Morning Fizz

Friday LIKES and DISLIKES: Democrats Dislike Democrats

The race for the party chair, transgender rights, Muslim rights, and car sharing.

By Josh Feit January 13, 2017

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1. Former Washington State Democratic Party Chair (2006-2014) Dwight Pelz (who also did time as a state legislator and a King County Council member), DISLIKES the idea of former Microsoft success-turned-one-term-Seattle-City-Council-member Tina Podlodowski serving as the new party chair.

Podlodowski is running  against current chair, Pelz’s successor Jaxon Ravens.

Pelz’s harsh post on Facebook yesterday , which focuses on Podlodowski’s peripatetic career, said in part:

Tina Podlodowski is not a serious political professional. She is a rich person who moves from position to position, apparently without a need to build a career in order to make a living. Invariably after a relatively short time period she leaves these jobs, often resigning abruptly.

Podlodowski is the antithesis of Bernie Sanders. She is a wealthy moderate Democrat who made a large amount of money is a small amount of time working in corporate America. Podlodowski is a classic liberal living in the Seattle liberal bubble. At a time when Democrats must communicate better with, and fight for working people, she is the wrong choice to be the leader and spokesperson of the State Democratic Party.

And heads up Michael Maddux: I HAVE A MESSAGE IN TO PODLODOWSKI.  ... Oh, wait. She responded. She didn't want to comment on Pelz's post, saying simply: "I think the letter from Paul Berendt [the party chair before Pelz] and Jeff Smith just about covered it."

In Berendt's letter, the former chair (from 1995 to 2006), along with Smith, the party director throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, say Pelz's "personal attacks" are "offensive," while adding: 

We know both chair candidates very well, and have for many years. We know the content of their character, and the quality of their work. In considering the candidates, and what is best for the future of our party, we are 100% behind Tina Podlodowski’s bid to serve as our next party chair. Tina has the energy, vision, experience, and leadership qualities needed to be a tremendous Party Chair for our state.

2. Transgender rights group the Gender Justice League DISLIKES that the King County Court will not accept payment from the non-profit group to cover the costs of GJL clients who want or need to get their names legally changed and who need to change the name and gender checkmarks on state and federal documents. GJL puts the total cost of the bureaucratic process at about $500.

GJL has raised $10,000 (from King County) to cover the costs for low-income clients. GJL has also helped run two clinics on the process in concert with QLaw Foundation, Teller & Associates, King County Bar Association, and U.T.O.P.I.A. to help 200 people change their names; changing your name at King County is step one to get names and genders changed on federal ID documents. 

The issue is twofold: King County Court says they can't accept checks (cash only, please). And GJL can’t cover the costs for their clients by directly writing a check to the client because that’s against tax-exempt rules. (There’s also no guarantee that the client will use the check to pay for the name change.)

GJL leader Danni Askini, who’s urging the county council and the mayor to contact the court to demand a change in policy or help work out a legal agreement that will allow GJL and Gay City cut a check to the court, explains the urgency: “The Trump Administration could act any day after the 20th to pass strict new regulations that would make obtaining a passport or social security change impossible for a majority of transgender people.”

3. U.S. Representative Suzan DelBene DISLIKES President-elect Donald Trump’s idea for a “Muslim Registry.”

Yesterday, DelBene reintroduced the bill she proposed last session that would “prohibit any U.S. government official from establishing or utilizing a registry for the purposes of classifying or surveilling individuals on the basis of religious affiliation.”

“I grave concerns about his willingness to support equality for all Americans,” DelBene told me during the recess in December. “He [Trump] says he supports all Americans, yet he has made comments attacking people of different religious faiths. I introduced the ‘No Religious Registry Act’ [last session] because of his comments about creating a Muslim registry. We shouldn’t even be talking about having to put forward pieces of legislation like this. My biggest concern is his targeting and taking away constitutional rights of Americans. And making sure that he lives up to his pledge to be a president for all Americans. We’ll have to reintroduce it and build support.”

And yesterday, in a press statement, DelBene said: “It’s unfortunate I even have to introduce the No Religious Registry Act to prohibit this administration from violating the constitutional rights of Americans, but intolerance and hate have no place in our government.”

4. Oy. Everybody’s in a DISLIKING mood these days. #January20.

So, I’ll throw in a LIKE. I LIKE this idea: An apartment building in NYC provides tenants with access to a fleet of onsite car share cars.  

The building has partnered ReachNow—the new car share fleet here in Seattle that set up shop last year to compete with Car2Go. The idea allows apartment buildings to scale back on parking space (when residents are sharing, every single tenant doesn’t need their own car stall) and saves the city from having to give up more street parking spots.

I hope the idea is a success so that ReachNow puts it into play here too. Fast Company blog Co.Exist reports:

Opening up semi-private residential schemes allows BMW to extend its reach without haggling with cities over public parking spaces—a hard task in congested urban centers.

Lipson and Lubinsky say cities could spur private car-sharing by awarding tax breaks and "density bonuses" to developers that take on the idea. They see it as a way of expanding vehicle sharing without taking up more public space. "This is an opportunity to create a new form of zero-emission mobility," Lipson says.


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