
Even if I had not made an effort to speak with Senator O’Ban, I have a right to let my views be known regarding his voting behavior. The votes I mentioned in my letter were not the only concerns I have, but the ones pertaining directly to his 6/14/20 op-ed. I could have also pointed to his problematic record on guns, voter registration, conversion therapy, women’s reproductive/healthcare rights, and other issues, but I wasn’t attempting to cover his entire record.
In response to my letter, O’Ban lists claims of accomplishments. But my expressed concerns were about what he could have, and should have done, but didn’t. So, I would have expected him to defend, or at least explain, his voting record against Affirmative Action, Anti-Discrimination, an affordable housing tax, an Equity Office, Health Care for All, a Sustainable Environment, Elimination of the Death Penalty, and more Progressive Taxes to cover costs. The bills I mention in my letter, that O’Ban voted against, move us toward stronger, healthier families so people can more effectively take care of themselves and their children, and thus rely less on the state in the long run. He didn’t say a word about any of the bills I mentioned. Instead, he referred to other actions – some of which were exaggerations at best.
For example, O’Ban claims he “created the new Dept. of Children, Youth, and Families because the state was failing kids of color and others stuck in foster care….” The implication of his claim is that the state leadership (presumably including Governor Inslee) were negligent and he, Senator O’Ban, had to come to the rescue. Well, reality bears no resemblance to that. The legislation creating the new department actually came from the Governor. Inslee asked the House and Senate for a corresponding bill. O’Ban was given the opportunity to create the senate version, but his bill failed. It was actually the House bill that was passed. Why would he make such a false claim — while unjustifiably attacking the state leadership? That’s embarrassing.
In the interest of space considerations, I’ll mention just one other embarrassing claim. O’Ban states he tried to “…cut the regressive Sound Transit car tabs…,” but he twice supported legislation that gave Sound Transit the power to create the car tab tax, a tax used to support Sound Transit. In a 9/11/19 letter, O’Ban attacks Attorney General Bob Ferguson, accusing him of supporting higher taxes because the AG did not do anything to stop the car tab tax. Ferguson’s response, appropriately so, was that his job is to defend the laws passed by the legislature. And then he reminded O’Ban that he, Senator O’Ban, had voted for SB-5987, the legislation that created the car tab tax. Further, in 2017 O’Ban lead the passage of SB-5893. While modifying conditions specified within the 2015 legislation, passage of the 2017 bill was a clear confirmation of the right of Sound Transit to levy taxes, hence continuing the car tab tax that O’Ban claims to have tried to cut. So, he twice supported bills that created the tax he constantly complains about. What planet am I on?
O’Ban is correct when he states in his letter that taxes like the Sound Transit car tab disproportionately impact poorer and working class people, but the reason they are created, and the reason O’Ban supports regressive taxation mechanisms like that of Sound Transit (and the gas tax) is because of a standing commitment to protecting the wealthy from having to pay their fair share. Righteous taxes are progressive taxes (the rich pay more), and anyone who votes against them, as O’Ban has numerous times, cannot claim to have the best interests of the general public in mind. They are clearly not looking after the common good, and they are not who I want representing me or my district.