Isn't It Weird That

Isn't It Weird That ...

Some weird things we noticed in Olympia and in the Seattle Times.

By Erica C. Barnett and Josh Feit February 18, 2013


Isn't it Weird That...

1. Isn't It Weird That ... Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat reported that state gun-control legislation "calls for the sheriff to inspect the homes of assault-weapon owners" to ensure that their weapons are secure—two days after the legislation was amended to exclude the scary-sounding provision in question? 

On Sunday, Westneat trashed what he called an "Orwellian" provision of a bill banning semi-automatic assault weapons. Westneat quoted an already-defunct version of the bill: "The sheriff of the county may, no more than once per year, conduct an inspection to ensure compliance with" a provision in the bill requiring people who owned assault weapons prior to the ban to store them safely and securely.

He added: "In other words, come into homes without a warrant to poke around. Failure to comply could get you up to a year in jail." 

The only problem: At least two days before Westneat's column was published this Sunday, the language that had him so worked up had been removed from the legislation.

We have a call out to Murray's staff to get the exact timeline, but a staffer for the Senate Democratic caucus attributes the inclusion of the "Orwellian" search provision to a drafting error, not an effort to "take your guns away." 

We also have a message in to Westneat.

The erroneous claim—that legislators want to let cops search "door-to-door" for people's weapons—stayed in the paper despite the fact that column ran 48 hours after Murray amended his bill. 

2. Isn't it weird that ... One of the only specific pieces of legislation in Gov. Jay Inslee's jobs plan is a tax break that would benefit just a couple of companies— a Kirkland-based luxury airplane repair company called Greenpoint Technologies and Everett company called Aviation and Technical Services?

Representatives from those two companies testified in favor the bill at last week's senate transptoration committee hearing the day before it passed out 12-1 on its way to senate ways and means.

The bill would exempt luxury, personal jet repairs from the sales tax. (The lone "Do Not Pass" vote, by the way, was cast by Sen. Christine Rolfes (D-23, Bainbridge Island)

Here's a an excerpt from a 2008 Puget Sound Business Journal article that should make you just love this tax break:

If you're just a millionaire, you probably can't afford the palaces in the sky from Greenpoint Technologies Inc.

The Kirkland company creates exquisite custom interiors for luxury jets, and the company's hot sales might seem an anomaly in an era of fuel prices spiking and airlines teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.

But for most Greenpoint customers -- often from the oil-rich Middle East and Russia -- the cost of fueling a huge personal jet is just pocket change.

"There are more billionaires being created now then ever before, and they're tailoring their airplanes for business, and part of business is saving time. And these airplanes are like offices in the sky," said Sloan Benson, Greenpoint executive vice president and director of sales.

Those billionaires sent Greenpoint's revenues soaring by 20 percent last year, to more than $50 million, and sales should top $100 million in three years, said Jon Buccola, the owner, chairman and CEO.

The company is preparing for further growth, and six months ago added a second floor to its suite of offices at Carillon Point, a pricey bit of Kirkland lakefront.

In more recent Greenpoint Technologies news, the company reported $44 million in 2012 revenues.

Repairs on on jets can run an average of $50,000-$150,000 per month. With the state's 9.5 percent tax, this could be over $100,000 in tax per year ... per plane.

3. Isn't it Cool That … A credible female candidate may finally be getting in to the mayor's race?

ACLU attorney Alison Holcomb, who led the fight for Initiative 502 (legalizing recreational marijuana use) last year, is the subject of a robo-poll focusing on two 2013 city races: For the seat held by council member Mike O'Brien, and for mayor, against incumbent Mike McGinn.

According to someone who took the poll, the call asked respondents who they planned to vote for in the mayor's race (all the major candidates, plus Holcomb) and who they planned to support in O'Brien's seat (O'Brien, Holcomb, or undecided).

The poll then provided more "information about the candidates," including the fact that O'Brien supports transit and bikes and is a member of the Sierra Club, and the fact that Holcomb fought for civil liberties and led the successful legalization of recreational marijuana, before asking again which candidate the respondent supported.

Finally, the poll asked for demographic stats, including gender, age, and sexual orientation.

PubliCola was not able to reach Holcomb.

And for the "weird" take: Why would a progressive like Holcomb take on fellow pro-pot super liberals such as O'Brien or McGinn?

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