Morning Fizz: D's trying to sort out 1st District race

Caffeinated News & Gossip featuring Dwight Pelz, a new parking garage, a new tunnel, Reuven Carlyle, Sylvester Cann, and Boring Machine Brenda.
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Caffeinated News & Gossip featuring Dwight Pelz, a new parking garage, a new tunnel, Reuven Carlyle, Sylvester Cann, and Boring Machine Brenda.

1. Washington State Democratic Party Chair Dwight Pelz is trying to get the pack of candidates running in the newly drawn 1st Congressional District — Jay Inslee's old seat that's been redistricted to include turf from the Microsoft suburbs north to the Canadian border — to stand down in the confusing concurrent special election to replace Inlsee in the old 1st for just three weeks.

All of the 426,000 people in the old 1st District (which now overlaps with parts of the new 1st, 2nd, and 7th) will get to vote in the August top-two primary and again in the November general for a short-term seat, which Inslee’s temporary replacement will hold from Dec. 6 to Jan. 3, 2013.

Pelz wants Democratic Snohomish County Council member Brian Sullivan to run as a "caretaker" candidate so voters aren't confused by seeing the pack of candidates who are going for the new 1st seat to appear on the ballot twice.

Fizz hears Pelz has been meeting with the group of candidates, which includes former U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert-rival Darcy Burner, former state Department of Revenue head Suzan DelBene, state Sen. Steve Hobbs (D-44, Lake Stevens), and former state Rep. Laura Ruderman, but hasn't yet gotten sign-offs from them all to sit out the special election, and give confounded voters a break. 

2. A potential new parking garage at the new Northgate light rail station --- opposed by an unusual coalition of neighborhood residents, transit advocates, bus riders and the five Seattle members of the Sound Transit board -- may now be as large as 920 spaces, compared to the 500-space maximum previously contemplated.

The garage is meant as "temporary mitigation" for the parking that will be lost during construction. Opponents, including Maple Leaf Community Council transportation committee chair David Miller, note that the project will only permanently displace 117 parking spots. A 900-car garage, in other words, would represent a net gain of nearly 800 spots, in an area where future developments are supposed to be transit, bike, and pedestrian-oriented.

"We're opposed to the idea of building more parking at Northgate," says Miller, who believes a "much better idea" would be to build a pedestrian bridge from North Seattle Community College across I-5 to link college students and commuters to the light-rail station. "If you're going to spend X number of millions on a garage, you're better off spending the same amount of money on a pedestrian bridge," he says.

Craig Benjamin, policy and government affairs manager at the Cascade Bicycle Club, says he doesn't think voters who approved the northern extension of light rail "were approving massive parking garages when they voted to finish light rail across the lake north and south."

City Council and Sound Transit board member Richard Conlin, meanwhile, says that if there has to be a new parking garage at Northgate, "we want to make sure that it be a multi-use garage, that it be really integrated with the neighborhood plan and serve the urban center," as opposed to a separate, single-use park-and-ride for commuters.

3. Speaking of Sound Transit: This week, media will get a look at the new tunnel (built but not in service) from downtown to the UW, with the announcement that the tunnel boring machine ("Brenda") has completed its work under Capitol Hill, finishing all tunneling operations for the project.

The 3.15 mile "University Link" portion of light rail is expected to be completed in 2016.

4. Also coming soon: more taxes. If you own a car, get ready to start paying an extra $20 on your annual registration starting in June. The temporary (two-year) extra charge, which the King County Council approved last year, will forestall what would have been a 17 percent cut to Metro service.

5. State Rep. Reuven Carlyle (D-36, Ballard, Queen Anne) is endorsing Sylvester Cann, the former aide to late Seattle state Sen. Scott White, who's challenging Carlyle's Seattle delegation house mate in the legislature, Rep. Gerry Pollet (D-46, N. Seattle).

Carlye says:

"It's easy in public life to make a speech about opening the door and giving a young person a chance to succeed.Yet too often we retreat into uncomfortable silence at junctures in the road that are politically sensitive. In my own journey I've reached many of my personal and professional dreams because I've had mentors who cared enough to help lift me up when it really mattered. I'm publicly endorsing Sly Cann today because he's highly qualified and he has the personal disposition and impressive policy skills to serve the people of the 46th District with dignity. It also feels right to stand in support of such an impressive young man when it truly matters who would happen to be one of only two African Americans in next year's 147-personal Legislature." 

Cann, who split the big deal Washington State Labor Council endorsement with Pollet last week, has nabbed some other endorsements from high-profile local leaders such as King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle City Council members Tim Burgess, Bruce Harrell, and Mike O'Brien, plus a few other state legislators — Reps. Marko Liias (D-21, Edmonds) and Democratic Majority Whip Kevin Van De Wege (D-24, Sequim), and state Sen. Kevin Ranker (D-40, Orcas Island).

Pollet, who was appointed to the seat in a round of musical chairs after White's death, has racked up plenty of endorsements from state house colleagues, including Seattle-area Reps. Phyllis Gutiérrez Kenney (D-46, N. Seattle), Sharon Tomiko Santos (D-37, S. Seattle), and Bob Hasegawa (D-11, S. Seattle) and Sen. David Frockt (D-46, N. Seattle) — along with Seattle City Council member Nick Licata.


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