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Morning Fizz: Trash talking and taunting

Caffeinated news and gossip featuring: gay marriage, charter schools, Bob Ferguson, and Tim Eyman.

Preserve Marriage Washington's web site says it is close to 150,000 petition signatures (May 30).

Preserve Marriage Washington's web site says it is close to 150,000 petition signatures (May 30).

1. People on the "Yes" side of gay marriage---those who favor R-74, which would uphold the state's gay marriage law, are trash talking the anti campaign, saying Preserve Marriage Washington is behind in its signature gathering goals — they need 120,000 valid signatures by the June 6 deadline — and that they've switched to a paid effort. (Their website signature themometer has them closing in on 150,000.)

Also in the trash talk rumor mill: the anti-gay marriage camp is now relying on Tim Eyman's signature gatherers to help them.

Eyman said earlier this year that he wanted nothing to do with the gay marriage fight.

We have a message in to Preserve Marriage Washington to check in on their effort. Their campaign finance reports don't show any spending on paid signature gathering.

For his part, Eyman says his campaign's paid signature gathering firm, Citizen Solutions (which is gathering signatures for Eyman's latest anti-tax measure, I-1185), "subcontracts with individuals to collect signatures for I-1185. It's common practice for some of those individual subcontracted petitioners to collect sigs for whichever issues are 'out there'."

He added, "I doubt it's happening a lot with R-74, however, because most professional petitioners only put up with the grief of collecting signatures, especially for an issue like that one, if there's compensation involved."  Eyman says 1185 petitioners are paid by the signature and collecting other signatures is "less time being compensated," though he has "no idea if anyone is asking them to do it."

2. Talk about taunting: The Washington State Republican Party, which is holding its convention in Tacoma this week, is hyping a pretty clever (and snide) stunt. The conservative Freedom Foundation is hosting an education workshop at the GOP convention, and they invited Cory Booker, the Democratic mayor of Newark, New Jersey, to give a talk about charter schools. Booker is an outspoken proponent of charters and has helped expand charters in New Jersey.

Booker is the keynote speaker at this weekend's Washington State Democratic Party convention gala dinner in Seattle. Charters are anathema to the Washington State Democrats.

Booker did not accept the invite, which went out on Friday. The Freedom Foundation session on education reform is scheduled for this afternoon.

3. Some highlights from the speeches at last night's fundraising shindigs:

At Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee's fundraiser at Spitfire in Belltown, guest speaker King County Council member (and Democratic attorney general candidate) Bob Ferguson, told a story about the "Shrimp Feed Bump."

Ferguson noted that past Democratic candidates — such as King County Executive Dow Constantine and U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, who had been behind in the polls during their campaigns—had suddenly taken the lead and gone on to win after appearing as a guest speaker at Ferguson's own annual shrimp feed fundraiser. Inslee was the special guest at Ferguson's May 6 shrimp feed this year.

Ferguson then revealed that Inslee, who, indeed, has been behind in polling, is up by two points in Ferguson's own poll, by polling firm EMC Research. (Ferguson didn't disclose his own numbers.)

Meanwhile, State Sen. Derek Kilmer, the Democratic candidate going against a batch of Republicans to take retiring U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks' (D-WA, 6) seat, held a Seattle fundraiser last night at Vulcan's South Lake Union Discovery Center. He reportedly told a "loving" anecdote about Vulcan sponsor and lobbyist Dan McGrady's dog "taking a poop on hiscarpet," according to one attendee.

4. As Fizz noted yesterday, King County Superior Court Judge Bruce Heller will rule this morning in the case argued earlier this year by education groups and state house Democrats against Tim Eyman's I-1053, the voter-approved rule requiring a two-thirds majority of the legislature to raise taxes.

Erica C. Barnett was the news editor for Seattle's online news site, PubliCola, where she covered city hall, transportation, land use, and state politics. She had also been the news editor and city hall columnist for The Stranger. In 2007, the King County Municipal League named Erica its Government Affairs Reporter of the year. She can be reached at erica.barnett@crosscut.com.

Award-winning journalist Josh Feit founded and edited the online news site PubliCola, where he also did double duty as the state house reporter, covering the legislature in Olympia. Before that, for nine years, he was the news editor and political columnist at Seattle's alt-weekly, The Stranger. He can be reached at josh.feit@crosscut.com.


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