Morning Fizz

City and County Priorities in Olympia

Caffeinated News featuring a pitch for "governance reform."

By Morning Fizz December 4, 2014

1. Low-wage workers are demonstrating in 150 cities across the country today—including locally in  Bellevue, Kent, Aberdeen, and Olympia—for a $15 minimum wage.

As Fizz speaks, workers are already out at a Bellevue Jack-in-the-Box.

2. The Seattle City Council has adopted the city's legislative agenda for the 2015 session in Olympia.

Featuring liberal agenda items such as" body cameras for cops; "paycheck fairness" for women; ensuring medical marijuana patients don't get lost in the new world of legalized pot; taking city and county police out of immigration enforcement;  focusing on Johns rather than prostitutes; there are also major no-brainers—funding for Sound Transit 3, McCleary funding, funding for 520 (including ped and bike infrastructure there)—and some ongoing city items such as tax increment financing and clarifying ride sharing rules.  

There were some notable omissions, though: 

No mention of rent control. City Council member Kshama Sawant had specifically asked to include a call for rent control during the council briefing on the legislative agenda last week. She noted that speaker of the house Seattle state Rep. Frank Chopp (D-43, Wallingford) said during an interview with the Seattle Channel that he supported lifting the prohibition against rent control but he hadn't seen it on the city's legislative agenda. Sawant added: "That seems to me an indication that if local jurisdictions started advocating for it, that would help push the issues forward, so I just wanted to include that."  

There was also no mention of the tunnel. 

Here's a full list of the city's priorities for the upcoming legislative session

3. Meanwhile, the King County Council is hammering out its agenda for Olympia as well.

The County will lead the fight for ST3, though newly minted dissident Democrat Rod Dembowski—on transportation issues anyway—used the discussion to talk about a longtime bugaboo for Sound Transit advocates: "Governance Reform."

For many liberals, governance reform, such as restructuring the board, is code for regionalizing the agency in way that could turn Sound Transit into less of a mass transit agency and more of a roads agency. 

The council ultimately did not include any language about "governance reform," though Dembowski said he wanted to continue the conversation. The legislative agenda, approved yesterday by the committee, will go to full council for approval  next week. 

Dembowski's pitch on the need to reform the board probably didn't have much traction in part because four of his council colleagues—Joe McDermott, Larry Phillips, Pete von Reichbauer, and Dave Upthegrove, not to mention King County Executive Dow Constantine—are all on the board. 


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