Morning Fizz: "Fired Up"
Caffeinated news and gossip featuring Democrats, coal trains, and Real Change in Bellevue.
1. Fizz has learned that Dana Laurent has put her name among the growing group running for chair of the state Democratic Party, whose current chair, Dwight Pelz, announced plans to step down earlier this year. Laurent has an impressive political resume: The former political director of Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest, she's currently the executive director of the Win/Win Network, a coalition of progressive groups.
Pelz announced plans to step down back in September, after his party lost control of the state senate when two conservative Democrats, Rodney Tom (D-48) and Tim Sheldon (D-35) defected to join Republicans in the Majority Coalition Caucus. Thanks to the election of Republican Jan Angel (R-26) this month, that caucus now has a 26-24 majority in the senate, giving the new party chair some work to do.
Longtime Democratic party advisor and former Maria Cantwell aide Nancy Biery and Benton County Democratic Party chair J. Clough have announced they're running for the position, and several others, including former state Rep. Brendan Williams, have expressed an interest.
2. A group of 21 state legislators, led by Rep. Reuven Carlyle (D-36), sent a letter to city, county, and state agencies yesterday asking them to do a thorough environmental, economic, employment, and traffic review of a coal terminal planned for Longview.
The letter is similar to another letter legislators sent to the same agencies about another massive coal terminal planned for Cherry Point, near Bellingham. Back in June, the Army Corps of Engineers declined to do a thorough environmental review of the terminal (they're focusing only on the area immediately around the coal port itself, not the cumulative environmental impact of sending 54 million tons of coal a year to Asia.
However, one month later, the Department of Ecology did agree to do a thorough environmental review of everything from human health impacts from coal dust around the terminal and in communities along the rail line to greenhouse gas emissions in Asia, giving coal opponents like Carlyle hope.
Carlyle—who says he's "super fired up" about the opposition—says 163,000 people commented on the Longview proposal.
3. Kemper Freeman, watch out: Real Change, the newspaper sold by, and focusing on, homeless and low-income people, is coming to Bellevue. The paper announced yesterday that it would start selling its $2 weekly paper on sidewalks outside of Bellevue businesses starting tomorrow.
4. Finally, we observed the other day that it would be weird if socialist council member-elect Kshama Sawant ended up, as many freshman council members do, heading up the Seattle Public Utilities committee—putting her, essentially, in charge of one of the city's biggest corporations. But a more astute city hall observer pointed out that it's actually not weird at all—public utilities are the closest thing the city has to socialism.