Trump's "Friday Night Massacre": Tonight, everyone is buzzing over Trump unexpectedly firing people who testified in the impeachment inquiry. First, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman (and his twin brother—cold) and then EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland. It's becoming quite the thing. How is this legal?
LTC Vindman escorted from WH, per his lawyer David Pressman: “He followed orders, he obeyed his oath, and he served his country... And for that, the most powerful man in the world - buoyed by the silent, the pliable, and the complicit - has decided to exact revenge.” pic.twitter.com/u0CAB13iln
— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) February 7, 2020
OH YEAH, THE DEBATE: ON A FRIDAY. YAY. It's happening right now in New Hampshire. It started about an hour ago. Here's the livestream—which, thankfully, is free this time:
The night kicks off with a fierce debate over healthcare: Biden and Pete went after Bernie, reminding him to think about all the people who LoOoOoOVe their healthcare. (Who are these people? Are there actually healthcare plans that make cancer treatment affordable? I don't believe any American loves their healthcare.) Klobuchar then jumped on Pete, saying he's flip-flopped on healthcare, painting him as too far to the left (lol). Warren stressed unity. Tom Steyer complimented everyone. Yang reminded the crowd that he's giving away free money, but then this moment was good:
Andrew Yang: "Donald Trump is not the cause of all of our problems, and we are making a mistake when we act like he is. He is a symptom of a disease...It is our job of getting to the harder work of actually curing the disease." https://t.co/Rhy9aOaDTU #DemDebate pic.twitter.com/J4j11WoMfN
— ABC News (@ABC) February 8, 2020
See? Unity! Warren loves to see it.
Let's pivot away from the debate and get some updates from The Stranger's Rich Smith. Take it away, Rich:
Modest eviction protections passed out of committee today: A slightly watered-down version of Rep. Macri’s “just cause” bill, which would simply require landlords to give tenants a reason for evicting them, passed out of the House Civil Rights & Judiciary committee, but not before Republican and Democratic legislators pushed for amendments to weaken the bill. The committee passed an amendment that institutes a one-year probationary period, allowing landlords to evict tenants for any reason they want within a year. Rep. Roger Goodman (D-Sammamish), who has received max donations from the landlord lobbies, offered the amendment as a “middle ground solution” to a middle ground bill, and Rep. Steve Kirby (D-Tacoma) backed it. A primary on both your houses.
Modest rent stabilization bill is dead: Because lawmakers didn’t give the bill a hearing, Rep. Macri’s anti-rent gouging bill, which would have capped rent hikes statewide at 5% plus the cost of living, has died. Last year California and Oregon passed similar rent stabilization bills, making Washington state the only state on the west coast that is doing nothing to address the affordability crisis hitting at least 37% of its households.
Allowing this bill to die is incredibly stupid: Even if a watered-down version of Macri’s “just cause” evictions bill passes this session, letting the rent stabilization bill die means landlords will be able to economically evict tenants whenever they want by raising the rent so high tenants can’t pay. Oregon and California explicitly passed just cause and anti-rent gouging bills at the same time in order to prevent landlords from exploiting that loophole, but the Democrats in Olympia are apparently too dumb, too lazy, and too compromised by landlord lobbies to recognize this.
If this news troubles you, go ahead and give Rep. Christine Kilduff, who chairs the committee where the bill was introduced, a call: (360) 786-7958. Tell her you’re disappointed she didn’t schedule a hearing on a bill that would keep people housed in the middle of a statewide homelessness crisis. And if you get in the mood, let every other Democrat on that committee know how you feel, too.
Bar Ferdinand Looks Dead: A sad day for those who liked good wine and a nice patio. A bad day for people who just want to know if they’re supposed to come into work or not.
LOL. I guess I can stop waiting for that guy to call me back. The need for obfuscation with staff and patrons in the restaurant business is strong. RIP Bar Ferdinand. Cool things coming however. pic.twitter.com/LSX4hF3O8H
— jseattle (@jseattle) February 7, 2020
Reminder: No light rail in downtown this weekend.
She's running: Again. Mayor Durkan officially launched her bid for re-election this week. The next Seattle mayoral election will be in 2021. (But will Durkan be able to beat Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda?)
Is there a winner in Iowa yet? Almost? Or maybe not? Or maybe never!? Buttigieg currently has 13 delegates and Sanders has 12. The AP has announced that they are not going to call a winner in Iowa, an unsatisfying finish after months of anticipation. There's still one delegate left to be allocated, notes the New York Times.
Meanwhile: CNN is focused on trolls 4 Bernie. This clip is really funny.
What's going on with I-976? A ruling could come regarding Tim Eyman's $30 car tabs/transit-killing initiative as soon as next week, reports Heidi Groover at the Seattle Times. The basic argument:
“The $30 promise is completely illusory and deceptive,” King County attorney David Hackett told King County Superior Court Judge Marshall Ferguson, who isn’t expected to rule in the case until next week.
Hackett argued that while the ballot title voters saw in November promised $30 car tabs “except voter-approved charges,” the initiative neither offered a true $30 cap — because other state fees mean the lowest any vehicle owner will pay is slightly over $40 — nor protected taxes previously approved by voters the way an average voter might think.
The Washington State Attorney General’s Office is defending the initiative and argues the title gave voters enough information to know they may want to look further into the details of the measure. Initiative sponsor Tim Eyman has also said voters were well aware of what it would do.
The rains are letting up but here's some flood porn to remember it goodbye. (Not everyone is in the clear. The list of counties affected by this intense flooding has expanded.) Hope your car didn't get washed away this week!
UPDATE: I've seen this photo and it has cursed me. May it curse you this weekend, too.