Morning Fizz

"Idiots on this Issue"

By Morning Fizz March 21, 2011

1. Seattle Times reporter Lynn Thompson was out with anti-tunnel referendum signature gatherers this weekend working on a story about the campaign.

Here's one thing you probably won't read in her story, though. According to an activist who was collecting signatures this weekend, when Thompson asked someone why they were signing, the voter snapped: "Because the fucking Seattle Times editorial board are idiots on this issue."

2. Speaking of the anti-tunnel referendum, Dan Bertolet has a loud post about the campaign over at his new blog.

3. You know your bill is in trouble when ...

Futurewise, formerly 1000 Friends of Washington, the litigious group that defends the Growth Management Act in court and in the state legislature (somebody has to), held its annual fundraiser this weekend at the Fisher Pavilion in Seattle Center.

One of Futurewise's priority bills in Olympia this year (which makes sense because urban density goes hand in hand with the GMA) is legislation that would allow local governments to lend money directly to private developers for urban redevelopment projects; the developers would ultimately cover the costs by using the increase in property taxes to pay back the public loan. The greens at Futurewise have teamed up with lefty low-income housing advocates on the bill because the projects are supposed to include public benefits like affordable housing.

In a bad sign for the bill though, Sen. Maralyn Chase (D-32, Shoreline), one of the five state legislators at the event, trashed the Futurewise legislation during the cocktail hour before dinner.

You'd think Chase, one of the most liberal members of the state legislature, would be all for the idea—known as tax increment financing, or TIF. But sipping a glass of red wine with other Futurewise lefties, Chase characterized the bill as a giveaway to developers, funding speculation on projects that could flop and stick the public with the tab.

A Futurewise supporter slunk away, grousing, "that's the problem, I've got to fight her and the Republicans on this."

The bill, which would require a constitutional amendment, passed out of the senate economic development committee last month, and it's currently in the rules committee. A house version, supported by two of the other legislators at the fundraiser, Reps. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-34, Burien, W. Seattle) and Marko Liias (D-21, Edmonds), hasn't gone anywhere.

4. Also on hand at the Futurewise fundraiser on Saturday night, Seattle Department of Transportation head Peter Hahn. Asked about the anti-tunnel campaign fundraiser (also this weekend) Hahn laughed: "[There's a] fundraiser? I wasn't invited."

5. Speaking of transportation, the house transportation committee is holding a public hearing today at 3:30 on the transportation budget. On the agenda: A proviso by Rep. Andy Billig (D-3, Spokane) that would require the state Office of Financial Management to consider more than just auto travel speeds in state transportation performance measures.

6. Finally, a pretty picture from this weekend in Seattle:

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