Dealmaking in Olympia, Deal breaking in South Lake Union

By Josh Feit February 7, 2012

Today's Winners: State Sen. Rodney Tom (D-48) and Rep. Eric Pettigrew (D-37)

After Sen. Tom's teacher evaluation bill, which would tie student achievement to teacher evaluations, was killed in the education committee last week at the policy bill cutoff deadline, ways and means committee chair Sen. Ed Murray (D-43), a cosponsor of Tom's bill, resurrected it in his committee today.

Tom's bill (Pettigrew is sponsoring the companion ed reform bill in the house), goes a step further than both Gov. Chris Gregoire's bill and another evaluation bill that don't specify the mandated components of teacher evaluations nor allow evaluations to trump seniority and/or play a role in tenure, probation, and layoffs.

Theory: Murray, who's trying to get conservative votes for his new tax package, is giving their pet cause—education reform—a friendly jolt in exchange for votes.

Indeed, nine of the 18 cosponsors on Tom's bill are Republicans. And most of the Democrats on the bill—such as Sens. Steve Hobbs, Paull Shin, and Jim Kastama—are part of the conservative Democratic ad hoc caucus, the powerful Roadkill Caucus, whose votes Murray needs.

Today's loser: The Cascade Neighborhood Council

The Cascade Neighborhood Council, which represents residents of the Cascade neighborhood in South Lake Union, lost its entire executive board today when all four members resigned to protest what they called, in a letter forwarded to PubliCola, "obstruction" by "a very small number of vocal people [that] has inhibited our ability to move forward in a productive manner. Hoping to resolve the issue and help each person maximize their place in the context of our community, we offered mediation. It was declined."

The four executive board members---Kim Justice, LaJeanne Jones, Kyoko Yoshimi, and Molly Franklin---each offered separate resignation statements. The resignations represent a rift between the board members and and the old guard on the council.

As Amazon headquarters and high-rises have replaced the low-income housing that used to fill South Lake Union, two factions have emerged: An old guard, suspicious of development, that fought the Commons and now hopes to protect what affordable housing remains in Cascade and keep the neighborhood from losing its "soul," and a new guard that represents the majority of the neighborhood's residents who now live in condos and work in the local new economy firms.

The immediate result is that CNC will hold its next meeting without any CNC leadership.
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