December 2, 2013 at 3:40 PM
Two Seattle ballot measures seeking to shake up City Council elections fared quite differently at the polls.
The proposal to elect most councilmembers by geographic districts — Charter Amendment 19 — won big throughout the city.
An analysis of precinct vote returns by The Seattle Times’ Justin Mayo shows the districts measure lost in only five of Seattle’s 952 precincts. The proposal received nearly 66 percent support citywide. The result was a surprising turnaround for Seattle, which had repeatedly rejected similar measures in the past.
Seattle Prop. 1, which would have enacted a public-financing system for City Council candidates, failed narrowly — the ‘no’ side won just 50.4 percent of the vote.
The measure had broad support in many areas, winning more than 60 percent of the vote in Capitol Hill, Wallingford, Fremont, the Central District, Ravenna and the University District.
Its broadest opposition was in West Seattle, Fauntleroy and Magnolia.
The narrow loss means a similar plan could be back on the ballot as early as next year. Rory O’Sullivan, a spokesman for the Prop. 1 campaign said backers are considering all options — including possibly expanding the measure to apply to mayoral contests.
“I think the message we found is that there is a lot of energy behind this issue, a lot of energy to go forward,” O’Sullivan said.
December 2, 2013 at 2:24 PM
Seattle City Councilmember-elect Kshama Sawant piled up big vote advantages in several central city neighborhoods to seal her national-headline-making win over 16-year incumbent Richard Conlin.
Sawant drew 60 percent or higher support from the Central District, Capitol Hill, the International District and Wallingford, according to an analysis of precinct vote returns by The Seattle Times’ Justin Mayo. She also scored more than 55 percent in Rainier Valley, Ballard, Beacon Hill, Fremont and the University District.
Her pattern of support was similar to that of Mayor Mike McGinn, but Sawant was able to stack up more intense support in those neighborhoods. She defeated Conlin 51 to 49 percent citywide.
Conlin’s biggest support (55 percent and higher) came from Seattle’s outer-ring neighborhoods including Laurelhurst, Magnolia, Montlake, Sand Point and West Seattle.
December 2, 2013 at 12:35 PM
Update: 3:40 p.m. – Now with interactive, address-searchable map. Click map image for interactive version. We’ve also posted similar breakdowns for Kshama Sawant’s Seattle City Council win, and for Seattle’s ballot measures on District Elections and Public Campaign Financing
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn lost his bid for reelection with diminished voter support through most of the city.
An analysis of precinct vote returns by the Seattle Times’ Justin Mayo shows a familiar pattern in city politics. Viewed as the marginally more progressive candidate, McGinn carried Seattle’s most liberal inner-core neighborhoods including Capitol Hill, Fremont, Wallingford, the International District and Central District. That’s similar to the electoral base that carried him to victory in 2009.
But Mayor-Elect Ed Murray ate into McGinn’s base even in those neighborhoods. Compared with 2009, McGinn’s support was down everywhere but parts of southeast Seattle.
The sharpest drop was in Capitol Hill, where McGinn’s support tumbled by 8.9 percentage points compared with four years ago. That’s not a huge surprise, as Murray lives on Capitol Hill and represented the 43rd Legislative District for 18 years.
McGinn’s support fell 7.8 percentage points in the University District/Ravenna area and he lost 5 or more percentage points in Ballard, Delridge, Fauntleroy, Lake City, Magnolia, Queen Anne, South Park and West Seattle.
After four years in office, McGinn’s only increased support for his reelection campaign came in the southeast Seattle neighborhoods of Rainier Beach, Rainier Valley and Beacon Hill.
Murray, meanwhile, attracted his strongest support from Seattle’s outer-ring, waterfront-view neighborhoods including Montlake, Magnolia, Laurelhurst, West Seattle and Queen Anne.
Murray ended election night with a double digit lead on McGinn. But the race tightened substantially in later returns. When the election was certified last week, the final result was Murray 51.5 percent, McGinn, 47.5 percent.
November 29, 2013 at 10:25 AM
The Snohomish County Council on Wednesday named state Rep. John McCoy, D-Tulalip, to replace former Democratic state Sen. Nick Harper.
Harper, of Everett, abruptly resigned Nov. 9, saying in a statement that his work in Olympia “takes me away from my family far too much.”
McCoy, a member of Washington’s Tulalip Tribes, was first elected to the House in 2002 from the 38th District, which represents part of Snohomish County including Everett, Marysville and Tulalip.
McCoy was chair of the House Community Development Housing and Tribal Affairs Committee.
November 25, 2013 at 1:12 PM
WASHINGTON — U.S Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers on Sunday gave birth to her third child — all born during the Spokane Republican’s time in Congress.
McMorris Rodgers released an Instagram photo of her daughter, Brynn Catherine Rodgers, who was born at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md..
The congresswoman and her husband, retired Navy commander Brian Rodgers, also are parents to son Cole, 6, and Grace, who turns 3 next month.
Both Brynn Catherine and her mother are doing well. Her big brother, Cole, was born with Down syndrome, and McMorris Rodgers has been a big proponent for research and disability support.
McMorris Rodgers, 44, chairs the House Republican Conference, making her the No. 4 House GOP leader.
“Nothing compares to the miracle of bringing a new life into the world,” McMorris Rodgers said in her Instagram posting. “She’s beautiful and seems to be taking it all in stride. Our hearts are full.”
November 22, 2013 at 1:20 PM
Senate Democrats raised concerns Friday that the GOP-led majority in Senate is getting rid of top non-partisan committee staff managers.
Senate Democratic Leader Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island, said it was her understanding there was pressure from the GOP-led majority caucus to “hire some political-type individuals into the non-partisan staff. Interviews were done. Those individuals were not hired … I’m very concerned that may be the underlying cause of this” action to let the managers go.
Sen. Karen Fraser, D-Olympia, sent an email to the Democratic caucus Friday afternoon saying, “I am stunned to let you know that the MCC Leadership have advised (the committee services director and deputy director) that their services are no longer needed and they should find other opportunities by early January. My understanding is that Senators Tom, Parlette, and Fain consulted in advance and made this decision.”
Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom and Sen. Linda Evans Parlette, the Senate GOP caucus chair, both declined comment. Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn, could not be reached.
Fraser went on to write that “this is outside the normal Senate process for terminating an employee. Senate … policy is that an adverse action of this type shall be through a vote of the Senate Employment Committee, of which Senator Nelson and I are members.”
Fraser’s email said an Employment Committee meeting had been scheduled for late afternoon Thursday, “with extremely short notice, and then abruptly canceled.”
“At 6 pm, a meeting took place where Senator Tom advised (the committee staff managers) of the MCC Leadership decision that they should leave Senate employment by early January. (They) were told at that meeting that there were enough votes on the Employment Committee to formalize this action. I want to emphasize that NO meeting of the Employment Committee has occurred, and that as of now none are scheduled.”
Nelson said she has asked the Republican-led majority for more information.
November 22, 2013 at 8:55 AM
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly said Ed Murray had met with all department directors this week. Murray has not yet met with them all.
Seattle Director of Transportation Peter Hahn resigned late Thursday after being informed by Mayor-elect Ed Murray that he wouldn’t be kept on in the new administration.
Murray’s campaign confirmed that Murray began meeting with city department directors this week. By late today, Murray had announced that three other department heads would not be returning and one was retiring.
Budget Director Beth Goldberg, Intergovernmental Affairs Director Marco Lowe and Personnel Director David Stewart all were told that they would not be part of the new administration. Rick Hooper, the director of the Office of Housing, announced his retirement. Catherine Lester, interim director of human services, has been asked to stay on as Murray searches for a permanent director.
Goldberg was credited with guiding the city through a steep recession, rebuilding its rainy-day fund and making the budget more accessible to the public. Marco Lowe was one of outgoing Mayor Mike McGinn’s only holdovers from the Greg Nickels administration. Lowe ran Nickels’ 2002 campaign for mayor and then took a senior job in the administration as Nickels’ director of community relations. Before returning to Seattle to work for McGinn, Lowe was chief of staff for the New York City Department of Small Business Services.
McGinn thanked all the directors for their service to the city in a news release issued after Murray’s announcement.
Hahn was one of McGinn’s highest-profile department directors, helping the mayor implement high-priority projects such as an updated Transit Plan and advancing planning efforts for high-capacity transit corridors.
McGinn noted that when it started snowing, Hahn set up a cot in his office so he could work around the clock overseeing plowing, salting and de-icing operations.
“He’s done great work rebuilding public trust in SDOT’s commitment to the basics,” McGinn said.
Richard Sheridan, SDOT spokesman, said Hahn was leaving today for a planned vacation and would be out of the office for the next week. “Peter notified staff late yesterday that he would not be serving in the new administration,” Sheridan said.
City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, chair of the council Transportation Committee, praised Hahn as a hands-on administrator and a conscientious public servant. “He was a tremendous SDOT director. He cared deeply about having a well-functioning department.”
But Rasmussen speculated that Murray, a former state Senate Transportation chair, wants to make his own mark on the department.
During the mayoral campaign, Murray said he wanted an integrated transportation system with all the different elements, including roads, buses and light rail, working well together. In pre-election polling, Seattle residents said congestion was one of their biggest frustrations.
November 21, 2013 at 4:25 PM
Former Attorney General Rob McKenna has written a letter to Washington state on behalf of Montana and North Dakota that questions the constitutionality of Washington’s Department of Ecology review of a proposed coal-export terminal.
“Some of the issues to be evaluated by Ecology transgress the boundaries of the States, infringing on (Montana and North Dakota’s) sovereignty,” McKenna wrote in a letter sent Monday, adding the review “ranges far beyond the boundaries of legitimate state interest.”
He also wrote that the review of the proposed Gateway Terminal at Cherry Point, in Whatcom County, “is unrealistically broad, includes speculative impacts, requires impossible assessments of foreign environmental impacts, and appears to have been designed to hinder the development of that terminal.”
The nine-page letter marks a surprising entrance by McKenna into the fight over coal exports, which was a major issue in his unsuccessful 2012 bid for governor against Jay Inslee.
During the campaign, McKenna voiced support for coal-export terminals, but said any proposals would have to undergo a thorough environmental review.
Washington state’s review is one of three under way for the proposed Cherry Point facility, which would create the largest coal-export terminal on the West Coast, shipping as much as 48 million tons of Montana and Wyoming coal to Asia. The other reviews are being done by the federal government and Whatcom County.
Washington state has said its review will be much broader than the other two.
All three entities will get a say in whether the terminal is built, and each is to base its decision on its own review.
The letter was sent because Washington state is now deciding the breadth of a review of a second proposed coal terminal, in Longview.
Montana and North Dakota, McKenna wrote, would like Washington state to take a more limited approach to reviewing the proposed Longview terminal.
In a post on his website, Montana Attorney General Tim Fox said he is interested in the issue because “access to overseas markets is vital to Montana’s economy.”
McKenna’s letter was topped by letterhead from the international law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. McKenna became a partner there in February, a few months after losing the governor’s race.
On Thursday, environmentalists criticized McKenna for getting involved on behalf of entities supporting coal.
“It’s hard to believe that Rob McKenna is opposing Washington’s efforts to keep dirty coal out of our communities,” said Collin Jergens, spokesman for the liberal group Fuse Washington. “Why is Rob McKenna fighting for North Dakota instead of Washington?”
McKenna did not immediately respond to telephone messages seeking comment.
November 21, 2013 at 11:54 AM
OLYMPIA — Second Amendment activists submitted an estimated 340,000 signatures Thursday, likely enough to qualify their initiative to prevent Washington state from adopting universal background checks for gun sales.
The checks are currently required for sales by licensed dealers, but not for purchases from private sellers.
“This is a monumental effort to protect our gun rights,” said Alan Gottlieb, of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, before turning in the signatures for Initiative 591 at the Secretary of State’s elections office in Olympia.
He added that “background checks do not prevent crimes” because criminals do not subject themselves to them.
Phillip Shave of the Washington Arms Collectors and Bill Burris of the Washington State Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor Association joined Gottlieb.
“I-591 will guarantee that Washington residents will not be subjected to ridiculously complicated, costly and ineffective new government intervention into private transaction,” Shave said, referring to the proposed Initiative 594, which would establish background checks for all sales in Washington state.
Initiatives 591 and 594 are aimed to go before the 2014 Legislature and, if lawmakers don’t approve, to the November 2014 ballot.
Supporters of Initiative 594 submitted about 250,000 signatures last month. On Thursday, Initiative 594 spokesman Christian Sinderman said the measure’s supporters are “closing in” on 325,00 signatures.
Because of the possibility of duplicate or otherwise problematic signatures, the state recommends that initiative sponsors collect 325,000 signatures to be sure they have the required 246,000 valid signatures.
“Background checks are not a complete solution, but everything we can do to keep guns out of the hands of criminals is a step forward,” Sinderman said. “591 is a step backward.”
November 20, 2013 at 4:21 PM
Susan Hutchison, the new chair of the state Republican party, gets a salary of about $75,000 a year — substantially less than the $95,000 earned by her predecessor, Kirby Wilbur.
But when Hutchison tried last weekend to convince the GOP executive committee to boost her pay to Wilbur’s level, the conversation turned ugly and Hutchison’s request was rebuffed.
Hutchison bemoaned the decision in an internal party memo obtained by The Seattle Times.
In the memo, sent Monday to the state GOP executive board, Hutchison wrote the “positive spirit” of the GOP meeting had “soured late in the day” when her salary request came up.
The pay for the Republican chairman’s position had been cut by GOP leaders — citing budget issues — at a meeting just prior to Hutchison’s election in August.
But Hutchison argued that vote had violated the party’s bylaws and could be viewed as “discriminatory and vindictive” — and even play into the hands of Democrats who have talked up the GOP’s problems among female voters.
“The pay cut defies the concept of equal pay for equal work, playing into the ‘war on women’ narrative against Republicans,” Hutchison wrote. She added she’d personally raised $22,000 from 18 non-Republican Party donors from her personal list of contacts — “which more than covers” the $20,000 pay raise.
“I left the meeting demoralized, and so did my hardworking staff. I heard that some of you felt beat up and angry, while others were very pleased. This kind of division over something so minor is not what will move us forward,” Hutchison wrote.
Despite the setback, Hutchison called the pay raise issue “minor” compared with the party’s task of electing Republicans to key state offices. “Since I declined nearly $11,000 in medical benefits, the true dispute involves less than $10k to the WSRP! That is not worth all the time and effort — and ill-will it has engendered,” she wrote, saying she’ll accept the lower salary for now.
She added: “Please, for the sake of the Party, put this issue to rest and don’t let it fester going forward. I particularly don’t want persons outside the party to hear about the quibbling as it will undermine our fundraising efforts among major donors. We have a very positive story to tell, and together we will win!”
Republican sources told The Seattle Times some GOP leaders were dismayed by Hutchison raising the “war on women” meme in her memo. They added that there has long been discussion within the party about how much the state party chair should be paid. “There is no war on women,” said one GOP source familiar with the dispute.
In an interview Wednesday, Hutchison said she considered the matter closed. “I’m sure that as time goes on and as people become more confident in our ability to raise money and so forth, we’ll all take a look at it again,” she said.
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