Morning Fizz

"This Race Has a Long Way to Go"

By Morning Fizz July 24, 2012

Caffeinated News & Gossip. Your daily Morning Fizz.

1. Here are some details from the new Elway Poll that shows Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee seven points ahead of his Republican rival, Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna:

• Inslee opened a 45‐35% gap among women (from 41‐39% a month ago), and he led and 41‐38% among men, after having trailed McKenna among men 40‐45% last month;
• McKenna led among voters under 35 (41‐33%);
• Inslee led in all other age categories, including 46‐35% among voters 35‐64 and 41‐39% among voters over 65.
• Inslee had a“likeability” advantage over McKenna in (34% to 27%);
• They were nearly even with regard to “political philosophy” (35% said that was an advantage for Inslee; 33% said McKenna).
• Voters last month gave McKenna an edge in ability to manage state government (33% vs. 27% for Inslee) and approach to improving the economy (33‐30%).
• Inslee had the advantage on health care (35‐28%), environmental issues (36‐ 24%) and “issues important to women" (35‐22%).
• The candidates were essentially even on education (31% Inslee; 30% McKenna).

While the new poll has Democrats thrilled, Elway isn't so sure. Noting the near tie-game on voters' perceptions of things such as which candidate would improve the economy, Elway concluded his poll this way:
In summary, neither candidate has a perceived advantage on the critical issues of the economy, education nor political philosophy. McKenna has an edge when it comes to managing state govern‐ ment. Inslee is seen as more likeable and better on several secondary issues. This race has a long way to go.

Side note: We had noted that a tie score on education issues was a bad sign for McKenna given that he's been obsessively running on the issue for more than a year—an opening for Republicans since Democrats are torn over the issue of ed reform. But there's something else to pause and consider here for a moment, which is good news for McKenna: They're tied.

That is to say: McKenna has overcome years of perception (in this blue state) that Republicans are cold-hearted budget slashers who hate on basic government services like schools. The fact that the two candidates are tied on a traditional Democratic strength like education  underscores what a formidable candidate the GOP has put up after 30 years in political Siberia.

Elway's memo  here.

2. The Seattle Times has a story this morning showing that the Port of Seattle's objections to the arena proposal were based on conjectures and old studies about traffic rather than on new numbers and data.

From the Times damning intro:
The Port's worries are one of the key issues being weighed by public officials preparing to vote on a $200 million public investment in the project.

What's missing, though, is hard data to back up those concerns.

Instead, the Port has relied on anecdotes and outdated traffic studies, and doesn't have detailed information on which routes freight trucks travel to and from the waterfront. The five limited traffic studies the Port has done since 2007 shed little light on the issues raised by the arena proposal.

Port officials may be overstating their warning that the arena would get in the way of their 25-year plan to create 100,000 new jobs. The number of jobs cited is more aspiration than plan, and most of those jobs would not be on the waterfront.

Port officials concede they don't have much data yet. They have hired a consultant to report back at the end of this month on which traffic studies are missing.

And re: those 100,000 jobs the Port is so concerned about...

Later in the article, Port Spokesman Peter McGraw acknowledges that most of those jobs are related to the airport, not at the supposedly vulnerable waterfront near the planned arena.
Most of the 100,000 new jobs cited in the strategic plan would be tied to growth at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, not on the waterfront, McGraw [said].

3. The city council took its final vote yesterday on "regulatory reform" legislation easing parking requirements for new developments near frequent transit, increasing the size of developments that trigger state environmental review, and making it slightly easier for home-based businesses to operate. The proposal the council adopted did not, of course, include a provision that would have allowed more ground-level commercial uses like corner stores; that provision was killed back in May, when a majority of the council's land use committee voted to strip it out of the legislation.

4.In a fight between environmental activists and the state's Department of Ecology, the state maintains that it isn't required to crack down on greenhouse gas emissions at oil refineries. Ecology, joined by the oil industry, is currently appealing a federal court ruling that orders the state to take action to limit oil refinery pollution.

Ecology maintains that they're focused on the real problem—transportation emissions.

Quoting Ecology spokesman Stu Clark yesterday, the Times wrote:
"If we're going to spend our energy doing something about climate change, let's focus on something that does make a difference — where we know we've got significant gains that can be leveraged.

"If the political winds said I could do anything I wanted to address climate change, refineries wouldn't be anywhere near the top priority."

The reason: The five Puget Sound refineries combined account for nearly 6 million metric tons of greenhouse gases a year, second among stationary sources only to TransAlta's coal-fired power plant in Centralia, which accounts for nearly 10 million metric tons.

But that pales in comparison to emissions from motorcycles, cars, trucks, buses, trains, planes and boats, which combined account for more than 45 million metric tons. That's nearly half of the state's total emissions, which are about 101 million metric tons.

But that makes you wonder why the Dept. of Ecology filed an amicus brief last year in a case defending the Puget Sound Regional Council against a lawsuit from the Cascade Bicycle Club complaining the state wasn't prioritizing  greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.

In the brief,  special assistant to the DOE director on climate change, Janice Adair, makes the exact opposite argument, contending that tackling transportation emissions is a "less cost-effective" approach. In fact, the brief points out that the state is making more important strides by fighting industrial emissions through things like its deal with TransAlta to phase out coal.

5. Suzan DelBene picked up a the Everett Herald's endorsement today in the crowded  race in the 1st Congressional District.

That's big shot of crediblity for DelBene in the swing district turf, but we're still waiting for a KING 5 poll on the race which is expected any day now and will measure how effective DelBene's $730,000 ad campaign was as the Democratic-establishment favorite tries to catch up with frontrunner Darcy Burner.
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