Morning Fizz

"I'd Rather Govern."

By Morning Fizz December 7, 2011

Caffeinated news & gossip. Your daily Morning Fizz.



Photo Washington State Wire

1. Democrats who "liked" Republican Rob McKenna's campaign for governor on Facebook as a way to keep tabs on his campaign, may have reason to regret that decision.

Thanks to the way Facebook promotes its sponsored ads, any McKenna "likes" from a user's Facebook friends now show up, looking very much like endorsements, whenever the ad appears on a user's Facebook page. If one of your Facebook friends decided to like McKenna for Governor in the interest of simply keeping up with the GOP effort, their image will appear below his ad whenever the ad shows up on your Facebook page.[pullquote]If one of your Facebook friends decided to 'like' McKenna for Governor in the interest of simply keeping up with his campaign, their image will appear below McKenna's ads whenever the ad shows up.[/pullquote]

McKenna campaign spokesman Randy Pepple says the campaign isn't targeting specific users, adding that if Facebook users don't support McKenna, "They shouldn't have liked [his page], I guess."

2. Fizz got a call back from state Rep. Ross Hunter (D-48, Medina) late yesterday afternoon after we'd been trying to get him all day and, it turns out, after he'd been in closed door meetings on the budget all day. Hunter, the house ways and means chair, is the Democrats' point person on the budget.

Asked how budget talks were going in general, Hunter joked, "Well, I'm at 15 votes" referring to the seemingly Sisyphean task of lining up the 49 votes he needs out of the 97-member house to pass a damn budget.

Asked specifically how talks were going with the revenue-averse Republicans (the legislature needs to deal with a $1.5 billion shortfall), Hunter—who said he'd met with his counterpart Rep. Gary Alexander (R-20, Olympia), the ranking Republican on ways and means, "for hours today" would only say that Alexander is "a straight up guy, a good guy," but that they'd agreed to "a cone of silence [with the press]" during budget negotiations.

Fizz has learned, though, you just have to keep Ross Hunter talking.

Today's Morning Fizz zinger courtesy of Rep. Hunter:

"They can always fall back to an ideological position," Hunter said of the minority Republicans, "it's easier if you don't have to get to 50 votes. But I'd actually rather govern."

3. As we reported  yesterday, two unions representing state liquor store and distribution workers---the United Food and Grocery Workers Local 21 and the Teamsters Local 174---sued to overturn the liquor-privatization measure, Initiative 1183, arguing that it violates a rule in the state constitution stipulating that legislation (including initiatives) can only concern a single subject. The two unions represent more than 900 state workers who will lose their jobs if the initiative goes into effect. They argue that I-1183 changes several state laws in addition to privatizing liquor sales, including laws governing liquor and wine distribution, liquor ads, and franchise protections for spirits distributors.

Late yesterday, Fizz talked with UFCW spokesman Tom Geiger, who explained more of the reasoning behind the lawsuit. Geiger argues that by focusing exclusively on privatization of liquor sales, Costco's $22 million campaign for 1183 glossed over several other aspects of the initiative that might have been less popular with voters, including the fact that it weakens the Washington State Liquor Control Board's ability to regulate booze advertising; the fact that the initiative would effectively give Costco a monopoly over both liquor sales and distribution, giving the wholesaler a "disproportionate financial benefit;" and the fact that the law created new franchise protections for spirits distributors.

Apart from the specific issues of law, however, Geiger said the unions fundamentally object to an initiative process that allows one company to solely fund an initiative campaign. "Given the amount of money that was spent by a single organization [Costco]... it starts to raise questions about who's going to say what the law's going to be. If I have $100 million to make and it costs me $20 million to make it, that's a pretty good return on my investment," Geiger said.

4. Late yesterday, Fizz asked state senate budget leader Sen. Ed Murray (D-43) if the Wenatchee convention center bailout bill was likely to pass the senate.

The house approved a $42 million loan—with stern payback conditions—at the urging of Rep. Hunter on Monday 56-33 to keep credit ratings for cities statewide in good stead; Wenatchee had defaulted on its convention center loan, and if they didn't pay creditors back, Wall Street would frown on the entire state, Hunter argued. So, the house voted to loan Wenatchee the outstanding $42 million from the cash flow in the state's local tax collections account (which doesn't impact the general fund).

As Hunter's counterpart in the state senate, Murray says "I remain opposed, but will move it out of committee if the votes are there."  And he added: "Still not the votes."

5. Be sure to check out this week's PubliCola ThinkTank starring Occupy activist Dorli Rainey on Gov. Chris Gregoire's sales tax proposal.
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