I just think this is helpful: One thing about me, I’m going to start Slog AM with a blurb about the weather. I know you have phones and you can check the weather yourself, but you can also check The News yourself – checking Slog is just more fun :)
Anyway! We are in for another warm one today. Temperatures will break the 70s at noon and peak just below 80 degrees at around 5 pm. Kind of like yesterday, you can expect some cloud cover to cushion the blow.
Rich went to a campaign launch yesterday, and he would like to tell you about it:
Hilary Franz is running for governor: On Monday Washington's Public Lands Commissioner launched her campaign in the parking lot of the Edgewater Hotel, the bay glistening behind her in the afternoon heat. It was a thoughtful location, considering the famous hotel sits on public land leased by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which, under Franz's command, did nice things to keep the place going through the pandemic. That said, at one point a freight train carrying car after car of timber rumbled by, recalling Franz's positions on forest management, some of which were "largely in line with Big Timber," according to the Washington Observer. Seattle's working waterfront giveth and It taketh away.
The few dozen people standing with her represented the coalition she's trying to cobble together to beat Attorney General Bob Ferguson, her more moneyed and more widely-known Democratic opponent. The crowd included firefighters, tribal leaders, elected officials from central/eastern Washington, and advocates for more women in politics.
The commissioner is a lawyer and former Bainbridge Island City Council Member who raised three boys. She's spent part of the last six years as head of DNR asking the Legislature to give her more money to fight wild fires, and this year she was successful in that quest. She led her stump speech with that, adding that she's also increased clean energy investments, implemented the court order to remove culverts, ended leases for net pen farming, and "started the process" to build workforce housing on DNR land across the state.
In general, she's pushing a big unity message, arguing that we can "make epic progress" when we "work together," leaning into her bipartisan bonafides. It's kind of a funny message in a state run entirely by Democrats who are countered by a weak party that wouldn't even kick this guy out of the Legislature, but I guess that's the plan to beat Bob. Policy-wise, Franz wants to see a "20-year plan" to fix the housing crisis, create a "comprehensive climate plan," increase job opportunities, and expand "quality child care." When I asked her to name a policy she'd support to drive down rents aside from increasing housing supply, she didn't provide one.
Thanks, Rich! Okay, back to me:
Time to criminalize the unhoused and unwell: Legislators gather in Olympia today for a special session to vote on a drug possession and use bill. The draft came out last night and well, it’s definitely bipartisan. Ashley Nerbovig will be in the Capitol today to watch, tweet, and try to sit with the cool kids. We wear pink when we criminalize addiction. [Eds note: On this point, Franz said she believes we can run successful treatment programs through the criminal justice system.]
Oops: An investigation by Trump-appointed special counsel John Durham found that the FBI should have never launched a full investigation into the former president’s relationship with Russia and possible election interference in 2016. Durham concluded that the FBI had a “predisposition” to investigating Trump, citing how the agency held presidential candidate Hilary Clinton’s alleged election interference to a different standard. Still, Durham did not recommend the FBI change anything about how it deals with highly political investigations in the future. Trump seems to be getting something out of it though!
Now to Trump’s good ole pal, Rudy Giuliani: In a complaint filed Monday, a woman accused Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, of a number of crimes, including sexual assault, wage theft, and offering to sell presidential pardons at $2 million a pop. Giuliani denied the claims.
Hey, where should I put this plane? No one liked any of the four locations the state proposed for a new, very large airport, so it's back to the drawing board. The governor signed a bill yesterday to end a commission that was supposed to finalize a location next month and set up a new commission that has no deadline or mandate to set a location.
Solidarity for SBUX workers: Students, community members, and Starbucks workers signed a letter calling for the University of Washington to find a new coffee supplier when their contract with Starbucks ends in June. The letter argues that the University should not support a union-busting corporation but should instead invest in a local supplier who has a good track record with its workers. You can read and sign the letter here.
North Seattle council race just got interesting: Over the weekend, House Our Neighbors! co-chair Tye Reed soft-launched her campaign for City Council District 5. Reed is a fixture in Seattle mutual aid circles and in lefty campaigning as she managed abolitionist City Attorney candidate Nicole Thomas-Kennedy’s 2021 campaign.
Trouble on Twitter: Reed has called on Seattle lefties to run for city council for months. She’s an outspoken critic of the current council, particularly hand-wringing moderate Dan Strauss, who she blames for rampant sweeps in Ballard, where she does her mutual aid work. Her criticism and insults got her in trouble with right-wing media when reporters harped on old tweets from her and Thomas-Kennedy during the 2021 campaign. Her more recent Tweets indicate she is similarly unimpressed with the current crop of candidates, so she could be a fun one to watch in debates and forums. Either way, I'm sure conservative media will watch Reed like a hawk.
A ringing endorsement for @themobilepauper pic.twitter.com/hf239EjETK— DivestSPD (@DivestSPD) May 16, 2023
Social housing on its way: The Seattle Social Housing Developer Board will hold its very first meeting tonight, starting on the work to bring social housing to Seattle after voters approved I-135 in February. Not much will happen during their first meeting, mostly housekeeping and electing board leadership.
RIP: The Kraken got eliminated in a game against the Dallas Stars last night. I feel for the fans, but also I will not miss fighting for my life on the light rail when they play at Climate Pledge. Love to see the use of public transit; wish the train came more often so we could all ride more comfortably!
My roots are grassier than yours: District 3 council candidate Alex Cooley says he's only accepting Democracy Vouchers to fuel his campaign (plus the $10 donations needed to qualify for the program) to be truly a candidate for The People, not just the people with disposable income. His consultant said the team unlinked the donate page on his website, and he’s in the process of returning larger contributions. With 90% of his donations at $10 or less, he will only have to reimburse about $880, but that's not nothing considering he is one of the lowest fundraisers in the race at about $3,000 before vouchers. We’ll see if he makes good on that commitment and if the strategy gets him through the primary.
After much reflection, I have decided not to run for re-election. I'm grateful for the privilege to have served on the Redmond City Council.https://t.co/J2NXCZpfG5— Varisha Khan (@VarishaMK) May 15, 2023
A weird hill to DEI on: In his latest victory in his shadow boxing match with “wokeism” or whatever, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill yesterday that bars public universities from paying for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs. DeSantis said DEI REALLY stands for “discrimination, exclusion and indoctrination.” I love the simplicity of the argument. No proof that DEI causes real harm, just changing what the acronym stands for.
Ukraine: The war continues. Russia launched an attack on Kyiv that military officials described as “exceptional in its density—the maximum number of attacking missiles in the shortest period of time."
New Joe Bros just dropped: