Mayor Mike McGinn and County Executive Dow Constantine discuss a plan for a new arena in Seattle during a Feb. 16 press conference. Credit: Office of the Mayor
Here's your daily caffeinated political news and gossip.
1. Chris Hansen, the media-shy San Francisco hedge fund manager who has proposed a new basketball arena in SoDo, rolled out a promotional web site, SonicsArena.com, and says he'll hold a rally for Sonics supporters in Occidental Park in Pioneer Square on June 14.
Bringing the Sonics back to Seattle could be a major shot in the arm for Mayor Mike McGinn, whose approval rating earlier this month was just 32 percent.
So it's interesting to note who's behind the pro-arena web site: McGinn's 2009 campaign consultant, Bill Broadhead.
Broadhead says his firm, the Mercury Group, put the web site together pro bono, both "to help out our partner Bob Gogerty, who is working for Hansen" and "because we're huge basketball fans."
2. Here's some counterintuitive political analysis on the "shot in the arm" theory, though. Bringing the Sonics back to town seems like a no-brainer play for McGinn to revive his popularity. But consider: his political base, progressives, don't support public investments in corporate sports. And the people who are jazzed (besides suburban dudes who can't vote for McGinn anyway) — the downtown business community — can't stand McGinn no matter what he does.
So, what's the win for McGinn? There really isn't one. Which makes Fizz, basketball fans ourselves, kind of like the guy for once.
3. The Cascade Bicycle Club, which prompted loud pushback from Sound Transit after it sent out an email blast accusing the agency of doing a "backroom deal" to push a "$40 million, 900-car parking garage" (Sound Transit claims the garage won't cost anywhere near $40 million and may be only 600 spaces), doubled down yesterday, accusing the agency in a second email blast of hatching a "backroom deal" that's even "worse than we thought."
Noting that Sound Transit itself estimates that 90 percent of Northgate riders will eventually get to the new light rail station by walking, biking, or on transit, the letter accuses the agency of proposing to spend "$40 million of limited taxpayer dollars on a 900-stall parking garage, while tossing a few scraps at making it easier for people to safely access the station on bike, foot or transit.
Then, tossing in a little Occupy rhetoric for good measure, the letter continues: "Instead of working to figure out how they can provide the 90 percent of people who will access the station on bike, foot or transit with safe and convenient ways to get there, Sound Transit might spend tens of millions of dollars benefiting the 10 percent at the expense of everyone else."
"That's just not fair."
The Sound Transit board will hold a meeting on the Northgate proposal in North Seattle on June 4.
4. Learn not to trust the Fizz: Defying our (perhaps cynical) prediction that he would have trouble raising $10,000 in $10 contributions by the end of May, City Councilmember Mike O'Brien announced yesterday that with two days to go, he was just $750 short of his goal. O'Brien looked to fill the gap at a neighborhood happy hour in the Central District last night.
5. Yesterday's Fizz had a rumor-y item about the anti-gay marriage campaign. Proponents of R-74, the pro-gay marriage campaign, said the anti side was shy on its signature goal (they need 120,000 valid signatures by June 6) and had resorted to paid signature gathering.
Anti-gay marriage spokesman Joe Backholm, head of the conservative Family and Policy Instiute of Washington, tells Fizz, "the goal has always been to qualify. And we are on track for that to happen. As to paid signatures, our projections were always that we would qualify through an entirely volunteer effort. However, projections are not always accurate. And because we would not have the opportunity to make adjustments after learning that, some signatures were paid for to eliminate whatever uncertainty existed. At this point none of those signatures are included in the total on the website, so it is apparent that an entirely volunteer effort was sufficient to qualify this for the ballot."
6. Re: Yesterday's big court ruling against I-1053, the two-thirds requirement for the Legislature to raise taxes (a King County Superior Court judge sided with Democratic legislators and school funding advocates on Wednesday, saying the rule was unconstitutional) — Republican state Sen. Janéa Holmquist Newbry (R-13, Moses Lake) pledged to sponsor a constitutional amendment that would put the two-thirds rule in the state constitution. (Constitutional amendments, which can only be proposed by the Legislature, require a two-thirds vote in both houses and then must pass a popular vote by a simple majority.)
Here's her statement:
Judge Heller’s decision, and the actions of legislators who brought this issue back to the courts, represent a flagrant disregard for the will of the taxpayers.
The two-thirds tax protection has been approved by the people of this state four times over the past 19 years. The last time it was on the ballot, with Initiative 1053, was just two years ago, when it passed with 64 percent of the vote statewide – and by nearly 76 percent in the 13th District, which I represent.
What is outrageous is that this case is the result of a handful of Democratic legislators plotting to sue the people, in a way that completely ignores our constitution and the deference it gives to the people as the sovereigns and source of all legitimate political authority.
This case will undoubtedly be appealed to the state Supreme Court. While I hope that the court will do the right thing and uphold the constitution and the will of the people, I fear that the only way we will ever keep liberal legislators and their activist allies in the courts from tinkering with this important taxpayer protection is by enshrining it in the state constitution.
I will be sponsoring a constitutional amendment to do just that when the Legislature goes back into session in January. As always, I want every taxpayer to know that I am committed to protecting you, your wallet and your rights.
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