1. In the Columbian, columnist Peter Callaghan says governor-elect Jay Inslee is wrong to think he can solve the state's education funding problem by improving the state's economy.
In the McCleary decision, the state supreme court ruled that the state was failing to meet its constitutional obligation to fully fund education; Inslee has said he doesn't expect any measurable process toward addressing McCleary "in the next 12 months."
That's true, Callaghan says, but the state legislature needs to show it's actually working to address the funding gap in the next session. "Only an eternal optimist should think the court will let the next session come and go and not expect to see some real progress," Callaghan writes. "Being lectured on patience by the governor-elect isn't progress -- it's status quo."
(Josh here. I'd add this, though: We may have a Marbury vs. Madison situation here. Google it, but basically, while the famous US Supreme Court case established the power of the courts—known as judicial review—the dispute on the ground remained in place. The court had no way to enforce its order that Mr. Marbury get his commission. We venture to ask: What the hell is the court—as right as it is—going to do if the legislature fails to act?)
2. Also in the Columbian: Not one but two legislative races in Southwestern Washington's Clark County are headed for a recount: The tight race between Republican Don Benton and Democrat Tim Probst for the 17th District state senate seat, and the race between Democrat Monica Stonier and Republican Julie Olson. Benton leads Probst by 78 votes, and Stonier leads Olson by 139 votes.
The outcome of the senate race is critical because it will determine whether the senate is governed by a coalition of Republicans and conservative Democrats or by the Democrats.
The outcome of the senate race is more critical, of course, because it will determine whether the senate is governed by a coalition of Republicans and conservative Democrats that would give the Republicans an effective 25-24 majority or governed by the Democrats.
3. Also also in the Columbian: A new poll shows that a majority of drivers say they'll avoid using I-5 between Vancouver and Portland once tolls go into effect on the I-5 bridge across state lines. Although those projections tend to be a bit histrionic (in one poll, 13 percent of King County residents said they'd move to avoid paying tolls on 520, which, clearly, hasn't happened)—it is clear that people find alternatives to driving on tolled roads, including taking alternate routes, driving at different times of day, telecommuting, or using different modes, such as transit, to get to work.
4. Finally, closer to home, the Seattle Times reports that Democratic governor-elect Jay Inslee overwhelmed Republican Rob McKenna in the governor's race by running an unprecedented ground game based on the Obama strategy: Shock and awe Democratic-leaning, but sporadic, voters with an overwhelming get-out-the-vote effort.
The story name-checks Inslee field director Emily Walters, who, as we noted in Fizz this morning, is now running city council member Tim Burgess' campaign for mayor against incumbent Mike McGinn. We highlighted Walters because whe think getting her on staff was a coup for Burgess and shows just how serious he is. McGinn relied on heavy voter turnout, particularly among young voters, to win in 2009.