Caffeinated news and gossip. Your daily Morning Fizz.
1) Later today, Washington State Patrol Troopers Association will endorse King County Council member Bob Ferguson, the D
emocratic candidate for state attorney general, over his Republican opponent (and colleague), King County Council member Reagan Dunn.
In a statement that will be released today, Tom Pillow, head of the law-enforcement group---which in two previous elections endorsed current Republican AG Rob McKenna, who is leaving his position to run for governor---said Ferguson's "understanding and support of public safety matters make him our clear choice for Attorney General."
Ferguson, who says he prepared like crazy for his interview, calls the troopers' endorsement "one of the most important endorsements in this race." Dunn was reportedly less prepared than Ferguson for his interview, and the troopers' organization informed Ferguson's campaign of their decision just minutes after meeting with the Republican candidate.
2) At a presentation to the city council's transportation committee yesterday, Seattle Department of Transportation staffers gave
council members an update on the city's efforts to improve road safety for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as drivers.
In short, the goals SDOT rolled out focused on improving driver behavior and awareness of other road users---specifically, by reducing the number of people who drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol (a factor in more than half of all fatal crashes in 2010) and decreasing the number of drivers who speed or otherwise break the law. A pedestrian hit by a car going 40 mph stands an 85 percent chance of dying, compared to a five percent fatality rate for pedestrians hit by cars traveling at 20 mph, SDOT told the council.
3) The state house's business and financial services committee got an earful yesterday from advocates for and against a proposed new tax on businesses that allow customers to roll their own cigarettes, which sell cigarettes for about half what they would cost to
buy in packs or cartons.
Although proponents of the new law, which would subject roll-your-own cigarettes to the same taxes as regular cigarettes (effectively making them as expensive as ordinary cigarettes you'd buy at the convenience store), argued that allowing businesses to sell the cheaper product puts regular grocery stores and minimarts at a disadvantage and makes it easier for kids to buy tobacco, opponents said they cater primarily to long-term smokers on a budget.
"We cater to committed smokers who have been on the habit for a long time," said Joe Baba, a distributor of the rolling machines.
4) The Seattle Planning Commission---perhaps the most influential of the various commissions that advise the mayor and city council---issued its recommendations yesterday on a long list of land-use and transportation-related legislative proposals.
Among their recommendations: Do not approve legislation allowing long-term homeless encampments in industrial zones (like the controversial, and scuttled, proposal to site a semipermanent encampment at a former peanut butter factory in Georgetown); do approve an equally controversial upzone for light rail in the Roosevelt neighborhood; and do not approve a proposal restrictingheavy buses on city streets.