Caffeinated News & Gossip

1. President Obama told Barbara Walters that the feds are not going to go after newly legal pot smokers in Washington and Colorado.

Obama said:

"It would not make sense for us to see a top priority as going after recreational users in states that have determined that it's legal."

2. More proof that the "bipartisan coalition" proposal by the Republicans in the state senate is hotly partisan?

Just look at the voting records of the people they put in charge:

Their pick to chair the Health Care Committee, Sen. Randi Becker (R-2, Eatonville), has just a 17 percent lifetime voting record from labor, is deemed "anti-choice" by NARAL, gets a lowly 18 percent rating on the environment, and a lockstep 90 percent business ranking;

Their pick to chair the Commerce and Labor Committee, Sen. Janea Holmquist Newbury (R-13, Moses Lake) has a 15 percent labor rating, a 15 percent environmental record, and went with the Washington National Federation of Business 100 percent of the time;

Sen. Randi Becker  has just a 17 percent lifetime voting record from labor, is deemed "Anti-choice" by NARAL, gets a lowly 18 percent rating on the environment, and a lockstep 90 percent business ranking. Their pick to chair the Ways & Means Committee, Sen. Andy Hill (R-45, Redmond), while certainly a moderate on the environment, has just a 19 percent labor rating and an 80 percent pro-business record;

Their pick to chair the K-12 Education Committee, Sen. Steve Litzow (R-41, Mercer Island), while generally a pro-choice, green Republican, is also a hardcore education reformer.

And on Transportation, the only big deal committee where they didn't make a Republican the chair (instead, transportation would be co-chaired), they gave themselves the voting advantage by putting Sen. Tim Sheldon (D-35, Potlatch) on the committee. Sheldon, of course, is the wayward Democrat who crossed the aisle to hand the senate reins to the GOP.

Certainly, the Democrats proposed a batch of partisan chairs as well—Sen. Adam Kline (D-37, S Seattle) heading up Judiciary (as usual), Sen. Karen Keiser (D-33, Des Moines) heading up Health Care, and Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-36, Ballard) heading up labor with Sen. Bob Hasegawa (D-11, S. Seattle) as vice chair.

However, they also put fiscal conservative Sen. Jim Hargrove (D-24, Hoquiam) in charge of Ways and Means and put the GOP coup leader himself, Sen. Rodney Tom (D-48, Bellevue), in charge of Higher Ed.

As for the other Democrat who sided with the GOP coup, Sen. Tim Sheldon (D-35, Potlatch)—the Democrats made him the Vice Chair of the all-powerful Rules Committee, second only to the Lt. Governor.

And remember: The Democrats weren't—like the GOP—claiming that their proposal was "bipartisan" in the first place.

3. More than 2,000 people, mostly dressed in the oppositional red shirts, showed up at the Washington State Convention Center hearing yesterday where the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Washington Department of Ecology, and the Whatcom County Council heard testimony on the coal transport proposal to run 18 coal trains a day through Seattle up to the Cherry Point terminal outside Bellingham.

King County Executive Dow Constantine opened the hearing with the following statement:

“As a region, we need to focus our energies on lasting, value-added economic development that supports a healthy environment for future generations.  We can do better."

4. This item has been corrected to reflect the fact that two contributors to Tim Burgess actually resigned near the end of Greg Nickels' second term as mayor, not during Mike McGinn's current term.

In addition to the contributions we reported in Fizz earlier this week, here are a few more interesting items from the fundraising reports for this year's mayoral challengers: 

Tim Burgess' contributions include $700 maxed-out contribution from Seattle Convention and Visitors Bureau chairman Mark Barbieri, who gave now-Mayor Mike McGinn $250 in 2009; $500 from former city human services director Patricia McInturff and $250 from former city librarian Deborah Jacobs, both Greg Nickels appointees who retired near the end of Nickels' second term. Burgess contributors also include former housing department director Adrienne Quinn and former domestic violence division head Terri Kimball, who both resigned during McGinn's term; and $250 from Seattle School Board member Michael DeBell, who gave $250 to McGinn in his first run.

Charlie Staadecker, a Seattle real-estate broker, reported contributions of $1,400 from art collectors Marsha and Jay Glazer; $1,400 from hotel magnate Jerry Anches and his wife Rita; and $500 from Fremont Dock owner and neighborhood activist Suzie Burke, who also gave $500 to McGinn this year.

State Sen. Ed Murray, who just got into the race last week, has only filed $1,700 in contributions so far, including $1,400 from investment banker (and onetime lottery winner) Peter Kerr and his wife Cynthia Wells; starting Saturday, Murray can't raise money until the end of the legislative session.