Caffeinated news & gossip starring: U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers vs. President Obama; Nick Licata vs. towing companies; all the 36th District candidates vs. each other, and more.
1. On MSNBC's "Hardball" Monday, U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA, 5) defended her vote against Congressional Democrats' version of the Violence Against Women Act, calling its new protections for gays, lesbians, immigrants, and Native Americans abused by partners "side issues" that should be debated separately. "They're not side issues if you're getting beat up by your partner," Matthews responded. "That's not a side issue --- it's your life."
McMorris Rodgers also called the "war on women" a "myth" invented by Democrats. And she claimed that Obama's health care bill forces the Catholic Church to provide contraception as part of its insurance plans. "If the president can take on an entire faith, an entire religion, in this country, think what he can do to individuals," McMorris Rodgers said. "It's scary."
In fact, under a compromise with the Catholic bishops, Obama explicitly allowed religious institutions to avoid paying for coverage for birth control; the Obama plan, rejected by the bishops in a statement Tuesday, would have insurance companies cover the costs instead.
2. City council member Nick Licata says that if Mayor Mike McGinn doesn't come to an agreement with the towing industry by July, he'll introduce legislation to crack down on towing companies that charge exorbitant rates for drivers to get their cars back. Expressing exasperation with McGinn, Licata wrote on his blog, "I let the Mayor know that if he could not reach an agreement by the beginning of July with the towing industry, I intend to introduce legislation regulating the industry. I hope the towing industry will participate, and assist in developing a reasonable consumer protection law."
Legislation at the state level failed this session after the industry balked when Seattle pushed for language that would have allowed individual cities to negotiate capped towing rates on their own.
3. State Rep. Jamie Pedersen (D-43, Capitol Hill), sponsor of the domestic partneship and gay marriage legislation in the state house and a longtime attorney at K&L Gates, has a new gig: He's been hired as the lead attorney for building consultant McKinstry, where he'll have the title of Vice President General Counsel.
4. Learn to trust the Fizz. We noted it was in the works last month. Now, it's official: Political guru John Wyble has taken over as the campaign consultant for Sahar Fathi, an aide to City Councilmember Mike O'Brien who's in the crowded field of Democrats running for the Seattle state house seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson (D-36, Ballard). Wyble, whose 2012 candidates also include Laura Ruderman in the 1st Congressional scrum, had been working for Nick Cail, who withdrew from the race. Fathi's previous consultant was Chase Gallagher.
"She's stuck with me now," Wyble jokes.
5. Speaking of the race in the 36th, Crosscut's Morning Fizz (Erica and Josh) are hosting a candidate debate at 7 p.m. tonight at the Phinney Ridge Neighborhood Association, 6532 Phinney Avenue North Seattle (just south of the Red Mill), in conjunction with the 36th District Democrats featuring the rivals for the seat: state Sen. Paul Shinn aide Evan Clifthorne, Fathi, Progressive Majority leader Noel Frame, director of sustainability at Unico Properties (and son of Larry Phillips) Brett Phillips, and Seattle Port Commissioner Gael Tarleton.
6. A quick follow-up to yesterday's Jolt re: retiring Democratic Rep. Deb Eddy (D-48) working on behalf of Republican Seattle legislator state Sen. Steve Litzow's (R-41) re-election campaign against Democrat, Maureen Judge.
Asked about Eddy's decision, Judge told us: "No comment. I'm focusing on my campaign. I respect Deb Eddy's work in the Legislature and obviously wish she were on my team, but hope that she enjoys her retirement."