Topic: Metropolitan King County Council
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September 11, 2013 at 1:49 PM
King County Metropolitan Council member Larry Gossett is recovering from a “slight stroke,” his staff said. Gossett suffered the stroke Sept. 2, and spent three days in the hospital.
He is not expected back at work until Sept. 23, on his doctor’s advice, said his chief of staff, Cindy Domingo. She said he is doing very well, and there are not expected to be residual effects from the stroke.
Gossett, 68, is chair of the council. He represents District 2, which includes the southern half of Seattle.
April 26, 2013 at 10:04 AM
Metropolitan King County Council member Julia Patterson will not seek re-election, she said today.
Patterson is finishing up her third term representing the 5th council district, which is in South King County. Before that, she represented the 33rd legislative district in the House and Senate.
Patterson said that after 23 years in elected office, she wants to enjoy nature and her grandchildren.
“I intuit that it’s time,” she said. “I think there are other windows through which I need to view my life.”
Patterson helped incorporate the city of SeaTac and worked as a member of the Board of Health to require restaurants to put nutrition information on their menus.
Patterson said state Rep. Dave Upthegrove has expressed interest in replacing her.
“Nobody knows the community better than Dave Upthegrove,”she said. “I know he’s very well prepared and I hope he decides to run.”
Upthegrove said Friday he wasn’t prepared to state whether he would or wouldn’t run but planned to announce his decision early next week. “I’m likely to run. I’m not ready to pull the trigger yet,” he said.
January 30, 2013 at 1:47 PM
State Rep. Cindy Ryu told members of the Metropolitan King County Council that her perspective as a Korean-American woman makes her the best candidate for the council’s vacant seat. Shoreline City Council member Will Hall touted his experience as a planner, working his day job as a staff analyst in Snohomish County. And attorney Rod Dembowski said in addition to his legal background, “I’m easy to get along with. You will like working with me.”
The three finalists advertised their best attributes before the King County Council this morning in the final phase of the appointment process for the seat vacated by newly elected Attorney General Bob Ferguson. He represented District 1, in northern King County. The council — officially non-partisan but made up of four Democrats and four Republicans — plans to appoint one of the three finalists (all Democrats) Feb. 11.
The interviewees gave somewhat predictable answers. All three candidates said they are devoted to working collaboratively in a nonpartisan manner. They all said they are committed to diversity, increasing funding for human services, and improving transit and bus service. As each completed his or her 30-minute interview, Council member Julia Patterson, who was chairing the meeting, declared every candidate “extraordinary.”
Regardless of whom the council chooses, all three candidates intend to run for the seat in 2013, and one of them will get a head start.
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.
November 30, 2012 at 7:00 AM
The King County Democrats’ executive board has recommended three candidates to replace County Council member Bob Ferguson, who will become state attorney general in January.
In a vote Tuesday night, board members listed their top three candidates as Seattle lawyer Rod Dembowski, Shoreline City Council member Will Hall and state Rep. Cindy Ryu of Shoreline.
The tally, according to chair Steve Zemke: Dembowski, 35 votes, Hall, 29, Ryu 21, Shoreline Planning Commissioner Keith Scully, 20, Seattle party activist Sarajane Siegfriedt, 19, King County Deputy Ombudsman Chuck Sloane, 13.
Board members were each allowed to vote for three names.
Kenmore Mayor Dave Baker is also a candidate but ran for state Senate as a Republican in 2010. Baker has said he’s willing to become a Democrat because the district has been traditionally Democratic.
Ferguson, a Democrat, represents District 1, which includes northeast Seattle, shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, Bothell and parts of Woodinville and Kirkland.
The deadline for candidates to apply is 5 p.m. Dec. 3, for vetting by a citizen advisory committee. County Executive Dow Constantine said he will name an advisory committee representative of District 1 to evaluate applicants. By Dec. 21 the committee will forward the names of qualified candidates to Constantine. He will then recommend three names to the County Council. Without Ferguson, the nine-member council will be evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, which should make for some interesting maneuvering.
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.
October 5, 2012 at 4:34 PM
A national Republican group said today it will spend at least $1 million in the state attorney general’s race backing Reagan Dunn and criticizing his Democratic opponent Bob Ferguson, who held a double-digit lead in one recent poll.
The Republican State Leadership Committee announced that it was going to run TV and radio ads in Washington — starting “any minute” according to an RSLC spokesman — as a part of a seven-figure buy in the Seattle, Spokane, Portland and Yakima markets. The spending underscores the importance of the Washington state attorney general’s race.
A 30-second TV ad on the RSLC website highlights Dunn’s background as a criminal prosecutor and Ferguson’s lack of similar experience. Ferguson has stressed that vast majority of the AG’s job involves civil not criminal law, representing state agencies and clients. The office has 494 lawyers doing that work and just 17 handling criminal cases at the request of county prosecutors.
The ad attacks Ferguson for work he did 20 years ago in law school helping to get legal representation for death row inmates. One such inmate, Ronald Turney Williams, was a convicted cop-killer. The ad spotlights a comment by Ferguson to a law journal. “It was a great feeling,” Ferguson said at the time about helping the convict get legal representation. “The reason I went to law school was to work against the death penalty.”
Ferguson is personally opposed to the death penalty. But he has said he would vigorously defend the state’s right to capital punishment if he is AG.
In a statement responding to the ad, Ferguson noted that he was endorsed by 15 elected county prosecutors and the Washington State Troopers Association. He included a statement from troopers association President Tom Pillow, which says, in part: “Bob has supported principles and issues that are critical to every trooper both professionally and personally.”
The RLSC is a group that helps elect state-level GOP officeholders. The group spent nearly $500,000 helping Rob McKenna’s campaign for attorney general four years ago. This year’s race in Washington state is a priority for national groups representing both parties. The attorney general’s post can be a springboard to higher office. Nationwide there are currently 25 Democratic AGs and 25 Republican AGs. The RSLC is particularly interested in keeping Washington’s AG in the GOP column, according to spokesman Adam Temple.
Its pro-Dunn campaign is considered an independent expenditure, meaning the RSLC cannot coordinate with Dunn in any way under campaign finance rules.
Top donors to the RSLC, according to the watchdog Center for Responsive Politics, include Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Wal-Mart, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, AT&T, Citigroup, Reynolds American and Devon Energy.
The Democratic Attorneys General Association might attempt to counter the GOP attack. But the group’s executive director, Travis Berry, said he wasn’t going to reveal its strategy. “We’ve always expected Karl Rove and national Republicans to come in and save Reagan Dunn’s flailing candidacy,” Berry said, adding that Rove was a founder of the RSLC.
June 29, 2012 at 8:41 PM
The Associated Press
The King County ombudsman has decided not to pursue an investigation of Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna.
Ombudsman director Amy Calderwood said in a letter to McKenna released Friday that too much time has passed since he worked on the Metropolitan King County County Council about a decade ago. She says memories have surely dimmed, and witnesses may be unavailable.
Two people had filed complaints against McKenna in May after an Associated Press report found that his office discussed political issues during staff meetings and used a county fax machine to send an invitation on behalf of the state Republican Party. McKenna’s government files contained hundreds of campaign documents, including fundraising lists.
Ethics laws prohibit government workers from using government facilities for “personal convenience” or political campaigns.
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