Morning Fizz

Some Opposition

By Morning Fizz May 1, 2012

Caffeinated News & Gossip. Your daily Morning Fizz.

1. The city of Seattle stands to raise around $2.4 million in real estate excise taxes from the sale of the downtown Russell Investments building, city budget staffers told the council's budget committee yesterday. Late last week, Northwestern Mutual announced that it had sold the 42-story building to real estate firm CommonWealth Partners for $480 million---the biggest real-estate deal in Seattle since the 76-story Columbia Center sold for $671 million in 2007.

2. At least six employees have left the city budget office in recent weeks, a significant exodus for an office of only about 20 people. The employees who left include one employee who's retiring, one employee who went to City Light, one who went to work for the fire department, one who went to Seattle Center, and one who has gone on leave for "personal reasons."

According to City budget director Beth Goldberg, the employees who left are:

• Linda Wokal, who retired
• Joe Regis, Karen Grove and Mike Katz, who are taking advantage of job promotions in other city departments.
• Kieu-Anh King, on personal leave.
• Joy Knighton, who left for personal reasons

3. Suddenly, state Sen. Derek Kilmer (D-26, Gig Harbor), who  had cleared the field of Democrats and didn't seem to have any noteworthy GOP opponents in the race to replace retiring longtime US Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA, 6), has some opposition.

Republican David "Ike" Eichner, a Microsoft consultant and Navy veteran, has declared his candidacy for the 6th Congressional District seat being vacated by Norm Dicks, a Democrat.  According to his web site, Eichner believes that "Government is the problem. Congress needs to relearn fiscal discipline."

Adding to the military firepower, the Tacoma News Tribune reports that Bill Driscoll, a Marine Corps  veteran, is also running against Kilmer as a Republican, promising to "focus on real job growth, balancing the federal budget, and keeping our promises to those who've served our country in uniform."

4. Darcy Burner picked up a labor endorsement in the crowded field of Democrats vying for the open seat in the redrawn 1st Congressional District just a week out from the Washington State Labor Council endorsement meeting this weekend. Late last week, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, IBEW 46, which represents 3,500 electrical workers in Northwest Washington, endorsed Burner.

However, the outspoken lefty may have trouble at the WSLC confab. The King County Labor Council has recommended a Suzan DelBene endorsement. KCLC leader David Freiboth says "getting pissed off at the Teamsters" for endorsing DelBene (Burner accused the Teamsters of selling out) and her Taliban comment at the WSLC meeting last month—she boasted about meeting with them ("one of those weird things to say" Frieboth said)—made members nervous about Burner's campaign ability.

Freiboth said they went with DelBene because she "ran a successful campaign in a Republican year, causing Reichert some problems." DelBene ran against US Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA 8 ) in 2010, losing 52.05-47.95. Burner, lost to Reichert twice in 2006 and 2008, both strong Democratic years. She lost in 2008, 52.7 to 47.2 and in '06, 51.4 to 48.5.

5. Speaking of the Teamsters—lefty labor state Sen. Adam Kline (D-37, S. Seattle) has a bone to pick with them. Kline tells Fizz he "expects better from them." The Teamsters have been critical of Seattle Port Commissioner Gael Tarleton, who's in the crowded field of Democrats running to replace retiring state Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson (D-36, Ballard). Tarleton lobbied against legislation at the state level that would have given contract truckers at the port the same workers' comp and unemployment insurance benefits as regular employees.

Kline, who has endorsed Tarleton, voted for the legislation, but says it was an easy symbolic vote on his part because he's not actually a port commissioner. "I think Gael's right," he said. "She gave me the [federal] case and the port can't do this. The Teamsters are making Gael the butt of this, but it's not her fault, there's federal law." He concluded: "There's a reason the Teamsters aren't winning."

Federal legislation is needed to give ports the right to set wage standards. Tarleton says she supports that idea, though the Teamsters note that she was against the Clean Ports Act, which sought to make the change. (The act was sponsored by Washington US Reps Adam Smith (D-WA, 9), Jay Inslee (D-WA, 1) and Jim McDermott (D-WA, 7) and endorsed by the Washington State Democratic Party.)

Tarleton tells Fizz, "I would support a change in federal law," but the Clean Ports legislation "had problems" because it "didn't apply to all ports."

6. The Seattle Times has a summary of today's May Day protests.
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