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Archives: Feb. 2008

Feb.
28th

More on lobbyists’ earnings and expenses

After sorting through January’s Public Disclosure Commission filings of earnings and expenses for lobbyists, I started wondering how this year added up.


Yes, it’s a lot of money. But how much? Well, Doug Ellis from the PDC helped me answer that by sending me the amount, over the last five Januaries, made and spent by lobbyists in Washington.


The figures represent the amount lobbyists are paid, plus what they spend on things like gas, lodging, entertainment and contributions.


Without further delay:


 




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Feb.
28th

TransCore gets longer, larger contract to collect tolls on the Narrows Bridge, plus a job to take HOT lane tolls on Highway 167

State legislators have a lot of questions about why the Washington Department of Transportation is asking for an additional $5 million to pay TransCore, the private company that DOT hired to collect tolls on the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge. That’s $18 million instead of $13 million over a two-year period.


It’s not only the Gig Harbor crowd of Sen. Derek Kilmer and Reps. Pat Lantz and Larry Seaquist. With the likelihood that tolls are coming soon to Highway 167 (this spring)in South King County and to Seattle and Bellevue (probably next year), lawmakers from all over the place suddenly

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Feb.
28th

New state ferries boss comes to Tacoma City Club March 19

David Moseley, former Steilacoom administrator, former Federal Way city manager and newly appointed chief executive officer of Washington State Ferries, has agreed to speak to City Club next month.

Republicans have criticized Moseley, alleging he has no background in ferries. Not true. Everyone knows there’s a ferry dock in Steilacoom.

City Club of Tacoma
"Open Minds Embracing the Future"
Contact: Lela Fishe, administrator FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
253-272-9561
office@cityclubtacoma.org
www.cityclubtacoma.org

CITY CLUB’S MARCH 19 LUNCH PROGRAM:
Ferry Tales: Has WSF Bottomed Out?

Gov. Chris Gregoire declared "a new day and a new direction" for Washington’s troubled ferry system when she recently announced David Moseley as the new assistant secretary of the WSDOT Ferries Division. But will it be? In the wake of tight finances from the loss of the motor vehicle excise tax and the grounding of some vessels for safety concerns, what’s in store for South Sound ferry commuters and pleasure riders as boating season approaches? These and other questions will be answered by the newly appointed chief Moseley for City Club of Tacoma’s March 19 program. The luncheon meeting will begin at noon at the Landmark Convention Center, 47 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma.

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Feb.
27th

Judge rules against Ruston

Ruston lost its latest lawsuit against The Commencement, the condo group constructing a high-rise building near the former school building.


From the blog Ruston Home:



Ruston’s council has been fighting The Commencement condo group over the use of their sales center for over a year. The Commencement offered to pay $24,000 for rent in 2007, but the council refused to accept the offer and chose instead to try to force The Commencement out of their space at the Ruston school building by issuing an unlawful detainer. The Commencement contested that action and the

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Feb.
27th

Worst of Tacoma’s streets should be fixed in 11 or so years

The Tacoma City Council heard a progress report Tuesday on the city’s year-old residential street repair program, and council members liked what they heard.


Last year, 93 residential blocks were paved; 182 blocks received a surface treatment called a slurry seal, public works officials said. The city spent $2.1 million on the work.


For 2008, officials have identified 178.5 blocks for paving and 156 blocks for the surface treatment.


Mayor Bill Baarsma and several council members were excited about the progress. The lousy condition of the city’s streets is something that elected officials hear about frequently from

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Feb.
26th

Get a drink and have a seat, there’s something you really should read

A certain someone just sent me the transcript of the soon-to-be-legendary floor speech of Rep. Gary Alexander, R-Olympia.

I’m speechless. Read on:

Scene: Monday’s House debate on the budget
From the rostrum: “Thank you. Further remarks? The good gentleman from the 20th district, representative Alexander.”

Stage right, Rep. Alexander:
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
First of all, I just want to thank you, Mr. speaker.
The good lady from the 36th district, the good lady from the 24th district, and the good gentleman from the 44th district for their respect, cooperation, and the budget deliberations, both in our appropriations committee and on this floor today.
Very much appreciated.
Mr. speaker, many people say that a picture is worth a thousand words.
Well, today Mr. speaker, I wish I had that picture, because my thousand words are going to be hard to all put out here today, unfortunately, just because of my throat, but I’m going to try.

I’m going to try, Mr. speaker, because actually, a nine�‘year�‘old granddaughter from the gentleman of the sixth district painted this picture, but I can’t put it up on the board behind you, so I’d like to paint it for you, Mr. speaker, and the members here in the chamber.

Here’s the picture. I thought perhaps it, too, was part of the trip… but no, it’s a real picture.

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Feb.
26th

A mortal flips through the budget

We’re still in the budget meeting, and I’m flipping through the 3 inch stack of papers they handed me.


Here’s one thing I think is curious (of hundreds). In the highlights book, page 30:


“Expenditures for employee health benefits during the 2007-2009 fiscal biennium are anticipated to be lower than budgeted due to the removal of funding for a new information technology …blahblah… and unexpectedly low health care costs in Calendar Year 2008.


It’s Feb. 26, 2008. How are expectations for the next 10 months unexpected?


Don’t e-mail me. I get it.

Feb.
26th

Senate budget: No dough

Joe and I just got to the Senate budget unveiling.


Sen. Margarita Prentice, D-Renton, opened with these remarks:


“There are a couple of words to remember: Supplemental budget. Hard times. No dough.”


She said the budget offers mid-course corrections and unexpected emergencies.


Which category does the $150,000 WASL legislative workgroup I just spied in the budget highlights fit into?