A series of mini-jolts:
1) People who voted against Mayor Mike McGinn
The city council unanimously confirmed Scott Kubly as the new director of the Seattle Department of Transportation today.
Kubly, who can calmly dismantle the meme that there's a "War on Cars" going on while simultaneously announcing that he's creating a new transit division at SDOT, hardly represents the return to normalcy that many Seattle voters thought they were getting when they ousted former bike-riding Mayor Mike McGinn last year.
2) The Coal Industry
Following the Oregon Dept. of Lands' rejection of a key permit last last month, the Army Corps. of Engineers announced they are formally abandoning the coal terminal at Morrow Point, one of three terminals that were under consideration as a Pacific Northwest export hub for Powder River Basin coal from Montana and Wyoming.
The other two are in Washington State at Longview and, of course, at Cherry Point outside Bellingham.
While environmentalists see the loss for big coal in Oregon as evidence of a pending victory against siting a terminal in Washington, we asked anti-coal train leaders if the denial there actually increases the political pressure that will mount here, leaving Washington as the industry's must-have win.
Indeed, even the gleeful victory statement from organizers at Power Past Coal today recognized that the coal industry (in this case Ambre Energy) was going to up the ante.
"I don’t think it’s like a tube of toothpaste and it’ll just come out somewhere else. Northwest leaders, agencies and communities, businesses, and more are showing that they don’t want coal exported anywhere."
"Ambre’s coal export proposal is dead in the water. Without federal and state permits, Ambre cannot start exporting U.S. coal on uncovered coal trains that would pollute land and water along the Columbia River," Power Past Coal spokesman Brett Vanden Heuvel began....while adding: "But we aren’t finished yet. Even as domestic and global coal demand falls, coal companies will push their financially shaky projects in Washington State, Gulf states, and abroad to Canada and Mexico. Together, we will continue to fight Ambre Energy and other coal companies like Ambre’s subsidiary, Millennium Bulk Terminals, which wants to force a coal export facility into Longview."
Asked if the win in Oregon was actually a loss for Washington, PPC spokeswoman Kimberly Larson added some compelling context: Longview and Cherry Point both represent far greater export terminals. Meaning: If a relatively small export hub (eight million tons per year at Morrow) freaked the public out enough to shut it down, imagine how compelling the case against 44 million tons (Longview) and 48 million metric tons (Cherry Point) is.
Larson concluded: "I don’t think it’s like a tube of toothpaste and it’ll just come out somewhere else. Northwest leaders, agencies and communities, businesses, and more are showing that they don’t want coal exported anywhere here. The impacts are too great; too many public costs and losses for private coal companies’ benefit."
We'll just defer to U.S. Sen. Patty Murray on today's party line vote. (52 Democrats voted to end the GOP filibuster so they could then vote and pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. You need 60 votes to overcome a filibuster, though. And with eight senators absent and 40 GOP votes against the bill, which allows workers to compare salaries without threat of retaliation—while requiring companies to explain pay discrepancies and permitting claims for monetary damages—it went nowhere.)
“I’m deeply disappointed that today, Senate Republicans voted down the Paycheck Fairness Act and once again said ‘no’ to women across the country who just want to make sure that in the 21st century, they’re paid based on their work, not on their gender," she said. After the bill made it to the floor in April, but lost, Murray vowed to bring it back.
“In my home state of Washington, where women still earn 78 cents on the dollar on average compared to men, families understand that this isn’t just a women’s issue, it’s an economic issue—because when one earner brings home less to help with groceries, student loan payments, or the mortgage, that’s bad for families and for our country’s growth as a whole. And it’s got to change.
“So I’m going to keep fighting to ensure today’s women get the equal pay they deserve—and if Republicans have something to say on pay equity besides another ‘no,’ I think our constituents deserve to hear it.”
AND ONE WINNER
4) Clint Didier
Former Washington state attorney general and failed GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna endorsed establishment republican Dan Newhouse today in the Republican vs. Republican U.S. Congressional contest in the Eastern Washington's 4th District. McKenna's YouTube announcement adds another big name to former (Gregoire-era) Department of Agriculture head Newhouse's list. (Retiring 4th Congressional District U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings endorsed Newhouse last week.)
The McKenna endorsement just plays into Didier's script. Didier, who won the August primary, is a blustery anti-establishment rebel, who won Sarah Palin's endorsement himself last week.