Topic: Bob Ferguson
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September 9, 2013 at 4:34 PM
Gov. Jay Inslee and state Attorney General Bob Ferguson asked a U.S. Senate committee for a key bit of help in creating a tightly regulated legal pot market.
In written testimony submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee for a Tuesday hearing, Inslee and Ferguson stressed that without changes at the federal level, Washington state’s legal pot merchants will operate on a cash-only basis.
That will make it more difficult for the state to audit their books and track their income, the duo said, and make legal businesses a target for theft and burglary, “thereby creating additional public safety challenges.”
As it now stands, federally regulated banks are wary of providing financial services to legal pot merchants, Inslee and Ferguson said, because federal law can impose penalties on banks that accept money they know to come from drug sales – even if those sales are legal under state law.
Inslee and Ferguson suggested two fixes: the federal Department of Justice could advise banking regulators that it isn’t going to prosecute banks for handling legal pot money; or, Congress could also pass a law allowing banks to accepts deposits from a legal pot business.
The rest of their four-page testimony details the many ways in which Washington state’s legal pot rules are consistent with the DOJ’s eight priorities for legal pot in Washington and Colorado — from preventing youth access to legal pot, to preventing Washington pot from leaking into other states.
Tuesday’s hearing is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Pacific time. The committee chaired by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-VT., will begin by questioning U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Cole. It would be no surprise for the banking issue to come up in that portion of the hearing. Then, the hearing on “Conflicts in State and Federal Marijuana Laws” will address a panel of three: King County Sheriff John Urquhart; Jack Finlaw, the top lawyer for Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper; and Kevin Sabet, the director of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, an organization that’s opposed to legalization.
August 22, 2013 at 12:11 PM
Mark Kleiman, the state’s top pot consultant, has suggested a way to end the lingering tension between Washington’s new recreational pot law and the federal government, which considers all marijuana illegal.
And state Attorney General Bob Ferguson did not dismiss Kleiman’s idea. Ferguson said the AG’s office “has done their own examination” of Kleiman’s proposal and “it’s too soon to say” if it has traction with decision-makers.
Ferguson did not want to reveal any more about the state’s discussions with the federal Department of Justice. “I’m not ready to get into more detail about what communication is going on with the feds,” Ferguson said.
In an article published Wednesday in the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis, Kleiman said the DOJ now seems to have three options: cracking down on legalized pot in Washington and Colorado, acquiescing to legalization, or “muddling through” with its current policy of only saying it continues to review new laws in those two states.
Kleiman sees two better alternatives.
January 4, 2013 at 10:08 AM
State Rep. Cindy Ryu’s lease for her district office in Shoreline may become an issue in the race to replace King County Councilman Bob Ferguson.
A Democrat from Shoreline, Ryu is one of five finalists recommended for the job by a citizen panel created by County Executive Dow Constantine. From those five, Constantine will forward three names to the Metropolitan King County Council, which then will select one to serve the rest of Ferguson’s District 1 term this year. Ferguson was elected state attorney general in November.
Ryu’s district office has drawn attention because she leases the space from her husband, Cody Ryu. They own the Aurora Avenue plaza where her office is located. The plaza has an assessed value of $3.9 million, according to county records.
Ryu maintains the lease is legal and ethical and has been vetted by House of Representatives counsel Tim Sekerak. “He was fine with it,” Ryu said.
House rules don’t explicitly prohibit such an arrangement, said Sekerak. A closer analysis – which he doesn’t do – would be required to determine if the deal personally benefited or enriched Ryu, which would make the lease illegal and unethical. That determination would be made by Legislative Ethics Board if it received a formal complaint, said board counsel Mike O’Connell. The board hasn’t received a complaint yet.
State law says no state official “may be beneficially interested, directly or indirectly” in a contract or lease they’ve signed.
The situation is complicated by several factors, though. Ryu’s lease initially had her paying $1 rent and $520 each month to cover building costs such as heating, lighting, taxes and more. Another lawmaker, Rep. Ruth Kagi, D-Shoreline, has moved into the space and the lease calls for each lawmaker to pay $140 in rent and $260 for building costs each month. House members receive a stipend up to $6,200 per year to cover expenses including district offices.
Ryu said taxpayers are getting a good deal because the lease amounts to cut-rate rent and additional “pass-through” building costs. “I’m actually not benefiting myself,” Ryu said. “I am not enriching myself.”
But she acknowledged there were vacancies in the plaza at the time she leased office space, and receiving some rent was better was none. “You could say that,” she said.
O’Connell said the ethics board hasn’t addressed a case with the same facts before.
“Maybe there is an argument that you’re saving the state money,” he said. “But does that trump the rule that you can’t enrich yourself?”
If he had been asked to advise someone in Ryu’s situation, O’Connell said he would point to what’s legal and what’s politically smart.
“I guess I’d tell that person, ‘Let me draft the lease so neither you or your spouse are benefitting.’ I’d really want it spelled out,” he said. “That’s not to say she did anything wrong, but we’d walk the legislator through the questions.”
A supporter of Rod Dembowski, another of the five finalists, requested a copy of Ryu’s lease from the House.
Dembowski, a Seattle lawyer, said he’s not filed a complaint or sent the lease to anyone else at this point. Dembowski said Wednesday he had not even looked closely at it yet.
“We had heard rumblings about it, and rather than rely on rumors,” Dembowski said he wanted to see it himself.
“I don’t know if any law has been violated,” he said. “The reason we asked for it is because people are talking about it.”
The other finalists are Shoreline City Council member Will Hall, Shoreline Planning Commission member Keith Scully, and King County Deputy Ombudsman Chuck Sloane.
December 21, 2012 at 4:22 PM
Five applicants have been recommended by a citizen panel to fill the Metropolitan King County Council seat of Bob Ferguson, who was elected state attorney general in November.
Rod Dembowski, Will Hall, Cindy Ryu, Keith Scully and Chuck Sloane are the applicants. They were selected from a field of 13 candidates by a 13-member citizen panel created by County Executive Dow Constantine.
Dembowski is a Seattle lawyer, Hall a Shoreline City Council member, Ryu a state representative, Scully a Shoreline Planning Commission member, and Sloane the county’s deputy ombudsman. All are Democrats, like Ferguson.
Under state law, Constantine must now recommend three candidates to the county council, which will pick one to serve the rest of Ferguson’s term this year. An election next year will determine who serves a full four-year term in Ferguson’s District 1, which includes northeast Seattle, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, Bothell and parts of Woodinville and Kirkland.
Constantine’s citizen panel members: George Allen, co-chair, Metropolitan Seattle Chamber of Commerce; Kathe Fowler, co-chair, Washington Environmental Council; Susan Boundy-Sanders, Woodinville City Council; Sam Chung, attorney; Dave Freiboth, King County Labor Council; Beretta Gomillion, Center for Human Services; Michael Hatzenbeler, PROVAIL; Karama Hawkins, attorney; Behnaz Nelson, Local 17 Professional and Technical Employees; Ken Noreen, former president Shoreline Public Schools Foundation; Mian Rice, Port of Seattle; Dwight Thompson, former member Lake Forest Park City Council; Javier Valdez, Seattle City Light.
December 4, 2012 at 1:57 PM
Thirteen candidates have applied to fill an upcoming vacancy on the Metropolitan King County Council, the county announced Tuesday.
The applicants, all North King County residents, are hoping to succeed District 1′s Bob Ferguson, who will be sworn in as the state’s attorney general Jan. 16. An advisory committee appointed by Executive Dow Constantine will narrow the candidate pool, and the council ultimately will fill the spot from a group of three finalists he recommends.
The deadline for applicants was 5 p.m. Monday.
In alphabetical order, they are: David Baker, mayor of Kenmore; Dennis Behrend, Kenmore bond agent and teacher; Tiffany Bond, former Woodinville parks and recreation commissioner; Rod Dembowski, Seattle attorney; Chris Eggen, Shoreline City Councilman, Ken Goodwin, Woodinville Water District Commissioner; Will Hall, Shoreline City Councilman; Bob Ransom, former Shoreline City Councilman, Cindy Ryu, Shoreline state representative; Keith Scully, Shoreline planning commissioner; Sarajane Siegfriedt, Seattle party activist; Chuck Sloane, chairman of board of Municipal League of King County; and Naomi Wilson, grants specialist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Most of the candidates are Democrats, as District 1 is traditionally Democratic.
The King County Democrats’ executive board chose Dembowski as its top choice at a meeting last week. The group identified Hall and Ryu and its second and third choices, respectively.
Whoever is ultimately appointed by the council will serve until a general election next November.
Ferguson beat fellow councilman Reagan Dunn for state attorney general last month.
November 15, 2012 at 3:45 PM
King County Executive Dow Constantine laid out more details about the process for replacing Metropolitan King County Council member Bob Ferguson, who was elected the state’s attorney general.
Candidates interested in filling the District 1 vacancy should apply by 5 p.m. Dec. 3, for vetting by a citizen advisory committee, according to Constantine.
“The people of Council District 1 can be assured that I will send the council well-qualified candidates who care about the district,” said Constantine in a statement.
Constantine said that after the election is certified on Dec. 6, he will name an advisory committee that is representative of District 1 to evaluate applicants for their qualifications, their knowledge of issues currently relevant to King County, and their knowledge of issues specific to people living in Council District 1. Preference will be given to experience with budgets, leadership and community issues.
By Dec. 21, the advisory committee will forward the names of qualified candidates to the executive. Under state law, when the position becomes vacant in January, the executive will transmit three names to the County Council for consideration. The Council has 60 days to fill the position from the date it becomes vacant.
Individuals who seek consideration for the appointment should e-mail their resume, a statement of qualifications and references with contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We earlier reported that candidates include: Dave Baker, Kenmore mayor and owner of a video inspection system company; Rod Dembowski, Seattle lawyer and member of the King County Districting Committee; Will Hall, Shoreline City Council member and Snohomish County Council legislative analyst; Cindy Ryu, District 32 state Representative and former Shoreline mayor; Keith Scully, a lawyer and Shoreline Planning Commission member.
Chuck Sloane, deputy ombudsman for King County and chair of the Municipal League of King County, also says he’s in.
November 8, 2012 at 11:24 AM
With Bob Ferguson’s victory in the attorney general’s race, county officials now turn to the process of appointing his successor on the Metropolitan King County Council.
That successor would serve next year, and the November 2013 election would determine the winner of a full four-year term for Ferguson’s District 1 seat.
District 1 includes northeast Seattle, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, Bothell and parts of Woodinville and Kirkland. Its population is 214,883, according to the King County Districting Committee.
Once election results are certified, County Executive Dow Constantine will convene a committee representing the district. That group will interview candidates. “The committee’s job will be to vet the candidates who apply for the vacancy, and pass along all qualified candidates to me. I will transmit three names to the County Council for confirmation,” Constantine said in a statement.
Then things could get interesting. With Ferguson gone from the nine-member council, the remaining members on the officially non-partisan council will be evenly split between Democrats and Republicans.
Candidates already are jostling for position, which now pays $135,525. They include, in alphabetical order:
Dave Baker, Kenmore mayor and owner of a video inspection system company.
Rod Dembowski, Seattle lawyer and member of the King County Districting Committee.
Will Hall, Shoreline City Council member and Snohomish County Council legislative analyst.
Cindy Ryu, District 32 state Representative and former Shoreline mayor.
Keith Scully, a lawyer and Shoreline Planning Commission member.
All the candidates say they’re now Democrats, like Ferguson, except Baker. Baker ran for state senate in 2010 as a Republican. But he said he now considers himself an independent and would become a Democrat because the district has been traditionally Democratic.
November 8, 2012 at 10:20 AM
Reagan Dunn conceded this morning in the state attorney general’s race.
Dunn said he had a “great conversation” with winner Bob Ferguson in which congratulated his fellow Metropolitan King County Council member. Ferguson leads with 53 percent of the vote counted through Wednesday.
Here’s his statement:
“This morning I congratulated Washington’s next attorney general, Bob Ferguson, on his victory in Tuesday’s election. It was a hard-fought campaign, and I am proud of the work we did. It was a true honor to have had the opportunity to meet so many Washingtonians and visit so many communities across our state.
“I believe firmly that there is a time for campaigning and a time for governing. Our nation and our country have many pressing problems that demand we all reach for solutions, and I intend to lead in that effort here in King County. I believe Washington will be well-served by its next attorney general. I will miss Bob’s service on the King County Council and look forward to working with him as he heads to Olympia.
“More importantly, Paige and I are so excited to be only a few short days away from welcoming the newest addition to the Dunn family. I want to thank all my friends, supporters, family and colleagues for their well wishes.”
The Dunns are expecting a baby girl on Tuesday.
November 7, 2012 at 7:31 PM
The Associated Press has called Washington state’s closely-watched attorney general race for Bob Ferguson, the Democrat.
Ferguson, a Metropolitan King County Council member, was beating fellow Councilmember Reagan Dunn, a Republican, by 114,429 votes in updated vote totals released Wednesday evening.
Ferguson had 52.8 percent to Dunn’s 47.2 percent, according to the Secretary of State’s office. That’s nearly the lead Ferguson held on election night.
The attorney general represents the state in legal matters and provides a platform for policy making, often through lawsuits in conjunction with other states to protect consumers. The job is also considered a stepping stone to higher office.
November 7, 2012 at 12:37 PM
Republican candidate for attorney general Reagan Dunn had quite an election night.
His wife, Paige Green Dunn, due to deliver a baby girl any day now, grabbed him while he was doing a TV interview at the Bellevue Hyatt gathering for Republicans Tuesday night.
“She was having contractions,” Reagan Dunn said. “If she had more, we would’ve gone to the hospital.”
Instead, the contractions subsided. His wife is fine, he said, and resting at home. She is scheduled for a C-section on Nov. 13.
Dave Ammons, the longtime dean of the state capitol press corps and now spokesman for Secretary of State Sam Reed, said he couldn’t recall a candidate or candidate’s spouse who went into labor on election night.
Reagan Dunn was trailing Bob Ferguson, his opponent in the attorney general’s race, by six percentage points after Tuesday’s incomplete results.
He said victory seems unlikely, but he wants to wait to see what Wednesday afternoon’s vote counts reveal.
“I don’t think it’s likely we’ll be able to pull it out,” he said. “But I owe it to wait for one more batch of returns before I make any kind of phone call” about conceding to Ferguson.
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