Hunter rejects Senate run
Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina — who was considered the strongest potential candidate for the 48th District Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Rodney Tom — announced on his Facebook page today that he will instead run for reelection in the state House. Tom, a Medina Democrat who allied with Republicans to gain control of the Senate in the last two legislative sessions, announced last week that he is not running for re-election due to health and family issues.
"I have been engaged in a long-term strategy to clarify the Legislature’s responsibility [in school funding] and believe I can best drive this policy as the budget chair in the House," Hunter wrote today on Facebook. Before Tom dropped out, he had been avoiding the race due to his friendship with the Senator and concern about outside attack ads. "I was concerned about 'wearing' this negative advertising against someone I consider a friend," he wrote.
The announcement leaves Democrat Joan McBride, a former mayor of Kirkland, as the only other candidate for Tom's seat, which currently has no Republican challengers. Rep. Cyrus Habib, D- Kirkland, has also been floated as a possible candidate.
Bellevue police officer fired
Bellevue Police Chief Linda Pillo has terminated an officer for his leniency in the case of a fellow officer, who was stopped for a possible DUI. A city press release today reported that 15-year-veteran Doug Brennan made the traffic stop on I-90 on Nov. 20. Rather than making an arrest, Brennan allowed his fellow officer to be driven home by a family member. The officer who was stopped later resigned from the department. — J.C.
Dan Lewis leaving KOMO
Widely respected KOMO 4 anchor Dan Lewis is leaving the station after 27 years leading its strong news coverage. Lewis had an incredible run with the late Kathi Goertzen, as KOMO's own story notes. The two teamed up as lead anchors for a nearly unheard-of 25 years. There's reasonable apprehension about once-local KOMO's new ownership by the large Sinclair Broadcast Group, but their VP for Seattle offered a classy statement about Lewis: "We all love Dan and can't imagine him not returning to KOMO from time to time for special projects." — J.C.
Making a point
Update 4:35 p.m. Two state representatives from Washington recently visited Nevada to show support for a rancher in a standoff with the feds over unpaid grazing fees for having cattle on U.S. Bureau of Reclamation land. Republican Reps. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, and David Taylor, R-Moxee, spoke in Nevada on this Youtube video the day after armed protestors faced down federal officers trying to confiscate 400 head of rancher Cliven Bundy's cattle. Bundy has not paid grazing fees since 1993. The feds backed down to avoid bloodshed. The Spokesman reports that "a small coalition" of Western legislators, including Shea, want federal lands turned over to the state. — J.S.
Ex-UW prof honored
Update 4:23 p.m. Retired University of Washington geographer Richard "Dick" Morrill, who has written some two dozen articles for Crosscut, will receive the university's Excellence in Community Service award for retirees. The nomination cited numerous ways in which he has shared his expertise in geography, demographics, Census data and fair political representation — without charge, in most cases — since his retirement in 1997. He drew the boundaries for Seattle's new City Council districts. The letter nominating him said, "Professor Morrill’s retirement has really been just a new phase of his academic career, which has always included a robust community service and engagement component." The full list of 2014 award recipients is here. — J.C.
Portland has pee-free water
Portland officials drained an entire city reservoir after a man was observed urinating into the water. The reservoir is fenced but not covered. A city official told The Oregonian that there was no choice but to drain the water, no matter how small the public health threat. The water in the reservoir had already been treated, so it would have gone straight to homes and businesses. (The paper noted that birds do fly over the reservoir and do whatever they normally do during flight without regard to city water quality rules.) The man was arrested and could face charges. Water conservation, anyone? — J.C.
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