Political Buzz

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Archives: Jan. 2011

Jan.
28th

Mayor plans upbeat message for first State of the City

Presidents do it, governors do it and now Tacoma’s mayor is doing it.

Just as President Barack Obama gave a State of the Union address on Tuesday, Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland plans to give a State of the City address on Monday.


Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland

Strickland will deliver the speech at the BE Green/Tacoma Shift Happens gathering, which is billing it as the first-ever such mayoral address in Tacoma.

Strickland said she and the city’s community and economic development director Ryan Petty decided shortly after she took office last January that she should give the address after her first year in office. They saw it as an opportunity to highlight grassroots efforts while reflecting on the past year and goals for the coming year.
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Jan.
28th

Redistricting Commission picks chair

The commission charged with redrawing district lines in Washington based on 2010 census results picked Lura Powell of Richland to serve as its chairwoman today.

Powell’s selection as a fifth, non-voting member of the commission is part of the process of adding a tenth Congressional district in the state and making sure all districts have equal population.

The commission process was created by a 1983 constitutional amendment, which took redistricting power away from the Legislature. Every ten years, the Washington Redistricting Commission is appointed by the Legislature to redraw district lines according to census data.

This year, Washington was awarded a new Congressional district because of population growth.

Powell said she had seen redistricting play out in other states before, and she was glad to serve on the commission because Washington’s redistricting process was less political and less prone to gerrymandering than that of many other states.

“I look at this as a very interesting way to serve our state,” Powell said. “I really think it’s an excellent system.”

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Jan.
28th

Senate leader: Scheduled cut to child care averted

3:30 p.m. UPDATE:

Gregoire’s office confirmed she has canceled the rule change that would have taken effect Tuesday.

The $13 million in cuts will have to be found somewhere else in the welfare budget, and those haven’t been finalized yet. They could include some version of the cap on child care income that is being canceled for now.

“The deal isn’t fully cooked yet,” Gregoire spokeswoman Karina Shagren said.

————

Gov. Chris Gregoire has agreed to cancel a cut she had ordered to government-subsidized child care, Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown said today. But it could be back in the next budget period.

The $13 million cut, due to take effect Tuesday, essentially would have started phasing state government out of the business of helping parents with steady jobs pay for day care.

The governor’s office hasn’t yet confirmed it to me, but Brown says Gregoire agreed in a meeting Thursday afternoon to instead make other cuts in welfare programs, including charging parents higher co-pays for child care.

If the original cut were to go through, the state would turn away new applicants for Working Connections Child Care unless they are so poor they are eligible for welfare. Each month, officials predict roughly 1,600 families who would otherwise have received child care subsidies would be ineligible.

Legislative leaders like Brown oppose it and unionized day-care workers from the politically powerful Service Employees International Union have flooded hearings to complain about it. House members even attached a mandate to their budget bill to cancel the cut, but governors can veto such provisos.

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Jan.
28th

More on the relationship between Rob McKenna and Kirby Wilbur (or, can the new GOP chair and his likely candidate for governor get along?)

Last weekend, former talk radio host Kirby Wilbur defeated incumbent state Republican Party Chairman Luke Esser. It was a bit of a surprise to those outside the party machinery because Esser doesn’t appear to have done anything that would anger the state committee, other than not winning as many races in November.

But what might just be an internal preference by the 117 state committee members has been expanded into a litmus test of the future of the party, the role of the tea party and the 2012 campaign for governor.

Like by Chris Grygiel at seattlepi.com, John

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Jan.
28th

Morning update: Day 19

Good morning at the end of the third week of legislative session. Next week is shaping up to be an interesting one, as lawmakers try to send a supplemental budget plan to Gov. Chris Gregoire and figure out how to reduce unemployment-insurance taxes ahead of a Feb. 8 deadline. Today is quieter:

  • House Labor hears a bill to do something police groups couldn’t achieve last year: allow the surviving spouse of a law enforcement officer or firefighter to receive retirement benefits for life, even if the widowed spouse remarries. Two Tacoma Democrats, Rep. Steve Kirby and Sen. Steve Conway,

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Jan.
28th

Yep, that’s our “Traveller” sentenced in Seattle for stalking a porn actress

The Seattle Times has a story this morning about the sentencing of Robert Jesse “Traveller” Hill for his attempts to contact a porn actress set to appear at a strip club opening last April.

Hill was chased away from the club but, according to the Times account based on charging papers, found the actress and her husband at their hotel.

Citing Hill’s lengthy mental-health history, Assistant City Attorney Melissa A. Chin wrote in sentencing paperwork that Seattle officials were “concerned about his sexual deviancy.” In the same paperwork, Chin called Hill “a menace to society” in asking the judge

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