Morning Fizz

They Didn't Actually Resolve the Most Contentious Issues

By Morning Fizz September 7, 2011

Caffeinated news & gossip. Your daily Morning Fizz.

1. King County Deputy Executive Fred Jarrett sent an email to executive staffers late last week announcing that Sung Yang, who has headed up the county's lobbying staff for the past year and a half, has been promoted to Chief of Staff for King County Executive Dow Constantine.

Deputy Jarrett writes: "As we approach the two-year mark for our administration, I have discussed with the Executive formalizing the roles that some key staff are now playing within the Executive’s Office. The change of title underscores the importance of working with regional partners to advance the interests of not just King County but the entire Puget Sound."

The change of title prompts Fizz to ask: What's Jarrett's job?

2. Embattled Bellevue City Council member Claudia Balducci's reelection campaign got a $500 boost from a contributor who's better known for giving big to Republicans like AG Rob McKenna and fighting against last year's proposed income tax: Microsoft VP Brad Smith.

Balducci is being opposed by Patti Mann, a former Bellevue school board member who's received several thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from developer Kemper Freeman, a staunch light-rail opponent who has also donated more than $1 million to Tim Eyman's anti-tolling campaign, which would kill light rail across I-90.

This isn't the first time Smith has sided with Balducci against Freeman. Smith signed off on a letter earlier this summer imploring the rest of the Bellevue council to set aside its differences with Sound Transit and move forward with light rail through the city, a route Balducci supported. [pullquote]Council members are reportedly also holding one-on-one meetings to hammer out a compromise.[/pullquote]

3. When the council's health and human services committee passed the paid sick leave legislation last month, they didn't actually resolve the most contentious issues with the legislation, including the fact that it requires larger employers to provide more sick leave more quickly; the fact that restaurant and other workers who swap shifts in lieu of taking paid time off forfeit that sick leave; and the fact that only employees at small businesses can swap shifts.

This week, as members of the Coalition for a Healthy Workforce make the rounds of council offices, council members are reportedly also holding one-on-one meetings to hammer out a compromise that skeptics like Bruce Harrell (who has said he's concerned about the potential impact on small employers) and Richard Conlin (who called the shift-swapping language "cynical") can agree to.

4. A discussion about a relatively obscure new proposal to allow four city departments to set fees for public use of electric-vehicle charging stations turned testy during a long city council meeting yesterday, when several council members challenged budget chair Jean Godden on a section of the legislation that allows the departments to set wide-ranging rates between $1.50 and $7.50 per "session" as they see fit---a range, as council member Sally Clark pointed out, of 500 percent. (A charging "session" could be of any length.)

Although a staffer from the city's Office of Sustainability and the Environment said the range was necessary so that departments whose charging stations were less closely monitored could pay to clean up graffiti on the stations---adding, "I doubt the market would bear" $7.50 an hour---council members were unconvinced and, over harumphs from Godden, sent the proposal back to the drawing board for more clarification.
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