Afternoon Jolt

Afternoon Jolt: Fact Checking Murray and Pflug

The day's winners and losers.

By Afternoon Jolt January 3, 2014

Afternoon Jolt

No Jolt exactly, but a fact check on Mayor Ed Murray's first press conference.

Erica will have more in a minute on Murray's announcement today that he's issuing an executive order to bring all city employees up to $15 minimum wage.

But here's a fact check. Murray, making the case that $15 for public employees was totally reasonable, said: "All employees at the county [King County] are paid at least $15 an hour."

We're not saying $15 isn't reasonable for city workers, but it doesn't help Murray's case if he doesn't have his facts right.

A quick check at the King County job listings site sorted by salary shows that there are plenty of jobs, such as Public Defense -- Investigator at $10 an hour—that don't pay $15.


We have calls out to King County budget director Dwight Dively, reportedly the source for the $15-minimum claim, about the seeming discrepancy.

Today's Loser is former state Sen. Cheryl Pflug.

The state GOP does not like their former colleague Cheryl Pflug, currently a Growth Management Board member.

In 2012, after she decided not to run for reelection at the last minute—giving her party little chance to find a candidate—the Democrats took the seat. As a moderate who had supported gay marriage, she was at odds with her party anyway and endorsed the Democrat, current state Sen. Mark Mullet (D-5, Issaquah). When then-Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire appointed Pflug to the Growth Management Board, the Republicans smelled a conspiracy.

So, now they're crowing over the news, reported by the free-market blog Washington Focus, that Pflug has not passed the Washington State Bar and is not registered to practice law in the state. This may jeopardize her ability to serve on the Growth Management Board—a six-member board made up of pairs of representatives from three different geographical regions—because Washington code requires that between the pairs of regional reps at least one member be an attorney and at least one must be a former elected city or county official.

Pflug's colleague representing the Puget Sound region is former Seattle City Council member Margaret Pageler, who is not registered to practice law—which means Pflug, who was appointed to the spot well after Pageler, presumably needs to fulfill that requirement.

King County Republican Party Chair Lori Sotelo released the following gleeful statement today after Washington Focus published emails showing that Pflug has not passed the bar and implying that she had tried to conceal that fact.

Pflug accepted a lucrative paying position with an equally lucrative state funded retirement plan on the Growth Management Commission under dubious circumstances and qualifications. Questionable circumstances now surround her service on the Growth Management Commission, including an apparent cover-up of Pflug’s lack of qualification to serve. Reality points to an irrefutable conclusion: Cheryl Pflug wasn’t qualified when appointed and apparently is not qualified now. Pflug should end the charade and step down.

We have a message in to Pflug, who recieved her J.D. from Seattle University in 2012; a representative at the Growth Management Board would not comment on the story.


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