Morning Fizz: They couldn't give a straight answer

Caffeinated News & Gossip starring: Last night's 36th District debate, Greg Nickels, Chris Hansen, and Dow Constantine's schedule.
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Caffeinated News & Gossip starring: Last night's 36th District debate, Greg Nickels, Chris Hansen, and Dow Constantine's schedule.

1. We hosted a debate last night in the 36th District (Ballard, Queen Anne) for the candidates jockeying to fill retiring state Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson's (D-36, Ballard) seat. We'll post a link to video later today.

In the meantime, here are a couple of highlights from the lightning round of "Yes"/"No"/"Waffle" questions (we supplied Eggo waffles for candidates to hold up if they couldn't give a straight answer).

Seattle Port Commissioner Gael Tarleton was the only candidate among the five who answered "Yes" when we asked if they would have voted the same way as Rep. Dickerson (and the other rep from the 36th, Rep. Reuven Carlyle) who voted in favor of Republican state Sen. Joe Zarelli's pension reform bill — a Republican must-have "reform" bill in the budget deal that limited state employee retirement benefits.

Progressive Majority Executive Director Noel Frame was the only one who answered "No" when we asked if the candidates would accept an endorsement from Stand for Children — the hardline education reform group. The question caused a bit of kerfuffle: Frame questioned Brett Phillips's "Yes" answer because, she said to him, she heard he wasn't going to interview with the group. Phillips corrected that he was.

Frame added that she had gotten the sole recommendation (no official endorsement yet) from the Seattle Education Association, the local teachers' union, foes of Stand for Children.

In a waffle-y moment, Frame attempted to cozy up to the reformist agenda by saying she was pro teacher evaluations, but fell short of the reformist position by saying evaluations should not be a "significant" part of personnel decisions.

The question that brought out the most waffles: Do you support the current arena proposal—which could have a huge negative impact on Key Arena, which is in the 36th District? Only Tarleton said she did not support the proposal.

2. The 43rd District Democrats (Capitol Hill, Wallingford) made a batch of primary endorsements on Tuesday night — mostly in King County Superioir Court judge races and in the sheriff's race (John Urquhart got it), but there was a bit of news: hometown candidate former Mayor Greg Nickels lost out to former Gov. Chris Gregoire aide Kathleen Drew in the contest for secretary of state. (Both candidates were there.)

The third Democrat in the race, state Sen. Jim Kastama (D-25, Puyallup), infamous with Democrats these days for siding with the GOP in the budget coup, wasn't even nominated.

3. Chris Hansen, the San Francisco hedge-fund manager who has proposed up to $290 million on a new NBA (and possibly NHL) arena in SoDo, stands to net more than half a billion dollars on Friday's Facebook IPO, Forbes magazine reports. Hansen's firm, Valiant Capital Management, owns 36.3 million shares in Facebook. According to Forbes, "At $35 per share, the top range of Facebook’s IPO pricing, Valiant’s Facebook stock would be worth $1.27 billion. Valiant probably paid $500 million for the shares."

4. According to a response to a Crosscut public disclosure request, King County Executive Dow Constantine, who acknowledged having an affair with a local communications consultant after we acquired a detailed, emotional email the woman sent Constantine last week, blocked off all eight hours of his work schedule Friday, May 11 — the date the woman said she had spent time with Constantine at her house. ("Yesterday ... you held me...")

The schedule, which marks all day Friday as "DO NOT SCHEDULE," does not say where Constantine was during those eight hours. Constantine's political consultant Christian Sinderman explains the unaccounted eight hours this way: "Because so many evening and weekend events and meetings are part of the job, it's not uncommon to take all or part of a personal day, typically a Friday, to partly make up for all the overflow of official scheduling."

Sinderman adds: "Many elected officials follow a similar schedule, taking blocs of time to compensate for all the personal time lost to official obligations."


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