1. Supporters of Peter Steinbrueck are forming a "Draft Peter Steinbrueck PAC" to begin raising money for his ... campaign? 

2. Education advocates are freaked out about a letter Gov. Chris Gregoire sent to legislative leadership yesterday re: the education reform bill. One legislator in Olympia, who's in the education reform camp (they call themselves "The Paramounters"—as in, the state's paramount duty), called it a "Fuck You Letter."

While Gregoire's letter did endorse one of the Paramounters' amendments—Rep. Ross Hunter's "Core 24" amendment, which would upgrade high school graduation requirements—the letter also put the kibosh on any other upgrades about accountability and pay that reformers had hoped to add as the bill moved forward

The offending paragraph comes at the end of Gregoire's letter:

gregoireed2

 

The governor's call to "keep the ball rolling" to come up with "recommendations" means this: More studies that take time and may kill Washington state's chances to get Obama dollars. Obama's education plan—the $5 billion "Race to the Top Fund"—requires states to prove they've got plans in place to assure accountability—like allowing the state to intervene in failing schools. (Washington state is one of only 13 states without that authority.)

"We're set to miss out on the money," says Chris Korsmo, the executive director of Washington's League of Education voters.  

3. Gov. Gregoire was also on the receiving end of an F.U. letter. The Washington State Labor Council (WSLC) sat down with Gregoire, Senate Majority Leader Sen. Lisa Brown (D-3, Spokane) and Speaker of the House Rep. Frank Chopp (D-43, Wallingford) on Wednesday to discuss the workers privacy bill that Democratic leadership tabled  because (ostensibly some say) the WSLC threatened to withhold contributions if the bill failed.

Apparently the meeting didn't go well. The  WSLC issued this dramatic statement the next day: 

The meeting revealed a deep division between Democratic leadership and the labor community in Washington state. Even after the meeting, the fate of the Worker Privacy legislation remains unclear.

“This entire incident has severely strained labor’s relationship with Democratic leaders,” said WSLC President Rick Bender. “We still consider their actions to have been a dramatic over-reaction especially after the Washington State Patrol and the Public Disclosure Commission quickly determined no legal or ethical wrongdoing. Democratic leaders offered no explanation at Wednesday’s meeting to counter assertions that their actions were anything but a pretext for blocking the Worker Privacy Act at the insistence of The Boeing Company. 

“While the leadership still insists they support the causes of working families, they have a long way to go in order to rekindle the trust and rebuild the relationship with the labor community.” 

 

4. It's not all F.U. letters and fisticuffs and feuds in Olympia. I still cannot figure out who this prankster Toby Crittenden is or what his group Hella Bus (or is it Washington Bus?) does.  

wabusWho the Hella is Hella Bus, and why are they making videos in Olympia?

But they seem to have a lovely time in halls of the legislature, running around with a camera and goofing on legislators.


5. Watch for me on KING 5 TV this weekend. I'll be on Up Front on Sunday in the AM and again in the evening, talking about the Seattle mayor's race and all the action in Olympia.
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