Gold in them thar initiatives
Public Disclosure Commission filings show that initiative entrepreneur Tim Eyman earned nearly $112,000 for his work on ballot measures last year, The Seattle Times reported today. His sidekicks — Spokane City Councilmember Mike Fagan and brother Jack Fagan — received $55,900 apiece. In an interview, Eyman tells The Times' Jim Brunner, “This is how much money we were able to raise from our supporters and none of them are complaining."
Dual endorsement? If so, McGinn's the odd man out
The first big Democratic endorsement recommendation for mayor is in: The party's 36th District board recommends mayoral challengers Tim Burgess and Ed Murray. Communications Director Joseph Peha explained the board's thinking: "Burgess and Murray have exactly what we’re yearning for: proven leadership to get the right things done.” Ouch, right, Mayor McGinn?
The 36th covers a huge and heavily Democratic chunk of Northwest Seattle, stretching across Queen Anne, Magnolia, Ballard and Greenwood all the way up to Carkeek Park. A press release from the District organization plays up the potential value of an endorsement:
All campaigns that receive the eventual endorsement of the 36th District Democrats get a powerful grassroots boost: More than 150 Precinct Committee Officers knock on thousands of doors to get the vote out for endorsed candidates. The 36th District typically produces the most Democratic votes of any Legislative District in the state, particularly in recent years.
A pleased Burgess said, "This says ... they understand the need we have in our city for new leadership in the mayor's office." Murray spokesman Sandeep Kaushik said, "The 36th is Tim's home district, so we expected him to do well there. But for Ed to receive the Executive Board's co-recommendation is an indication that our campaign is resonating outside of the 43rd LD, Ed's home district."
There's also a non-scientific district straw poll next week and the party membership will vote on the dual recommendation on May 22. McGinn could wiggle his way in if the motion fails to win a majority and party members then vote by a two-thirds majority for a motion to endorse him instead. McGinn's campaign manager Bill Monto said in a statement, "Mayor McGinn enjoyed his conversation with the executive board. The campaign is excited to participate in the straw poll next week and the endorsement meeting on May 22."
Salmon and Pebble Mine don't mix
A new University of Alaska study puts numbers — big ones — on what's at stake for Seattle and Washington if the Pebble open pit mine proposal near Bristol Bay is approved. Critics fear that the Pebble Mine will eliminate or heavily damage much of the habitat for the sockeye salmon fishery there, which constitutes a shocking 50 percent of the annual world harvest of sockeye.
While Alaska and the entire West Coast benefit greatly from the fishery, Washington actually has the biggest share of direct and indirect benefits: Some $580 million annually in Washington's economic activity. That's out of a U.S. total of $1.5 billion. In a media conference call this morning, Professor Scott Goldsmith of the university's Institute of Social and Economic Research explained why Washington sees such a big share of that: A large number of Washingtonians work as ship captains, crew or processors; Seattle builds and maintains much of the fishing fleet; and Washington sells nearly all of the supplies Alaska uses in the fishery harvest.
Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell have expressed big concerns about the proposal. The mine would produce copper, gold and molybdenum. The mine promoter, Pebble Partnership, has harshly criticized an EPA study that suggests large impacts on sockeye grounds. The environmental agency is currently taking comments.
A Mt. St. Helens Mother's Day
The Washington state Department of Transportation says that Highway 504, the Spirit Lake Memorial Highway, is reopening on Saturday. The route takes you to Johnston Ridge Observatory for Mount St. Helens, which has been closed for the season by 15 feet of snow. The observatory reopens on Saturday as well. Just in time for Mother's Day — at least for moms who really want to get out of the house, or indulge their scientific interests. Or both.
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