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Democratic state Rep. Mark Miloscia's anti-choice, anti-gay marriage questionnaire

THIS POST HAS BEEN UPDATED TO REFLECT THE FACT THAT TENANT ADVOCATES DO NOT LIKE DPD'S LATEST RENTAL HOUSING INSPECTION PROGRAM PROPOSAL.

1. Remember Rebecca Herzfeld and Michael Jenkins, the city council central staffers who recused themselves from working on a Capitol Hill zoning issue because they wrote letters to the council---their bosses---opposing legislation, proposed by Mayor Mike McGinn, aimed at encouraging small and home-based businesses in their neighborhood?

This week, both staffers took their advocacy one step further, meeting with at least one city council member by the coffee cart on the ground floor of City Hall to explain their concerns about the proposal. The legislation would allow commercial uses on the ground floor of low- and mid-rise buildings in parts of Capitol Hill, and would increase the size threshold for a development to trigger environmental review. Both Herzfeld and Jenkins have argued that allowing commercial uses in non-commercial zones would hurt nearby business districts.[pullquote]Both staffers took their advocacy one step further, meeting with at least one city council member (for one hour each) to explain their concerns... [/pullquote]

Council member Mike O'Brien confirms that he met with both staffers to get their input on the proposal. He says he has "definitely had city employees testify" at council meetings but has never been lobbied directly by members of the council's central staff. Central staff director Ben Noble says both Herzfeld and Jenkins took an hour of vacation time for their meetings with O'Brien. According to the council's sign-in sheet, Herzfeld also met with council member Jean Godden.

2. "I'm disappointed in her original tweets and in her response to PubliCola," Washington State Democratic Party Chair Dwight Pelz said yesterday when he saw our story on 1st Congressional District candidate Darcy Burner's comments about President Obama. (Burner told us she's been frustrated with Obama's adoption of Republican ideas such as putting Medicare and Social Security on the table during the debt limit debate.)[pullquote]"I cannot walk into a room that has 55 percent of the membership supporting an opponent of civil rights."[/pullquote]

"He clearly rejected the Ryan proposal to cut Medicare," Pelz said. "There have been no changes to Medicare and Social Security during the Obama presidency, and he passed a major health care reform to get health care to millions of uninsured people, something other Democratic presidents from Kennedy to Clinton tried and failed to do. For several years, Darcy's been a professional lefty in DC, but when she decided to come home and run for office she also needed to make a decision to be part of the Democratic team. Barack Obama is the leader of the Democratic Party, and I'm proud of the work he's done to fight for the middle class."

3. Speaking of Burner, she—along with the other big name in the 1st Congressional District race to replace former US Rep. Jay Inslee, Suzan DelBene, couldn't get the two-thirds majority vote of the King County Democrats' Executive Board last night (even though both women, and none of the other candidates in the race, had gotten the nod earlier this month from the group's endorsement committee.) The highly anticipated vote was tabled last night.[pullquote]Neither candidate could get the two-thirds majority vote of the King County Democrats' Executive Board last night.[/pullquote]

In other news from the KC Democrats' meeting in Renton last night, a member of the 20-person endorsement committee, Michael Maddux, the representative from the 43rd District, resigned after social conservative Rep. Mark Miloscia (D-30, Federal Way), who's running for state auditor against liberal Democrat, Sen. Craig Pridemore (D-49, Vancouver), foiled a Pridemore endorsement. Miloscia, who's anti-choice and anti-gay marriage (he's a Democrat thanks to his lefty bent on economic issues), failed to get the nod himself, but he had enough vocal support to stall Pridemore.

Maddux told Fizz: "The King County Democratic Central Committee members will rally hard against discrimination against racial minorities. But apparently supporting anti-gay bigots is perfectly acceptable. I promptly offered my resignation as representative from the 43rd."

Maddux, who is gay, was incensed that Miloscia's bid for the endorsement managed to muster a simple majority, 29-24, (though he needed two-thirds).Maddux concluded: "I cannot walk into a room that has 55 percent of the membership supporting an opponent of civil rights. We should be better than that."

4. A proposed city rental-housing inspection program will come one step closer to fruition this afternoon, when the council's housing committee gets a look at a proposed compromise from the city's Department of Planning and Development. Tenant advocates, who have been pushing for a mandatory inspection program for years, said a proposal from DPD last year did not go far enough to protect tenants from landlord retaliation. Additionally, they viewed  some of its provisions (random inspection of just 10 percent of rental units in the city, “self-certification” by landlords, “drive-by” exterior inspections instead of interior walk-throughs) as inadequate to protect tenants in substandard housing.

The new proposal (which, as a city council staffer pointed out to Fizz this morning, largely parrots a draft from late last year) is tougher than the original, but still does not go far enough for tenant advocates, who argue that it favors landlords and has few specific safeguards to ensure citywide inspections of substandard properties. In a statement, Tenants Union community organizer Emily Murphy said the new proposal "relies heavily on the existing complaint based system, 3rd party complaints, and selecting previous violators for inspection." It does call for random interior inspections, but, Murphy says, the standards for those inspections are vague. The Tenants Union is calling for a program that would eventually inspect every unit in Seattle.

The cost to start up the program is just over $420,000; read all the details here.

 5. King County Elections just released the results of a survey to find out how much voters know about election procedures in the county. And while some of the results are, well, comforting (most people know they can only vote by mail; a strong majority believe that when they send in their ballot, King County Elections will process it correctly), some of the findings were a little more disturbing.[pullquote]Some of the findings were a little more disturbing.[/pullquote]

For example, 67 percent of respondents were not aware of King County's web site or believe King County Elections does not have one; four in ten believed that changing their address at the post office automatically updated their voter registration (or didn't know whether it did or not); and a majority did not know that voting districts (like cities or counties) can decide when to put measures on the ballot.

Fizz has to admit that we ourselves got one question wrong: King County claims that "frivolous write-ins" add time and cost to elections. We pledge to stop writing in Laraine Newman in the 7th Congressional District. Google it, kids.

6. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), whose chapters in the state represent 3,500 janitors and security guards in central Puget Sound and Spokane, 1,200 health care workers in Southwest Washington, 43,000 home care and nursing home workers statewide, 23,000 education and child care workers statewide, and 22,000 nurses, healthcare workers, mental health, and state employees statewide, (in other words the biggest and most well-funded union in the state), endorsed Democrat Jay Inslee for governor this week.

It's hardly surprising news, but SEIU is a campaign machine and Inslee will certainly benefit from the union's GOTV prowess.