Mayoral maneuvering speeds up
Former city council member Peter Steinbrueck today endorsed Ed Murray in the Seattle mayor's race. This is one endorsement that could carry some weight. Steinbrueck is generally given high marks for understanding city business — especially by neighborhood groups — and he's been an avid watcher of this season's debates. Knute Berger's report is here.
McGinn, for his part, held a press conference today to complain about a new political action committee ad that criticizes him as soft on domestic violence. Do we really need a PAC playing Karl Rove games in a race between two very decent liberal candidates? Not that negativity is all one-sided here: McGinn has been complaining that an embezzlement by a state Senate Democratic staffer shows lax oversight by Sen. Murray. So should Murray now point at McGinn over fresh details (reported by the Seattle Weekly) on multiple city employees cutting themselves breaks on their Seattle Public Utility bills? — J.C.
What are you thinking, Seattle?
Homeless people should not be able to camp on public property — at least according to the 56 percent of Seattleites surveyed in a KIRO7 TV poll. Of survey respondents, 35 percent said the homeless should be able to camp on public property and 10 percent said they “didn’t know.”
The poll, released late Wednesday, also surveyed city residents about other hot-button issues. Asked whether more social services for the mentally ill or more aggressive policing would reduce crime in Seattle, 58 percent of respondents said social services, 32 percent said more aggressive policing and 10 percent said they didn’t know. Other questions touched-on home grown marijuana, speed cameras and whether police are enforcing the law. The full poll results are posted on KIRO 7’s website. — B.L.
A blow to state transparency
The Washington State Supreme Court has upheld former Gov. Chris Gregoire’s claims that she had the right to withhold documents about the replacement of the viaduct, the Columbia River Biological Opinion and medical marijuana from the Olympia-based Freedom Foundation. The foundation, a conservative think tank, sought the documents in 2011 under the Public Records Act, but Gregoire refused to supply them, citing executive privilege.
A lawsuit brought by the Freedom Foundation argued that the state of Washington had no basis for executive privilege, and indeed that executive privilege is not a possible exemption of the Public Records Act. The court ruled however that executive privilege is a right granted by the state constitution, rather than any specific legislative act. There are limits to executive privilege: United States v. Nixon found that the privilege ended when a party could prove that their need for documents outweighed the need of the executive to conceal them.
The good news for transparency is that Gov. Jay Inslee has declined to use executive privilege to conceal documents so far, has promised not to do so in the future, and has released the previously sealed documents. — A.S.
Bremerton, without caffeine?
Todd Best, a candidate for mayor of Bremerton, acknowledges that he has been banned for life from Starbucks stores, according to MyNorthwest.com. Mayor Patty Lent brought up the ban in a radio debate with Best, her opponent. Best tells MyNorthwest that, after his cell phone was thrown in the garbage at a store, he had words with a Starbucks employee, who said she didn't feel comfortable with him. Best says the ban would have nothing to do with his ability to do the job, other than maybe leaving him a little groggy some mornings. Well, let's hope his sense of humor holds up in tough spots whether or not he's elected. — J.C.
Leave your business card to win!
Snohomish County authorities tell The Herald that the suspect in a Monroe burglary apparently left his business card in a black bag he left behind as he ran from arriving police. The bag also contained stolen jewelry. Plus, the suspect also apparently left his girlfriend's BMW parked out front, containing "hammers, screwdrivers, pliers, wire cutters, gloves ..." You get the picture. No word on formal charges or whether the judge will pick his name out of the bowl in the lobby as the winner of a free sandwich in the jail cafeteria. — J.C.
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