Caffeinated news and gossip. Your daily Morning Fizz.



1. Four state house Republicans and one Democrat introduced a bill yesterday that comes with an emergency clause. No, it's not about the protesters who are disrupting the special session. It's about US Rep. Jay Inslee, the Democratic hopeful for governor in 2012.

Called "An act relating to applying state campaign finance restrictions to elected federal officials campaigning for state office ... and  declaring an emergency," the bill would prohibit any member of Washington State's delegation in D.C.—like Inslee—from raising campaign contributions for a state office—like governor—from thirty days before the legislative session until the session adjourns (and also during a special session.)

The emergency clause—"this act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions"—means it would take effect immediately.

These guidelines currently apply only to elected state officials such as Republican Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna, which gives Inslee a four-month fundraising advantage. The ban on McKenna's fundraising kicked in two days ago.[pullquote]The bill would prohibit Inslee from fundraising for four months.[/pullquote]

To date, the candidates are neck and neck, though McKenna has spent more money.  Inslee has raised $2.5 million with $1.7 million cash on hand and McKenna has raised $2.6 million with $1.5 million cash on hand.

2. Another bill introduced this week would promote electric cars.

State Sen. David Frockt (D-46), a former state representative who was appointed to the senate this year after the sudden death of Sen. Scott White, has re-introduced legislation, first introduced in the regular session earlier this year, that would allow electric plug-in cars to use high-occupancy vehicle lanes no matter how many occupants they have.

The bipartisan bill was originally sponsored in the house by a motley crew of liberal Democrats like Marko Liias, moderate Democrats like Deb Eddy, quirky Republicans like Glenn Anderson, and conservative Republicans like Hans Zeiger.

We have a call out to Frockt to find out more about the legislation.

3. The close race for an open Bellevue City Council seat between Bellevue businessman Aaron Laing (backed by Bellevue megadeveloper and light rail opponent Kemper Freeman) and retired attorney John Stokes (a light rail supporter who was outspent nearly two to one by Laing) is headed for a mandatory hand recount, King County Elections announced yesterday. (The rest of Freeman's slate, Patti Mann and Michelle Hilhorst, lost to light-rail advocates Claudia Balducci and John Chelminiak.)

The two contenders are just 51 votes apart, with Stokes in the lead---a margin of just 0.1676 percent. King County Elections does a hand recount whenever the margin between two candidates is less than 150 votes and less than a quarter of one percent.

Two more races require hand recounts---an Enumclaw school district race where the top two candidates are nine votes apart, and a public hospital district election where the candidates are six votes apart. The race for Des Moines mayor, where candidates Rebecca King and Bob Sheckler are 31 votes apart, will go to a machine recount.

4. A group of architects and urban designers got a look at the plans for the operations buildings at the north and south portals of the new Alaskan Way tunnel at the American Institute for Architects' downtown Seattle office yesterday afternoon. The south portal of the tunnel would be next to Pioneer Square, and would dump an estimated 59,000 cars---via what one planner called a "linguini-type" system of ramps at yesterday's meeting---onto streets in that neighborhood.

But perhaps more jarring than the extra traffic through Pioneer Square is the size of the operations buildings that will house the tunnel's emergency systems, batteries and generators, ventilation system, maintenance trucks, and pumps. That building---which will stand about 45 feet above street level, take up 20,000 square feet, and have no street level uses like cafes, shops, or restaurants---will be plopped right in the heart of the dense, mixed-use neighborhood of Pioneer Square. Here's what the final design looks like, from the view of the entrance:



Lesley Bain of Weinstein A|U said she was hopeful that people would be interested in looking at the trucks in the building, whose facade will be primarily made of glass, but noted that the operations centers will not be "public buildings" and that they have "a lot of [uses]" ---like fans and machine shops---that "want to be enclosed," rather than visible to the public.