1. The city budget office told the city council last week that the annual debt payment for the arena will be between $14 million and $16 million a year. The city is relying on sales and admission taxes at the arena plus rent to make the payments.
Under the arena agreement, San Francisco hedge fund manager and arena Deus ex machina Chris Hansen, who's already agreed to pay $2 million in rent annually, will have to make up any shortfall—which, the budget office said, could be as much as $4 million a year.[pullquote]"If the projection is accurate, and we have to rely on Hansen or his company or his investors or whatever to pay the gap, we have to look at his wherewithal, and whether do we have the right security in place."—Tim Burgess[/pullquote]
Hansen told the council he thinks the city's budget office is being "too conservative" with its estimates of how much money will come in.
City budget committee chairman Tim Burgess doesn't agree, saying all the council can do is "take what the budget office gives us" and base their arena planning on that. "If the projection is accurate"---that is, if there is a $4 million annual shortfall---"and we have to rely on Hansen or his company or his investors or whatever to pay the gap, we have to look at his wherewithal, and whether do we have the right security in place" to protect the city, Burgess says.
2. An independent expenditure Super PAC called Progress for Washington—one of those post Citizens United groups that can spend unlimited amounts of money in federal campaigns—has shown up to play in the 1st Congressional District de facto Democratic Primary. (By the way, long before Citizens United, Washington State rules allowed unlimited contributions to and spending by independent expenditure groups on state-level races.)
Progress for Washington has now reported more than $42,000 on mailers attacking Suzane DelBene, one of the five Democrats in the race.
As the PI noted, the group's treasurer is Jeremy Pemble, a big donor to another Democrat in the race, Laura Ruderman.
Funny. Listen to Ruderman at last month's 1st District candidate forum on the subject of Citizens United and unlimited spending by independent expenditure groups:
Well, I certainly will support a constitutional amendment that says that corporations are not people. That is job one. And I think that that that is even a question demonstrates how fundamentally, uh, broken our system is right now that we even have to ask that, that question. I certainly support the concept that we’ve got to get money out of elections. Whether it be, super-PACS or independent expenditures. We’ve got to get money out of politics, and get it back to having members of the community, you know it says “by the people, for the people, and of the people,” and that means that anybody in this room should be able to run for Congress.
Thankfully, Progress for Washington is a political action committee and not a non-profit, which means the public can still find out who's footing the bill. Those reports are due on July 20th.
Ruderman's campaign says that just like everyone else, they knew nothing about the anti-DelBene mailers before they showed up in voters' mailboxes. It will be interesting to see who paid for the anti-DelBene carpet bombing.[pullquote]Seattle political consultant Cathy Allen, who regularly turns up on talk shows as a representative of the Democratic political establishment, is working for Republican state senator Steve Litzow. [/pullquote]
3. Seattle political consultant Cathy Allen, who regularly turns up on talk shows as a representative of the Democratic political establishment, is working for Republican state senator Steve Litzow (R-41), Allen confirms.
Litzow, who voted against the Reproductive Parity Act earlier this year (the act would have required companies that pay for maternity care to also fund abortions), is being challenged by Democrat Maureen Judge.
In an email, Allen told PubliCola:
I am supporting Steve. Maureen got in very late and frankly, I think there are few courageous people in the legislature, and I think Steve is one of them. His votes on same sex marriage and pro-choice made me a believer in him. Partisan folks can cross party lines when the issue is right. And he did. Again and again.
This isn't the first time Allen has crossed party lines. In 2008, she worked for Republican then-lands commissioner Doug Sutherland and Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna. Sutherland lost to Democrat Peter Goldmark, and McKenna, of course, is now running for governor.
4. Jack Connelly, a Tacoma lawyer who's running as a Democrat against current state house member Jeannie Darnielle for the 27th District state senate seat being vacated by Debbie Regala, signed a 2002 petition to put a Tacoma initiative on the ballot that would have repealed a city law protecting gay and lesbian residents from discrimination in housing, employment, and lending, among other areas. The petition, which Connelly's wife, Angela, also signed, read in part,
• STOP the Tacoma City government from giving homosexuals, bisexuals, transvestites, transgendered, and intersexed persons 'minority' status, making them the only group to have that status based solely on behavior.
• PREVENT employers, schools, and day-care centers from being coerced into giving special treatment to homosexuals, bisexuals, transvestites, transgendered, and intersexed persons---AGAIN.
The initiative, sponsored by a group called "Help Us Take Back Tacoma Again!", failed. Connelly did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment Monday, and state Democratic Party chair Dwight Pelz said he had no comment on Connelly's signing of the petition.
5. Yesterday, the Cascade Bicycle Club gave an early endorsement to state house transportation chair Judy Clibborn (D-41) ---a historical opponent of bike, pedestrian, and transit funding who has come around in recent years to support more balanced transportation budgets.
The group's legislative scorecard names Clibborn one of its annual "Champions," along with more predictable picks such as liberal Reps Hans Dunshee (D-44), Marko Liias (D-21) and Joe Fitzgibbon (D-34).
"Honestly, she's come a long way on all our bills," Cascade policy manager Craig Benjamin says, including Safe Routes to School funding and a bill that would have included health among the state's transportation policy goals.
6. And hey PubliCola readers, this, frankly, awesome awards dinner for non-profit all-stars (wish we'd thought of that) could use your nerdy brain power. Make some nominations.