How many bags of Doritos for lawmakers?
2:12 p.m. The Legislative Ethics Board, a panel of lawmakers and legal minds, is struggling to draw clear ethical boundaries about how many free meals lawmakers can accept from lobbyists. Currently, state lawmakers are allowed to “accept gifts in the form of free food and beverage on infrequent occasions.” However the term infrequent is not clearly defined.
The Herald reports that an Ethics Board meeting earlier this week, Rep. Drew Hansen, D-Bainbridge Island, who considers a bag of Doritos a meal for him, wanted to know how many bags of Doritos he could accept before it has to be reported. The board counsel responded it wasn’t clear, but if he was given $50 worth of Doritos at once, he would have to report it. Hansen has endorsed limiting lawmakers to one free meal a week and requiring reports on meals exceeding $5.
However, Rep. Matt Manweller, R-Ellensburg, disagreed, saying he has limited resources and can pick up valuable perspectives over a dinner meeting. And Manweller expressed offense at the idea he could be influenced by a meal, “I sometimes get asked to go to four dinners a night. My big fear is not that I'm going to get influenced, it's that I'm going to get fat.” — J.B.
Opposition to Prop 1
Upddated at 1:42 p.m. The League of Women Voters is coming out with a statement opposing the Aug. 5 city of Seattle primary measure to create a Metropolitan Parks District with new taxing powers. The League’s statement says the measure would “fundamentally change” relationships of the city council, mayor and the parks department to parks operations by creating the new district. It also says local voters would have no power on their own to dissolve the parks district if they were unhappy with it. It also cites concerns that controls under an interlocal agreement with the city and the independent parks district might not be legally enforceable and says there is no mechanism to force an outside financial or performance audit.
Barbara Wright of the Seattle Parks for All campaign, responded in an email: "While we respect the League of Women Voters, we regret that the rationale they offer for their endorsement is faulty and riddled with errors. If the Seattle voters decide to create a parks district, it will provide more accountability than any other funding mechanism and will cost the average homeowner $4 per month more than the expiring levy." She also pointed to endorsements from a broad range of groups and political leaders. A spokesperson said the latest endorsement came Friday from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Council, which includes private organizations and government agencies. — J.C.
Superintendent: Thanks for the grins, Seattle
Updated at 2:24 p.m. Seattle Public Schools could be looking for a new superintendent — ASAP. José Banda today said he is a finalist for the top job in the Sacramento School District. He has "really valued" Seattle, said banda in a statement, but wants to be closer to family in California. Banda started here in July 2012, so he's had an extremely short term, even for the limited shelf life of big city Supes. It feels like even less than two years in Banda's case, maybe because he's kept things pretty quiet. In a letter, School Board President Sharon Peaslee praised him for creating stability and said, "he pushed our district to ensure equity, access and opportunities for all of our students."
In an exclusive interview with KUOW, Banda cited the advantages of returning to the California retirement system late in his career. Seattle hired him from a southern California district. The Sacramento Bee is reporting that Banda is the only finalist but board members decided Thursday night to postpone a vote on hiring him until they can visit Seattle next week as part of "due diligence" in checking out their choice. — J.C.
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