Afternoon Jolts: Preschool, Zoning, and Indigenous Peoples' Day
The day's winners and losers.
1. The King County Court of Appeals ruled 3-0 today against Yes for Early Success, the union-backed group that's running a preschool ballot measure that mandates teacher training and higher pay.
The city council had placed the union measure, city Proposition 1 A, on the ballot in competition with the city's own preschool measure, Proposition 1 B, which creates classroom slots for poor children.
Yes for Early Success (backed by SIEU 925 and the American Federation of Teachers) wanted voters to consider the measures in isolation (school funding measures pass in Seattle, but when you have to choose just one .... ?)
The city, arguing that Prop 1 A and B relate to the same subject (preschool) and were incompatible because the union measure was unfunded and monopolized oversight in union hands, will get its way after today's higher court ruling. The measures will face off.
The Court said the city's A vs. B-approach correctly followed state law which dictates that when cities take up initiatives to the legislature and reject them with their own alternative (Prop 1 B in this case), voters must consider them in competition.
But hold on: The city may have come up with a Pyrrhic victory today. Yes for Early Success says they have polling showing that when the two measures go head to head, the union measure does better, winning by five points—and by 14 points after hearing the pros and cons.
The union also says the poll, conducted by Anzalone Liszt Grove Research, shows that the Prop. 1 A is more popular with Democrats than with Republicans.
(Oh, those Democrats and their soft spot for unfunded mandates.)
2. In other rulings: the City's Hearing Examiner ruled against the city today, rejecting their motion to dismiss an appeal from Smart Growth Seattle. The pro-development group had filed an appeal to recent land-use changes to multi-family low-rise zones that rein in potential development by scaling back floor area ratio allowances and building height calculations (see the bullet point changes to land use code here.)
The ruling against the city doesn't mean the developers win, but it means the city did not get to dismiss the case on technical grounds; the city argued that Smarth Growth Seattle didn't have standing to appeal.
SGS will now get their day in front of the hearings board examiner.
3. Mayor Ed Murray won a behind-the-scenes battle today when the city council voted 9-0 to delay passing its Indigenous Peoples' Day resolution.
Had the council passed the legislation today, the mayor would have been required to sign it, as city law mandates, within 10 days. (The resolution would make this year's Columbus Day double as Indigenous Peoples' Day.) Murray, who sent the legislation down to council (but was then cast as the bad guy for supposedly being against it), wanted to sign the resolution on Columbus Day, October 13.
The council heeded the mayor's request today, despite a strong showing from Native Americans in council chambers belittling the delay, and unanimously sent the resolution to sponsor Bruce Harrell's committee where he said, to cheers from the crowd (??) that the important discussion of Native American people would get more air time.
"By delaying the vote, Harrell said, the discussion would get "many days, instead of [just] one day."