Topic: King County Council
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August 6, 2013 at 8:37 PM
King County Executive Dow Constantine breezed through Tuesday’s primary election with 76 percent of the vote. Civil engineer Alan Lobdell was leading the challengers with 12 percent of the vote counted Tuesday, while Everett Stewart had 7 percent and Goodspaceguy 4 percent.
The top two vote-getters advance to the November general election.
There were few surprises in the Metropolitan King County Council races.
In the District 9 race, Eastside Councilmember Reagan Dunn and real-estate broker Shari Song are headed to the general election in November. Dunn held a strong lead with 56 percent of the vote while Song tallied 35 percent in results counted Tuesday. The third candidate in the race, Kristina Macomber, had 9 percent.
For District 1, the newest council member, Rod Dembowski, will go up against Naomi Wilson in the fall. Dembowski had 69 percent of the vote, while Wilson had 24 percent and John Fray 6 percent.
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.
September 25, 2012 at 3:22 PM
Republican Reagan Dunn has sunk $100,000 of his own money into his campaign for attorney general.
Dunn’s opponent, Democrat Bob Ferguson, quickly sent out an email saying, “he is trying to buy his way into the Office of Attorney General” because Dunn trails in recent polls.
Dunn’s response? He contends Democratic candidates have an advantage in our blue state, and that Ferguson got a head start in fundraising because he announced his candidacy several months sooner.
Putting $100,000 –- of $1.3 million in total contributions -– “to augment your message and level the playing field is not trying to buy the election,” he said.
Dunn said he hasn’t decided if he will invest more in his campaign. “It’s still a little bit of an uphill fight but very winnable,” he said.
His personal financial report to state watchdogs suggests that his wife, Paige Green Dunn, part of Seattle’s storied Green family, may have more valuable investments than Dunn.
But the reports show assets and income in ranges that max out at “$100,000 or more” and aren’t specific enough to verify that’s the case.
Dunn, a Metropolitan King County Council member like Ferguson, notes that he inherited money from his late mother and stepfather. And he is not going to donate his wife’s money or ask her to donate. “I do to this out of separate property,” he said.
Ferguson has raised $1.15 million in the race. The money-raising edge has see-sawed back and forth between the candidates.
In a story he likes to tell, Ferguson says he asked his wife, Colleen, what they have to invest in the race, and she said she’d look at the Blue Book value of his 1993 Honda Civic.
“And you guessed right,” Ferguson wrote in his recent email. “It won’t buy us a single TV spot.”
September 18, 2012 at 6:13 PM
Bob Ferguson and Reagan Dunn, the candidates for state attorney general, squared off in a debate Tuesday at Town Hall in Seattle.
Not much new ground was broken, unless you count both candidates revealing they passed the bar exam on their first try. But the two King County Council members continued to highlight contrasts in their views and records.
Dunn said his first policy priority as AG would be to work on reforming regulations, so businesses are not hurt by unintended consequences of state rules. Ferguson said he would create an environmental crimes unit and criticized Dunn for previously saying he’d expand the AG’s work on government transparency by trimming its environmental section.
On consumer protection priorities, Ferguson said he would look closer at banks and improper foreclosures and businesses that improperly withhold wages and tips from employees. Dunn said he is concerned about banks manipulating so-called Libor interest rates, which may have cost the state money on its investments.
Pointing to his year-long stint as council chair, Ferguson contended he was the only candidate with experience directly supervising employees. Dunn argued that the chair’s post is “largely ceremonial” and said his year as a senior counsel to the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys, a branch of the Department of Justice, amounted to managing thousands of federal lawyers spread around the country. Ferguson disagreed with both assertions.
Ferguson said he would not have filed a lawsuit challenging President Obama’s health care policy as current AG Rob McKenna did. He said overturning the entire law wouldn’t have been in the best interest of Washingtonians, and McKenna’s effort was not a good use of scarce state resources. Dunn said he thought the policy’s so-called individual mandate was unconstitutional and worth challenging. But he would’ve done it differently than McKenna, he said, consulting with the governor first.
And when asked what voters should be glad about if either of them got elected, Dunn said that he’d bring his prosecutor’s experience to bear on violent crime; Ferguson said that he’d bring independence to the office, free from partisan and special interest pressures.
July 26, 2012 at 6:00 PM
Not surprisingly, politics in the state attorney general’s race have seeped into the business of the King County Council, where AG candidates Reagan Dunn and Bob Ferguson both serve.
The latest instance occurred Tuesday when a committee vote on a study led to all kinds of charges: Ferguson fired off a news release that Dunn missed a crucial vote; Dunn responded that Ferguson had unethically forced the vote only because Dunn left the room; and Kathy Lambert, chair of the Law and Justice Committee, said Ferguson “threw a tantrum.”
Here’s what happened: Lambert’s committee held a hearing on a motion that sought to ask County Executive Dow Constantine to conduct a study on the feasibility of starting a gang court similar to one in Yakima County.
Testimony came mostly from public defenders who expressed concerns about labeling and stigmatizing young offenders as gang members in court. A council analyst said he didn’t think the proposal was ready for a vote. But to Lambert’s surprise, Ferguson called for a vote on the motion. The vote was two in favor (Ferguson and Joe McDermott) and two against (Lambert and Larry Gossett). And Dunn, a co-sponsor of the motion, was absent, having left the meeting shortly before Ferguson insisted on a vote.
In a tie vote the motion essentially died in committee.
Ferguson sent out his news release, saying Dunn’s “dismal voting record was on full display” at the meeting. He pointed to a Seattle Times article that confirmed that Dunn had missed more full council votes (491) than any other member during his tenure. He also noted that Dunn had left early during last week’s joint city-county hearing on a proposed new sports arena.
But Lambert had a different take on the events. She said she told Ferguson the issue was not supposed to come up for a vote; she said she agreed to a courtesy hearing on the motion because Ferguson was eager to move the idea forward. But she, too, had concerns about the wisdom of creating a gang court and wanted to see more data, particularly from a study being conducted by the Center for Children & Youth Justice that was due by the year’s end. And, she said, Dunn had a meeting scheduled elsewhere that afternoon.
Although the committee agenda listed the gang-court study for a possible vote, Lambert said that was a mistake by her staff.
Ferguson “was told months ago Reagan had a meeting and there wasn’t supposed to be a vote,” she said. Ferguson’s news release about Dunn was “just Bob having a temper tantrum,” she said, because the motion did not pass.
Dunn noted that he stayed at the committee meeting for about an hour, voted on two matters, and left for a campaign-related meeting with the Washington State Medical Association. He missed two other votes: one to accept a report on the county’s automated fingerprint system; another to approve a new contract between the county and the employees in the Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention.
“What happened was Ferguson saw me leave and forced a vote,” Dunn said. “To me that’s unethical legislating.”
Dunn said he would’ve voted against the motion as crafted because of the skeptical testimony and lack of data from Yakima about its experience with a gang court. He said Ferguson should have asked him how to secure his vote and “worked it like every other piece of legislation.”
Gossett, who supports Ferguson’s campaign for attorney general but opposed the study, said he wasn’t aware of any agreement not to hold a vote Tuesday.
Ferguson stood by his actions, saying he pushed a vote because he thought it was important to get the study going. “Other folks may want to wait. I’m not interested in waiting to address the gang problem,” he said.
He didn’t realize Dunn had left the meeting for good, he said. But he added: “He had other priorities that afternoon; he has to defend that.”
As for the purported agreement with Lambert, Ferguson said: “The facts are straightforward. The item was listed for possible action.”
What about the staff report that the motion wasn’t ready yet? “Our job is to make independent judgments, not listen to staff reports,” he said.
And in a related note, Ferguson has criticized Dunn’s voting record in a YouTube ad that uses footage from TVW, the state’s version of C-SPAN. TVW has long had a policy forbidding use of its footage for political campaigns, and has castigated Ferguson for going against that. Ferguson maintains that it’s legal to use the footage and he will continue to because “voters are entitled to see it.”
There is a footnote to all of this. Dunn’s full-council voting record was the worst when the Times did its analysis last month, based on records through the first-quarter of 2012. But more recent records that include the second-quarter of this year show that Jane Hague eclipsed Dunn for the worst record with 502 missed full-council votes, while Dunn held at 491, now second-worst.
July 23, 2012 at 5:00 PM
The Metropolitan King County Council could vote as early as next week on a proposal to invest up to $80 million to build a sports arena in Seattle.
In a move that surprised some council members, Budget Chair Joe McDermott pushed Monday for the proposal to move from his oversight committee to the full council for its action.
After nine committee meetings on the proposal, he said it is time for all nine council members to focus on the deal.
McDermott’s move was unusual because his budget committee did not vote on the arena deal. McDermott said if he waited until his next committee meeting in late August, the full council might not get the proposal until Labor Day. And by pushing the proposal to the full council now, he will clear the decks for his committee to focus on its primary duty, which is working on the county budget, he said.
But Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer said if McDermott had the votes to move it out of his committee he probably would have already. Instead, von Reichbauer believes McDermott wants to put pressure on skeptical Seattle City Council members by moving the proposal through the county. “That’s the only reason,” said von Reichbauer, who has called for a public vote on the proposal.
McDermott said that’s not the case.
The County Council voted 8-0 to take up the proposal Monday. von Reichbauer said he doubted it would be approved next week.
The legislation before the council would approve $5 million in bonds for the project if investors led by Chris Hansen land just an NBA team; if investors bring both NBA and NHL teams to the arena the county obligation would grow to $80 million.
Shortly after the council vote, a pro-arena group praised the action. “If the proposal passes the King County Council floor vote as many expect, passage of the arena proposal would then shift to the Seattle City Council, which appropriately carries the bulk of the fiscal obligation,” said a news release from arenasolution.org.
Councilmember Larry Phillips called McDermott’s move “really bad form” during the meeting. Phillips did not return to the full council after it recessed to discuss McDermott’s pitch.
Later, Phillips said he agrees with von Reichbauer that the move is “totally, absolutely” designed to put pressure on the Seattle City Council.
July 16, 2012 at 9:54 AM
The sports arena debate just got more uncomfortable for some local politicians.
Peter Goldman, environmental lawyer and major campaign contributor ($1 million donor to liberal state and local candidates and causes in the last decade), contends the arena proposal violates state law.
In a letter sent Friday, Goldman told top Seattle and King County officials they will violate the State Environmental Policy Act, SEPA, by signing an agreement — or memorandum of understanding — with arena investors before conducting a formal analysis of the arena’s potential impacts.
Known for his tenacity in running the Washington Forest Law Center, Goldman says he is not representing anyone but himself in the matter.
He said city and county officials, likely relying on their lawyers’ advice, argue they can conduct an impact-analysis after they sign the agreement, or MOU. But Goldman maintains the proposal requires analysis now.
“SEPA is a stop, look and listen law,” Goldman, a Seattle resident, said in an interview. “Where in the MOU have they reserved the right to protect the public interest if you find something that requires mitigation, something that could be prevented?” The concern is that signing the MOU first creates an “irreversible momentum” for the deal.
Sung Yang, chief of staff for King County Executive Dow Constantine, said Goldman is wrong in his view that arena impacts might not be properly mitigated after the MOU is signed. “I disagree with that conclusion. But more importantly, our legal counsel disagrees,” Yang said.
“What I want to stress is that full SEPA analysis must be done and will be done,” he added. “That’s why the MOU is very explicitly conditioned on the successful completion of the SEPA process.”
Section 5 of the MOU clearly spells out what Yang is arguing, said Aaron Pickus, spokesman for Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. That section says, the “Parties acknowledge that the Project is subject to review and potential mitigation under various laws, including the State Environmental Policy Act.” And, Pickus says, another section of the MOU, 21b, notes that public financing of the arena is contingent on the environmental review being completed first.
Beyond the technical aspects, Goldman said the proposal has “gotten to me personally.” He has contributed to the campaigns of Constantine, McGinn, King County Councilmembers Bob Ferguson, Joe McDermott, Larry Phillips, Julia Patterson and Pete von Reichbauer, and City Councilmembers Richard Conlin, Sally Clark, Tom Rasmussen, Jean Godden and Tim Burgess.
Goldman said he finds it “offensive” that the arena “has risen to the top of what we want to accomplish in this region.” He has been an advocate for parks, bike trails, transit and a new waterfront tunnel, among other projects. He said he suspects some stakeholders will file a SEPA-related lawsuit and he would strongly consider joining the suit.
July 9, 2012 at 4:04 PM
Dino Rossi, the unsuccessful Republican gubernatorial and U.S. Senate candidate who started his political career as an Eastside state lawmaker, is headed back to his old Senate seat — for five months, anyway.
Rossi was officially appointed Monday to serve out the remainder of former Sen. Cheryl Pflug’s term in the 5th Legislative District. Pflug, a moderate Republican, resigned in May to serve on the Washington Growth Management Hearings Board.
Rossi will be paid about $17,500 — a prorated amount of a senator’s $42,000 annual salary — for the caretaker stint. He’s not a candidate for the seat in the November election; whoever wins will take office as soon as the results are certified, usually by early December.
While the Legislature will not be in session before then, senator-to-be Rossi will need to respond to constituent complaints and requests, said Brad Hendrickson, deputy secretary of the Senate. Rossi also will probably attend some committee meetings.
Rossi has said he didn’t seek the appointment but would serve to help the party. He was unanimously chosen by the Metropolitan King County Council after being named the top choice by the district’s Republican precinct officers.
“I’m very humbled for the opportunity to be able to serve the citizens of the 5th Legislative District once again,” Rossi said in a Council news release. “During the next four months, if any constituent needs assistance involving the state of Washington, please contact my office.”
Rossi served the district between 1997 and 2003 before resigning to run for governor. He lost that 2004 race, in addition to the 2008 gubernatorial election and the 2010 U.S. Senate campaign. Since then, he’s been serving as principal for Coast Equity Partners, an Everett-based real estate firm.
He’ll be sworn in Tuesday in the Senate Chambers, according to the release.
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