Campaign Fizz: Freeman Accuses Council Member of Being in Pocket of "Big Developers"

By Erica C. Barnett November 1, 2011

Your one-stop shop for today's local campaign news, gossip, and analysis.

1) Bellevue megadeveloper Kemper Freeman---apparently unacquainted with the concept of irony---has funded a mailer attacking Bellevue City Council member and light-rail supporter Claudia Balducci for being in the pocket of "big developers." The Seattle Times' Keith Ervin reports:
The $11,849 mailing by Friends of Bellevue Families and Neighborhoods accuses Balducci of voting to give a "special deal to Seattle developer," voting to raise taxes for a project that benefits "her big developer donors," committing $150 million of city money for a Sound Transit light-rail tunnel, and receiving a promotion to a $151,000 King County job.

Balducci has received a total of $5,400 in campaign contributions from executives at Seattle-based Wright Runstad, whose proposed development at a future light rail station in the Bel-Red corridor was approved unanimously by the Bellevue council.

Meanwhile, Freeman, his company Kemper Holdings, and his wife Betty have given $3,200 to Balducci's opponent Patti Mann, and Freeman has contributed $25,000 to the PAC funding the anti-Balducci mailer. Freeman also donated to council member Kevin Wallace, who last ran for election in 2009 ($500), and to council member Jennifer Robertson, who's up for reelection this year ($4,500).

2) The Seattle Times' Emily Heffter profiles Dian Ferguson, who's challenging popular Seattle City Council incumbent Sally Clark, noting that Ferguson boils her long-shot campaign down to "I believe in miracles." Ferguson has criticized Clark for being part of the process-oriented status quo at the council, taking "too long" to deliberate and get things done, and supporting the proposed $60 car-tab fee, which Ferguson says is unfair to the poor.

3) The Tacoma News-Tribune takes a look at the TV ads for and against I-1125, Tim Eyman's anti-tolling, anti-light-rail initiative, and finds that both mislead voters about the measure's impact on toll-setting authority (although the proposal purports to delegate authority to set toll rates to the legislature, they already have that authority, and can choose to delegate it to the state transportation commission even if 1125 peasses); that both mischaracterize the appointed transportation commission (Eyman calls them "bureaucrats," while his foes call them "experts," while neither description is entirely accurate); and that Eyman falsely claims his initiative would save money by forcing the state to buy cheaper bonds.
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