If Jefferson Smith is elected Portland's next mayor he will have the late Frank Capra to thank. In 1939's Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Jimmy Stewart played the guileless Jefferson Smith, a neophyte U.S. Senator unschooled in dirty-hands politics. Portland's Jefferson Smith is likewise youthful and runs an organization that engages young people in politics and civic life. (Capra's Smith was head of the "Boy Rangers.") Charlie Hales, Smith's more seasoned opponent, finished first in Tuesday's primary. At this point, Hales is favored, but who knows the riptide pull of a "Mr. Smith?"
The Oregonian's Beth Slovic writes, "Michael Grossman, a Seattle political consultant who has worked on Portland City Council races, said their views are so similar, the final outcome could come down to how voters view their character." In a magnitude-of-small differences' race, character (a virtue) and a candidate's name (a triviality) are both x factors. (Just wait until someone named Josiah "Jed" Bartlet runs for President.) A sidenote: Oregon has a sensible May 15 primary as opposed to Washington's everyone-is-vacationing-on-Hood-Canal August vote.
Pro-conservation Republicans are becoming as rare and endangered as pro-life Democrats (there are still a few above-ground examples of the latter, such as Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid.) As the Seattlepi.com's Joel Connelly writes, Washington Conservation Voters (WCV), the state equivalent of the League of Conservation Voters, has only endorsed Democrats so far this year. What has become of the party of Dan Evans and Teddy Roosevelt?
"The endorsements reflect two trends. Republicans are moving away from the party’s conservation roots, and major 'green' groups have increasingly found a home in the Democratic Party," Connelly writes. "But Jim DiPeso, a leader in ConservAmerica, a conservationist Republican group, argues that several GOP legislators in Washington have records that merit endorsement." Connelly quotes WCV executive director Brendon Cechovic, who says there will be some Republican endorsements in a few weeks.
Can a proposed Seattle arena survive a Byzantine bureacracy and a public still smarting over past arena schemes? Well, maybe. As the Seattle Times' Matt Kreamer reports, a financing package unveiled today would require $120 million from the city and $80 million from King County.
"The public investment — capped at $200 million in bonds, to be repaid through arena taxes and revenues — would be limited to $120 million if just an NBA team is secured first. The remainder would be added once an NHL team signs on, officials said," Kreamer writes. The kicker continues to be traffic. "There has been a lot of concern — especially by the Mariners and the Port of Seattle — about the additional traffic a new arena would bring to an already crowded Sodo area. McGinn pledged to work on that issue, and Hansen said an area traffic study he’s paying for likely would be done in the next week or two."
The New York Times reports on a Taser-ed Northwest woman who is suing for what constitutes the use of excessive force. Are Tasers ipso facto excessive in otherwise trivial encounters with the police? The U.S. Supreme Court will weigh in next week.
"The case involves Malaika Brooks, who was seven months pregnant and driving her 11-year-old son to school in Seattle when she was pulled over for speeding. The police say she was going 32 miles per hour in a school zone; the speed limit was 20," Adam Liptak writes. "Ms. Brooks said she would accept a ticket but drew the line at signing it, which state law required at the time. Ms. Brooks thought, wrongly, that signing was an acknowledgment of guilt."
Seattlepi.com, "Greens' endorsements: All Democrats so far"
New York Times, "Police taser use on pregnant woman goes before court"
Seattle Times, "Congress votes to re-authorize Export-Import bank"