1. Viable socialist City Council candidate Kshama Sawant supporters far outnumbered incumbent City Council member Richard Conlin supporters at last night's standing-room only human services candidate forum at the Garfield Community Center, loudly cheering Sawant's anti-Conlin talking (off notes) points: he wants to "criminalize" panhandling; he's "two-faced" for saying he wants to raise the minimum wage now that she's running on the issue; and he's taken corporate donations.
In addition to the her hard-hitting critique of Conlin, Sawant outlined her own working class agenda, saying she favored rent control, even as she acknowledged it's illegal at the state level.
Despite the applause, Conlin, who had no notes, was smiley and relaxed, even getting off a smooth one-liner: "Wow, thanks for the applause," he joked when his turn to speak followed yet another round of booming cheers for Sawant.
The evening also featured the latest Mayor Mike McGinn vs. state Sen. Ed Murray (D-43, Capitol Hill) showdown. The crowd was evenly split and the candidates garnered equal applause as they traded barbs: McGinn, trailing by 22 points in brand-new KING 5 polling, slapped Murray for allowing the state to cut mental health funding—"we can't keep waiting on Olympia to fund these programs. They keep making cuts"—as Murray accused McGinn of overseeing a racially biased police force that's under DOJ consent decree for using excessive force.
Their mano-a-mano ended as McGinn accused Murray of getting money from the corporate big boys," which prompted Murray to calmly chime in—"and the unions." McGinn was unfazed by the reality check, getting off the last line: "He's gotten over $50,000 from the chamber, and my support comes from the people because I look out for the people."
2. The split support was reiterated across town at the 11th District Democrats meeting in Southeast Seattle where the group issued a dual endorsement in the mayor's race last night, though only after Murray got 57 percent on the first ballot. Candidates need two-thirds for the sole endorsement.
Meanwhile, the Sawant showing was not repeated at the 43rd District Democrats' meeting where a "No" endorsement in the race was rejected and Conlin received the sole.
"I never thought I'd quote Tim Eyman, but 'if the people want taxes, they'll vote for them.' Please," he concluded, "give us a chance to vote for them."—a Mercer Island voter
3. And across the water—at Stevenson Elementary in Bellevue, a giant crowd showed up (not enough parking for the 400-plus people, nor enough room in a space that holds 300)—at the state senate transportation committee's stop on its statewide listening tour.
Committee co-chairs, Sens. Curtis King (R-14, Yakima) and Tracey Eide (D-30, Federal Way), (along with Republican Sens. Joe Fain, R-47, Auburn, Andy Hill, R-45, Redmond, Steve Litzow, R-41, Mercer Island, and Rodney Tom, D-48, Medina, plus Seattle Democrat Sen. David Frockt, D-46, N. Seattle) were on hand to hear overwhelming support for a revenue package, which would include allowing local voters to approve an MVET tax increase to fund Metro bus service. The Republican-controlled senate killed the local option during the regular session along with a 10-and-a-half cent gas tax/$10 billion roads package.
If a package isn't passed before the end of the year—legislators are considering a two-day special session right before Thanksgiving—Metro will take as much as a 17 percent cut, meaning a loss of 600,000 service hours, a $75 million hit, and putting an additional 25,000 cars on the road each day.
The quote of the night came from a Mercer Island voter: "I never thought I'd quote Tim Eyman, but 'if the people want taxes, they'll vote for them.' Please," he concluded, give us a chance to vote for them."
4. The city's Ethics and Elections Commission has advised city council member Sally Bagshaw against participating in the creation of a Local Improvement District (a $200-$300 million special taxing district, along with about $150 million from the rest of Seattle) to help pay for waterfront improvements), because she owns a condo at First and Spring, within the scope of the proposed LID.
She should not participate in matters such as the legislation necessary to establish the LID, define
its boundaries, set its overall budget, adopt an assessment methodology, or approve preliminary
or final assessments, because those matters are reasonably likely to affect the fair market value of
her property or the amount of her property’s LID assessment.
Bagshaw's $422,000 condo is one of about 10,000 that will be subject to the special tax assessment, which will pay for improvements along the waterfront.