Morning Fizz

Eyman Had an Unlikely Ally

By Morning Fizz January 22, 2010

1. If you think banks are having their way with the federal government, turn your attention to the state level, where legislators are in the process of caving to the banking industry in this Washington.

Kent-area Rep. Tina Orwall (D-33) proposed a bill that would have stopped banks from foreclosing on homes (if the borrower is unemployed), protecting the borrower for up to a year. (The average length of unemployment right now, according to the American Center for Progress, is 7.3 months.)

Rep. Orwall's bill—in Seattle Rep. Jamie Pedersen's (D-43) judiciary committee—has already been watered down by banking industry lobbyists. As the bill stands now, it's a debate between protecting people from foreclosure for six months or three months.

2. Soon before being sworn in, then-Mayor-Elect Mike McGinn met with a group of Seattle state legislators to compare notes and go over Seattle's agenda. One thing McGinn was asked by the group was this: Given all the important tax measures in the queue for Seattle—a Seattle Center measure, a renewal of the families and education levy, and McGinn's own pledge to put a light rail expansion measure on the ballot—did McGinn have a schedule worked out so he didn't jeopardize any given measure by overloading voters with tax asks?

According to an attendee, McGinn told the group he hadn't worked out a plan yet for orchestrating the series of Seattle measures. But then to the legislators' surprise, ta-dah!, ten days after being sworn in, McGinn unveiled his $241 million bond measure to replace the sea wall, slated for a special May 18 election.

3. Tim Eyman came to greet Olympia again yesterday, this time to fight against bills that would require signature gatherers, (like those on last November’s I-1033,) to be registered and licensed by the government.

Eyman,  Washington state's conservative initiative king, told the committee, “With one party rule in the House, the Senate, the Governor, and the Courts, the initiative process is the only check and balance left to the people."

Seattle-area Sen. Joe McDermott (D-34), a sponsor, said, “This isn’t about whether you like a particular initiative or proposal, this is about the integrity of the system."

Government and elections committee chair, North King County Sen. Darlene Fairley (D-32), put the hearing in pretty realistic terms, trying to move the hearing forward, she said: “Everybody here is for the bill ... let's leave this bill.”

Although, not everyone supported the bill. Eyman had an unlikely ally, the ACLU.  Concerned that the bill, “distinguishes between paid and unpaid signature gatherers," the ACLU asked, "if these changes are critical for the integrity of the process, why not require everybody to go through the process?”

4. Josh will be on KING 5's Up Front this weekend to talk about the state legislature and Seattle City Hall.

5. 2010 isn't all about the Teapublicans. Mercer Island city councl man, Republican Steve Litzow, who will challenge Eastside Seattle Suburbs State Sen. Randy Gordon (D-41) in the fall, was at NARAL's Roe v. Wade anniversary fundraiser last night. He's also on NARAL's political action committee.

Gordon was appointed this year to fill former state Sen. Fred Jarrett's seat. Jarrett left the state Senate this year to be Deputy King County Executive.

Jarrett was a Republican before switching to the Democrats in 2007. Will a moderate like Litzow bring the 41st full circle?
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