Unforeseen Circumstances

By Erica C. Barnett September 2, 2009


UPDATE: An earlier version of this post said that a jury had ruled that King County Council member Jane Hague had committed defamation against a supporter of Richard Pope, her opponent in the 2007 election. In fact, the jury determined that she had made false statements about the supporter, Paul Brecht, but not that she had made the false statements actual malice or "reckless disregard" for the truth.

1. Former mayoral candidate James Donaldson—who came in fourth in this month's eight-way primary race—is endorsing Joe Mallahan over Mike McGinn.

2. The Seattle-based Robert Chinn Foundation —a nonprofit aimed at "presenting programs to improve the civic and cultural quality of life of Asian Pacific Americans"—has cancelled its $150-a-head Puget Sound Mayors Dinner because, according to an email to attendees from program director Marvin Rosete, of " low demand occuring from unforeseen circumstances of the 2009 primary."

In a followup email, Rosete explained:
The organization had been promoting the event for a few months prior to the primary, but after August 20th you could see a noticeable change in interest. ...  The amount of non-responsiveness was something that could not be ignored.  Acquiring last minute sponsors started getting a little rough as well.  For example, we were working on a large $10,000 sponsor who stopped returning our calls. My team gave up on them after August 21st.

We were securing the attendance of all other campaigns such as Susan Hutchinson, Joe Mallahan but given the closeness of their campaign, other community events near our date and our low ticket counts, it [was] just better to cancel the event.  We didn't want the candidates showing up to [anything] less than a packed house.  No one even wanted to meet the new candidates who made it through the primaries.  I must be clear in stating that the organization does not presume that because of Mayor Nickels loss that the event wasn't successful.  But, speaking for myself, I have to begrudgingly admit it was a factor.

3. In a case filed two years ago, a jury ruled this week that King County Council member Jane Hague made false statements about a supporter of her opponent in the 2007 election but did not find that she had done so with "reckless disregard" for the truth. Paul Brecht, a supporter of Hague opponent Richard Pope, complained that in a Hague mailer to voters, she claimed Brecht had been convicted of assault and "multiple domestic violence arrests"—two claims that turned out to be untrue.


Hague, who also falsely claimed to have a bachelor of science degree and was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol in 2007, is up for reelection in two years.

4. As we reported last month , the permanent appointment of interim Office of Sustainability director Mike Mann—a longtime Nickels staffer who replaced longtime office director Steve Nicholas on a temporary basis more than a year ago—has been in limbo for months. The rumor was that City Council president Richard Conlin was holding up the appointment until Nickels signed off on Conlin's proposed tree regulations, which would make it tougher for property owners to chop down trees on their property.

Nickels' loss throws Mann's appointment even further into limbo. Conlin says he's "happy to move forward" with the appointment if the mayor's office decides to pursue it, but adds, "I want to talk to them because it’s a little awkward with someone new coming in" to make a permanent appointment the new mayor might not agree with.

Mayoral spokesman Alex Fryer, meanwhile, says it's up to the council to move forward.

Neither Mallahan nor McGinn would tell us whether they would replace Mann or keep him.

5. Seattle attorney Dave Osgood—better known for his work on behalf of Seattle's nightlife and music community—says he's considering a lawsuit against the city of Seattle over its parking meter policy, after his car got towed away two weeks ago. Osgood says he paid for parking until 4 pm at one of the city's electronic parking pay stations—but the zone he was parked in only allowed parking until 3:00. As a result, Osgood's car was towed away.

He says it's unfair for the city to allow people to pay for parking for hours beyond the tow-away time and then tow their cars anyway—an issue the Seattle Times covered here.

The city has said it could reprogram the kiosks to let people know they can't park after a certain time, but so far, they haven't done so.
This morning's Morning Fizz brought to you by Washington Conservation Voters.


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