1. Seattle state Rep. Jamie Pedersen (D-43) wants to amend last year's domestic partnership law (which he sponsored and which withstood a test at the polls in November, R-71). He wants to tweak the language so that Washington state recognizes same-sex marriages and partnerships from other states.
Also on Pedersen's 2010 To-do list: He wants to repeal the ban on paid-surrogacy in Washington. He says he would replace the ban with a plan to provide health care for the surrogate mother and mental health examinations for both parties involved.
2. Two Kemper-Freeman-backed opponents of light rail through downtown Bellevue won spots as the city's mayor and deputy mayor yesterday. Don Davidson will serve as mayor, and Conrad Lee will be deputy mayor; motions to appoint pro-light rail through downtown city council members John Chelminiak as mayor and reconfirm Claudia Balducci as deputy mayor both failed.
3. The appointments that Mayor Mike McGinn announced yesterday included (ahem, contrary to prior reports) several women, such as: Chief of staff Julie McCoy, strategic adviser Rebecca Deehr, and labor and community liaison Candace Inagi.
However: It's worth noting that on average, the women will make slightly over $13,000 less than the men: $76,164 on average, compared to $89,615 for the men. The disparity is due largely to the fact that McGinn's very highest-paid staffers (the two deputy mayors; the communications director; the directors of the Office of Intergovernmental Relations and Policy and External Affairs, etc.) are disproportionately male. Of 13 McGinn staffers making $100,000 or more, only three are female.
4. Being Mayor can come with some unusual perks. At Mayor Mike McGinn’s city hall inauguration yesterday afternoon, the now official Mayor of Seattle was surprised with a visit from Gao Zhansheng, the Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in San Francisco.
Zhansheng came all the way from San Francisco to congratulate the new Mayor and present him with a ceramic camel.
The crowd was nearly as confused as the Mayor himself, who eventually took the moment in stride, posing for pictures and enthusiastically thanking Zhansheng for his appearance.
5. In other swearing-in news: Jan Drago's coronation as the newest member of the King County Council yesterday was held up briefly while the council waited for a critical attendee to arrive.
Drago's husband? Her son? Nope—the meeting was held up while council and audience members waited for a Seattle Times photographer to make it to council chambers.
6. Every time new council members are elected, as two were this year, council members scramble to switch to better offices. So yesterday, while hundreds of folks at the inaugural festivities downstairs snacked on deviled eggs, watched two pairs of hired dancers tango, and schmoozed in the Bertha Knight Landes Room, council members and staff upstairs were busy shuffling boxes of files and books from old offices to new ones.
The really hot controversy yesterday, though, wasn't over who got the better office (that was settled weeks ago), but why one council member, Tom Rasmussen, got a special painted wall in his office while everyone else was stuck with a color Rasmussen referred to dismissively as "putty."
Rasmussen's special mauve-colored wall (technically, an "accent wall") is on the west side of his office, which used to be Jan Drago's digs. Apparently, Jean Godden wasn't informed about the possibility of an accent wall, and is unhappy to be—for the next two years, at least—stuck with putty.