Morning Fizz

Morning Fizz: At the Last Minute

Caffeinated News & Gossip featuring penultimate fundraising, last-minute budget items, and this week's mailers.

By Morning Fizz October 29, 2013

1. It's the penultimate Monday before election day, which means it's time for our weekly campaign fundraising update. (Last week, you'll remember, state Sen. Ed Murray outraised Mayor Mike McGinn $33,870 to $20,792; Murray also had more donors last week, 222 to McGinn's 166, with about the same average contribution—Murray's $152 to McGinn's $125.)

Murray kept up his fundraising pace this week, bringing in $34,634. McGinn dropped to $11,438.

Even though McGinn nudged up his average contribution (to $134), he had far fewer contributors than last week, just 85 donors.

Murray, who had more donors than McGinn (135), had far fewer than he did last week as well, making up the difference by increasing his average contribution for the week to $256.

There were some notable contributors on the Murray side: Maud Daudon, the head of the Seattle Chamber, maxed out to Murray with $700. And Strategies 360 consultant (and former chair of the Washington State Democratic Party) Paul Berendt contributed $500 to Murray. (Berendt's contribution is noteworthy because Strategies 360 released an independent poll last week showing Murray with a big lead.) Also worth noting: an attorney from Seattle U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan's office gave $200 to Murray this week just as her office was criticizing McGinn for taking too much credit for the Community Police Commission.

One interesting donation on the McGinn ledger this week was $100 from the political director for the Washington State Labor Council, a group Murray has hyped on the campaign trail for giving him a 95 percent lifetime pro-labor voting record.

 2. Speaking of labor support: The Service Employees Union 775, the health care worker union that's fighting to boost the minimum wage in SeaTac, sent out a pro-Murray mailer this week from the pro-Murray independent expenditure political committee it started with wealthy liberal Nick Hanauer.

The oversize mailer hypes Murray's pledge to gradually increase Seattle's minimum wage to $15.

The group, called People for Middle Out Economics, hasn't reported the details on the mailer yet (it's reportedly going out today), but Hanauer put $5,000 into the group last week.

Meanwhile, the hotel workers' union independent expenditure that's supporting McGinn, Unite HERE Local 8 PAC, reports spending about $40,000 on a pro-McGinn mailer that went out to 35,000 voters. It's similar to the mailer, signed by hotel maids, that went out in the primary.

They write: "The powerful developers who are demanding help from the city to build big hotels for conventions are trying to deny us women who clean the rooms a fair job to work our way out of poverty. Mayor McGinn is the person standing up for us."

It's a powerful mailer, but certainly an odd one for a mayor who has been backed by big developers.

3. The city council, which is moving cautiously on the budget in anticipation of next week's mayoral election, raised alarm bells about a few spending requests in Mayor  McGinn's human services budget yesterday.

"We proviso because we love," council president Sally Clark joked, adding, more seriously, "It's an issue of making sure it's all done right and we have a plan in place." First, council members expressed concern that a new $631,000 spend on senior services, which would make up for cuts in state and federal funding, would set a precedent for the city to pay for senior services outside Seattle (since the spending would cover all of King County.) 

Second, council members indicated that they might put a hold (a budget proviso) on $50,000 the mayor has requested for a new domestic violence response center, on the grounds that the Human Services Department hasn't identified a site for the center, settled on a budget or funding plan, or come up with the mix of services the center will provide. "We proviso because we love," council president Sally Clark joked, adding, more seriously, "It's an issue of making sure it's all done right and we have a plan in place." 

Finally, the council seemed especially skeptical of a proposal from McGinn to spend $240,000 on a new program "to provide case management for young adults of color in order to prevent them from perpetuating violence."

Noting that the proposal includes few specifics about who the new program would serve, what kind of results it would aim for, and how city officials would know if it was working, budget chair Tim Burgess said, "There's no substance here. There's no basis to grant these funds."

Contacted after the meeting, Burgess, a longtime McGinn detractor who briefly ran for mayor this year,  said: "We don't know what this money is for. ... It's not well-defined. It's almost like it was thrown in at the last minute." 



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