Caffeinated News & Gossip

1. It's not just folks east of the Cascades who don't have Seattle's back in Olympia. Fizz obtained a copy of the city of Bellevue's draft transportation agenda for the upcoming legislative session. And check out this item: "The state should enforce its cap on expenditures on the Alaskan Way Viaduct project."

Creeping questions about the $4.6 billion tunnel project, including a projected $200 million shortfall in tolling revenue have started a scramble to shore up funding.

Looks like Bellevue is on Wenatchee's side when it comes to spending on Seattle.

House transportation chair Rep. Judy Clibborn (D-41, Mercer Island) told PubliCola earlier this year she might consider lifting the $2.4 billion state spending cap. Subsequently, north-central Washington state Rep. Mike Armstrong (R-12, Wenatchee), the ranking Republican member on the transportation committee (though he lost the election to another Republican last month), told us he was a definite 'No' on raising the cap for Seattle.

Looks like Bellevue is on Wenatchee's side when it comes to spending on Seattle. So much for regionalism.

2. Who needs independent expenditures or high-paid consultants to go negative?

In a transparent jab at city council member Tim Burgess, his potential competitor in 2013, likely mayoral candidate and ex-council member Peter Steinbrueck had this to say on his Facebook page yesterday:

 

Burgess, of course, once did consulting work for CWA, a far-right-wing group that opposes women's access to contraception and gay rights.

3. In other mayoral candidate news: State Sen. (D-43) Ed Murray sent out his first fundraising letter yesterday. Not surprisingly, the letter focuses on Murray's successful effort to legalize same-sex marriage, and features two longtime partners—Stuart Wilber & John Breitweiser—who were among the first 10 same-sex couples who received marriage licenses at the King County Courthouse last Thursday. 

"Ed has begun to pull together a campaign for mayor of Seattle," the letter says. "We know he will bring the same dedication he brought to our cause to representing the people of Seattle."

One thing Ed Murray didn't mention—nor does Nyhus' website—Nyhus' firm is working to promote the controversial coal train transport.

Because state officials are not allowed to raise money during the legislative session, Murray will only be allowed to raise money until next Saturday—which is exactly what he was busy doing last night. 

More than 150 people showed to the fundraiser at the elegant and spacious North Capitol Hill home of public relations consultant Roger Nyhus and Equal Rights Washington Executive Director Rod Hearne. The crowd was a mix of gay and straight supporters.

Rep. Jamie Pedersen, Murray's 43rd District house counterpart and sponsor of Murray's gay marraige legislation in the house, made the money ask after Murray spoke about the need for "new leadership" in Seattle.

Murray also announced early endorsements from the Victory Fund and Equal Rights Washington.

One thing he didn't mention—nor does Nyhus' website—Nyhus' firm is working to promote the controversial coal train transport.

4. Speaking of the coal transport: Mayor Mike McGinn announced yesterday that he's commissioning a study on the economic impacts of the controversial proposal—18 coal trains daily shipping coal from Wyoming through Seattle on their way to a new coal terminal in Bellingham. (An earlier study concluded that the proposal could cost property owners along the route as much as $265 million in lost property values.)

The announcement comes one day before a hearing on the coal-train proposal that's expected to draw as many as 3,000 people at the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle from 4–7pm. See the PubliCalendar for details.

5. In response to falling gas taxes (because fuel efficiency is increasing and because people are driving less), the state department of transportation plans to ask the state legislature for $1.6 million over the next two years to study the possibility of "road pricing"—essentially, charging drivers by the mile to use state highways. The proposal, which a state steering committee has determined is feasible, would take between five and seven years to implement.

The upside: It would tax road users in direct proportion to how much they use state roads. The downside: Civil-liberties absolutists are sure to holler that it violates drivers' rights by tracking their movements. On balance, Fizz thinks it sounds like a promising idea.

6. Longtime Vulcan lobbyist Dan McGrady is leaving the South Lake Union developer to take a new gig as a lobbyist for PEMCO Insurance. McGrady, who previously worked for ex-city council member Jan Drago, worked at Vulcan for 12 years. 

McGrady is leaving at an odd time: Just as Vulcan is fighting for a South Lake Union upzone.