1. State Sen. Tracey Eide (D-30, Federal Way) is holding a joint press conference with Federal Way Republican King County Council Member Pete von Reichbauer (PVR) at Sound Transit headquarters today "regarding future Sound Transit services in the Federal Way area."
By joining forces with Republican von Reichbauer (the joke in Federal Way is that if you want to do something in Federal Way you have to do three things—check with PVR, check with PVR, and check with PVR), Sen. Eide is upping the ante in her standoff with Republican Federal Way mayor and former state rep Skip Priest. Priest has been fighting against Sound Transit ever since the agency announced it would no longer be able to build light rail to Federal Way on the adopted timeline because tax revenues have fallen short.
Priest is pushing legislation in Olympia to challenge Sound Transit by allowing cities to bail on regional transit authorities if plans change, mandating that ballot titles state the exact duration of a tax, prohibiting capital and operation costs from being in one ballot measure, and ordering Sound Transit to do an annual audit and pay for it.
Eide has refused to sign on to Priest's legislation, though Republican Federal Way Rep. Katrina Asay—who initially signed a letter with Eide rejecting Priest's proposals—has.
2. The Seattle Times has a helpful compare and contrast on the competing teacher evaluation bills in play in Olympia right now; one backed by the teachers' union and one being pushed by education reformers such as Seattle-area state Rep. Eric Pettigrew (D-37, S. Seattle)
The bill supported by the union, sponsored by Rep. Kristine Lytton, D-Anacortes, and Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle, would mostly fill in details to the current law.
Under the legislation, the state would develop three different options of four-level rating systems, and districts would be required to choose one to put in place by 2013. Under this measure, Seattle may have to alter its system but not significantly.
The state would also be required to provide funding for evaluation training.
The bill backed by those seeking to improve education, sponsored by Rep. Eric Pettigrew, D-Seattle, and Sen. Rodney Tom, D-Bellevue, would shake things up the most.
It would require the use of student test scores as a factor in evaluations. The bill does not lay out specifics; Seattle's system would probably fit the bill.
In addition, the proposal would require evaluations to be considered along with seniority in hiring and transfer decisions. Seniority now is the only factor.
It also would give principals the power to refuse "forced placement" by the superintendent of bad teachers transferring from other schools.
Finally — and perhaps most alarming to unions — the bill would allow for veteran teachers to lose their right to due process if they receive the lowest rating two years in a row.
3. US Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA, 1), the Democrats' gubernatorial hopeful, is holding back-to-back press conferences today (first in Spokane and then in Seattle) to roll out his jobs plan.
4. Hundreds of Port of Seattle truck drivers are have refused to return to work after, they say, management harassed port truckers for testifying in favor of a bill last week that would hold companies—not truckers–responsible for faulty trucks and cargo containers.