Seattle's News Elixir

1. On Monday, the city council will make a splashy formal announcement of its 2010 priorities, which are usually announced with little fanfare via press release. Council members, apparently hoping to create a visual contrast to the half-empty council chambers during Mayor Mike McGinn's State of the City speech this week, are reportedly beating down constituents' doors to pack the chambers. Reports are that they'll make at least one major surprise announcement.

2. Yesterday we specifically noted Suburban Vancouver state Rep. Deb Wallace's (D-17) 'Nay' vote on the Democrats' slim 51-47 vote to repeal I-960's two-thirds majority requirement for raising taxes. (The vote was important for the Democrats who are committed to raising taxes this session to save state programs like student aid, senior care, and the basic health plan. The state is facing a $2.8 billion budget shortfall.)

Wallace's 'Nay' vote (you need 50 to pass legislation) certainly put other Democrats—like Pat Sullivan (D-47), Roger Goodman (D-45) and Tami Green (D-28), who are facing tough races in swing districts, on the spot. A pro-tax vote is a risky proposition this year. They all voted 'Yea.'

Wallace is running for U.S. Congress this year. (Wallace has not returned our call.)

Another noteworthy 'Nay' vote was Eastside Suburban Seattle Rep. Deb Eddy (D-48). By creating problems for Democratic leadership, Eddy's 'Nay' vote  upped the stakes in the 520 standoff.  Eddy is a main proponent of what's known as the A+ plus option (which the Senate endorsed this week), but which Speaker Frank Chopp (D-43) doesn't like because it doesn't serve the Westside well, he says. Chopp is interested in hearing alternatives.

3. Next week's party and fundraiser for Great City, the green urbanist nonprofit formed by now-Mayor McGinn, features one surprising cohost: City Council member Tim Burgess, who'll share hosting duties with McGinn, council member (and McGinn ally) Mike O'Brien, and deputy mayor Darryl Smith.

Burgess, who publicly criticized McGinn for "misrepresenting" the city's risk on tunnel cost overruns just this week, considered running for mayor last year and is frequently mentioned as a possible mayoral candidate in 2013.

4. Well, scratch that—city parks director Tim Gallagher has backed away from a proposed total ban on smoking in parks. From now on, smoking will just be banned within 25 feet of other people, play areas, and beaches.

5. The Democratic caucus met off campus last night to discuss Gov. Chris Gregoire's budget proposal—and their alternative. Speaker Chopp would not give any specifics, but he told PubliCola yesterday he's been working closely with liberal advocates who want to see more revenue (Gregoire proposed $605 million in revenue through new taxes and ending a few tax loopholes), and for the House caucus cutting more loopholes and adding more taxes were "in play."

The House Democrats' proposal will be announced on Tuesday.

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