Morning Fizz

"We Were Tricked."

By Morning Fizz May 10, 2011

1. Liberal Democrats on the house transportation committee were shocked in the Democratic caucus meeting yesterday when they were told a transportation funding bill they had passed out of committee only after amending it to include allocations for transit, bike and pedestrian infrastructure, and storm water clean up was being replaced with a new version proposed by transportation committee chair Rep. Judy Clibborn (D-41, Mercer Island) that undid most of their green amendments.

"It turns out we were tricked," transportation committee member Rep. Dave Upthegrove (D-33, Des Moines) said yesterday after caucus, noting that until the transportation committee had amended the bill to include funding for the green projects, the bill didn't have the votes to make it out of committee. But now Clibborn's new version, leadership announced in caucus, is heading to the floor for a vote.

The bill needs full Democratic support to pass (it includes a series of new department of licensing fees that Republicans won't vote for). That means Clibborn needs 50 of 56 Democrats to vote for the gutted bill; conversely, the transportation committee greens—Upthegrove and Reps. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-34, Burien, W. Seattle) and Marko Liias (D-21, Edmonds), who had originally negotiated for the transit add-ons, need four more 'No' votes on the floor (to hold the Democrats to 49 votes) to kill Clibborn's play. [pullquote]The transportation committee greens need four more 'No' votes on the floor to kill Clibborn's play.[/pullquote]

2. Yesterday afternoon, the Pierce Transit board voted 6-2 to put off reducing bus service hours as much as 35 percent to give the board time to come up with a plan that allocates cuts based on ridership (areas with the lowest ridership will sustain the greatest cuts), instead of the across-the-board cuts the board had been contemplating.

Transit advocates sighed with relief that the board didn't adopt the less equitable systemwide cuts, or the "peanut-butter approach." The board has until June to come up with a plan, and will likely vote on specific cuts in July. The cuts are necessary because sales-tax revenues, which fund Pierce Transit, are falling short, and voters rejected a tax increase that would have saved some service earlier this year.

3. Contribution of the day: Local entrepreneur and restaurateur Linda Derschang (of Linda's, Oddfellows, King's Tavern, and Quinn's) gave $250 to Sandy Cioffi, an indie filmmaker who's running against two-term incumbent Tom Rasmussen. Unusually for a local (or any) political campaign, more than 80 percent of Cioffi's contributors ($6,475, out of a total $8,175 she's raised through April) are women. [pullquote]More than 80 percent of Cioffi's contributors  are women.[/pullquote]

4. Today is ThinkTank Tuesday. Stay tuned. We've got two local attorneys arguing over the tunnel referendum.

5. At a League of Women Voters forum on transportation last week, deputy King County Executive Fred Jarrett made a surprisingly sweeping statement: Even assuming Gov. Chris Gregoire signs legislation allowing the county to pass a temporary $20 fee to offset some Metro cuts with a two-thirds vote of the county council, not one of the council's four Republicans will vote for it, dooming it to failure. "Tim Eyman talked every Republican on the county council into voting against it," Jarrett said.

What was Jarrett talking about? Fizz asked Eyman, and he pointed to an email he sent out in late April, which we'd lost among Eyman's near-daily email blasts. In that email, Eyman quoted email or newsletter communications from every Republican on the council showing that they'd all vowed not to vote for the Metro-saving license fee. He even quotes all four Republicans saying, in no uncertain terms, that they'd oppose any fee (sample quote from Reagan Dunn: "I do not support the $20 vehicle license fee.  Our economy is still struggling...").

Last month, council member Jane Hague, who had been rumored to be the swing Republican vote on the council, told PubliCola she'd vote against the fee.

6. It's Bike to Work month, and as usual, various city departments are forming teams to see who can bike the most miles to City Hall. Our favorite team name so far, obviously, is a subtle homage to a Fizz item earlier this year: The Wind Tunnel Effect, which includes avid cyclist Mike O'Brien.
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