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King County Council vacancy
King County Exeuctive Dow Constantine today named a committee to advise him on nominating a slate of three potential successors to county councilmember Bob Ferguson, who is leaving his north Seattle-Shoreline district seat.
The 13-member committee is drawn from a variety of backgrounds, including business, labor, education and a couple of city governments. The co-chairs are George Allen from the Metropolitan Seattle Chamber of Commerce and Kathe Fowler, vice president of the Washington Environmental Council's board.
The vacancy occurs Jan. 16, when Ferguson is sworn in as state attorney general. The committee will advise Constantine on the potential replacements' qualifications before he submits a list of three nominees, from which the remaining council members choose.
There are 13 candidates for the 13 committee members to review. So, in the spirit of Seattle nice, does everybody get a personal advocate?
Public affairs on UW TV?
Word has it that there is some discussion around the University of Washington leadership about the possibility of mobilizing UWTV to fill the growing loss of public affairs discussion on local television.
The concern comes in the wake of both Robert Mak's departure from KING5 this week after his highly regarded weekly public affairs program had been axed by the cost-cutting at the Belo Corp. channel and Ken Schram's departure from KOMO radio. Earlier, as UW folks note, KCTS 9 — a public TV station — axed its weekly public affairs show with Enrique Cerna.
The university would have to find a funding source. But the apparent interest in a weekly, high-level discussion of public issues is encouraging.
Marriage attention shift
Washington state was the focus of national coverage of the marriage equality movement and will be even more intensely so on Sunday as weddings occur — great visuals, everyone dressed up, flowers, music. But for today, D.C. and California take center stage, with the U.S. Supreme Court agreeing to hear challenges to the Golden State's anti-equality Prop 8 and to the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
Doug Honig of the state ACLU chapter sent along a briefing from James Esseks, the national ACLU's Director of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project, about the significance of the court agreeing to hear the challenge. Here's an excerpt:
This is it – the Supreme Court marriage moment that the ACLU has been working towards for years. The Court announced today that it has granted review of the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act in Edie Windsor’s case. The Court also took review of California’s Prop 8, so the full range of marriage issues will now be before the high court. These cases are poised not just to take down DOMA and Prop 8, but to be the next building blocks for LGBT equality more broadly.
The Windsor and Perry rulings, expected in June 2013, will be a watershed moment if our side wins either one.
Here’s why these cases are so important:
Ending explicit federal discrimination. DOMA requires the federal government to discriminate against married same-sex couples by treating them as legal strangers for purposes of all federal statutes and programs. There are approximately 120,000 married same-sex couples in the U.S. today, and DOMA treats all of them as single in each of the 1,100+ places in the federal code where being married makes a difference – from eligibility for family medical leave, to social security survivor’s benefits, to access to health care for a spouse. It’s the last explicit federal declaration that gay people are inferior, which is reason enough to get rid of it.
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