1. Yesterday afternoon, mayoral candidate State Sen. Ed Murray (D-43, Capitol Hill), former co-chair of the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee, held a 30-minute press call (along with the other former SDCC co-chairs, Seattle Sens. David Frockt and Sharon Nelson) to field questions from reporters about former SDCC executive director Michael King who has been charged with embezzling as much as $300,000 from the Democrats' war chest between March 2011 and January 2013.Josh filed a report last night, as did the Seattle Times.
2. If you believe polling about the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce released by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, then they've got some numbers that contradict conventional wisdom: It turns out their endorsement is actually a good thing for candidates rather than the curse it's perceived to be in the People's Republic of Seattle.
If you believe polling about the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce released by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce...
The findings, released this morning, are cribbed from two separate polls. One statistic, from an EMC poll, found that 56 percent had a favorable view of the chamber vs. 22 percent who had an unfavorable view.
And more to the point, an Elway poll found that 38 percent vs. 18 percent, when asked "Would you be more inclined to vote for or against a candidate who was backed by the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce?" said "more."(Forty-four percent said "didn't know or "not applicable.")
Ed Murray, whose polling firm is EMC, by the way, has been endorsed by the chamber. (EMC tells us they were not paid by the Chamber and simply allowed the Chamber to use the Chamber "favorable" stat that EMC found in a separate poll for a separate client. They would not tell Fizz who the client was, but did tell us the poll was based on interviews with primary voters—so older and more consistent voters. They told us the Chamber heard about the finding and approached them about using it.)
Fizz has also heard that Chamber polling has Murray leading McGinn by double digits, perhaps by 14 points.
3. After heavy lobbying by taxicab companies, the city council's taxi oversight committee, chaired by City Council president Sally Clark, will consider legislation today that could completely shut down ridesharing companies like Lyft, Sidecar, and UberX (which sent out a plea yesterday asking supporters to show up and testify on their behalf.
"Language is being considered to shut down uberX – better, faster and cheaper than a TAXI, but maybe too good for Seattle," the UberX email blast said, "Seattle needs more affordable transportation options, not fewer. The Council should be applauded for the work it’s done thus far to modernize Seattle’s antiquated transportation regime, but tomorrow’s meeting could undo all of that hard work."
The council could adopt a middle-ground bill (as California recently did) that requires both ridesharing drivers and their vehicles to get a special city license; or they could adopt more limited regulations that just require ridesharing drivers to get a "for-hire vehicle license" and also increases the number of taxi licenses in the city by 50.
Currently, ridesharing cars are unregulated (except for the regulations that apply to all drivers, like drivers license and minimum insurance requirements); all the options the city is considering would increase the regulatory burden on rideshare operators, but only one would, in the city's words, have the "effect of precluding their operation."
Sally Clark says she's leaning toward a version of the least-restrictive proposal.
Clark tells Fizz she's leaning toward a version of the least-restrictive proposal, which would require drivers to meet basic driving standards but wouldn't require them to get a for-hire vehicle license, which requires drivers to spend several hundred dollars and go through a multi-day course.
"I'm wondering if there’s some way to ensure that that a driver is a safe driver, but not have to require that the driver has to go through the full for-hire vehicle course. There’s still a part of me that when I look at what Lyft and UberX do, if they really are not full-on taxi companies, then I’m not sure" they should be subject to the same strict regulations as taxis.
On the other hand, Clark said, "I think what you will hear [from other council members at the meeting] is a strong concern that if we don’t have a level set of expectations and a level licensing scheme for drivers of all modes, then we’ll create inequalities that we shouldn’t be creating" between rideshare drivers and taxi drivers.
Check out the options here; the committee meets tomorrow at 2:00pm.
4. In response to a letter from conservative, anti-light rail state Sen. Don Benton (R-17, Vancouver) urging Oregon state legislators to reject the Columbia River Crossing (Benton opposes spending $450 million to build a new bridge linking Portland and Vancouver that would include light rail, and helped block a transportation package that would have included the money), Vancouver Sen. Annette Cleveland (D-49) wrote Oregon legislators a letter of her own, titled, "CRC project is supported by WA legislators":
Out of concern that you could potentially be misled by an overly vocal minority from our side of the river, I feel compelled to contact you to share that a majority of Washington legislators support the Columbia River Crossing project. I believe a revenue package that funded the CRC would have passed in our 2013 legislative session if the Senate’s Majority Coalition Caucus had not blocked it from coming to the floor for a vote.
The most vociferous opposition to the CRC has come from a Washington lawmaker who represents a district miles from the existing Interstate 5 bridges. Please know that the Washington lawmakers in the district most central to the bridge, the 49th Legislative District, (where the bridge is actually located) strongly support the CRC.