1) The "education reform" group Stand For Children, which supports US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's agenda for charter schools and tying student test scores to teacher evaluations, sent out a mailer this week supporting three Seattle School Board incumbents: Sherry Carr, Harium Martin-Morris, and Steve Sundquist. (Peter Maier, the other incumbent who's up for reelection, did not get Stand's nod).
Of the top five contributors to Stand for Children who funded the Seattle School Board ad, only one couple, Jon and Judy Runstad, actually live in Seattle; all the other contributors---including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' parents Mike and Jackie Bezos and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and his wife Connie---live in tony neighborhoods on the Eastside like Mercer Island, Hunts Point, and Yarrow Point.
2) City Council challenger Bobby Forch's latest campaign flyer includes a new innovation for Seattle campaign mail: A hidden hit piece against incumbent Jean Godden. Look at the mailer head on, and it looks like every other Forch mailer so far: A color photo of the smiling candidate in business dress, with a list of plans and accomplishments.
Open it up, however, and the mailer reveals a grim-looking black-and-white image of incumbent Jean Godden, headlined "A track record of missed opportunities." The list ("Refusing to prioritize transit planning"; "Making it harder on our small businesses") is lined up next to a list of Forch's accomplishments, headlined "A track record of leadership."
Specifically, Forch claims that Godden initially failed to support a proposed $60 car tab fee (true; Godden wanted a smaller fee, weighted more heavily toward roads); supported longer parking meter hours (true; Forch wants to roll back meter hours downtown from 8 to 6 pm); and opposed requiring council reappointment of the police chief (true-ish; Godden initially opposed reappointing the chief but later said she had changed her mind in light of several incidents of alleged police brutality).
3) Over at the PI.com, columnist Joel Connelly goes apoplectic on the $60 car-tab fee, arguing that it doesn't do enough to fix Seattle's crumbling streets and doesn't include a penny for bridge upgrades and maintenance. Only rich people and "social engineers," Connelly implies, are interested in making buses operate more efficiently, improving safety for cyclists, and building sidewalks.
"Seattle is an excellent city in which to be a social engineer, or an affluent advocate of changing the way we live," Connelly writes. "It is now time to provide a bit of relief for the middle class, which pays the ever-increasing bills."
In reality, the proposal would spend about 20 percent of the car-tab revenue on road maintenance and about half on transit speed and reliability improvements. (Transit, incidentally, disproportionately serves low-income people, not the wealthy and "social engineers.") Those improvements, moreover, would make the city's roads operate more efficiently for everyone, including Connelly's "middle-class" drivers.
4) King County Council candidate Richard Mitchell, challenging incumbent Jane Hague, won the endorsement today of former King County executive Ron Sims, who called Mitchell "the right person, with the right experience, at the right time." Mitchell, a Mercer Island Democrat who served as counsel to Gov. Chris Gregoire, is running against Republican incumbent Jane Hague.