There's some appropriate editorializing from Seattle Times Olympia reporter Andrew Garber today. He filed a post on the Seattle Times politics blog titled: "Where is Frank Chopp and why won't he talk to us?"
That is a great question. Speaker of the House Chopp is not accessible—a fact that's made even more plain, as Garber rightly points out, by Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown's candor and open-door policy.
Earlier this session, I spoke to a group in Olympia. I was scheduled to speak immediately after Chopp. I arrived at 9:00, but I wasn't on until 9:15. Chopp made me leave the room for 15 minutes while he finished his remarks. That's just silly.
Garber posts a list of questions he'd like to ask Chopp:
- Will he oppose efforts to replace the Alaskan Way viaduct with a tunnel?
- Does he think the state should toll both the Highway 520 and the Interstate 90 bridges over Lake Washington to help pay for a new 520 bridge?
- What are his thoughts on how the state should deal with a $9 billion budget shortfall?
- Will he support efforts to send voters a tax package to help buy back state services lawmakers plan to cut?
I would add some more:
1) Given Chopp's well-known reverence of the initiative process, what does the House plan to do with the Senate bill that undoes I-937, the renewable energy initiative? (I-937 passed in Chopp's district by 80%). I actually put this question to Chopp's office a couple of times and eventually got a bland email response from his spokesperson.
2) How was the Washington State Labor Council's blustery email to its members about the workers' privacy bill—which Chopp killed because the email was supposedly unethical—any different ethically from the type of tough talk we hear from Boeing when it threatens to leave the state unless it gets $3 billion tax breaks?
Similary, does Chopp deny that he's urged Democratic caucus members in swing districts to vote against green land use measures for fear that the BIAW would channel money to GOP opponents?
Finally, what was Chopp's opinion of the bill in its own right, weird email aside? After all, he quietly killed a similar bill in 2007 and 2008. (By the way, a subsequent investigation by the Washington State Patrol found that the email did not violate any ethics laws.)