Whoa. Today was simply packed with news. A perfect day for Erica—our news machine—to go home early with a cold, and for me to get stuck speaking at the Seattle Chamber of Commerce political action committee lunch for nearly two hours.
Thankfully, Jonah, after reporting the details of the damning DOJ report on the SPD last night, is all over that giant story today.
So, by way of recapping all the other action—1) a dramatic proposal on K-12 teachers' health care; 2) new legislative district maps; 3) the Moxie Media Settlement; and 4) Seattle Schools Superintendent Susan Enfiled's de facto resignation—here's the official December 16, 2011 Winners & Losers
1) Loser: Teachers[pullquote]"Yesterday, the governor calls for privatizing the lottery. Today, the state calls for doing the exact opposite with teachers’ health care."—WEA Spokesman, Rich Wood[/pullquote]
As part of Gov. Chris Gregoire's government reform plan to cut costs, the state Health Care Authority released a study today backing up its proposal to bring K-12 teachers into the state's health plan rather than the current union plan (in which individual school districts shop the private insurance market).
The teachers union, the Washington Education Association, says benefits will be scaled back and costs for teachers will rise, noting that teachers have already been hit with education budget cuts—$2.5 billion since 2009 when you include planned cost of living increases that got waived.
Pointing out that just yesterday Gov. Gregoire announced plans to look at privatizing the lottery, WEA spokesman Rich Wood quipped bitterly: "Yesterday, the governor calls for privatizing the lottery. Today, the state calls for doing the exact opposite with teachers’ health care."
2) Winner: State Rep. Bob Hasegawa/Losers: State Reps. Roger Goodman and Larry Springer
The redistricting commission released new maps for state legislative districts today (for Western Washington), and while there weren't a lot of startling changes, the new lines did make life easier for some—and more difficult for others.
Super liberal state Rep. Bob Hasegawa (D-11, S. Seattle) is definitely the biggest winner. People believed that the Seattle district to his north (the 37th) would gobble up his turf, and he'd be re-districted right out of office. Nope. The map, with Beacon Hill carved out for the 11th, keeps Hasegawa alive.
Meanwhile, in the Eastside Seattle 'burbs, the 45th district lost much of Kirkland and sprawled out to cover more of the Sammamish Plateau. The change makes the district more conservative, hurting the two Democratic reps there—drug reformer Roger Goodman and conservative D Larry Springer. Springer might not be conservative enough to hold on now; and Goodman, well, good luck.
Even before redistricting, voters in the 45th district booted liberal Democratic state Sen. Eric Oemig in 2010, replacing him with Republican Andy Hill. Hill's seat just got a lot safer.
3) Loser: The Washington State Democratic Party
On the heels of the Public Disclosure Commission's mixed response to the Democrats' angry complaint against Americans for Prosperity Washington—the conservative political group that failed to register as a political committee and initially failed to report who its donors were—a Democratic consulting firm, Moxie Media, got hit with a $290,000 settlement by the attorney general today after a PDC investigation into a Moxie campaign where donors were concealed.
Outraged about the discrepancy between the state's stern reaction to the Moxie case and inconclusive reaction to the AFPW case, Washington State Democratic Party Chair Dwight Pelz issued yet another exasperated statement:
We look forward to Rob McKenna taking just as strong a stance against the Koch Brothers and Americans for Prosperity Washington.
AFPW, backed by the infamous Koch Brothers, is currently under investigation by the Public Disclosure Commission for failure to properly disclose campaign attack mailers during the 2010 election cycle.
The PDC staff recommended dropping the AFPW case because it found no violations, but the PDC commission itself is still looking into it.
4) Loser: Education Advocates in Seattle (and Olympia)
Interim Seattle Schools Superintendent Susan Enfield announced today that she wouldn't accept a permanent position after her contract runs out in June. Sensing a lack of support after a couple of ed reform backlash candidates knocked out two of the four incumbent school board members in November, it's likely Enfield didn't see the point.
Double whammy for reformers: With this shakeup taking things back to square one, Seattle education reformers in Olympia will have a harder time moving their agenda, they say.
Lead Olympia education reformer state Rep. Reuven Carlyle (D-36, Seattle) issued a despondent statement almost immediately after the news broke. Rep. Carlyle said:
Seattle is losing an education professional with the soul of a community activist and the effectiveness of an insider in Dr. Susan Enfield. I am personally and professionally profoundly disappointed, and distressed that the new school board members failed to see the gift of her leadership and focus on students. This is a devastating blow to the Seattle delegation's ability to protect the school budget from even more cuts in Olympia.