Morning Fizz

Clipboard-Wielding Sound Transit Staffers

By Morning Fizz October 12, 2011

Caffeinated news & gossip. Your daily Morning Fizz.

1. If you ride Link Light Rail this week, you'll likely be approached by a black-apron-clad, clipboard-wielding young Sound Transit staffer bearing surveys.

The purpose of the mass polling effort, ST spokesman Bruce Gray says, is to determine whether light rail has lived up to Sound Transit's predictions before it was built, in terms of: where people come from and where they're going; how they pay, and how much; how many transfers they make; and whether they use light rail to get to work, school, or other destinations.

Gray says Sound Transit is one of the first agencies in the country that's required to do the survey, which will be only used for informational purposes.

2. Last night's Graduate Washington political action committee kickoff was a success. (Yesterday, you'll remember, we reported on the new political committee being put together by recent student government leaders including former UW student body president Madeleine McKenna to back state legislature candidates who pledge to fight for higher ed funding.)[pullquote]"There is nothing public about a 70-30 split in between tuition and funding."[/pullquote]

Sixty folks, including Republican state Rep. Glenn Anderson (R-5) and Democratic state Rep. Derek Stanford (D-1), crowded into Ave. haunt the Big Time Brewery bringing in $1,500 for the new committee. The group has a goal of raising $20,000 for the 2012 election.

"There is nothing public about a 70-30 split in between tuition and funding," guest speaker and Seattle School Board member Kay Smith-Blum told the crowd—which also included King County Council president (and 2012 Democratic AG candidate) Bob Ferguson.

Smith-Blum's 70-30 stat refers to the declining portion of higher ed funding that comes from the state vs. student tuition. (State funding of higher ed has shrunk from about 16 percent of the state budget pie to about eight percent in the last decade—leaving student tuition to cover 70 percent of the cost.)

3. Re: Occupy Seattle. Mayor Mike McGinn issued the following statement this morning:
Last night we received a list of demands from Occupy Seattle for use of City Hall. We will engage in discussions with representatives of Occupy Seattle on the conditions for use of City Hall if there is interest from Occupy Seattle in doing so. What we agree to allow at City Hall must be consistent with what we would offer any group, and consistent with laws that govern use of public resources.

I have instructed the Parks Department and the Seattle Police Department to enforce the rules at Westlake Park, starting this morning. This includes prohibitions against camping and unpermitted activity. We are prepared to provide permits for First Amendment uses of Westlake Park during regular park hours.

4. We have to admit we didn't a find too many interesting contributions in the latest round of fundraising reports from gubernatorial contenders US Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) and Republican state AG Rob McKenna.[pullquote]McKenna continues to attract cash from auto dealers and Inslee continues to get donations from biotech companies.[/pullquote]

Inslee got some hometown cred with $500 contributions from Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln and REI CEO Sally Jewell. (Lincoln gave another $375 to Inslee in July. Lincoln also gave $750 to McKenna back in July.)

McKenna, oddly, got some love from the main backers of the anti-liquor privatization campaign (a Democratic party cause), netting $3,200 from the Washington Beer and Wine Wholesalers and $1,000 from the executive director of the National Beer and Wine Wholesalers in Virginia. (McKenna has not taken a position on I-1183, the liquor initiative that's being funded largely by Costco. Costco CEO James Sinegal has contributed $3200 to Inslee. Neither Costco nor its top execs have contributed to McKenna. Nor does Inslee have any big contributions from the beer and wine folks.)

Otherwise, McKenna continues to attract cash from auto dealers (for example, $3,200 from Rodland Toyota in Everett) and Inslee continues to get donations from biotech companies; the chairman of a California biotech firm called Symyx Technologies, for example, donated $2,400 to Inslee in September.

As we reported when we first looked at the latest reports, Tea Party star, Nebraska AG and US Senate candidate Jon Bruning maxed out to McKenna and the state Democratic Party kicked in another $50,000 to Inslee.
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