Political Buzz

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Archives: Dec. 2008

Dec.
31st

Washam is Pierce County assessor-treasurer a day early

I don’t believe it’s official yet, but I just noticed that Dale Washam already is listed as Pierce County assessor-treasurer on the office’s web site. Hey, nothing wrong with pleasing the new boss, right?


Washam won a six-way race for assessor-treasurer in November. Incumbent Ken Madsen, whose term expires today, was eligible for another term but did not seek re-election.

Dec.
31st

Gov. Gregoire names Stan Marshburn interim DSHS secretary

This just in from the Washington Department of Social and Health Services.

Gov. Gregoire names Stan Marshburn as DSHS interim secretary

OLYMPIA — Gov. Chris Gregoire today named Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) Chief Financial Officer Stan Marshburn to serve as the agency’s interim secretary until a permanent replacement for the departing Robin Arnold-Williams is named. Marshburn’s appointment is effective Monday, Jan. 5, when Arnold-Williams begins her new role as director of the Governor’s Policy Office.

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Dec.
31st

Democrats submit nominees for Pierce County auditor

Pierce County Democrats have formally recommended three candidates to be the next county auditor.


In a letter to the County Council dated Tuesday, Chairman Nathe Lawver nominated Katie Blinn, Julie Anderson and Beckie Summers. Lawver said the candidates are "highly qualified to fulfill the duties and responsibilities for the position."


The Democratic Party claims the council must select the next auditor from among the candidates it has nominated. A majority of the County Council disagrees.


You can download a copy of Lawver’s letter here. It includes resumes for each of the candidates.

Dec.
30th

Puget Sound opens wide for hoped-for flood of stimulus money

Tacoma wants $12 million for the Puyallup River Bridge, $3 million for Murray Morgan Bridge cables and $5 million for the Old Town Dock.

Fife wants $25 million for the 70th Avenue-Valley corridor project.

Orting wants $6 million for a connector at Highway 162 and Whitehawk Boulevard.

King County Metro wants $35 million to buy 40 bybrid buses.

The list goes on.

The Puget Sound Regional Council has assembled a draft list of economic stimulus projects for the four-county region of Pierce, King, Snohomish and Kitsap counties. The council’s transportation committee will meet Jan. 8 to go over the list.

I’m sure if anyone else wants to build something with federal money, there’s still a chance to get your bid in.

One question: How many jobs are created by Metro’s purchase of 40 buses? I mean, jobs in America, not Canada?

Last month a special meeting of RPEC was scheduled for members to review projects submitted for potential economic recovery funds in order to make a recommendation to the Transportation Policy Board at its January 8th meeting.

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Dec.
30th

Governor Gregoire, Mayor Nickels, Executive Sims punt on viaduct

Tomorrow was supposed to be the deadline by which Gov. Chris Gregoire, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels and King County Executive Ron Sims were going to decide how to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

Ain’t gonna happen.

The trio are putting off their decision until January, or so they say. (Their decision is merely a recommendation to the Legislature anyway.)

So far, the state has committed $2.4 billion for that project, or maybe it’s $2.8 billion. Quite frankly, I can’t tell anymore because the Legislature created these particularly muddy pools of money to disguise exactly how much money will be spent on the mega-projects because there isn’t enough money to go around.

Anyway, the costs of the 8 options still on the table (yes, there are 8, even though there are supposed to be only 2 by now) is $3.3 billion to $4.5 billion.

Everybody should care about this because the money is coming from everyone who pays the state gas tax.

Joint statement on Alaskan Way Viaduct

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Dec.
30th

New Year’s, 1984? (UPDATED)


Sometimes dealing with corporations can make you feel like you’ve fallen down some Orwellian rabbit hole.


In reporting on a six-month follow up on the state’s cell phone ban, my editor asked me to see if Bluetooth headsets were still selling like hotcakes — the largest manufacturer reported a three-fold increase in sales of car kits after cell phone bans went into effect for motorists in California and Washington in July.


So, I surfed over to the company’s Web site at parrotsafedriving.com and found this:


Contact Us: Marketing

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Dec.
30th

“The Traveller” not among the 19 who have applied to be county auditor


David Wickert has written recently that 19 people had applied to be Pierce County’s next auditor (following the election of Pat McCarthy to County Executive), noting that the county was not going to release their identities.


Susan Long, attorney for the county council, said the applications are exempt from public disclosure under state law. She cited this RCW, which states that "all applications for public employment, including the names of applicants, resumes and other related material submitted with respect to the application" are exempt from public inspection.


Here

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Dec.
29th

Don’t be surprised if Democratic Legislature approves hefty hikes to tuition for 2009-11

Here’s a story that will appear in Tuesday’s print edition of The News Tribune.

BY Joseph Turner
joe.turner@thenewstribune.com
Tuition at the University of Washington could rise much higher than the 7 percent annual increases proposed by Gov. Chris Gregoire earlier this month.

The Legislature has approved double-digit increases several times in the past 25 years, most recently in 2002, when state lawmakers let the UW and Washington State University hike tuition by 16 percent for undergraduates. That year, Washington was facing a $1.6 billion budget shortfall.

Today, the projected shortfall is $5.7 billion and climbing.
And the state’s budget woes could be four times worse than those of 2002 by late April 2009, when the Legislature is expected to finish writing its version of a state budget for 2009-11.

The severity of the budget crisis alone suggests lawmakers might once again turn to huge tuition hikes to offset deep cuts they otherwise would have to make to higher education.

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