Morning Fizz

Outlining the Definition of "Co-Lead"

By Morning Fizz October 5, 2010

1. Deep thought of the morning: It's ironic that the city council needed an extra week to review a three-page ordinance regulating phone books, but wouldn't give the mayor an extra week to go over a three-inch-thick environmental impact statement.

2. One campaign contribution that caught Fizz's eye yesterday: An $800 donation to the Mike Heavey campaign from Liberty Mutual (owner of the Seattle-based insurer Safeco) on October 1st. (Heavey is running in the 34th District state rep showdown against progressive favorite Joe Fitzgibbon.)

The only context in which we've heard Liberty Mutual's name lately is the debate over Initiative 1082—the initiative that would allow private insurers to enter the workers' compensation market in the state. Liberty Mutual, along with the BIAW, has largely been the force behind the initiative giving $500,000.

Whatever it is that's attracting prominent 1082 backers to Heavey—we reported two weeks ago that Heavey's top donor is the Afforable Housing Council, the PAC for the regional BIAW—it's not 1082 itself, Heavey tells us.

He says he doesn't support I-1082—along with most Democratic candidates he argues that the measure lacks oversight for private insurers and is designed as a money-making scheme for the BIAW. He says that the initiative didn't even come up in his interview with the Liberty Mutual rep. Instead, he said, they asked him standard stuff about "how many doors he's knocked on" and what committees he would want to be on.

3. Speaking of I-1082, the campaign got another huge boost from the BIAW yesterday—a $500,000 donation, on top of the first $500,000 the BIAW had already given the campaign.

The pro-1082 campaign committee, Save Our Jobs WA, has raised a total of $2,544,217.

4. While we're talking contributions, there were a couple more big ones over the weekend: The National Education Association, the largest teachers' union in the United States, gave $250,000 to the high-earners' income tax campaign, I-1098, and the local union, the Washington Education Association, have $20,000 to No on 1100, the liquor privatization initiative.

5. Now that city council approved council president Richard Conlin's signature on the tunnel environmental statement and Mayor Mike McGinn seems to be shifting his position—it's no longer a constitutional crisis it seems, but rather, it's not clear to the mayor's office that the signature defines the city as a co-lead (equal partner) on the project—the council is turning to a state Department of Transportation memo.

WSDOT sent the memo to Conlin last week outlining the definition of "co-lead" and stating in no uncertain terms that the city remains a co-lead on the project.

In the letter, two high-ranking viaduct replacement project officials write,
It is now common practice to create a written agreement with co-lead agencies to establish roles, responsibilities, and expectations. ... However, in 2001, this practice was not fully established, and at the time, the three agencies felt the roles and responsibilities of the agencies were very clear. It was determined that no written agreement was necessary, and none was required either by law or regulation.

The letter goes on to define "co-lead" ("included in the reviews and designs associated with the project"), to describe the ways in which the city has participated as co-lead so far, and to outline what WSDOT sees as the benefits of being a co-lead agency on the project.
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