Caffeinated News & Gossip

1. During the recession, the scapegoat for conservatives in Olympia was undocumented immigrants. But after Obama's reelection put the GOP on notice that they needed to make allies with Latino voters, conservatives have found a new scapegoat for our state's economic troubles: Environmental regulations— in particular, the Growth Management Act, which limits development in rural areas.

Listen to Southwestern Washington freshman Rep. Liz Pike (R-18, Camas) in an email she sent out to constituents yesterday explaining her opposition to the Columbia River Crossing light rail project and framing the GMA as the cause of transportation and commute time woes:

The Washington Growth Management Act (GMA) Plan is the root cause of most of our transportation woes. GMA prevents businesses from locating in our communities and forces our neighbors to travel 40 miles or more to their jobs.
GMA’s cookie cutter “one size fits all” plan causes pollution, unnecessary wear and tear on our highways and reduces our quality of life. We can fix this if we all stand strong together!
Along these lines I support House Bill 1619, which would suspend GMA in counties with significant and persistent unemployment. By suspending these onerous regulations, our most fragile rural economies will have a fighting chance to attract new employers so we can get folks back to work again.
House Bill 1619 actually died in committee early this month, but a separate bill that's still in play would let select rural counties opt out of the GMA. 

Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, who, along with the two other outnumbered greens on the house local government committee—Reps. Marko Liias (D-21, Edmonds) and Dave Upthegrove (D-33, Des Moines)—voted against the meausre, told Fizz:

"A real issue leading to long commutes is local governments like Clark County [home of the Columbia River Crossing] that continue to push low-density development that requires a higher public expenditure on transportation, water, sewer, and fire. Clark County has massively expanded its urban growth area several times and as a result continues to project more rural sprawl than urban growth. That's what's to blame for long commutes."

2. Thanks to some smart reader comments on Sandeep's post yesterday about the Seattle Times firewall, we're tempted to revive the "Comment of the Day" posts we used to do (only long, longtime Cola readers will remember that daily feature).

"This is a disaster for the Burgess campaign."One particularly witty comment on Sandeep's post? "This is a disaster for the Burgess campaign."

3. Yesterday, the McGinn administration announced "Marine Week" in Seattle. According to McGinn's press release, Seattle residents can climb aboard and check out state of the art battlefield technology, listen to the Marine Corps Band, and witness martial arts demonstrations. Cool.

Kind of bad timing, though. With the potential of the sequestration deal to scrap the Navy's Blue Angels demo—"dropping the popular air show reflects the Navy’s budget priorities, which put the emphasis on maintaining funding for Navy units that are on deployments," the Seattle Times reported last month—we've got calls in to the Marines to find out if they're thinking the same thing about the "simulated combat demonstration at Stan Sayres Park." 

The sequestration, an automatic budget hit if Congress can't come up with a budget deal of its own, would cut $1.2 trillion across the board, including $500 billion in military cuts.