Extra Fizz: City Hall Edition
Some extra fizz from Seattle City Hall.
Some (non-inauguration) Extra Fizz from city hall.
1. Like former mayor Mike McGinn, who ended his unsuccessful reelection campaign more than $1,000 in debt (prompting McGinn consultant John Wyble to muse that "Sometimes you get toward the end and things get short"), Mayor Ed Murray wrapped up November in the red—reporting a negative balance of more than $68,000. The most recent expenditures are mostly on research and field consulting, plus several thousand dollars on mailings, meals, and advertising.
It's easier, of course, for a successful candidate to raise money after an election's over—the "late train" phenomenon guarantees contributions not just from longtime supporters but from former opponents who want to get on a newly elected official's good side—but that's a pretty significant debt for the new mayor to make up. (In contrast, McGinn came into office with about $26,000 in debt.) McGinn is holding a party to help retire his debt on January 22 at Spitfire downtown.
2. Two independent-expenditure campaigns that supported McGinn's reelection will have to pay fines totaling $750 under two rulings by the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission.
In the first ruling, the SEEC found that High Quality Education for All, the American Federation of Teachers' IE committee, failed to report a $10,000 independent expenditure on McGinn's behalf (along with several other required campaign documents); the group reported the expenditure 30 days late, and well after the election was over, the SEEC found. The group will pay $500 for that infraction.
In the second, related penalty, the SEEC plans to fine the Service Employees International Union Local 925 for failing to report another $10,000 expenditure on the same mailer; they'll pay $250 for their failure to report.
"The failure to make required disclosures in the days immediately prior to an election frustrates the very purpose of our Elections Code," SEEC director Wayne Barnett wrote in his ruling against the teachers' union.
Last year, the Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy, the political arm of the Seattle Chamber, was fined $750 for failing to disclose that $15,000 from South Lake Union developer Vulcan was effectively earmarked for a pro-Murray campaign.
3. Council member Kshama Sawant is reportedly still committed to donate about two-thirds of her $120,000 salary to causes benefiting "the workers," but it's unclear which organizations or individuals will benefit. Because of the way the city's pay bands are structured, Sawant can't simply give the money back to the city (a problem other council members ran into when they wanted to give up two weeks' income when the city put thousands of workers on furlough in 2010).
However, Sawant could also simply donate the money—and score a tax rebate if she gives the money to a 501(c)3 nonprofit like Puget Sound Sage or an anti-domestic violence group, two possibilities that have been floated. A contribution to an individual would not be tax-deductible.
The council's first 2014 payday is Thursday, January 23.
4. Another second-floor city hall staffer is moving up from the city council to the mayor's office, at least temporarily. In addition to former central staff director Ben Noble (now budget director, replaced on an interim basis by central staffer Rebecca Herzfeld); former central staffer Mike Fong (now deputy director of the mayor's Office of Policy and Innovation); and former Jean Godden aide Carlo Caldirola-Davis (now the mayor's labor liaison), Murray has snatched up Sally Bagshaw aide Kathy Nyland, a longtime Georgetown neighborhood activist, to head up Murray's neighborhood outreach efforts.