1. Former Seattle city council member Peter Steinbrueck, who until recently was the only serious candidate for mayor who didn't have a campaign manager, has hired Tom Von Bronkhorst, a longtime former aide to council member Jean Godden and employee of Steinbrueck campaign consultant Cathy Allen, as his campaign manager.
Additionally, Steinbrueck has hired former Seattle P-I city hall reporter and former city attorney Pete Holmes spokesman Kathy Mulady as his communications director, Mulady confirms.
2. As this year's regular legislative session in Olympia ended yesterday with the budget (and transportation budget) still unfinished, Gov. Jay Inslee called for a special session to begin on May 13. Special sessions have a 30-day limit—and can end sooner, if, for example, legislators reach a budget deal.
This year, there are policy bills on the agenda too—Inslee himself has stressed that he doesn't think the legislature should go home until they vote on the Reproductive Parity Act, gun control, and the state DREAM Act. Meanwhile, the Republicans have noted a couple of "Go Home" issues themselves, pointing to a batch of education reform bills, a workers' comp bill that could lower worker payouts, and a bill to cap non-education spending.
The Republicans also introduced a bill late in the session to allow businesses to discriminate against gay couples on religious grounds; the bill is tailored to defend a flower shop in the bill sponsor's Richland-area district that's being sued by the Washington State Attorney General (and the ACLU) for refusing to serve a gay couple.
In addition to citing the budget, Inslee's proclamation added: "WHEREAS, work remains to be done with respect to critical policy bills that need to be acted upon....WHEREAS the Speaker of the House, House Minority Leader, Senate Majority Coalition Caucus Leader, Senate Democratic Leader, and Senate Republican Leader working together with the Governor may agree upon additional matters that are necessary for the Legislature to address..."
Another note about Inslee's "whereas"—it's kind of a dig at Sen. Rodney Tom (D-48, Medina), the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus leader, that Inslee included "the Senate Republican Leader" (Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-9, Ritzville) on the list; explicitly including Sen. Schoesler is a recognition of who's really in control of the senate majority.
Footnote on the special session: The announcement gives state Sen. Ed Murray (D-43, Capitol Hill), who's running for Seattle mayor, a two-week window to raise money; legislators are not allowed to raise money during session.
3. Speaking of the anti-gay rights bill: In case you missed it, we had some Weekend Fizz on Saturday because a controversy over the flower shop legislation was in full bloom when five bouquets appeared on the desks of the five female co-sponsors.
4. As we've reported, Aurora Avenue Merchants Association president Faye Garneau has been bankrolling the campaign to turn Seattle's city council into a joint district-at large system, with seven members elected from geographical districts, and two elected at large.
Last week, Garneau loaned another $50,000 to the districts campaign, bringing her total contribution to more than $100,000, making the campaign, to an even greater extent than we first reported earlier this month, an effort funded by a single North Seattle business interest.
The districts campaign has until early July to gather 50,000 signatures.