1. The Washington Post's The Switch blog takes a look at contributions Comcast made to a pro-Ed Murray independent expenditure campaign, reporting that the cable giant indirectly contributed a total of almost $10,000 to People for Ed Murray, a pro-Murray independent expenditure campaign.
Comcast contributed $5,000 to Citizens Alliance for a Sound Economy, the political arm of the Seattle Chamber, and provided 94 percent of the funding for the Broadband Communications Association of Washington PAC, which gave another $5,000 to PEM. McGinn has announced plans to partner with Comcast competitor Gigabit Squared, which plans to use the city's existing "dark fiber" to provide gigabit-speed service to some 50,000 households starting in 2014.
Last year, McGinn announced a deal to lease unused 'dark fiber' to the company, which will provide Internet service at speeds up to 100 times faster than conventional broadband."
The Post does mention (in a quote from a Murray "spokesman" whose anonymity offers up an odd contrast to the two McGinn supporters, not to mention McGinn himself, that the writer quotes by name) that Murray has no intention of dismantling McGinn's Gigabit proposal, but goes on to question his commitment to broadband, citing (without attribution) his "limited enthusiasm" for an expanded network and noting that he doesn't mention broadband on his web site.
Murray spokesman Sandeep Kaushik, tells us "of course" Murray supports expanding broadband.
2. The fight for (and against) GMOs has become a national story, thanks largely to the fact that if Washington state voters approve I-522, we'll become the first state to require labeling of genetically modified foods.
Today, the LA Times weighs in, pointing out that both sides—the heavily outmatched pro-522 campaign, which has raised $7.6 million to the "no" campaign's record-breaking $22 million—are getting the vast majority of their funding from out of state. (The L.A. Times, which reported that the anti campaign had raised $33 million and that the pro campaign had raised $8.4 million, was probably tripped up by the three-card monte fundraising that's going on in this race. In the case of the anti campaign, there's another $11 million reported from the Grocery Manufacturers Association's anti-522 PAC, but that money is going straight to the official campaign's total and is part of the $22 million total.)
Still, the "no" side's funding is far more skewed in favor of out-of-state backers than the pro side's. According to the LA Times, just $10,000 of the "no" camp's funding came from inside Washington state, compared to just over $2 million of the "yes" camp's money. Most of that anti-labeling money comes from two places: Washington, D.C., home of the deep-pocketed Grocery Manufacturers Association, and Missouri, home of agrochemical giant Monsanto.
Josh has been covering the donations extensively, start here.
3. Despite the fact that the city has worked in other ways to expedite developer R.C. Hedreen's massive proposed hotel development near the convention center—giving the developer preferential treatment, including expedited permits, in exchange for green concessions—the Puget Sound Business Journal reports that the Department of Planning and Development is requiring additional environmental review of the 41-story, 1,680-room project. The extra review could set the project back a month or two, the PSBJ reports.
Although Hedreen's design and development director, Shauna Decker, told the PSBJ that the company "welcomed" the extra review, in the next paragraph, Decker says Hedreen is looking at downsizing the project because "we are not getting the level of positive feedback from the city at this point." The hotel has been controversial because Hedreen has refused to guarantee union jobs or a living wage to hotel workers; UNITE HERE Local 8, the hotel workers' union, has opposed the project.
4. Also at the PSBJ, Chris Smith, a former airline fueler who lives in SeaTac explains in concrete detail what a $15 minimum wage—on the November ballot—would mean for low-wage workers like himself.
In short, Smith, a married father of three, writes, "It means that my family and I would finally have the opportunity to make ends meet. I wouldn’t have to work while exhausted or sick. Instead of scrimping just to get by (and often not), we may have money to pay both the electricity and the garbage bills. We would even be able to go out on occasion, spending more in SeaTac at the Bullpen Pub or Olive Express, two small businesses supporting Proposition 1." Prop. 1 would raise wages for an estimated 6,300 people who currently make an average of $1,472 a month.
5. Several members of the 37th District Democrats recently lodged complaints against district member Jeanne LeGault, who's campaigning for socialist Kshama Sawant for the city council seat currently occupied by Richard Conlin, the Seattle Times reports. The complaints were dismissed because council races are nonpartisan.
Earlier this week, Sawant announced a handful of Democrats supporting her campaign, including LeGault and East African community activist Yusuf Cabdi. Shortly afterward, Conlin sent out a press release touting his endorsements from all seven of Seattle's Democratic district organizations.