1. Mayor Mike McGinn supporter, Seattle Transit Blog writer Ben Schiendelman, trashed McGinn's rival, state Sen. Ed Murray (D-43, Capitol Hill), late last week, posting on Facebook that Murray was being funded by coal money.
Schiendelman wrote: "$10,000 of People for Ed Murray's money comes from NAIOP WA PAC—the same group that spent more than $50,000 on coal promotion in the 2011 coal terminal fight. Please share this—the connection has been arguable before this, but not anymore. Murray's campaign is being funded by coal."
The post, which got 19 likes, was inaccurate. The state Public Disclosure Commission records that the Facebook post displayed have nothing to do with coal money. Nor does NAIOP appear to have funded any pro-coal efforts (though they did contribute to McGinn in 2009.)
The "Coal" in the image that Schiendelman posted on Facebook, which simply said "Jobs Investment Coal Promoting Tax Incre" actually stood for "Coalition." As in: "Jobs Investment Coalition Promoting Tax Increment Financing Legislation."
Indeed, NAIOP WA PAC, the real estate lobbying political committee (National Association of Industrial and Office Properties) spent $54,332 on lobbying to promote tax increment financing legislation in 2011. The legislation, supported by greens such as Reps. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-34, Burien) and Marko Liias (D-21, Edmonds), would have allowed local urban infrastructure development by bonding off future tax revenue from the projects.
Tax increment financing (TIF) is a development financing tool that's currently prohibited in Washington State; a coalition of developers, environmentalists, and affordable housing advocates want to allow it as way to upgrade urban areas—the equation also pays for public benefits such as affordable housing.
The city of Seattle's 2011 legislative agenda (and 2013 legislative agenda), signed off on by Mayor McGinn himself, explicitly supported tax increment financing, which is hardly surprising—it's part of the urbanist agenda.
As for coal: As PubliCola first flagged back in December, Murray does have a tangential connection; Roger Nyhus, a political consultant who works on coal, hosted a Murray fundraiser. We also added last month that BNSF, the rail company that would haul the coal to the Cherry Point terminal, has contributed to Murray.
However, in the NAIOP instance, Murray was getting money from a group that was promoting urban development.
2. People for Ed Murray, the pro-Murray for mayor independent expenditure group, did get some more money from establishment interests, though. The latest campaign finance reports show that the Murray group got another $17,500 yesterday from Citizens Alliance for a Sound Economy–the lobbying arm of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, the business lobbying group.
Altogether, CASE has given the pro-Murray PAC $52,500.
3. A new review by the city auditor's office concludes that Career Bridge, a program implemented by Mayor Mike McGinn to great fanfare last year (McGinn called it "an innovative partnership ... to help individuals who face significant barriers to employment," including previous criminal history) has helped only a tiny fraction of those it was supposed to assist, and hasn't led to the positive job results the program initially projected.
The program was supposed to assist some 360 people in its first two years. In its first year, it has assisted just 42. Of the 18 participants in the first cohort (the earliest group to participate, and thus the group about which there is the most information), just 11 were currently employed when the study surveyed their employment status, and the average time it took the participants to obtain any employment was 122 days.
According to the audit, "While some participants have secured positions above minimum wage, few participants are enrolled in formal training programs, and most employment is in survival jobs."
4. It's election day—meaning soon it'll be election night. After you vote for your favorite candidate, you can hang out with them.
Bruce Harrell will be at the Mt. Baker Community Club at 2811 Mt. Rainier Dr. S.; Mike McGinn will be at '95 Slide, the Capitol Hill sports bar at 722 E. Pike St.; Ed Murray will be at the Crocodile, the Belltown music club at 2200 2nd Ave.; and Peter Steinbrueck will be at China Harbor at 2040 Westlake Ave. N.