Local Air Force nurse attends signing of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal; a bus ad controversy heats up in Seattle; speculation grows about who'll get the state's newest Congressional district; and the Pacific claims another Grayland home.
There for the Signing
She's been asking for her job back, and soon Maj. Margaret Witt will get her wish. The Air Force flight nurse, a lesbian, is anxious to rejoin the Air Force Reserves soon, now that President Obama has signed the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
It ends a ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military.
Witt, whose plight of dismissal under the provision was detailed by KPLU's Paula Wissel, attended the official White House signing. Obama had made repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" a priority. The Associated Press reports:
The state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents Witt, says she flew to Washington, D.C., on Tuesday and will attend the ceremony on Wednesday. Witt says she's excited to be there for all of those who can't be.
Publicola quotes Witt as having a simple new year's resolution:
I’m ready to be the first openly lesbian or gay person to serve in the military by court order under DADT.
Col. Margarethe Cammermeyer, now retired from the Army, was there as well, and led the audience for the signing at the Interior Department in the Pledge of Allegiance. Cammermeyer, who lives in Langley, had sued for reinstatement in 1992.
Who'll Get the New Congressional District?
A popular answer seems to be: the South Sound. Thurston County is growing, and Olympia has one of the state's largest populations not centered in a Congressional district. It's split between the 3rd and 6th. That's where Western Washington University politcal scientist Todd Donovan says, "Something big is going to change..”
Other voices say look to the East, as in the Eastside of Lake Washington. The Seattle PI's Chris Grygiel spoke with Chris Vance, former state Republican Party chair and King County councilman:
...Vance said he could foresee a scenario where a new district was centered around Bellevue, which would make it easier for Rep. Dave Reichertas the new 8th District would likely trend more Republican. In exchange, the Democrats would probably be more competitive running a candidate in the populous Eastside suburbs.
Two Democrats and two Republicans, appointed by state party chairs, will join a non-voting member to form the state's redistricting commission to do the work of creating the new 10th.
Bus Ad Fight Heats Up
Metro buses are soon to be carrying ads denouncing Israel's policies, as KPLU reported on Monday. Now the issue is heating up, as pro-Israel groups say they want to buy bus ads singling out Palestinian policies.
Next Monday, ads are to appear that read, "Israeli war crimes, your tax dollars at work," next to pictures of a demolished building.
The Seattle Times' Keith Ervin reports the LA-based David Horowitz Freedom Center wants to buy ads showing a photo of a burning Israeli bus with the words, "Palestinian war crimes, your tax dollars at work."
King County Executive Dow Constantine has called for a review of Metro's non-commercial ad policy. He says the controversy a "distracts" from Metro's core mission of providing bus service.
The ads are timed to coincide with the second anniversary of Israel's military action in Gaza, documented here by the New York Times.
Grayland House Claimed by Ocean Erosion
KING-TV has video of the latest casualty at Washaway Beach, south of Westport: a vacation home tumbles into the Pacific as beach erosion accelerates: