Morning Fizz


By Morning Fizz January 3, 2012

Caffeinated News & Gossip. Your daily Morning Fizz.

1. Pointing out that Dino Rossi beat both Chris Gregoire in 2008 and Patty Murray in 2010 in the turf that now makes up the new 1st Congressional District (the Microsoft suburbs all the way to the Canadian border), we've been handicapping a GOP advantage (51.6 on average) in the upcoming race for Congress.

But here's an alternative spin that Democrats may like better: When you crunch the numbers based on congressional races in the last presidential election year in the precincts that now make up the district, the Democrats come out on top, with a near 60 percent advantage.

Or might not: There are lots of factors to consider here. A popular Barack Obama led a blue wave in '08. Is he still as popular?

Meanwhile, Jay Inslee and Rick Larsen didn't face strong opponents in '08 (Larry Ishmael got 32 percent against Inslee and Rick Bart got 37.7 against Larsen) while Darcy Burner "underperformed" in that season's contested race ... in swing turf that is analogous to the new 1st.[pullquote]It was the GOP efforts to scale back the Latino numbers—down from 61 percent—that reveals awkward gerrymandering.[/pullquote]

2. Fizz is hearing from GOP staffers that they are "terrified" by the new 15th Legislative District in South Central Washington around Yakima; this is the newly districted majority-Latino voting district where Latinos have a near 55 percent advantage.

The Democrats on the Redistricting Commission had actually been pushing for 61 percent representation. For those who cry identity politics and complain that the Democrats gerrymandered to give Latinos an advantage, well, just overlay a demographic map on the new district map and you'll see that it was the GOP efforts to scale back the Latino numbers down from 61 that reveals awkward gerrymandering.

3. Another classic Seattle land use debate is brewing.

On the heels of Richard Conlin's blog post excoriating the council and neighborhood activists for the way they handled the  rezone on three blocks adjacent to Roosevelt High School (Conlin said both sides were guilty of "overheated rhetoric" and that the city had failed to give the neighborhood "clear goals and guidelines" for planning near the proposed Roosevelt light rail station), another neighborhood is debating a similar upzone---this one in Northgate.

The proposal would increase maximum building heights on two properties on Northgate Way from 60 to 85 feet, enabling the development of two high-rise apartment or condo buildings with commercial and retail uses on the first floor. Some neighborhood residents oppose the rezone because they say retail would have significant adverse impacts for the neighborhood and a "green street" planned for Third Ave. NE, that streets in the area aren't wide enough to handle the traffic new apartments would generate, and that building new high-rises would mean displacing low-income residents at the low-rise apartment buildings that currently occupy one of the two parcels.

The land use committee will take up the zoning proposal, which includes requirements that developers pay for amenities like affordable housing (incentive zoning), sometime this year .

4. Happy Iowa Caucus Day. It's been quite a ride.

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