Midday Scan: Is Lisa Brown eyeing the governorship?

Sen. Majority Leader Lisa Brown is retiring. Could she have another post in mind? Meanwhile, McKenna's facing guff from women who like health care and Washington's top liquor store bidders are finding their prizes may not be such prizes after all.
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Washington Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane.

Sen. Majority Leader Lisa Brown is retiring. Could she have another post in mind? Meanwhile, McKenna's facing guff from women who like health care and Washington's top liquor store bidders are finding their prizes may not be such prizes after all.

In Olympia, Sen. Majority Leader Lisa Brown is that rara avis, an Eastern Washington progressive. (Even the shorthand "Spokane Democrat" sounds as counterintuitive as "Salt Lake City socialist.") Brown, who announced her retirement on Thursday, could be taking a short respite while furtively hoping to emulate Clarence Martin, Cheney's favorite son and the last Eastern Washingtonian to be elected governor (in 1936, no less.) As Austin Jenkins writes in the Washington Ledge, "History suggests it's darn near impossible for a sitting legislator from eastern Washington to get elected governor. Leaving the legislature frees Brown up to get her name known statewide and perhaps even move to the westside of the state."  

While Brown tells Jenkins that she believes Democrats will keep control of the state senate, her departure underscores unease among many Democratic observers. In addition, who will take the caucus' leadership reins? Most are wagering on Sen. Ed Murray, who is also a presumptive 2013 candidate for Seattle mayor.

Onomatopoeia as defined by the Free Dictionary: "the formation of words whose sound is imitative of the sound of the noise or action designated, such as hiss, buzz, and bang."  What could be more onomatopoeia-heavy than "whooping" cough? Whooping, especially for a child, rings shrill and sounds nightmarish. Now Gov. Gregoire is tapping federal dinero to disseminate free vaccines to uninsured state residents.

As the Herald reports, "According to disease investigators with the state Department of Health, there have been 1,132 cases of whooping cough reported in the state through April 28. That's compared to 117 over the same time last year. That number could grow to more than 3,000 by year's end — levels that haven't been seen in more than six decades, according to state health officials."

Is there a Catch-22 for new liquor sellers? The question illuminates the still dynamic nature of the state's post-booze privatization planning. In brief, while still a boon for consumers, privatization may not end up being quite as lucrative as many bidders had assumed.

As the News Tribune's Rolf Boone writes, "Contract liquor store owners and others who bid on the former state-run liquor stores at auction, raised concerns Thursday at a state Liquor Control Board meeting. They were worried about fees they’re facing once the state transitions to private sales June 1. The owners said the double-digit fees could result in layoffs or store closures. The fee that stood out Thursday was a 17 percent fee the owners will have to pay on all spirits sales revenue, including wholesale sales, such as to restaurants and bars."  

Republican Rob McKenna's decision to challenge President Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act remains his achilles heel. It's a fact not lost on Democrats, who fret that the attorney general could become Washington's first Republican governor since John Spellman's 1980 election. A U.S. Supreme Court ruling later this spring that could nullify all or part of the health-care law and a new lawsuit targeting the attorney general, magnify the Democratic mantra that McKenna is no moderate.   

"Ninety women who say they've been helped by the federal health-care overhaul sued Rob McKenna on Thursday, arguing the state's Republican attorney general breached his ethical duties by joining legal arguments to scrap the entire law, while publicly saying he only wanted to eliminate its controversial individual mandate," the Seattle Times' Craig Welch writes. "The women, including several cancer survivors, are represented by attorney Knoll Lowney, a Democratic activist who also filed a lawsuit that ensnared the last Republican candidate for governor, Dino Rossi, in the middle of the 2008 campaign."  

Lastly, hats off to Seattle architecture firm Gustafson Guthrie. As the Seattlepi.com's Aubrey Cohen writes, "Seattle-based landscape architecture firm Gustafson Guthrie and New York-based architects Davis Brody Bond have won a competition to redesign Union Square, on the National Mall, in Washington, D.C." Great Recession or no, Duwumps continues to draw and support the creative class.   

Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2012/05/03/2130981/new-liquor-sellers-fea…

Link Summary

The Washington Ledge, "Sen. Majority Leader Lisa Brown won't run for re-election"

The Herald  "State steps up efforts to combat whooping cough" 

The News Tribune, "New liquor sellers fear fees threathen viability"

Seattle Times, "McKenna sued over challenge to Obama healthcare law"

Seattlepi.com, "Seattle landscape architects on winning team for National Mall design" 




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About the Authors & Contributors

Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson is the former editorial-page editor of the Everett Herald. Follow him on Twitter @phardinjackson