Caffeinated News

1. It was climate change Monday.

The state senate Republicans voted down a Democratic amendment yesterday saying humans "significantly contribute to climate change," swapping it out for an amendment of their own saying only that humans "may contribute to climate change."

The GOP then went on to roll back I-937, the 2006 voter-approved measure that says utilities must transition to renewable energy. 

Meanwhile, here in Seattle, the mayor and the city council stepped up the fight against Shell Oil. Mayor Ed Murray, in concert with city council member Mike O'Brien and the rest of the council, called on the city's Department of Planning and Development to review the Port of Seattle's permit at Terminal 5 where Shell Oil's Arctic drilling fleet intends to moor. The review could force a state environmental study and ultimately stop Shell from setting up shop there.

I featured both stories in yesterday's Afternoon Jolt, but I want to  highlight one more thing state senator Cyrus Habib (D-48, Kirkland) said during yesterday's vote. Habib, the one who forced the climate change issue by offering the Democratic amendment that started the whole standoff, riffed on this year's paramount issue in Olympia, education, by questioning how the GOP could claim to be all in on education funding and simultaneously in denial about science.

"As we move forward with our McCleary discussions and funding of our public schools," Senator Habib said putting the whole debate in a larger context, "one of the critical things we're going to be doing is making sure that our kids have a solid foundation in science. That they're able to use critical and analytical skills to look at data and evidence and research to draw conclusions. It shouldn't be something where you say let me quibble about this word or that word to make this or that political group happy. So, the difference between [the Republican proposal sponsored by Republican state senator Doug Ericksen] and my proposal," he concluded, dropping the boom on who was actually serious about education, "is that the one that [they've] put forward does not acknowledge that climate change is manmade. It suggests that it may be."

Republican state senator Doug Ericksen

Go to the 03:29:45 mark to watch the floor debate, starting with Senator Ericksen's (R-42, Ferndale) waffling amendment.

2. Speaking of iedological Republicans standing out like a stop sign.

In another vote yesterday the senate passed Marko Liias's (D-21, Mukilteo) bill to make the Washington Traffic Safety Commission set up an advisory council on pedestrian safety; in 2014, there were 67 fatalities and 283 serious injuries due to pedestrian-vehicle collisions in Washington state.

The bill passed 48 to 1, with Tea Party state senator Michael Baumgartner (R-6, Spokane) taking a noble stand against crosswalks.


3.  Tenants Union president Jonathan Grant made it official yesterday announcing that he's running against city council incumbent Tim Burgess for one of the two at-large seats in this year's council elections, position eight.

Grant—who I reported last week bought a foreclosed house while simultaneously running on an affordable housing platform that features a call to prevent foreclosures—issued a press release framing Burgess as a pro-developer vote who's "increasingly out of touch...with progressive Seattle voters."

Grant said: “I think people respect Tim but often disagree with his politics. Seattleites should have a choice this election to vote for someone they respect but who will also advance policies they agree with. Just look at his proposal during the South Lake Union upzone, where he asked the least of developers costing the city millions in affordable housing funds in the midst of a housing crisis.”

Grant is referring to the council's incentive zoning policy, which gave South Lake Union developers such as Vulcan the right to build taller if they put money into an affordable housing fund. Grant's demonization of Burgess for catering to developers underscores how inconsistent Seattle ideas of "left" and "right" can be; Grant's political consultant's previous client, "lefty" former mayor Mike McGinn actually proposed a lower $15 fee on developers while Burgess proposed the higher $22 fee.

The council settled on "lefty" Mike O'Brien's $21.68 fee.



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