The King County Council
1. Democrats in Olympia are working on a potential $1.5 billion bond proposal for construction projects to send to voters this year. The current package—being discussed on both the senate and house side—would end up bringing in about $100 million through sales tax revenues from construction and would create about 30,000 construction jobs.
A $600 million bond measure, R-52, failed at the polls in 2010, but that measure focused almost exclusively on green retrofits for public schools. The revised plan would fund a broad range of construction projects including fish hatcheries, forest work, and energy work.[pullquote]Democrats in Olympia are working on a potential $1.5 billion bond proposal for construction projects to send to voters this year.[/pullquote]
2. Picking up on Republican state senate budget leader Joseph Zarelli's (R-18, Ridgefield) "Reforms Before Revenue" mantra, conservative Democrats in the state senate, organized as the Roadkill Caucus (so-named for their middle-of-the-road politics), have said they will not support any tax increase until the senate deals with macro issues such as the state employee health care payment equation (to make state employees pay more).
The Washington State Wire has the story.
3. As predicted, the board of the 60,000-member Washington Education Association union endorsed US Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA, 1) for governor this weekend. The WEA, which represents public school staff from teachers to custodians to bus drivers to secretaries, had scheduled interviews with both Inslee and his Republican opponent, Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna, on Saturday as part of the endorsement process.
McKenna announced late Friday that he believed the process was simply a pre-fab "dog-and-pony show" and "big spectacle" to hype an inevitable Inslee endorsement and would not attend the interview. McKenna said he would be meeting with the Excellent Schools Now coalition on Saturday. "Our teachers were pretty dissatisfied," union spokesman Rich Wood says. ESN is a coalition of education reform groups, including Stand For Children and the League of Education Voters, that typically lines up opposite the teachers' union on issues such as teacher evaluations. McKenna also failed to fill out the WEA's questionnaire.
In press released issued by the Inslee campaign on Saturday after the WEA endorsed Inslee, WEA president Mary Lindquist said:
"Jay Inslee is the kind of governor our state needs. He understands the needs of our students, and he listens to teachers and education support professionals."
4. The King County Council is supposed to vote on the state Rep. David Frockt's (D-46, N. Seattle) replacement today. Frockt is moving to the state senate (he was appointed by the King County Council after the 46th District Democrats recommended Frockt in the wake of former state Sen. Scott White's sudden death in October.)
With a vote of its precinct committee officers on Thursday night, the 46th District formally recommended the District's 2nd Vice Chair Gerry Pollet for Frockt's seat. On Sunday, nervous about rumors that the County Council would "overturn" the PCOs' decision, 46th District Chair Chad Lupkes wrote a post on the 46th District blog urging the Council to go with Pollet.
I am hearing about a lobbying campaign being waged to overturn the rankings determined by the votes of the PCOs on Thursday, December 1st, and I wish to speak strongly in favor of having the Council appoint Gerry Pollet to fill the vacancy in the Washington State House of Representatives on Monday, December 5th. ... The PCOs have spoken, and a majority have chosen Gerry Pollet. Second, all of the candidates that were eligible to be selected by our PCOs voiced their agreement that the final choice of the PCOs should be the person to fill the vacancy and that they would support that individual. ...
It has always been tradition for the King County Council to respect the will of the majority of duly Elected and Appointed Precinct Committee Officers in situations like this. Per the Constitution, it is of course up to County Council to make the appointment itself. But the requirement for the County Central Committee to pass on the list of three names comes from a long tradition of asking the Grassroots of our party structure to determine the best candidates. This has been done, and among all of the candidates who stepped forward one received the majority vote. Gerry Pollet has been working on behalf of our district in many ways for many years, and he has earned the respect of our grassroots.
You can watch the County Council appointment hearing here live.