Morning Fizz

Specifically on Ideological Grounds

By Morning Fizz October 8, 2010

1. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday in the case of LawNerd vs. McKenna.

2. Will an extra week of deliberations on city council member Mike O'Brien's legislation requiring phone-book companies to listen to residents who say they don't want to receive yellow pages open the city to litigation?

Maybe; here's the background.

Citing complaints from citizens who received unwanted phone books even after they signed up with yellow-page companies' "opt-out" registries, O'Brien proposed legislation that would create a city-run opt-out registry—and charge a "recovery fee" to phone-book companies that continue to deliver unwanted books. Smaller groups that have their own free directories---like the Greater Seattle Business Association, which puts out a directory of gay-friendly businesses, complete with ads---complained that their directories might fall under O'Brien's new restrictions. In response, the city council decided on Monday to delay a vote on the legislation for one week so they could deliberate further, tweaking the language to make it clear the GSBA and similar groups were excluded.

Those deliberations, sources say, could open the city up to litigation, because it would create a legislative record that could help phone-book companies build the case that the city isn't merely trying to reduce waste from paper---the legislation's stated goal---but going after phone book companies specifically on ideological grounds.

City attorney Pete Holmes' office, which is looking in to the legal issues around the legislation wouldn't say whether its attorneys felt the delay was legally risky for the city. "The assistant city attorney working on this legislation for Councilman O’Brien is not at liberty to tell the media what he has told the councilman" because of attorney-client privilege, Holmes spokeswoman Kimberly Mills told PubliCola.

The council is scheduled to vote on O'Brien's legislation next Monday.

3. The latest Rasmussen poll shows Dino Rossi ahead of U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, 49-46.

4. Former U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton debated Bill Gates, Sr. in Edmonds last night (the battle of the senior statesmen) over I-1098, the high-earners' income tax. Fizz was there, and we'll have a full report later, but here's the bottom line from our twitter feed:
Number of people in the audience (by a show of hands) that changed their minds after the 1098 debate: 1.

It was a small business owner who changed from a 'No' to a 'Yes' on the tax. Coming into the debate he had been persuaded by the "slippery slope" argument that the tax on the rich (5 percent on income over $400,000 for couples and $200,000 for singles) was the gateway to an across the board income tax. But he was convinced by Gates' argument last night at Edmonds Community College that the state needed the new revenue for education.

“We are now 46th in the nation for our commitment to education and 37th in spending per pupil," Gates, Sr. said.  "There’s no way to change that before we raise some revenue to spend on it."

1098 directs seventy percent of its proceeds to education, with the remaining 30 percent allocated for health care. (The state estimates the tax would bring in more than $11 billion over five years.)

5. Speaking of high-profile advocates in the I-1098 debate. Fizz hears former news anchor Susan Hutchison has stepped into the fray and will be representing No on 1098 at the Greater Seattle Chinese Chamber of Commerce lunch today.
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