Morning Fizz: The Inherent Tension
Caffeinated News & Gossip featuring Mayor Murray's pick for SDOT; Ethics Commission's Sawant decision; and labor group's enemies list.
1. Mayor Ed Mayor is announcing his choice for the city's new transportation director today at 11am.
Fizz's sources say it will be Chicago's former deputy transportation commissioner, Scott Kubly.
Kubly is the longtime right-hand man of transit all-star Gabe Klein, the former Chicago and Washington, D.C. transportation director (Kubly was with Klein at both stints), who oversaw a long list of pedestrian- and bike-friendly initiatives.
2. The Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission plans to rule today on several cases involving allegations against elected officials, including socialist city council member Kshama Sawant, who was accused of violating the city's ethics code by advocating for 15Now, the $15 minimum wage campaign, from city hall, a no-no.
According to the ruling in Sawant's case, her work "to mobilize the public to exert pressure on City government to enact an ordinance imposing a $15 minimum wage," (turning her office into a "strategic" command post for a potential ballot initiative) while "unconventional," was not "illegal." Sawant and other 15Now supporters were not, the SEEC ruled, required to register as lobbyists or file as a political committee under the Seattle Elections Code. "I have advised the Seattle Channel to put a moratorium on discussions of the many state and local ballot propositions that will be on the ballot this year until the Commission can provide guidance on compliance with the Elections Code."
Similarly, the SEEC ruled that three council members' advocacy for a metropolitan parks district, which will be on the August ballot, on the Seattle Channel show "City Inside/Out" did promote the ballot measure, but did not show that "any person" was responsible for "a material violation of the law."
On the show, host Brian Callanan asked council members Sally Bagshaw, Kshama Sawant, and Tim Burgess about the parks district; all three, SEEC director Wayne Barnett concluded, "promoted the ballot proposition."
However, since the council members were asked specifically about the ballot measure, their answers fell under a specific exemption in Seattle city law. Therefore, "I believe that ths issue here is not with any individuals' behavior, but with the inherent tension between the two identities of the Seattle Channel: it is an Emmy-award winning creator of public affairs programming, but it is also a City agency. ... If the show were on commercial television, it would not raise any issues at all."
Barnett continued, though, that he has "advised the Seattle Channel to put a moratorium on discussions of the many state and local ballot propositions that will be on the ballot this year until the Commission can provide guidance on compliance with the Elections Code."
3. Yesterday morning and afternoon, Working Washington, the group that's fighting to preserve the $15 minimum wage passed by the city council in May, handed out flyers in front of small businesses that are backing Forward Seattle, the group that's trying to repeal the new minimum wage law.
The flyers declare, "This business is giving money to Forward Seattle, a fringe group backed by right-wing conservatives, corporate executives and real estate developers that is using misleading tactics to try to repeal our minimum wage."
Among the businesses donating to Forward Seattle that Working Washington is targeting: Dollar Rent-a-Car in South Lake Union ($2,500) ; Flying Apron Bakery in Fremont ($1,000); and Liberty Bar on Capitol Hill ($500).
Forward Seattle has raised $46,335 so far, according to the state Public Disclosure Commission.
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