Political Buzz

Talking WA politics.

NOTICE: Political Buzz has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Political Buzz.
Visit the new section.

Archives: Nov. 2007


Won’t the Supreme Court just throw out the Legislature’s version of I-747?

Cheryl Kopec of Tacoma, one of our readers, asks a great question about today’s special session of the Legislature, so I thought I would share it, and my answer.

“If the State Supreme Court threw out the tax cap as unconstitutional, how is it that the legislature can implement it?” Cheryl asks. “Wouldn’t it just be challenged in court and thrown out again?”

The short answer is “No.”

The Supreme Court threw out the 1 percent tax limit of set by Initiative 747 because the sponsors of the initiative basically followed the wrong process.

The state

Read more »


Kastama holds town hall meetings in Puyallup area

State Sen. Jim Kastama, D-Puyallup, wants to meet with constituents next week to talk about the legislative session that ended earlier this year.

Meeting are set for Dec. 8. The first will be from 10 a.m. to noon at the Community Center Auditorium in Pierce County Meridian Habitat Park, 14425 Meridian E. The second will be 2-4 p.m. in the north meeting room of the Puyallup Public Library, 324 S. Meridian.


Washington Democrats have reservations for National Convention

The convention won’t be held until Aug. 25-28, 2008, but Washington’s delegates already have their reservations.

State Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz announced last week the state delegation will be staying at the Regency Denver Tech Center, within 20 minutes of the Pepsi Center. That’s one of 27 hotels that will be hosting the delegations.

Some 17,000 hotel rooms will be reserved for delegates who will choose the presidential nominee, as well as their alternates, guests and reporters.

The convention is expected to pump $160 million into the Denver economy and bring 35,000 visitors to the region,

Read more »


Coming Sunday: Did the Supreme Court telegraph a decision on I-960?

On Sunday, Peter Callaghan looks at the impact of last week’s state Supreme Court decision on the voter-approved spending limit.

There were two interesting concurrences that could be a preview of controlling opinions in a future case, such as an expected challenge to this year’s Initiative 960, currently passing 51.3 percent to 48.7 percent.

You can find his columns here.


Prometa debate continues

County Executive John Ladenburg takes exception to a recent scorecard on his claims of council wrongdoing when it suspended funding for the Prometa drug-treatment program.

In a Wednesday e-mail to The News Tribune, Ladenburg says the scorecard missed a key point: that the county’s performance auditors overstepped their mandate when they conducted a preliminary investigation of Prometa’s effectiveness. The council used that report as justification for suspending funding for the program.

In a response, Matt Temmel, the county’s performance audit coordinator, disagrees.

Read the full text of Ladenburg’s letter and Temmel’s response below.

Read more »


Yakima blogging scandal update

It’s not local, but I’m fascinated by the continuing story about the Yakima City councilman-elect who’s wife hosted a nasty, anonymous blog that helped get her husband elected.

Now the mayor and a majority of the council say they hope that Rick Ensey will resign instead of taking office in January.

Here’s the latest from the Yakima Herald-Republic.


Budget politics, Part 2

It wasn’t much of a surprise when Pierce County Councilwoman Barbara Gelman changed her vote on a 3.5 percent sewer rate hike during Tuesday’s five-hour council budget marathon.

Initially the rate hike failed on a 4-3 vote. But after a recess of nearly two hours, Gelman moved to reconsider the measure and – with her vote – it passed 4-3.

The three other council members who supported the rate increase – Tim Farrell, Terry Lee and Dick Muri – were looking for a fourth vote, and Gelman was a logical target.

Two other council members – Shawn

Read more »


Another Tacoma official moving on

Karen Larkin, an assistant Tacoma public works director, will retire Jan. 1 after 30 years with the city, according to a news release. She’s moving on to the state Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development as assistant director for local government.

Larkin is the third high-level public works official to leave or announce plans to leave in the last few months. Bill Pugh, the department’s director and assistant city manager, announced in September that he plans to leave sometime next year. Craig Sivley, an assistant public work director, was ousted in September after some embarrassing

Read more »