Your one-stop shop for today's local campaign news, gossip, and analysis.
• Awkward! Seattle Department of Transportation purchasing manager Bobby Forch, Council member Jean Godden's opponent in this year's council election, got into a minor row during a briefing at the council's transportation committee yesterday.
Godden walked into the meeting after Forch had already wrapped up his presentation on SDOT's use of minority- and women-owned contractors and proceeded to accuse the agency of falling short on minority- and women-owned business hiring. "In past years, I must say that SDOT has not been very good in involving [Women and Minority Business Enterprise] contracts and when we've asked about that ... we've always heard that there were not a large number of WMBE contractors available. ... Have we done better in this regard?"
Forch, reiterating a point he made in his presentation, responded that WMBE contracts by SDOT have actually increased from 6 percent in 2003 to 18 percent in 2010 (and 23 percent in 2009). "Actually, we've done a very good job," he told Godden crisply.
The decision to put Forch in front of the committee was made by SDOT director Peter Hahn. SDOT employees have contributed about $4,000 overall to Forch's campaign.
• The Seattle Times' Bruce Ramsey argues today that it isn't the right time to double the Families and Education Levy, which pays for support services for schools. Noting that Seattle schools are underperforming, Ramsey opines, "Someday Seattle needs to vote no on a tax increase. Just to set a limit — some limit, somewhere."
The trouble with that argument is, for Ramsey, it's never the right time to pay for kids' health clinics, tutoring programs, preschool, and after-school programs. He wrote almost almost exactly the same editorial back in 2004, when he argued against raising money for both libraries and kids, calling the campaign for that year's Families and Ed levy dishonest and manipulative.
• Carl at HA Seattle skewered another aspect of Ramsey's argument today---the (false) claim that Seattle voters have never rejected taxes (hello, latte tax?).
• The Renton City Council has endorsed "No" on Initiative 1125, Tim Eyman's anti-tolling, anti-light rail initiative, saying it “undermines needed transportation projects and will ultimately cost the state billions in bond financing and increase costs for taxpayers." The PI.com has more.
• If Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon does decide to run for governor (he wouldn't give PubliCola a direct "yes" or "no" response to the rumors), the Snohomish County budget, which he'll unveil in a public speech on Friday, could become a campaign issue. Like other local governments, Snohomish County is facing a revenue shortfall---$1.5 million---that will likely force county leaders to make some unpopular decisions.
According to the Everett Herald, those could include things like deferring road maintenance, imposing a $20 car-tab fee, putting off cost-of-living adjustments for county workers, and making cuts to criminal justice, which accounts for 75 percent of the county's budget.