1. File this under Josh's "unified theory" theory which he wrote about last week, claiming that the Democrats, once infamous for being a comedic hodge-podge of special interests—women's rights, labor, social services, civil rights, anti-war agitating, and environmentalism vs. the GOP's clearcut smaller government message—currently have a holistic ideology where progressive priorities such as smart growth and living wages, disparate at a cursory glance, are one in the same in the twenty-first century. You could argue that raising the minimum wage, for example, supports green land-use planning because it keeps the middle class living closer to employment centers, preventing sprawl.
This one-stop-shop liberalism was certainly on display at last night's packed King County Council public hearing at Union Station on King County Executive Dow Constantine's proposal—a $60 vehicle license fee and a sales tax increase of one-tenth of one percent—to head off as much as a 17 percent cut to Metro service.
Sure, Transportation Choices Coalition Programs Director Shefali Ranganathan testified, but so did the executive director of immigrants rights group OneAmerica, Rich Stolz. The state may have just passed the DREAM Act, but don't pigeonhole OneAmerica's cause. The civil rights leader was on hand to make it plain to council that he supported saving Metro, particularly the new low-income fare and the possibility of a rebate for low-income car owners. All are important measures to build off of what the county has already done to address "social equity," he said.
Stolz's point was accented by an international student from the UW who told the council that Metro plays an important role for integrating international students in the broader community, and that cutting nearly half the routes serving the UW "will be a disaster."
Speaking of disasters like massive Metro cuts bringing groups together: the urban/suburban split took a back seat at last night's hearing as well.
Speaking of disasters like massive Metro cuts bringing groups together: the urban/suburban split took a back seat at last night's hearing as well. Mercer Island mayor Bruce Bassett told the council: “Saving Metro and fixing our roads isn’t an issue for big cities or little cities, it’s for all cities. As elected officials from cities across the county, we’re asking you to move this forward, we cannot wait any longer because the legislature is not going to act.”
2. Two outtakes from last night's hearing: First, props to the County Council, as opposed to the City Council, for having the cojones to bounce the Stand Up for America troupe that typically bogs down City Council meetings with their interminable, profanity-laced testimony.
Second, the council was, however, caught off guard by the last speaker, a recent Bellevue High School grad who delivered a desultory speech about how grown-ups don't engage students in transit issues except for how "every year they do this visualization of what happens when you drink and drive"—which led her to talk about council member Jane Hague's DUI—and then back to Metro, complaining that students don't learn about using buses, but buses are important and "the council should save Metro even though some douchebags ride it."
Pressing the DOJ on a provision that gives them broad latitude to exempt some technology that is used for spying.
3. Today's Fizz Clip.
Go to the 2:25 mark in this video and watch U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA, 1) play hardball with the DOJ on what she sees as a loophole in President Obama's recent proposal to supposedly scale back the government's ability to use tech companies for surveillance.
Yesterday, she made her case during a judiciary committee hearing, pressing the DOJ on a provision that gives the DOJ broad latitude, under the rubric of "new platforms," to exempt some technology that is used for spying.
The Q&A ends—and there's a metaphor in here somewhere—when the flummoxed DOJ official, Deputy Attorney General James Cole, tells DelBene, in response to her demand for a specific example, "nothing that I would want to talk about in an open hearing."