Morning Fizz

Ready to Green Light the Arena Deal?

By Morning Fizz September 6, 2012

Caffeinated News & Gossip. Your daily Morning Fizz.

1. We'll file this under the "gossip" portion of "Caffeinated News & Gossip," but city council sources tell us they've heard there are five votes lining up to green light the arena deal. (The council needs five votes to approve the deal.)

In late July, the council sent a letter to potential Sonics savior, San Francisco hedge fund manager Chris Hansen, demanding more accountability than the deal Hansen had offered Mayor Mike McGinn on the $490 million proposal.

2. Democrats are swooning over former President Bill Clinton's plain-spoken rebuttal of the Republican agenda, but (locally) they're also talking about U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (who got off a zinger about Romney's dog Seamus) and former Costco CEO James Sinegal, who spoke to the convention right before the Massachusetts Democratic senate candidate, populist star Elizabeth Warren.[pullquote]The co-founder of Costco, the Issaquah-based $77.9 billion Fortune 500 company, challenged the GOP "We Built It" theme saying: "We did not build our company in a vacuum, we built it in the greatest country on earth."[/pullquote]

The co-founder of Costco, the Issaquah-based $77.9 billion Fortune 500 company (#28) and the fifth largest retailer in America, challenged the GOP "We Built It" theme, saying: "We did not build our company in a vacuum, we built it in the greatest country on earth."

Sinegal, who held an Obama fundraiser earlier this year, has given $30,000 to the Democrats nationally, $5,000 directly to 1st Congressional District Democratic candidate Suzan DelBene long before she won the primary, and $2,400 to U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell.

3. We couldn't get embattled Seattle Port CEO Tay Yoshitani in for a Cola "One Question," ("Are you going to resign from either gig?"), but he did give KING 5 a candid interview about the controversy surrounding his  spot as a board member at shipping logistics company Expeditors International, which pays $30,000 a year plus $200,000 in stock and compensation of $1,000 per meeting Yoshitani attends.
Yoshitani, in a wide ranging, on-the-record phone interview, said the Port Commissioners knew he was looking for part-time work.

“I’m 66 years old,” said Yoshitani. "I was going to be making a transition from full-time to doing other things. I didn’t want to retire and having nothing to do.  That was the plan."

The board is set to reassess Yoshitani's side gig at its September 11 meeting. Yoshitani told KING 5 he will wait to see what the commissioners say then before deciding how to respond to public requests for him to step down from one of the positions which have local legislators crying conflict of interest.

4. King County Sheriff spokesman John Urquhart, who's running for sheriff against conservative (and embattled) interim KC Sheriff Steve "Shootin' with the Sheriff" Strachan, was recently endorsed by his former boss, conservative Republican U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA, 8 ) and by  lefty Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes.[pullquote]The pro-gay marriage camp, which has raised $7.1 million, also had a good August: T-Mobile in Bellevue kicked in $25,000.[/pullquote]

5. Pierce County Republican state Sen. Randi Becker's (R-2, Eatonville, Yelm ) former primary rival, Republican James Vaughn, is still causing Becker problems. Yesterday, Vaughn—who got 19 percent in the primary—endorsed Becker's Democratic challenger Bruce Lachney. Becker beat Lachney, an Eatonville Cranberry farmer and former Eatonville school board member, in the top-two primary by just five votes, with each of them getting 40.6 percent.

6. The anti-gay marriage campaign that's urging a No vote on R-74, has nudged up slightly in its limp and troubled fundraising efforts (they keep running afoul of regulations that prevent churches from raising money on their own).  A couple of big-dollar contributions in August, including a $20,000 donation from Breier-Scheetz Properties in Seattle, have put them at the half-million mark (they'd been stalled at around $300,000 all summer.)

However, the pro-gay marriage camp, which has raised $7.1 million, also had a good August: T-Mobile in Bellevue kicked in $25,000 and Blue Moon Burgers, making the same "mistake" as the churches (raising money on their own for the pro-gay marriage campaign) had to register as a pro-R-74 political committee, having raised $3,000 for the gay marriage cause.

Earlier this year, Cupcake Royale, which also got overly enthusiastic, had to register as a pro-R-74 political committee.

7. The city council's parks and neighborhoods committee will get a look at the impact of cuts to community center hours citywide today. (Fun fact: The city measured the number of people using community centers with automated "People Counters," which, according to the city's web site, are infrared counters that "sense [people's] body heat" as they enter a community center.)

The upshot: Fewer staff and hours have reduced the city's ability to "engage the community," especially kids and teens; inconsistent hours have led to confusion about when community centers are open; and it's hard for people to get from one community center in an area to another because of limited public transit options.

Although it's clear from the numbers that community centers where service was downgraded have lower attendance, it's unclear whether that's because they have fewer hours now or because there's less demand for those centers; the committee will likely discuss that chicken-and-egg question at today's meeting.
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