1. This November the state GOP is targeting Democratic sate legislators from "the Crescent"—the sweep of swing-district turf  that cradles the Puget Sound one tier out to the North, South and East of Seattle. One vulnerable legislator, State Sen. Claudia Kauffman (D-47, parts of southeast King County from the Renton Highlands to Kent to Black Diamond), was supposed to get cover from her caucus so she could vote "No" on the Democratic budget, which includes $794 million in new taxes.

Democratic leadership had counted up 25 votes—the number necessary to pass legislation in the Senate—and thought they had enough without Sen. Kauffman. Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen (D-10, Camano) surprised many and voted "No" at the last minute and Kauffman was forced to vote "Yes"

2. Church leader and low-income advocate (and failed PubliCola-endorsed 2009 City Council candidate) David Bloom is asking local Democratic districts to pass a resolution that opposes Seattle City Council Member Tim Burgess' ordinance against aggressive panhandling. Last night the 36th District (Magnolia, Queen Anne,  Ballard) and the 34th District (W. Seattle, Vashon, Burien, Maury) passed it.

The 37th District (South Seattle) passed it on Monday.

In a letter to District chairs, Bloom writes:
We believe that Councilmember Burgess's ordinance represents one more attempt by the downtown establishment, which is solidly behind it, to use various means of social control to proscribe the behavior of the poor and homeless residents of our downtown simply for being poor and homeless. We need real solutions, including more drug, alcohol, and mental health treatment and substantially more housing that is affordable to our lower income neighbors. While these needs are identified in the ordinance, there is no mechanism for funding them.

3. SeattleCrime.com's Jonah Spangenthal-Lee, who broke the news that Caffe Vita and Via Tribunali owner Mike McConnell had been charged with DUI, hit-and-run, and assault after an altercation with another driver, has gotten into it with the Weekly's Rick Anderson over Anderson's coverage of the incident. Anderson, who noted in his piece that he's a friend of McConnell's, got the first interview with the coffee mogul; other reporters tried and failed repeatedly to get a call back from him.

Jonah thinks Rick's piece is a little too softball. "McConnell absolutely should get his chance to defend himself, whether in court or in print (I called him before I ran my story, and didn't get a call back), but Anderson's write-up seems overly dismissive of the incident, and paints McConnell as the victim of some harsh media smear campaign," he writes.

"Maybe these allegations against McConnell are totally false, but I'm a bit disappointed that Anderson didn't ask McConnell why he refused a breathalyser test, and didn't press McConnell on his assertion that he never assaulted the other man involved in the incident."

4. In a session wrap up at the Phinney Neighborhood Center last night, Rep. Reuven Carlyle (D-36) candidly broke ranks and gave the Democrats education reform bill a "B minus, without grade inflation." The Democrats had been  hyping the bill—which actually falls short on teacher evaluation standards—as a "major breakthrough on key education reforms."

5. Local political fundraiser Colby Underwood is scaling back his shop to a one-man operation. Colleague Peter Hester is leaving this week.

6. David Bracilano, director of labor relations for the city, is reportedly in the running to replace Mark McDermott, the city's personnel director, who's leaving to take a position in the US Department of Labor. As the head labor representative at the city, Bracilano heads up one of a half-dozen or so divisions in the department, putting him one rung beneath McDermott. Asked whether Bracilano was in the running for the mayor-appointed position, a spokesman for Mayor Mike McGinn said the mayor would not comment on personnel matters.