Morning Fizz

Morning Fizz: Smart Tactic

Caffeinated News & Gossip featuring: debating, towing, and embarrassing.

By Morning Fizz October 10, 2013

1. Incumbent Mayor Mike McGinn and his opponent state Sen. Ed Murray (D-43, Captiol Hill) squared off in their first TV debate, broadcast on KING 5, last night.

There weren't many fireworks or new issues (if we hear McGinn say "Families and Education Levy"—a ballot measure that voters approved as usual for the fourth time and was driven by the council anyway—one more time...) 

However, our takeaway: McGinn won. After tweeting a play-by-play from the studio during the afternoon taping session, Erica texted in:

McGinn succeeded at the tricky task at hand: going on the attack against Murray, who's ahead in the polls, by calmly raising questions about Murray's record in Olympia, bringing up things like education funding (or lack thereof). As McGinn pointed out, Washington state is 43rd in education funding and the State Supreme Court had to step in last year and make the legislature do its job and budget enough money for K-12 education.

Murray, meanwhile, tended to ramble (and look away from the camera—hardly noticeable for the small studio audience but far more so, obviously, for those watching from home) and sound off-point—responding to a question about how new parking rates are impacting small businesses, for example, by saying the city hasn't come up with a formula to set parking rates. (They have.)

Murray also frequently used the short time he had to go back to previous questions, accusing McGinn of inaccurately representing his record in the state legislature; there's some truth to that—as budget chair in 2012, for example, Murray actually restored K-12 and higher ed funding that the Republicans had cut—and by resorting to snide and defensive remarks like, "I'm beginning to think we're running for state legislature, not mayor," Murray sustained McGinn's smart tactic of putting Murray's record on trial.

Murray certainly criticized McGinn's record too, particularly on the corollary to the State Supreme Court babysitting job at the legislature: The U.S. Department of Justice putting the Seattle Police Department under consent decree for excessive use of force—a tortured process that earned McGinn bad marks with community and minority groups along the way.

And in an ominous note for McGinn, panelist Dave Ross brought up McGinn's fight against the tunnel, twice—a toxic issue that reminds people about McGinn's awkward first year-and-a-half in office, which culminated with voters overwhelmingly supporting the tunnel as much as they seemed to be voting against McGinn's clunky obsession. Meanwhile, McGinn's facile anti-tunnel soundbite— "I'm just trying to ask the question"—reminds people that he hasn't been asking the same question about the pending stadium deal with embarrassed billionaire, San Francisco hedge fund manager Chris Hansen.  

Check out Erica's manic tweets from the debate here.

More questions about the city's new towing contract with Lincoln Towing have come to Fizz's attention.

2. More questions about the city's new towing contract with Lincoln Towing have come to Fizz's attention after Josh reported this week that: A) the service in the South End (big surprise) is lacking; and B) the first bidding process was discontinued after two out-of-state vendors scored higher than Lincoln—and in the city's do-over, those companies were disqualified while Lincoln went on to win.

The new curiosity: While the Request for Proposal (RFP), an attempt to reform the towing industry, explicitly stated that the winning bidder's primary storage lot must also be where people pick up their towed cars, the final contract with Lincoln—after they won the RFP—reverted to the old days when towing companies could send people to secondary lots to pick up their cars. In this instance, that means Lincoln'ssecondary  lot in Tukwila.

3. After DeSmogBlog ran an embarrassing audio tape of coal lobbyist Lauri Hennessey yukking it up about climate change and implying that Seattle residents are a bunch of kooky left-wingers, Fennessey took down her company's entire web site, leaving a bunch of 404 errors and the following message behind: 

As Eric at Sightline notes, before it was obliterated, Hennessey's web site advertised her work for the city of Seattle, the Seattle YMCA, and the Lifelong AIDS Alliance, calling hers one of many "local firms that also adopt a green posture in public, but then privately do dirty work for coal."


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