Seattle Mayor's Race
Extra Fizz: Murray Endorsements, Nickelsville, and the CRC
Extra caffeinated news and gossip.
A few more Fizz items we weren't able to fit into this morning's packed Olympia-centric Morning Fizz:
1. Mayoral candidate Ed Murray landed two impressive endorsements today.
The first, from Washington Conservation Voters—which cited Murray's ability to "deliver on environmental priorities"—is a blow to Mayor Mike McGinn, who has tried to position himself as the environmental candidate in the race. Murray, impressively, needed a two-thirds vote of the board to win the endorsement. (Back in 2009, WCV didn't endorse McGinn either, picking then-mayor Greg Nickels in the primary and making no endorsement in the general).
Today's second Murray endorsement is from the Chamber of Commerce's political arm, the Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy. (Last time around, the Chamber endorsed T-Mobile executive Joe Mallahan over McGinn.)
Even the Chamber recognizes that their endorsement can be a handicap in liberal Seattle; watch for McGinn to use it against Murray, but also watch for the liberal Murray to use it as evidence that he attracts both the liberal rank-and-file and the business establishment. CASE also endorsed same-sex marriage last year, and issued a statement this morning praising the Supreme Court's decision to overturn DOMA.
Today's Murray endorsements, with the historic gay marriage news in the headlines, seem well timed to heighten Murray's status; Murray is Washington state's gay rights champion and is basking in political goodwill today.
2. Nickelsville partisans and detractors pled their respective cases at a public hearing last night, which came one day before this afternoon's housing and human services committee meeting, where council members will take up legislation expanding the areas of the city where tent city encampments are allowed. Both sides, interestingly, came from within the homeless-advocacy community; NIMBY opponents were nowhere to be seen.
Opponents, backed by SHARE/WHEEL, the group that operates the existing illegal Nickelsville encampment in Southwest Seattle, argued that the Nick Licata-sponsored proposal amounts to "residential redlining" because it wouldn't allow encampments everywhere in the city. (The bill, which would allow new nonprofit-run encampments on private land includes restrictions on how close encampments could be to residential property, the size of encampments, and the minimum distance to a transit stop.)
And they said the $500,000 the council approved yesterday to help current Nickelsville residents transition to new housing and services when they're evicted September 1 was too little, too late.
Peggy Hotes, a part-time Nickelsville resident and SHARE activist who lives in Bellevue, said the problems at Nickelsville—which have included criminal disorder as well as rat infestations and flooding—wouldn't have been so bad if the city had provided funding and a police presence at the site before now. " if we’d had a little bi of support over two years things might have been more orderly," Hotes said. "And now you’ve got half a million dollars. A little bit late."
On the other side were Real Change vendors and traditional anti-homelessness groups like the Interfaith Task Force on Homelessness. Alex Becker, representing Real Change, said that "while we support effeors outlined in the 10-year plan to create more permanent long-term housing solutions, we know that the human service system is not equipped to address the growing number of homeless people in our county. … With shelters at capacity, homeless people have very few places to go where they can feel safe. ... We need to support this legislation to help meet the unmet need."
Licata's housing and human services committee meets today at 2:00 at City Hall.3. The Columbia River Crossing between Vancouver and Portland, which would receive $65 million in funding under Sen. Patty Murray's appropriations bill, would get no money under a competing proposal in the house.
On the house appropriations committee (and the transportation subcommittee that makes transpo funding decisions): U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-3, Camas), a staunch opponent of the project. In opposing funding for the CRC, Herrera Beutler, a freshman representative, is butting heads with one of the most senior members of the upper chamber.
The standoff certaionly has implications for today's house vote on the transportation package in Olympia. where CRC funding is part of the Democrats' argument for supporting.