Our weekly LIKES & DISLIKES

1. With all the focus on the battle over the state senate, where five key races that favor the Republicans will determine if the GOP takes bona fide control or if the Democrats can squeak back, Democrats need to understand that the Democratic house is also in play. 

With seven races legitimately in question, the Democrats' current 54-43 advantage is not as cozy as it seems. 

So, here's something Democrats should LIKE

Democratic allies (such as the teachers union) are far outspending the Republicans in Independent Expenditures (IEs) in both support of the Democratic candidates and in opposition to the Republican candidates.

The outside money could tip the balance in these close contests. 

For example, in the contested 17th Legislative District, state Rep. Monica Stonier (D-17, Vancouver) has a total of $263,000 backing her (in both pro-Stonier IEs and anti-Republican-challenger Lynda Wilson IEs). The Stonier assist (both pro-her and con her opponent) mostly comes from the WEA, the teachers' union.

With seven races legitimately in question, the Democrats' current 54-43 advantage is not as cozy as it seems.  

Republican Wilson's campaign proper has outraised Stonier $271,000 to $246,000, and, to show you how handy IEs are, Wilson also has more money on hand: $103,000 vs $49,000. The Koch Brothers have thrown in a nominal $6.20 to Wilson's IE fund.

In other hot house races: Rep. Kathy Haigh (D-35, Shelton) has $83,000 in pro IEs to her opponent Dan Griffey's $0; in the open seat contest in the 28th LD, Democrat Christine Kilduff has $237,000 in IEs to her Republican opponent John Wagemann's $165.85 plus $34,000 against Kilduff; and state Rep. Larry Seaquist (D-26, Gig Harbor) has $114,000 in IE money vs. his GOP opponent Michelle Caldier's $587 (another $6.20 from Koch there plus $581 from the national NRA.)

2. Speaking of the Seaquist Caldier race: In case you missed it, there's some loopy stuff going on there. Caldier has alleged harassment against Sequist filing a police report against Seaquist for taking a picture of her in her fancy convertible car; Seaquist has countered by suing Caldier for libel.

And this brings us to something else Democrats should LIKE: Today's Tacoma News Tribune calls Caldier's claims "outrageous" and notes that the very police report she cites doesn't back her up. 

Republican House candidate Michelle Caldier has made outrageous claims against Rep. Larry Seaquist, the Democratic incumbent. Her flier includes a badly doctored photo purporting to show the widely respected Seaquist as some kind of voyeur and implying that she’s being stalked and harassed.

“Caldier filed police report,” it states, failing to mention that Bremerton police told her Seaquist committed no crime by photographing her car with her in the driver’s seat. Seaquist is suing Caldier for libel.

We thought Caldier was better than this; we were mistaken. Voters should not reward her sleaziness with their support.

3. Fizz LIKES that at this week's City Council budget committee meeting, the council showed real skepticism of the report from the Office of the Waterfront. The report showed $52.2 million in "To Be Determined" funding (something that was already known) in the $1.07 billion waterfront revamp project.

But it was the supposedly identified funding sources that drew scrutiny from the council.

Mike O'Brien on the so-called "Long Term General Obligation" loan: "So, all the LTGO is paid by the general fund? Is that what's anticipated? I think of bonds as a financing mechanism, but ultimately the source is going to be the general fund. So we'll need to come up $75 million in general fund [money] at some point to make this work."

Sally Clark on the supposed $100.8 million in philanthropy, sarcastically noting the "specificity" of the line-item, calling it  "amazing," asked: "Do we have a sense of what the 62.7 represents in terms of what philanthropy is buying on its own? Is there something behind that number that represents segments of projects or discrete projects within the program?"  And she concluded that she didn't know what the philanthropy line item was going to "own as a part of the fundraising."

City Budget Director Ben Noble said candidly: "The uncertainty issues are a challenge."

And Waterfront Director Jared Smith added limply that, "there's been a good discussion with Friends of the Waterfront Seattle who are taking this on as their responsibility, developing a kind of menu of options that would hopefully attract philanthropic giving."

Clark also pushed back on the money—$173 million budgeted from the questionable Local Improvement District (extra taxes that local property owners would pay for the project based on yet to be agreed upon property value enhancements) that's supposed to help pay back the loans. Clark pressed: "Repayment of the loan would come from the future LID for work that is associated with that LID. Is that what I heard you say?"

To which Noble, after explaining the LID concept (which currently has some property owners balking), said: "There is some risk here. If the LID were not to come through that money would have to be repaid ... from some other source." 

The GOP's H.R. 4745 cut TIGER  grants by 80 percent and stipulated that they couldn't be used for bike and multi-modal projects.

Council president Tim Burgess summarized: "I think our question shave pointed out a couple of areas where we'll obviously have to have a lot more information as we move forward. The yet to be determined amount, the philanthropic amount, they both have risks tied to them." 

4.  Fizz DISLIKES Republican U.S. congressional candidate Pedro Celis' attempt to play himself as an alternative transit champion. 

Celis tweeted out a picture of himself on a bike yesterday proclaiming: "Pedro is an avid cyclist and is a member of @CascadeBicycle [the pro-transit Cascade Bicycle Club]. 

We have a call in to Celis to see if he supports the GOP's H.R. 4745, the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Act which cut TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grants by 80 percent and stipulated that TIGER grants couldn't be used for bike and multi-modal projects.

For example, a $15 million TIGER grant request to build a bike/ped bride over I-5 in Northgate, connecting the neighborhood to Northgate light rail, was denied this year

Celis' opponent, U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene voted 'No'  (LIKE) on the GOP bill which passed (DISLIKE) 229-129.

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