1. Dateline Wisconsin: The Republicans won four of the six recall races yesterday, holding on to the majority in the state senate and beating back a huge union effort to punish the GOP for voting to undo collective bargaining rights.

Local Democrats—that is, Washington State Democrats—can be proud, though. Seattle Democratic operative Viet Shelton (a former Chris Gregoire and Greg Nickels staffer) was the communications director for Democrat Jessica King, who beat state Sen. Randy Hopper 51 to 49.

2. A little Morning Jolt that we didn't get to yesterday. Yesterday's loser: City council member Mike O'Brien. Why is O'Brien, who proposed an $80 vehicle license fee that would focus heavily on transit, yesterday's loser? Because he was joined late yesterday by Mayor Mike McGinn, who posted a piece on his blog hyping O'Brien's proposal.

A McGinn endorsement, of course, is the kiss of death at the council, and we predict O'Brien can kiss his $80 proposal goodbye. (McGinn went so far as to call on the council to make the fee permanent, and spend it on planning for rail---something even O'Brien might hesitate to get behind.)[pullquote]A McGinn endorsement, of course, is the kiss of death at the council, and we predict O'Brien can kiss his $80 proposal goodbye.[/pullquote]

3. Big day on the Cola yesterday. In addition to having 16 posts (including a ThinkTank by city council challengers Maurice Classen and Bobby Forch and a guest op/ed by King County Council member Larry Phillips), we rolled out the first round of our Cola Candidate Ratings---Muni-League-style evaluations where we grade the candidates on their resumes, knowledge of the issues, and ability to get their agenda done.

Here are our ratings for: Seattle City Council Position 1 (Jean Godden's seat); Position 3 (Bruce Harrell's seat); Position 5 (Tom Rasmussen's seat); Position 7 (Tim Burgess' seat); and Position 9 (Sally Clark's seat).

Up later today: Ref. 1 (the tunnel referendum) and the county Veterans and Human Services Levy.

4. Yesterday (go to the 32:35 mark), US Rep. Jay Inslee told KIRO radio's Dave Ross that he wouldn't sign an income tax as governor, and that he voted against I-1098, the high-earners' income tax last year. We quickly did a gotchya, reporting that Inslee was simultaneously all about repealing president George Bush's tax cut for the wealthy.

The Inslee campaign got back to us later in the afternoon with this statement:
There are three things about the federal Bush tax cuts that do not apply to our state situation. First, the Bush tax cuts blew a hole in the federal deficit -- something Jay believed would happen when he bucked the majority and voted against them ten years ago.

Second, the Bush tax cuts involved an existing revenue stream that is widely accepted. Third, part of the solution to truly address our long-term deficit includes letting the Bush higher income tax cuts to expire.

Inslee's camp also wanted to know if we'd asked Rob McKenna about I-1098. We have. McKenna's campaign manager, Randy Pepple, told PubliCola that McKenna was both against 1098 because McKenna feels the voters have been clear that they oppose any type of income tax, and McKenna was also against the high-earners' income tax on its merits because he thought it would undermine job creation.

5. This afternoon, the city council's housing and human services committee is expected to vote on a proposal to require all Seattle employers to provide paid sick leave to their workers. It's still unclear whether the full council will support the measure in its current form; various council members have expressed reservations about whether the law should apply to all businesses, including the smallest; whether the amount of sick leave it mandates is fair; and whether it should apply to businesses that rely on extremely part-time or seasonal employees.

6. Yesterday afternoon, the Democrats pounced on a statement state AG and Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna made at a Gig Harbor Republican Women's Club meeting late last month (go to the 9:08 mark on the video) where he was on anti-government jag—"I have an idea, no new regulation shall be enacted unless two old regulations are repealed at the same time."



That gimmicky sound bite aside, here's the follow-up statement that the Democrats ridiculed, McKenna: "Another idea I'm thinking about ... someone came up to me and said this ... what if as governor you called a special session and the only purpose of the special session was to repeal laws to get rid of laws that are outdated and expensive? Definitely worth thinking about."

Pointing out that McKenna has had seven years as AG to go after laws he didn't like, Washington State Democratic Party Chair Dwight Pelz criticized McKenna. In a press statement that began "Really?" Pelz said:
For seven years, Rob McKenna has been enforcing laws he thought were flawed and did nothing to try to change them. Now, in the middle of a campaign for governor and with the state pressed for resources, McKenna would consider a special session of the legislature at a price tag of nearly $100,000 per week.

Does Rob McKenna really think that asking politicians to spend extra time in Olympia is a good use of taxpayer dollars?

PubliCola asked McKenna campaign spokesman Adam Faber about Pelz's comments, and Faber said as AG McKenna has "talked about" tort reform to get rid of "expensive frivolous lawsuits."

Getting pithier, and referring to the Democrats' criticism of McKenna's involvement in the anti-health care reform lawsuit, Faber added: "There's a little irony here. According to [Pelz], McKenna is supposed to be an automaton and not do anything unless he's asked to."

As for a special session, Faber said the Democrats were sidestepping the real news—the looming revenue forecast and the possibility of doing the budget over. "They weren't able to get the work done last session—writing a sustainable budget. Eliminating millions in expenses would be something tax payers might be willing to invest in."

7. Yesterday afternoon, the council's utilities committee got some good news on recycling in Seattle: A greater proportion of Seattle residents, including apartment dwellers as well as single-family homeowners, are recycling this year more than ever before.

Single-family households recycled 70.3 percent of their waste last year, compared to 29.6 percent of multi-family households, for a total recycling rate of 53.7 percent. Full stats, including commercial recycling rates, at the city's web site.
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