Morning Fizz: A Great Degree of Influence
Caffeinated News & Gossip featuring SDOT, the NRA, and the KCGOP.
1. Mayor Ed Murray is set to announce his pick for the new Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) director this Wednesday.
Earlier this month, the acting director, Goran Sparrman, took his name out of the running for the job. Sparrman took over the top spot when the new mayor asked Peter Hahn, former Mayor Mike McGinn's SDOT chief, to step down,
While there's been a lot of attention paid to Murray's pick for a new police chief, and while Murray himself has repeatedly said the most important thing a mayor does is hire a top cop, it's the city's transportation agenda that will have a longer and more profound impact on Seattle.
The pending announcement is a big deal. When we asked Mayor Murray on Friday afternoon if he could shed any light on his pick, he told us: "Nope."
2. Want a sneak peak at the NRA's campaign against this year's universal background check initiative, I-594? Check out the ALL CAPS! section of this candidate questionnaire the NRA Victory Fund sent out to Washington state legislative candidates this year.
For one thing, the NRA thinks the phrase "universal background check" is misleading. What I-594 really! is—they inform candidates—is "universal handgun registration."
After a page and a half of attacking the initiative, they ask candidates whether they support or oppose the initiative and follow up by asking those who oppose it to add their names to a list of official opponents.
3. We had no idea that the seven-person non-profit, Transportation Choices Coalition, was so powerful. But according to a paranoid letter from King County Republican Party chair Lori Sotelo, the group "yields [sic] a great degree of influence over liberal politicians in King County due to its associations..."
Sotelo seethes about the vast TCC conspiracy.
In a June 26 letter to King County Republicans advertising a July 10 Facebook "sound-off," Sotelo ridicules Mayor Murray's Seattle version of last April's Proposition 1 (a $60 vehicle license fee and .1 percent sales tax increase to help prevent deep cuts to Metro) and applauds Democratic King County Council member Rod Debowski's plan—opposed by the council's other four Democrats and vetoed by Democratic King County Executive Dow Constantine—to audit Metro (again) and find efficiencies (already did that).
However, it's the "Dow Constantine approved coalition of liberal activists"—at TCC who have Sotelo's blood pressure up as she makes a big deal out of TCC's support for Murray's pending plan and opposition to Dembowski's vetoed plan.
"They have urged activists to attend [last week's hearing on Murray's proposal] and demand the city council 'follows through to save our buses' and prevent 'devastating' service cuts," Sotelo seethes about the vast TCC conspiracy before condemning the group's board for being a "who's who of local transportation politics." (Cue up that fundraising letter to your supporters TCC!)
Sotelo notes that the board includes: "Genesee Adkins (Director of Government Relations for King County Executive Dow Constantine), Mike Harbour (Deputy CEO of Sound Transit), State Sen. Marko Liias (who introduced a Constantine supported bill that would allow local governments to enact temporary vehicle license fees to fund public transportation), Greg Nickels (former Mayor of Seattle), and Sandeep Kaushik (former columnist for The Stranger and Constantine’s former political consultant)."
Oh, and Kaushik also co-founded PubliCola back in the day.