1. Yesterday, the city’s lobbying office gave city council members a first look at this year’s state legislative agenda.
The big-ticket item this year, not surprisingly, will be dealing with the state supreme court’s McCleary decision, which directs legislators to come up with more than a billion dollars ($1.6 billion) a year in unmet education funding needs. The decision effectively blows a hole in the state budget and could threaten funding for social services, staffers told the council yesterday.
Also on the agenda: A bill giving cities and transit agencies the authority to pass (or send to voters) long-term taxes and fees to fund transit, which failed last year; legislation allowing cities to lower speed limits on some streets to 20 mph, which also failed; and a bill removing the cap on the amount of revenue from liquor sales cities can receive.
Additionally, the city plans to ask the legislature to change state law so City Light and Seattle Public Utilities can charge ratepayers for streetlights and fire hydrants; in a 2003 decision, the state supreme court ruled that funding for those services had to come out of the city’s general fund, not customers’ utility bills.
2. People for Progressive Leadership, the independent expenditure committee that's spending $90,000 to support Democratic candidate Noel Frame and oppose Democratic candidate Gael Tarleton in the 36th Legislative District has reported who's funding them. Kind of.
It's not clear from the public records which donations to Working Washington were passed through to People for Progressive Leadership. The biggest funder, at $35,000, is listed obliquely as Working Washington PAC. Working Washington is a labor and civil rights group. It's not 100 percent clear from public records which donations to WW were passed through to PPL, but the Service Employees International Union, which has endorsed Frame, did contribute $35,000 to WW on October 5. And the $35,000 WW contribution to PPL came on October 9.
Other contributors to PPL include Frame fans such as the Washington Federation of State Employees, the United Food and Commercial Workers, and the Teamsters.
Another contributor is listed simply as DIME PAC. DIME PAC is a Washington State Labor Council PAC. Their recent big contributors, which may have been passed through to PPL, include the Teamsters, UFCW, and another Frame supporter, the machinists.
3. Ballots are going out to voters this week, and we started issuing our endorsements yesterday. We'll be rolling out more today, tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday.
Yesterday, with a primer on the 1st Amendment, we recommended "Approve" on R-74, the gay marriage measure.
Additionally, we recommended that you "Reject" 8221, "Approve" 8223, and support Advisory Votes Nos. 1 and 2.
4. Given an extra sloppy claim in a recent fundraising letter from Republican U. S. Senate candidate Michael Baumgartner, the Tacoma News Tribune felt compelled to do a basic fact check.
In a debate with Baumgartner last week, after vowing not to repair the damage done by Wall Street by going after seniors, Cantwell said: "You won’t find me standing in the aisle saying that I will vote to cut Social Security.”
The Baumgartner camp plucked the phrase "You won't find me standing in the aisle" and proclaimed that Cantwell was against bi-partisanship.
Here's another fact check on their outré claim: Cantwell made national headlines in the wake of the Wall Street crash in 2009 for her bi-partisanship when she teamed up with Republican Sen. John McCain—the recent GOP presidential nominee— to try to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, the depression-era rule that protected regular banking deposits from being mingled with speculative Wall Street investment banking.