1. Yesterday was pot day in Olympia—both a decriminalization bill and a legalization bill had hearings (Teo was there, and she'll post her report shortly). But another bill we're tracking also had a hearing yesterday: Everett-area Rep. Hans Dunshee's (D-44) $861 million bond measure for a green retrofit of public schools.
Dunshee estimated the plan would create 38,000 jobs and save tax payers $190 million in lower energy costs. Environmentalists and labor testified in favor of Dunshee's bill.
State Rep. Hans Dunshee (D-44)
Opponents—like the conservative Washington Policy Center think tank and some construction industry lobbyists—questioned the job calculations and worried that the specific green mandate would limit the pool of contractors.
There was also a complaint from a surprise corner, public schools advocates. They weren't against the idea per se (and in fact, most testified in favor) but they worried that a green bond measure might unintentionally jeopardize local school levy measures.
A spokeswoman for the Puget Sound Schools Coaltion told the committee: “People will think it [the energy bond] will cover all things the school district needs and will question local bonds. And even if they do understand the difference, they might think it’s too much.”
2. A person calling him/herself "Anyone But Frank Chopp" has started a Facebook page opposing the state House speaker. The person who started the page wouldn't identify him/herself, but explained his/her decision to start the page at length:
Having heard rumblings within the community (not to mention the ongoing resentment of Mr. Chopp from voters in the 43rd) about some groups wanting to consider a challenge to Mr. Chopp, especially if this legislative session is just as anti-progressive as many in the past can be, I decided that the only way to really move forward is to give people an opportunity to see how many of them there really are, willing to back a challenger to the Speaker. ...
As stated, though, it really wouldn't take that much to give Chopp a scare, or possibly even topple him. The last time Labor tried, they lost in the primary, but that was before the Top Two system [Ed. note: In the "top-two system," the top two candidates in a primary election move forward regardless of party affiliation, allowing two candidates from the same party to make it onto the general-election ballot.] With the Top Two, there is actually a chance to knock off the speaker. A: it would be Democrat against Democrat; B: the General Election would likely draw more liberals and younger voters, and C: this likely will be an anti-incumbent year.
Of course, before anyone can actually unseat Mr. Chopp, they have to be identified. And it can't be just anyone, it would have to be someone that could get backing from Labor (for $), as well as the pro-transit/bicycle/walking groups, and, of course, enough PCO's to actually get the nomination from the Party.
Now is the optimum time to begin work on identification of a candidate, as not only can Mr. Chopp not raise $ right now, but if someone who is a real potential threat surfaces, perhaps he'll bring forth more progressive bills this year.
3. Multiple sources tell PubliCola Mayor Mike McGinn has effectively suspended the work of the city's Office of Sustainability and the Environment until he can decide how many positions to eliminate at the office (if any) and what its new marching orders should be.
McGinn has said he will eliminate the jobs of 200 strategic advisors and managers at the city. Whether those include current OSE director Mike Mann, a longtime Greg Nickels loyalist, is unclear; yesterday, Mann said he was "continuing conversations with [McGinn] about where he wants to take the sustainability agenda," adding, "I am thoroughly enjoying running OSE."
Asked about both the future of the Office of Sustainability and Mann, McGinn's spokesman Mark Matassa said, "I cannot shine light on either of those questions."
4. When new King County Executive Dow Constantine announced his his new staff in November, it didn't include two top members of his King County Council staff—longtime chief of staff Chris Arkills and legislative aide James Bush. Both were reassigned to the King County transportation department.
However, in the past two weeks, both Arkills and Bush were reappointed to Team Constantine—Arkills as a transportation advisor, and Bush as a communications specialist. Both Arkills and Bush were prominent members of Constantine's campaign for county executive.