Caffeinated News & Gossip

1. As reported in Fizz yesterday, Mayor Mike McGinn plans to make an announcement today. And indeed, his campaign sent out a press release last night:

"Seattle-City of Seattle mayor Mike McGinn will announce his intentions tomorrow in the Seattle Mayor’s race in 2013."

McGinn "will announce his intentions" (to run for reelection, obviously) at the Filipino Community Center in Southeast Seattle at 12:30 today.

 

 Sen. Rodney Tom on the defensive last night in Bellevue.

2. We also noted in yesterday's Fizz that state senator Rodney Tom (D-48, Bellevue), the dissident Democrat who abandoned his party's caucus to team up with the Republicans—giving the GOP the majority and making Tom the new senate majority leader—was holding a town hall at Bellevue City Hall last night.

He asked for a show of hands: Who was against Tom and who was for him? It wasn't pretty.

Well he did. And Fizz was there to watch the fireworks as he faced his Democratic constituents.

There were definitely fireworks. After a brief discussion of the state budget where Tom, who was handing out the "Governing Principles" of his new "Coalition Caucus" (which includes "protect our most vulnerable while prioritizing the needs of middle-class Washingtonians"—which Tom amended by telling the crowd, "the legislature has expanded the definition of vulnerable a bit wide"—one man in the audience accused Tom of having misrepresented himself to voters by running as a Democrat. He said he was working against Tom now, and he asked for a show of hands: Who was against Tom and who was for him?

It wasn't pretty. It was about 80 to six against Tom.

Tom remained cool, and defended himself.

"I’ve always been socially moderate, progressive, liberal, whatever you want to call it. And fiscally, I’ve always been very conservative. That has not changed. … When I was writing the budget, when I got to the point where for us to get to 25 votes, it was not a budget I thought was fiscally responsible, and I couldn’t vote for it … I was willing ... to stand on my principles. [Tom did not vote for that budget—which included candy and soda taxes, and he was booted by then-Democratic senate majority leader Sen. Lisa Brown (D-3, Spokane) from the budget negotiation team even though he was the Ways and Means Chair.—Fizz]

And I ran after that, and guess what? I won."

Tom went on to document how his positions in the 2012 election (he wasn't up for reelection, he ran in 2010) mirrored the positions of the 48th District (Bellevue, Redmond, Medina)

He noted that he supported Obama, Jay Inslee, legalizing marijuana, and gay marriage—all big winners in the district. He then told the lefty crowd that he also supported two other ballot measures from the 2012 election "and many of you probably didn't"— charter schools and Tim Eyman's two-thirds rule to raise taxes.

However, he told the crowd that those measures also passed big in the 48th District.

"So I think I represent this district really well. I will say that if I decide to run again, people are going to have that choice, but I think you send us down there to make adult decisions. I try to do the best job I can. If you like it, great. If you don’t, vote for somebody else. I believe you put yourself out there, do the best you can, and then you have an election."

At that point— one of the eight folks who raised their hand in support of Tom yelled out: “Let’s get on to the issues, not politics!”

And then from the angry mob: “This is an issue!”

State Representative Ross Hunter (D-48, Medina), who was also participating in the night's constituent town hall—and who, as the house Appropriations Chair, said he disagreed with Tom's budget approach because he didn't believe the state could write a budget without finding new revenue (and he looked forward to the upcoming debate this session with Tom), stepped in and said they'd reserve time at the end of the night for people to give Tom "feedback" and nudged the crowd on to address other issues. 

Democratic Sen. Rodney Tom's staffer last night in Bellevue? Senate Republican Caucus Communications Director Booker Stallworth.

After the meeting, Tom did meet with constituents out in the hall to defend himself. We were there for that too, and we'll file a separate report later today, though we should note: Tom made the claim that the Democratic proposal for power sharing came with committees "stacked" in the Democrats' favor, while his proposal, he said, was bipartisan.

Wrong. As we noted yesterday, Tom's committee proposal gives the GOP wide margins that do not reflect his slim 25-24 advantage, such as a 12-7 advantage in the powerful Rules Committee and 13 to 10 on Ways and Means. The Democratic proposal, on the other hand, gave the Democrats narrow majorities (just one vote advantages in each committee) and actually came with a co-chaired committee on the big K-12 funding question

Tom groused: "Look at when Ed [Democratic leader Sen. Ed Murray] proposed Ways and Means. I wasn't on it anymore."

Final note: Tom's staffer last night in Bellevue? The person who was handing out the Coalition Caucus' "Governing Principles" flyer? Senate Republican Caucus Communications Director Booker Stallworth.

3. Speaking of getting the gong.

Real Change director Tim Harris announced yesterday, via Facebook, that he plans to set up a giant gong on the plaza outside City Hall on January 25, the morning after the annual One Night Count of King County’s homeless, and ring it once for every homeless person counted living outside.

Last year, the One Night Count found nearly 2,600 people living outdoors in King County.

“If we hit it every 5 seconds,” Harris wrote, “it should take about 4 hours.”

His Facebook status: "I just rented this gong. Yes I did."

4. Also on Facebook, Harris, who's supporting Peter Steinbrueck for mayor, got into it with McGinn chief of staff Julie McCoy over gun buyback programs; McCinn and King County Executive Dow Constantine announced a gun buyback program yesterday and Harris drew McCoy's attention by posting an article that criticized gun buybacks as political grandstanding without real effects.

Harris concluded by posting another article and writing:

"On that fucking gun day that's coming up about a hundred times as many guns are gonna get bought than will ever get bought back this year. Way nicer ones too. guess the buy-backs get people involved and that's something."

5. The Stranger is reporting on a rumor that the Seattle Weekly is going to be bought—and then sold to the Seattle Times. Not quite—so far, there's been no news of any sale to the Times.