1. Whatcom County's Political Junkie blog reports that two companies that will benefit from a new coal terminal north of Bellingham, SSA Marine and BNSF Railroad, have contributed a total of $40,000 to Republican Party candidates for local county and port offices.
According to the blog, the two pro-coal companies have funneled tens of thousands through the state and Whatcom County Republican parties, ensuring that their names "do not appear on any of the candidates' disclosure forms—but the money still gets where it needs to go."
The two pro-coal companies have funneled tens of thousands through the state and Whatcom County Republican parties.
2. TVW's The Capitol Record blog has the news that Democratic state Senator Nathan Schlicher (D-26) is the beneficiary of $300,000 in independent spending by California gazillionaire Thomas Steyer, an environmentalist who was the subject of a recent New Yorker piece on Steyer's political spending, including millions to stop the Keystone XL pipeline.
Schlicher's opponent, state Rep. Jan Angel (R-26), tells the Capitol Record, "I’m an environmentalist too, so this man doesn’t even know me. But he is putting all this money against me in this race.”
3. Seattle-based Amazon.com has agreed to stop selling foie gras—the fattened liver of ducks that have been fed through a process called gauvage, which involves forcing a tube down the ducks' throats—to its customers in the U.K., the Daily Mail reports. (Warning: Graphic photos at the link).
According to the paper, the company agreed to stop selling foie gras after a campaign by animal-welfare activists publicized photos that "showed shocking images of force feeding at a farm that supplied products sold through Amazon.
Whether gauvage is cruel or not is very much up for debate; as Seattle Met has noted in the past, it's rather convenient for animal-rights activists to fixate on force-feeding while all but ignoring an industrial food system that treats animals far less humanely than producers of foie gras, a luxury item consumed by a few.
4. Michael King, the former state Democratic Party official charged with embezzling as much as $300,000 to support his drinking and gambling habits, has pleaded guilty to eight counts of theft, the Seattle Times reports.
The state will recommend that King pay $250,000 in restitution and serve two years in jail.
5. The Times also has a piece on a story we've reported about a couple of times here on PubliCola: Bellevue residents don't like the idea of single-family houses being turned into residences for unrelated individuals, most of them students at Bellevue College.
They've fought, successfully, for a new emergency ordinance that makes it illegal for more than four unrelated people to live together in one single-family home—a measure that effectively outlaws the student houses. The new ordinance, the Times reports, also requires homeowners to live at the house if they want to rent out rooms.