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The Daily Troll: League recommends 'no' on parks measure. Superintendent looking to leave. Starbucks will get a little pricier.

Doritos: Not just for legislators' snacks anymore. Think you're going somewhere this weekend?
Superintendent Jose Banda

Superintendent Jose Banda Seattle Public Schools

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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Comments:

Posted Fri, Jun 20, 2:13 p.m. Inappropriate

Regarding the enforceability of the Interlocal Agreement (ILA) for the proposed Seattle Park District: Section 2.2 of the proposed ILA provides, "The Seattle Park District shall not hire its own staff and shall not contract for the implementation of projects, programs or services with any person other than the City."

The Metropolitan Park District statute provides, "All work ordered, the estimated cost of which is in excess of twenty thousand dollars, shall be let by contract and competitive bidding." RCW 35.61.135(1).

These two provisions seem to be in conflict. There may be provisions in the law that allow ILA Section 2.2 to be enforced, but I have not been able to identify them. I have tried to obtain an opinion on this legal question from the City Attorneys Office, but have had no response.

[Correction: "...no substantive response."]

louploup

Posted Fri, Jun 20, 3:45 p.m. Inappropriate

Funny. The City Neighborhood Council last August asked the City Attorney for a public opinion in this matter, and was met with silence. (http://www.seattle.gov/neighborhoodcouncil/documents/CityNeighborhoodCouncilletteraskingforbetterinformationandtimetableonparksneedsandresources.pdf)

Public records requested from Parks and Council related to legal analysis have returned hundreds of redacted documents.

Move along. Nothing to see here....

Posted Fri, Jun 20, 4:06 p.m. Inappropriate

Wow, this sounds disastrous. I'm sure Olympia would love to be able to force Seattle's park system to be totally privatized. We are playing right into their hands with this one.

spock

Posted Fri, Jun 20, 2:32 p.m. Inappropriate

I have to say I've found more valuable information on this issue in the CrossCut comments section than just about anyplace else. Thanks.

Treker

Posted Fri, Jun 20, 5:53 p.m. Inappropriate

Just vote NO on the parks measure.

Lincoln

Posted Sat, Jun 21, 8:48 a.m. Inappropriate

south_downtown - City Hall hiding behind a black magic marker.....

Proponents' answers to the absence of binding, enforceable rules of conduct for the MPD = "trust us"?

Hard to trust those who aren't open and transparent!

I'll use my black magic marker to VOTE NO on Prop 1 !!!

Posted Sat, Jun 21, 8:54 a.m. Inappropriate

Look no further than Pullman where their ILA between the MPD and the City has been operational since 2003. State law authorizes jurisdictions to contract with other jurisdictions to deliver services. It happens all the time. Not an issue.

twain

Posted Sat, Jun 21, 10:19 a.m. Inappropriate

Just because an act is being done does not mean it is consistent with existing law.

The Pullman MPD's organic resolution states, "The Park Board waives competitive bidding requirements of RCW 39.04.280 if an exemption contained within RCW 39.04.280 applies to the purchase or public work as provided in RCW 35.65.135." [Should be RCW 35.61.135]

The definition of "public work" (RCW 39.04.010) excludes "ordinary maintenance." The Seattle MPD is explicitly intended to direct significant portions of its revenue stream to "ordinary maintenance." As far as I can tell there is "an issue."

Regardless, the question remains: Why wasn't this issue publicly disclosed by the City and MPD proponents for consideration?

louploup

Posted Sat, Jun 21, 11:10 p.m. Inappropriate

Because it isn't an issue. Read the ILA. It specifically states where the funds will be spent and how they will be spent. Quit making up spurious arguments just to confuse folks.

twain

Posted Mon, Jun 23, 9:44 a.m. Inappropriate

The ILA is a proposed contract between the City and and the (not yet existent) MPD. Different but overlapping law governs the authorities of both entities. I read applicable law as creating "an issue" (the MPD cannot contract solely with the City for all proposed functions to be funded with MPD revenue without going to bid first).

I have yet to see any analysis by the City Attorney, the State AG, or anyone else with some relevant expertise and experience explaining why this is not "an issue." You keep saying it's not "an issue" but you haven't said anything of substance to explain why not. I'll admit the bidding issue is not "an issue" when someone provides a credible explanation.

louploup

Posted Mon, Jun 23, 4:50 p.m. Inappropriate

I'm beginning to understand why MPD advocates chose not to convene any public forums to discuss it. Best to not give people a forum to ask questions when you don't have credible answers.

Posted Sat, Jun 21, 2:32 p.m. Inappropriate

I think Seattle should vote yes on this, they approve every other controversial issue that comes up for a vote, and cow-tow to their elected officials.

Some day Seattle will get over itself.

In the mean time, please call us Puget Sound, and not Seattle, it's more representative of our citizens. Puget Sound Seahawks - nice ring. Puget Sound Mariners - sounds even better.

rights

Posted Sun, Jun 22, 4:23 p.m. Inappropriate

From the "Seattle Parks for All" website: http://seattleparksforall.com

"Right now our parks must compete with other city services like police, fire, and human services, so when budgets are tight parks lose out."

When I read that, I think hmmmm. Personally, I would prioritize police, fire, and human services over parks when funding is tight which it is these days.

If the problem is maintenance then include maintenance in the next levy renewal. Let's maintain what we have now not turn our Park over to another entity to do heaven knows what with.

I vote NO on Prop 1, the MPD.

nwcitizen

Posted Mon, Jun 23, 3:46 a.m. Inappropriate

Rep. Manweller,

You should be concerned about obesity: that is, getting a fat head. What a stupid, craven, whiny point of view: "I'm poor so I should get to eat with lobbyists, but I would NEVER be influenced by what they say to me!"

Believe me, if they thought they wouldn't "influence" you, they wouldn't even buy you a bag of Doritos.

Anandakos

Posted Mon, Jun 23, 7:46 p.m. Inappropriate

A report on every meal over $5 at a time when corruption in Seattle is rampant. How "progressive!"

NotFan

Posted Sat, Jun 28, 6:38 a.m. Inappropriate

I would like to know how much it costs us as taxpayers to run a levy for ongoing maintenance. It seems like such a waste of money to have to keep voting for funds to take care of what is already there. Has anyone got the data on time spent, dollars wasted that go solely to running levies? Just curious.

Posted Sun, Jun 29, 9:43 a.m. Inappropriate

The MPD is not ready for prime time. Don't put the cart before the horse! Get it right the first time because there is no second chance with an MPD. We need an audit FIRST. We need binding rules of operation FIRST. Their answer that we should just trust City Hall because we voted for them isn't good enough. Don't give away the power of the vote... it's all that we have (unless you happen to be an organization that can buy influence)

An MPD is a very EXPENSIVE EXPERIMENT conceived to TAKE OUR VOTE AWAY and place TOTAL POWER IN CITY HALL. We can't afford to get it wrong because AN MPD IS FOREVER. Citizens don't have a chance to fix or change things in the MPD in the future.

The League of Women Voters says, "VOTE NO on Prop 1". I agree. Everyone should read the League's statement and list of concerns! www.seattlelwv.org

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