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: April 2009


And now the bad news for UWT

We’ve previously reported that the University of Washington Tacoma scored a big coup in the capital budget (the “bricks and mortar” portion of state spending), securing $34 million for the Joy building.

On the other hand, the campus wasn’t spared in the operating budget, which is forcing cuts and tuition increases throughout the state’s higher education system. The upshot for Tacoma’s campus: a 16 percent cut or $3.85 million.

Among other things that will mean laying off eight employees, reducing hours for others and freezing several open positions.

Here’s a press release from UWT with more details.

State budget reductions force layoffs

TACOMA, WASH. –– As a direct result of severe cuts to its state-funded operating budget, the University of Washington Tacoma today announced reductions to its workforce. Affected employees were notified earlier today that their jobs would be either eliminated or reduced to part time, effective July 6.

Read more »


Don’t want to go to prison? Stay in school

I was browsing through some information previewing a documentary about a vocational training program at the women’s prison in Gig Harbor when I came across this statistic:

As of April 2008, only 20 percent of 14,000 inmates surveyed statewide had graduated from high school.

Those who come out of prison without a diploma and felony conviction on their records have two strikes against them when looking for a job, prisons spokesman Chad Lewis said. If they can’t find a job, they’re more likely to commit new crimes.

The fact

Read more »


Puyallup may ditch at-large voting proposal

Puyallup’s contentious proposal to have all its city council positions elected by a citywide vote may be dead in the water, despite receiving initial approval from a majority of the city council last week.

Councilman Mike Deal, who voted in favor of the proposal on first reading last Tuesday, now says he’s changed his mind. Citizens shouted their opposition to the proposal to eliminate council voting districts at last week’s council meeting, prompting Puyallup police to review recordings of the meeting to see if any citizens engaged in disorderly conduct.

Deal said in an e-mail today that he doesn’t think it’s right to make all council positions citywide after some of this November’s council candidates have already begun to campaign in their neighborhood districts. If Deal changes his vote and the other council members maintain their positions, the at-large proposal will fail 4-3.

East Pierce County readers can find out more about Puyallup’s at-large city council proposal in tomorrow’s edition of The Herald.

Click ‘more’ to see the e-mail Deal sent to me and other members of the City Council today.

Read more »


County auditor wants to scrap poll voting this year to save money

Pierce County Auditor Jan Shabro has asked the County Council for permission to scrap poll voting for the August primary and November general election.

The move would save the auditor’s office $150,000 at a time when it’s cutting its budget and trying to avoid layoffs. Shabro said the move is for this year only and she is not proposing to permanently eliminate poll voting.

"I’m a poll voter and I happen to believe in it," Shabro said. "But I’m also head of a department who was asked, on my second day in office, to cut my office 3 percent."

The County Council will consider the request next Tuesday. It comes in the form of an emergency ordinance and won’t get a public hearing until then.

Shabro’s proposal came up Monday when the council’s rules committee approved next Tuesday’s council agenda. Early council reaction was cool.

But Councilman Dick Muri, R-Steilacoom, said he would sponsor the measure to get it on the council’s agenda. And he said he might support a proposal to eliminate poll voting for the August primary only.

Read more »


Shabro seeks election to Pierce County auditor’s post

Pierce County Auditor Jan Shabro is kicking off her re-election campaign at a series of events beginning Wednesday. The first of three events will be held at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Tapps Island Clubhouse, 20818 Island Parkway East, Lake Tapps.

Other campaign events are scheduled for 7:30 a.m. May 12 at the Old Country Buffet at the Lakewood Town Center and at 5:30 p.m. at Marlyn and Jim Jensen’s home in Gig Harbor. For more information, contact Shabro at 253-740-6781.

Here’s the full press release:


Contact: Jan Shabro (253) 740-6781

Jan Shabro, Pierce County Auditor, officially announces her election campaign in three, cross-county fundraising events. Shabro states, "Since the auditor serves all of Pierce County, I’m crossing the county east to west as I begin my campaign. "

The three events are: Wednesday, April 29, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.,Tapps Island Clubhouse; Tuesday, May 12, 7:30 – 8:30 a.m., Old Country Buffet, Lakewood Towne Center; and Friday, May 15, 5:30 – 7:30 p. m. Marlyn and Jim Jensen’s home, Gig Harbor.

Shabro was appointed auditor by the Pierce County Council in January. "In the three months that I’ve served in this position, the biggest challenge that I’ve met is cutting my budget by three percent." More cuts are coming, and we’re preparing for them," she says.

Read more »


KING5 TV practices ‘accountability’ reporting on Tacoma

One of the primary roles of a journalist is to serve as a watchdog of local government – to hold public officials “accountable,” if you will.

KING 5 reporter Linda Byron does exactly that with this piece about a printing error that cost the City of Tacoma some $3,300.

Seems that the word “accountability” was misspelled on a run of wall calendars that officials ordered for employees, prompting a re-print.


Seattle sees low rate of bird strikes

The fine folks over at NPR have crunched bird strike data recently released by the Federal Aviation Administration to take each airport’s traffic into account.

You can see on the map above, Seattle has a pretty small circle. NPR put the rate of actual damage to aircraft from wildlife at “.55 per 100,000 flight operations.” You can check out NPR’s piece here.

You can also check out our past coverage of the bird strikes at Sea-Tac.


Jarrett starts raising money for KC executive campaign

State Sen. Fred Jarrett, D-Mercer Island, is trying to put the just-finished legislative session behind him. For that matter, he’s trying to put the Legislature behind him, trying to move on to another job.

He’s starting to raise money for his bid to replace Ron Sims as King County executive. If he ever leaves his job (Sims, that is) the council will appoint a caretaker to handle things until the end of the year. Then the folks who want the permanent job will duke it out.

Sims is awaiting confirmation as deputy director of Housing and Urban Development for the Obama administration.

So far, King County Councilmen Larry Phillips and Dow Constantine are in the race. (If I didn’t know before, I would be able to tell by the up-tick in the news releases I get from them, commenting on this and that in the Legislature. See examples below.) So is former TV anchor Susan Hutchison.

Bob Roegner, former Auburn mayor, former King County elections chief and current political junkie, apparently gets the fixes he needs to ease his withdrawal from politics by writing a weekly column for the Federal Way Mirror. His piece in the April 13 edition gives you the lay of the land executive race land.

Here’s the Jarrett campaign news release that went out less than 24 hours after the Legislature adjourned. It is followed by a few news releases out of the King County Council offices of Larry Phillips and Dow Constantine. (So far, Jarrett and Constantine are trailing Phillips 3 to 1 to 1 in the news release category, but there’s plenty of time to catch up.)

Read more »