Caffeinated news & gossip. Your daily Morning Fizz.
1. At a post-election forum sponsored by state Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-36, Ballard) at Hale's Ales in Ballard last night, local Democratic state Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson (D-36, Ballard) explained why she broke orthodoxy and voted against I-1163, the Service Employees International Union 775 initiative (the lefty union put $1.2 million into the measure) which funds long-term health care worker training.
The measure won with 65 percent of the vote. But not with Rep. Dickerson's vote. She explained:
There is no funding source for that right now. I'm going to have to look at cutting things like prescriptions for low-income people, basic health care, all kinds of things for disabled people. We have to have funding sources with initiatives that cost the state money. We ca no longer afford the luxury of saying, yes, we want this and we want that, without a funding source.
2. Another initiative that came up last night was Tim Eyman's I-1125, the initiative that would have killed light rail across I-90 and regulated how tolling revenues can be spent (ie, not on transit and not on any project other than where the toll is assessed.)
But blah blah on the specifics. Eyman was the issue.
Washington State Labor Council staffer Karen Deal, who worked to defeat the measure (it lost 53.03 to 47.97), joked: "This was the first initiative where we didn't have to tell people what it was about. All we had to do was mention Tim Eyman's name. It was fun!"
Big-time Democratic political consultant Christian Sinderman also had a funny line about working against I-1125: "The only beneficiaries in the state of Washington of the years of terror inflicted by Tim Eyman are my children, because they will be able to go to college [on his earnings fighting Eyman initiatives]."
Indeed, campaign finance reports show that Sinderman's firm got paid more than $50,000 by the anti-1125 campaign.
3. Occupy Seattle has responded to the apology Mayor Mike McGinn issued yesterday afternoon about Tuesday night when Seattle Police pepper sprayed protesters including 84-year-old activist Dorli Rainey.
First, here's an excerpt from McGinn's full statement:
Last night, the police used pepper spray in two separate incidents, and many are now questioning whether the police use of force was appropriate to the circumstances. I have seen video and written descriptions of the incidents.
To those engaged in peaceful protest, I am sorry that you were pepper sprayed. I spoke to Dorli Rainey (who I know personally) to ask how she was doing, and to ask for her description of events.
I also called in Seattle Police Chief John Diaz and the command staff to review the actions of last night. They agreed that this was not their preferred outcome.
We ... do not want overly aggressive enforcement to exacerbate the situation. We have been relying on the line officers to exercise extraordinary judgment and restraint in tough circumstances. And as Occupy Seattle heads into its sixth week, tensions appear to be getting higher. Defusing those tensions is important. Just as we are going to work to ensure we are doing all we can to protect free speech and public safety, Occupy Seattle needs to work with us too. That includes ensuring that everyone participating in their protests understands the importance of nonviolence.
Occupy Seattle responded:
While we are gratified that Mayor Mike McGuinn has apologized to those who were pepper sprayed last night, his statement of apology does not go far enough to assure us that we are in fact protected by the Seattle Police Department or to hold the SPD accountable for their misuse of power.
Since the formation of Occupy Seattle, SPD has been excessive in its presence, its tactics, its violence and its spending with respect to our organization. Occupy Seattle is a movement dedicated to fighting for economic justice through nonviolent protest and nonviolent civil disobedience. The sheer quantity of officers, vehicles, weapons, hostilities and pepper spray was and is excessive and absolutely unnecessary.
We agree with the Mayor that restraint on the part of the police is in order and that a thorough review of the incident is warranted. We ask that the Mayor include Occupy Seattle in the review process as we are arguably the largest stakeholder in its outcome. ...
The Mayor’s apology asks that Occupy Seattle work with the city. We do work with the city. On this particular night, we had informed the police of our march and route in advance so as to assure public safety. Given that the police blocked our passage and then used pepper spray indiscriminately suggests that it is not Occupy Seattle that is unwilling to work with the city, but rather that SPD is not willing to work with Occupy Seattle. While pepper spraying nonviolent protestors is a high price to pay, perhaps this incident will lead to better treatment of Occupy Seattle participants by the SPD.
Poor McGinn. He just can't win. Occupy hits him for not apologizing enough. And PubliCola's own Jonah Spangenthal-Lee reports that McGinn's hyped SPD "review" is actually just standard operating procedure after the police use pepper spray.
4. The Seattle Times has a big story this morning: A Snohomish County employee says she took several trips with Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon while having an on-again-off-again affair with him. She tells the Times Reardon "wasn't working" on the ostensible "business trips."
Her claims are the latest bombshell in a State Patrol investigation into Reardon for "misconduct." News of the general investigation, which was requested by the Snohomish County Prosecutor, came to light shortly before last week's election in which Reardon fended off a challenge from Republican state rep Mike Hope (R-44, Lake Stevens).
The Times writes:
A woman who prompted a criminal investigation into Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon's travel spending said she took multiple county-paid trips with the executive where he did little or no official business.
The woman — who has known Reardon for 20 years and asked that her name not be used — told The Seattle Times on Wednesday that she took the trips during a longtime affair with Reardon, who is married.
The woman, a county employee, said she took the trips to U.S. cities where Reardon ostensibly was attending conferences. When asked what the two did, she said, "Not much. He wasn't working."
On Wednesday night, Reardon denied any criminal wrongdoing.
The woman, who is not a manager, had no professional reason to take the trips.
She said she went to County Council Chairman Dave Somers last month because she was afraid for her job and her safety. In their on-again, off-again relationship, the executive has threatened to ruin her life, she said.
She said she also was fed up with the waste of county money, especially as Reardon was publicly portraying himself as a careful steward of public dollars.
Reardon would not comment on the claim that he was having an affair, and has denied any criminal wrongdoing in the investigation.