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Midday Scan: Inslee comes marching home; underfunding road projects

Jay Inslee declares himself an ex-Congressman to focus on the governor's race. War on cars? Maybe from Olympia.

Rep. Jay Inslee is interviewed on KCTS 9 by Enrique Cerna.

Rep. Jay Inslee is interviewed on KCTS 9 by Enrique Cerna. KCTS 9

If you haven't heard, Congressman Jay Inslee is "all in" on the governor's race, folks. On Saturday, Inslee stepped down from his position in Congress to focus full-time on his gubernatorial campaign. With his time split between the two Washingtons, Inslee has had trouble mounting an effective campaign and has consistently lagged behind in polls until recently, when two showed him tied with his Republican opponent Attorney General Rob McKenna, according to Publicola writer Josh Feit. Both of these polls, however, were funded by Democratic interests, Feit writes.

Renowned McKenna hater and Slog writer David "Goldy" Goldstein sees the move as Inslee taking advantage of his momentum rather than a sign of a weak campaign. "This is shaping up to be the most hotly contested gubernatorial race in the nation," Goldy writes, "and it will take a full time campaign to win, so no doubt a lot of Dems will be relieved."

In any case, this news does not seem to deter the sarcastic tweets of @Jay_Insleep (credit to Publicola for the find):

"Am leaving the House to run FULL TIME! Am 100% IN TO WIN! Also signed up for golf lessons and got tickets to Cabo in June!"

If ever there were a war on cars, it is not being led, as you might expect, by "Mayor McSchwinn" or the Cascade Bicycle Club, but rather, simply, by a lack of funding in the Washington state Legislature. Before the end of the 60-day regular session, legislators were able to push through $57 million in new funding for the transportation budget — which includes some much needed maintenence on roads — but it was a far cry from the $21 billion over 10 years a transportation task force called for earlier in the year, or even the $3.6 billion over 10 years the governor called for, according to Associated Press writer Jonathan Kaminsky. 

Most legislators seem to be in consensus on the state of disrepair our roads are in, but they are in contention when it comes to funding. Rep. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood voted on the transportation budget itself, but not the fees that helped fund the budget, reports Kaminsky. His reasoning? 

"You can be against increasing moneys and still be for working on projects," said Carrell. "Perhaps one could say that it would look like a little bit out of kilter, but I don't think so."

Schools in Eatonville just can't catch a break. First, a school educational and operations levy fails, for what seems like the first time in all of history, anywhere. In fact, Eatonville School District was just one of five school districts that did not pass their levy this year in Washington, out of 156. Plus, Eatonville School Board's proposed four-day school week was shelved indefinitely after a bill that would have allowed it moved absolutely nowhere (presumably, as a result of community outrage), according to Eatonville Dispatch writer Pat Jenkins. 

Now Eatonville School Board, a little humiliated and a lot more humble, is trying next month to pass the school levy again  — which accounts for 20 percent of the school budget — at $4.5 million for one year, instead of $20 million over four years, Dispatch reports. If the levy doesn't pass yet again, the school may be looking at more trouble and criticism, as the single-entity election is expected to cost the district about $58,000. These costs are usually shared with other municipalities and districts during a normal election.

Wish you could have slumber parties at the bar? Then you might be interested in the results of Washington State Liquor Control Board's hearing this morning, which will take testimonies concerning plans to keeping bars open later than 2 a.m. The proposal was started by Mayor Mike McGinn's Nightlife Initiative and has been joined by Police Chief John Diaz, City Attorny Pete Holmes, and the City Council, according to Seattle Times reporter Lynn Thompson.

The proposal hopes to give relief to police officers, who are often overwhelmed by the 2 a.m. flood of drunken ruckus that comes from one-too-many long island iced teas.


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