1. Fizz hears that if the state legislature doesn't go into special session to craft a transportation package in November (a proposed $10.5 billion gas-tax package failed during this year's second special session), King County Metro may go to Plan B: A special transportation benefit district (AKA a taxing district) to preserve Metro service.
Without additional funding options, Metro could face service cuts of up to 17 percent. We have a call out to King County Executive Dow Constantine's office to find out what backup options, if any, the county is considering.2. Followup to Wednesday's Fizz item on this year's "Maggie Award" winners (the annual MVPs handed out by the Washington State Democrats): The winner for male legislator of the year, state Sen. Nick Harper (D-38, Everett), was also a hero for the Washington Realtors Association, a conservative lobbying group that fought against a main Democratic agenda item in Olympia this year—the $700 million extension of a B&O tax surcharge to help fund K-12 education.
Harper is featured—along with conservative state Rep. Jan Angel (R-26, Port Orchard) and Sen. Joe Fain (R-47, Auburn, Kent, Renton)—in a video that Washington Realtors Association President Mark Kitabayashi (a big contributor to failed GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna and former libertarian state supreme court justice Richard Sanders) sent to his members cheering the defeat of the Democrats' budget item.
"Extending that B&O surcharge and ignoring the sunset that had been put in place just was not the right thing to do for Washington," Harper tells Realtors in the video. "It's our job going forward to help the industries that helped us the last two years."
The Realtors association spent nearly $230,000 lobbying during the 2013 session (including $5,000 entertaining legislators), according to Public Disclosure Commission records.
And an "Isn't it Weird That" footnote: the Democrats' female legislator of the year, state Sen. Sharon Nelson (D-34, W. Seattle, Vashon), is known for her fight against the payday loan industry and its usurious interest rates. She passed a landmark bill to rein in rates in 2010 and stopped a bill to undo her reforms this year.
The co-sponsor of this year's bill to undo it, which conservatives such as Sens. Don Benton, R-17, Vancouver, Mark Schoesler, R-9, Ritzville (the Republican leader), Pam Roach, R-31, Auburn, and Rodney Tom, D-48, Medina, also signed on to? Sen. Harper.
Who says Democrats aren't a diverse bunch.
3. An early installment of On Other Blogs Today: In an editorial published yesterday, the Ballard News Tribune challenged the Seattle Times for the paper's apparent anti-Mayor McGinn bias.
The Times, irked because the candidate they endorsed took a drubbing in the election that elevated McGinn, has not been able to get over it. They lowered the guns on him immediately and have not missed a moment to vilify him.
4. Many of the folks who contributed to incumbent city council member Mike O'Brien when he pledged (successfully) to raise his first $10,000 in $10 contributions came back to contribute again.
According to records at the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission, more than 70 individuals who gave to O'Brien in his initial, early-spring fundraising burst, subsequently contributed larger amounts, dropping over $7,300 into the council member's campaign fund.
Those contributions—and we're only counting folks who gave exactly $10 initially, so people who gave $15 or $18, for example, don't count toward the total or average—averaged around $100.
Overall, O'Brien has raised just under $110,000 to his opponent Albert Shen's $145,000; at the end of July, which is the last time cash-on-hand numbers were available, O'Brien had about $12,000 on hand to Shen's $8,700.