1. UPDATE: Fizz hears that the streetcar announcement has been postponed by Sound Transit because both Sound Transit and the city need to do more work on the proposal. An observation: Assuming the announcement would have involved good funding news for the streetcar, it will now come too late to help Mayor Mike McGinn in the election. Ballots landed in the mail this week.
Is Mayor Mike McGinn about to roll out a transit plan with City Council member Richard Conlin?
Sound Transit CEO Joni Earl will present a proposal to amend the agreement under which the city of Seattle plans to operate the First Hill streetcar at Thursday's Sound Transit board meeting.
Fizz couldn't twist enough arms to find out exactly what the changes would be, but McGinn and Conlin, who are both Sound Transit board members, reportedly plan to make a joint announcement on Thursday. And our guess is that the mayor and Conlin, both looking for a nice campaign jolt, are keeping the announcement under wraps because they want to manage an exciting media moment.
What could it be? Perhaps some good news for streetcar funding?
Streetcar construction, a separate line item from streetcar operations, is about 75 percent funded.
2. Speaking of campaign jolts. Conventional wisdom had it that McGinn needed to land decisive blow at last night's final televised debate (or that challenger, state Sen. Ed Murray, needed to screw up royally) in order to boost McGinn's campaign; with the exception of a KIRO poll that shows McGinn down by just four points, several other polls from KING 5, Public Policy Polling, and Strategies 360 show McGinn trailing Murray by between 17 and 22 points.
Both candidates had good moments (McGinn's answer to the first question laid out a more exciting and specific agenda—pre-school for all, flex time, neighborhood-to-neighborhood transit—than Murray's general shamble about livability and wages; and Murray's honed rap pointing out how weird it is that progressive, Democratic Seattle doesn't have a unified vision, effectively painted the McGinn era as a missed opportunity).
While there weren't any lightning bolts at last night's debate, there was some stormy drama.
Both candidates had bad moments (Murray fumbled when asked why he voted for the tunnel cost overruns provision that infamously "sticks it" to Seattle; and McGinn, typically convincing and focused during his closing statements, seemed distracted during his closer.)
And, while, again, there weren't any lightning bolts, there was some stormy drama. Murray, pivoting off a letter from U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan that had gone public earlier that day challenging McGinn's braggadocio version of events leading to the creation of the Community Police Commission (not totally his idea, Durkan said), challenged McGinn to release documentation of the process. And McGinn, highlighting Murray's soda industry donors, challenged Murray to support a soda tax, something McGinn has proposed to fund parks. Murray, who's opposed the soda-money-for-parks-idea in the past, said, for the first time during the campaign, he was open to the idea of a soda tax for more health-related causes. (Murray voted for a soda tax in the legislature in 2010 to deal with the recession, but it was repealed by voters statewide.)
3. Three people who were evidently counting on a debate without any knockout punches from McGinn last night? Scott Forbes, Alison Holcomb, and Brady Walkinshaw.
It's not that they're all Murray supporters (though they've all donated exclusively to Murray in the race), it's that Forbes, the chair of the 43rd District Democrats, Holcomb, a marijuana legalization advocate and ACLU attorney, and Walkinshaw, a Gates Foundation program officer, have all been actively cajoling and working 43d District members in anticipation that a seat from the district is about to open up in the state legislature.
Murray is the state senator from the 43rd (Capitol Hill, the U. District, Wallingford), and if he goes on to win the mayor's race, it's likely that his longtime ally, state Rep. Jamie Pedersen (D-43, Capitol Hill) will take Murray's state senate seat—creating a vacancy and mad dash for his house seat. (Pedersen won a six-way Democratic primary for the seat in 2006 when Murray moved to the senate.)