Morning Fizz

Something Worth Saying?

By Morning Fizz October 7, 2011

Caffeinated news & gossip. Your daily Morning Fizz.

1. At their annual awards breakfast this morning, the Washington Conservation Voters took the unusual step of making an early endorsement, announcing US Rep. Jay Inslee as their choice for governor in 2012.

Inslee spoke to the crowded room of liberals—and the one group of Republican state legislators seated at Sen. Steve Litzow's (R-41, Mercer Island) table—saying Washington would "lead the world in the clean energy revolution, it is our destiny." (Inslee noted that Washington led the aeronautics and software revolutions of the last century.)

US Rep. Jay Inslee accepts WCV's unprecedented early endorsement this morning at the Westin.

A key component of that "destiny," he said, was to have "an efficient, effective, and user friendly transportation system with more options."

Then he namechecked "the threat," as he saw it. "There's someone that wants to go backwards, one person..."

Of course, I was waiting for him to cite his rival for the governor's mansion, Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna—a Republican who spent years fighting light rail.

"It's time," Inslee said, "to say no to Tim Eyman. It's time for Tim Eyman to stop running this state." And calling Eyman's latest initiative, I-1125, "a camouflaged attempt to kill light rail" and saying it would jeopardize the 520 project (the initiative would limit tolling revenues to the corridor where they're levied and would prevent light rail from crossing I-90), Inslee concluded, "it's time to start building bridges instead of funding Tim Eyman's bank account."

Another enemy Inslee named: The Koch Brothers. "We own the state of Washington, not the Koch brothers," he said, referring to the infamous (among liberals) Tea Party funders. Inslee said he expects the conservative donors to spend against his campaign.

2. Also at this morning's breakfast—and putting away any trace of editorial neutrality here—WCV gave dynamite state Rep. Dave Upthegrove (D-33, Des Moines) its vaunted legislator of the year award. Among Upthegrove's achievements: ushering through the TransAlta coal plant bill, which weans the leading polluter in the state off coal.[pullquote]"You slink off at the end and everyone is mad at you."—State Rep. Dave Upthegrove.[/pullquote]

"We became the first state in the US to say we are done with coal," Upthegrove said before saying his gig as a legislator was just like his other job as a high school basketball ref. "You slink off at the end and everyone is mad at you. That's why it's nice to be here and see so many people smiling at me. It's a joy."

3. Following up on labor's announcement  yesterday that they back the Occupy Seattle protesters, the Service Employees International Union 775 paid $300 last night to bail out the last of the eight protesters that was arrested at Westlake Park on Wednesday.

The protester, Michael Roderick, is the only among the group whose release required bail due to a warrant a in Cowlitz County for a minor traffic charge that was unrelated to the city attorney's charges.

4. Bailing out Roderick was approved at last night's Occupy Seattle "General Assembly" meeting at Westlake. Fizz was there to get a bead on how the protesters do business.

Every evening at 6:30 the demonstrators—last night there were around 100 of them—gather at the south end of the plaza and work out an agenda compiled by one of several working groups.

The assembly approved a couple important measures last night: first, the assembly voted to bail out their jailed comrade; second, the assembly voted to make Occupy Seattle's finances more transparent (apparently Occupy Wall Street has the best accounting model).

The meetings' format is notable in and of itself. The meetings are run by a facilitator who stands on a bench not far from the door of the Bank of America branch located on the east side of the plaza. The facilitator—last night it was a young woman named Maria—requests the assembly's consent to facilitate at the beginning of the meeting, reads the agenda, and finally ushers speakers to and from the floor.

Instead of speaking through a microphone, the speaker addresses the crowd directly—but she pauses after every phrase and the surrounding crowd repeats the phrase as a reasonably comprehensible chant. (It's a little creepy.) When someone wants the floor, he or she just has to shout "mic check" and hope everyone else thinks they have something worth saying.

Evidently, at least one Occupy Seattle demonstrator agrees with the guest opinion piece that ran on PubliCola yesterday.

The meetings will continue nightly at 6:30.

Yesterday evening, Mayor Mike McGinn's office said the Westlake group could set up "an organizing tent" and stay overnight. McGinn has also made City Hall Plaza available, tents allowed, for two weeks. Earlier this week, McGinn gave the order that the tents had to come down at Westlake. That order led to the arrest of 25 protesters with charges eventually issued against eight .

From McGinn's statement:
•We are providing a permit for protest activities at Westlake Park which will allow them to have an organizing tent that can remain overnight. As a condition of the permit, protestors will have to allow for cleaning of the park, protect park property, accommodate the other existing permitted events, and protect access to businesses.

•We are making City Hall Plaza available for those that wish to stay overnight, with reasonable restrictions on the tents so as to allow free use of the plaza during the day. Unlike Westlake, City Hall also has restroom facilities available. Both the permit and the ability to set up tents at City Hall Plaza would last for two weeks, at which point we can assess whether the arrangement is meeting everyone’s needs and should be extended.
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