1. The city's acting human-services department director, Kip Tokuda, wrote in an email yesterday that his final day would be July 1, and that Mayor Mike McGinn has narrowed down the candidates to permanently head up the human services department to three. The letter does not say who the three candidates are, and Tokuda's office referred PubliCola to the mayor's office.
McGinn spokesman Mark Matassa said the mayor will be making an announcement soon, but would not identify the three candidates.
McGinn has also been quiet about his plans for the city's still-vacant housing director position. Speculation at the city is that he plans to eliminate the city's housing office as part of the annual budget process.
2. As we've reported, Dino Rossi has come out strongly against earmarks—federal line items that benefit specific, usually in-state, projects that legislators manage to work into the budget. It's something Rossi's opponent, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) is kinda good at.
It turns out Rossi---who recently told the Seattle Times he'd forgo earmarks as a U.S. Senator because they were a symptom of a problem "that's leading to the bankruptcy of America"---has a history of piling up earmarks too. Rossi often takes credit for the state budget he wrote and passed in 2003, when he was a senator in Olympia. That budget contained nearly $25 million in earmarks.
Rossi has also personally benefited from earmarks. In 2007, the Everett Aquasox, of which Rossi was a part owner, got a $433,000 earmark in the state budget to upgrade their stadium. That one actually caught the attention of a conservative think tank, The Washington Policy Center—fans of Rossi, and vice versa—which included the earmark in its 2008 "Piglet Book" documenting wasteful pork in the state budget.
3. U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA, 1) mimicked merciless interrogator Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) when he questioned BP executive Lamar McKay last week at a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The committee was grilling McKay on BP's questionable safety procedures, leading up to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
"This seems like a more cultural problem than just one running of a stop sign," Inslee said, laying into the very haggard-looking McKay about cement centralizers, "the hydrocarbon zone," and BP's sustainability practices.
Check the 4:20 mark: Inslee ridicules BP for not having "a plan for our energy future" and its failure to live up to the "benign photosynthesis" suggested by the green-and-yellow sunburst in their logo.
4. Seattle bluegrass band Million Dollar Nile will donate $1,000 to the nonprofit group that gets the most votes in its online poll. There are a lot of great nonprofits on the list, but PubliCola encourages you to vote for Erica C. Barnett fave Transportation Choices Coalition, which does yeoman's work advocating for alternatives to driving in Olympia and Seattle. Cast your vote by June 9.