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Archives: April 2010


South Prairie mayor in running for open House seat

The mayor of South Prairie has filed paperwork to become a candidate for the open 31st District House seat.

Republican Rep. Dan Roach is leaving the seat to run for Pierce County Council. At least two Republicans are seeking to replace him, County Councilman Shawn Bunney – who would switch jobs with Roach if both win – and Cathy Dahlquist, an Enumclaw School Board member.

A Democrat has finally joined the field, according to state Public Disclosure Commission filings. South Prairie Mayor Peggy Levesque has led the town, one of Pierce County’s smallest, since 2006.

Before becoming mayor, Levesque was

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Election returns: Parks measure passing easily

If they were feeling the pinch of the recession or an irritation with taxes, Tacoma voters didn’t show it in Tuesday’s election.

In the initial round of counting in the mail-in election, voters easily approved a property tax increase for Metro Parks Tacoma operations and maintenance.

Proposition 1 was passing 18,628 to 9,004 – a 67 percent approval rate. The levy requires passage only by a simple majority – 50 percent.

The district asked for the new levy to shore up finances amid a drop-off in property and sales taxes. Passage of the levy will raise the property tax

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Gregoire signs furlough bill

Most bill signing ceremonies bring out a crowd of supporters looking to get a picture of themselves with the governor and maybe a commemorative pen to take away. Others get protesters. This one drew nobody.

Gov. Chris Gregoire signed the furlough bill today, with no one looking over her shoulder. It will require agencies to save $45 million by sending many workers on 10 unpaid days off.

The bill is watered down from its original form and exempts some 70-75 percent of state employees, but unions fought it tooth and nail.

It also allows some flexibility for officials

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Audit: Maintenance shop overpaid by $57,000

A state audit has found the Department of Natural Resources overpaid for equipment by at least $57,000 over two and a half years at its Tumwater maintenance shop.

The department fired three employees more than a year ago after an internal investigation, including a purchasing specialist who made questionable purchases from a personal friend and a relative.

The top supervisor at the shop and the fleet manager also lost their jobs. The fleet manager supervises all nine shops around the state that maintain and repair DNR vehicles, like cars and wildfire-fighting trucks, with a supplies budget of nearly $1.7 million.

Eight more employees were reprimanded. Another worker retired before the review finished.

The internal investigation found employees did not follow state law or department policy, according to the report released Monday by State Auditor Brian Sonntag’s office. In some cases, purchases were made without getting required price quotes from competitors.

The shop bought thousands of items, including engines, from a vendor without a state contract, at prices that the department found in some instances were 50 percent to 300 percent higher than similar goods and services from other sellers. The vendor had loaned an off-road vehicle to the purchaser, his friend, according to the audit.

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In case you were wondering, Paul Akers says he’s still running for U.S. Senate

My high school newspaper adviser Bob Cannell once held up the front page of the News Tribune that blared the headline: “President Ford Will Not Visit Tacoma.”

“You could fill the paper everyday with all the things that aren’t going to happen,” he said. I half expected the next day’s paper to declare, with relief, that “Typhoon Doesn’t Strike Tacoma,” or “Hundreds Don’t Perish When Massive Earthquake Doesn’t Hit Region.”

I thought about that lesson today when I received a press release from the Paul Akers for U.S. Senate campaign, It began with this headline: “U.S. Senate Candidate Paul Akers To Stay In Race.”

Okay. Thanks for that.

Akers apparently thinks we think that as soon as Dino Rossi declares – if he ever declares – for the Senate race that the dozen or so declared GOP candidates will flee in the face of the Rossi juggernaut. Not so, says Akers.

“Let me be perfectly clear; I am staying in this race and I am in this race to win,” he said. (He also tried to distinguish himself from the other candidates by saying he believes “that America is the greatest country in the world.”)

Here’s the release so you can judge for yourself whether Akers actually committed news today (unless, of course, it is really designed to get us to run his nine reasons for staying in the race): Read more »


Gig Harbor grad faces political legacy in race for UW student presidency

Washington (the state, not the university) hasn’t really been big on political dynasties (sorry Reagan Dunn). Not that there’s no political future for the offspring of the state’s prominent politicos (especially when Emily Locke reaches voting age).

But until then we have the multi-ticket face off for the presidency of the Associated Students of the University of Washington. Leading the One Campus ticket is current ASUW VP Madeleine McKenna. Yes, she’s related to state Attorney General Rob McKenna by daughterhood.

That built-in name familiarity hasn’t stopped three other tickets from joining in – including Vote Big, Team Legacy and Husky

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Updated: GOP assails Sen. Murray’s finance-industry cash

Republicans might be wrong about whether (Monday’s) failed U.S. Senate effort on financial reform really would have opened the door to bailouts for future Wall Street fiascoes.

Democrats lacked the necessary 60 votes to move to full debate on the so-called too-big-to-fail measure regulating the banking sector. But state Republican Party chairman Luke Esser is right about one thing: U.S. Sen. Patty Murray sure has received a lot of campaign dough over the years from the financial industry — and plenty of other industries.

Read full post.


Hotline On Call touts Washington’s 3rd Congress primary as one of six to watch

Perhaps it’s because it is an open seat. Perhaps it’s because it is a swing district that both parties have won in recent presidential and congressional races. Perhaps it’s because it has contested primaries on both sides.

Whatever the reason, the National Journal’s Hotline On Call has put the Washington 3rd Congressional District primary as one of six to watch this fall.

On the Democratic side, Denny Heck faces Craig Pridemore. On the GOP side, it is Jamie Herrera vs. David Castillo.