Afternoon Jolt

Afternoon Jolt: Former Seattle Film and Music Director James Keblas Officially in Council Race

Arts advocate in council race, pot money figures prominently in GOP budget.

By Josh Feit March 31, 2015

Afternoon Jolt

A Jolt: Former city office of film+music director James Keblas set up a campaign committee yesterday afternoon and tells me he'll have a full-fledged announcement outlining his council platform next week, but "yes, it is official, I am running" in position nine, the open at-large seat.

Keblas says someone with his focused commitment to the cultural life of the city is currently missing in the council equation. (In addition to getting credit for boosting Seattle's film industry—that's $470 million annually— during his nine-year tenure at the city, he was also part of the crew that helped found the all-ages Vera Project in the early 2000s.) 

Mayor Ed Murray didn't retain Keblas, a Seattle Met most influential in 2013, when Murray took office last year, replacing him with Keblas cohort (from the Vera days) Kate Becker.

Image: Chase Jarvis

Murray's legal counsel, Lorena Gonzalez, is already running for the seat and has come out of the gate on a fundraising tear—she reported over $20,000 on her first campaign finance report. Slow-growth neighborhood activist Bill Bradburd is also running in the position nine at-large seat and had a similarly impressive fundraising start; he raised about $20,000 as well.

Isn't it Weird That

And an Isn't it Weird That: The state senate Republicans released their budget proposal today, and it inhales $902 million from pot revenue over the next four years into the general fund; 30 percent of pot money was supposed to be earmarked for drug programs, according to the 2012 initiative.

House Democrats, whose own budget proposal relies more on cutting tax breaks (like a controversial oil industry break) and calls for a capital gains tax, say the GOP's pot revenue estimates are too high. The Washington State Liquor Control Board says $2 billion (at a maximum) will come in from pot revnue over the first five years. The house Democrats only banked on about $584 million, putting the mandated 30 percent into drug education, treatment, and prevention programs.

But here's the weird part: The Republican party came out against I-502, the marijuana legalization initiative, in 2012. They are also, as everyone knows, defined by their antagonism to steep taxes. But now they're relying on high taxes—legal marijuana is taxed at 37 percent— to help infuse the general fund with cash to meet the McCleary mandate.



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