Caffeinated News & Gossip

1. Here's yet another dispatch from the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce retreat in Suncadia. (We've already reported on King County Executive Dow Constantine's regional urbanism rap and former Gov. Chris Gregoire's Seattle putdown—for which she earned an "Isn't it Weird That.")

Rep. Reuven Carlyle (D-36, Queen Anne) reportedly upped the ante on Constantine's urbanist mantra yesterday.

PubliCola's plant at the retreat texted in that Carlyle was lit up about the fact that a Republican state senator like Sen. Don Benton (R-17, Vancouver)—who helped kill last session's transit funding package, which included a local option provision that would have allowed King County to vote on a tax increase for Metro—has more say over King County policy than someone like Constantine.

Carlyle went on to criticize Washington state's regressive tax system, noting that it doesn't generate enough money to support the state's responsibilities: "We can't have Somalia level spending and Denmark level services."

2. With mayoral challenger Ed Murray garnering endorsements from the firefighters' union, the police union, former city council member Peter Steinbrueck, the King County Metro transit union, and five of nine city council members, Mayor Mike McGinn needed some good news this week.

And he got it: This morning, the Professional & Technical Employees Local 17, which represents 2,500 city workers endorsed McGinn.

"I think that voters should think twice before disrupting our well-run city." 

The public employees' union, the largest city workers' union, represents engineers, IT specialists, and environmental and health workers, among others. 

Contradicting the conventional wisdom that City Hall has been dysfunctional under McGinn, Local 17 director Joe McGee said the union was "impressed by his legitimate engagement with the city workforce, which is in contrast to past administrations. ... I think that voters should think twice before disrupting our well-run city by voting in someone else. Seattle is prospering at a time when many American cities are struggling."

3. Speaking of endorsements: In addition to a predictable list of nods to his fellow Republicans (Port Orchard Republican Jan Angel for state senate in the 26th District; incumbent Suzette Cooke for mayor of Kent), in an email today, former attorney general Rob McKenna (and failed Republican candidate for governor in 2012) sent out an email today endorsing a "No" vote on Tim Eyman's proposed I-517. (He also helped prepare the argument against I-517 on the state voters' pamphlet, which was signed by former secretaries of state Ralph Munro and Sam Reed.)

Eyman's latest measure would give initiative campaigns more time to gather signatures and make it harder for property owners to kick signature gatherers off their premises.

In his endorsement, McKenna writes that I-517 "has some positive aspects, but goes too far by requiring all public buildings AND stores on private property to allow signature gatherers. Schools, convention centers, public hospitals – all would be required to allow signature gatherers to solicit at their facilities. Stores on private property would have no right to remove them from their own property. That’s bad policy and it’s unconstitutional, which is why I’ll be voting no."

4. Populist low-income housing advocate John Fox wrote a lengthy email editorial this week explaining why he personally endorsed Ed Murray last month, despite the widespread perception that Murray is the "establishment" candidate in the race, arguing that McGinn has wasted funding on development in South Lake Union, the streetcar, and the Mercer Street expansion.

Fox initially supported former city council member Peter Steinbrueck, who was widely viewed as the "neighborhood" candidate, appealing to the anti-density, '90s era "Lesser Seattle" crowd. Although both McGinn and Murray are pro-development and have gotten money from top-level employees of Vulcan, McGinn in particular is anathema to Fox.

Fox spelled out his pro-Murray postion in this week's editorial, saying that Murray, in contrast to McGinn:

has raised concerns about runaway growth and rightly accused McGinn of having a rail 'fetish' (meaning at the expense of other modes such as buses which McGinn and his cabal openly abjure). ... Mayor McGinn is the most shamelessly pro-developer, pro-density, pro-growth Mayor we've had at least since I've been involved in city politics (and that’s a long time).  He could care less how runaway growth continues to ravage our existing stock of low income and affordable housing.

5. More of an "Isn't It Weird That" than a Fizz: Isn't it weird that McGinn consultant John Wyble, who wrote a piece on his blog just last year about "why political consultants don't advertise in the Seattle Times"—a reference to the paper's "experimental" ad giveaway to former AG McKenna—just did a $15,900 ad campaign in ... the Seattle Times

Back in 2012, Wyble wrote that unlike regional newspapers like the Times, "With direct mail, you can send a piece exactly to the houses you are targeting. With cable TV, you can choose stations based on demographics and you can choose geographic zones."

As we noted yesterday, before making their big Times ad buy, the McGinn camp proudly scoffed that the Seattle Times was not part of their cause. 

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