An article in this week's paper has kicked off a wonk firestorm. Why? It quoted House Speaker Frank Chopp saying that the infamous cost overrun provision in the state's tunnel law came from Governor Chris Gregoire. "The governor came forward with that language," Chopp said in the piece.
But the governor's office says no way. "It was not her idea, nor was it her intention to saddle the city of Seattle with the potential of cost overruns on the Alaskan Way Viaduct," governor's office spokesman Viet Shelton told seattlepi.com yesterday. "Our office has a call into the speaker's office to see if he was accurately quoted by the Stranger. What was reported today about the cost overrun language is revisionist history."
So. Did Chopp claim that the controversial language came from the gov? Was he accurately quoted? Cut to this video of Chopp at our endorsement meeting this month, edited by our own Eli Sanders, and decide for yourself:
If there's "revisionist history" here, it's not our accusation, it's between the House Speaker and the governor. I tried to reach Gregoire for an interview to raise this question a couple weeks ago but never heard from her. Today I reached Gregoire's spokeswoman (after calling and emailing yesterday), Karina Shagren, who says, "My understanding is that it did not come from our office. We need to figure where the conversation is going between the governor's and Chopp's office." I have a call in to Chopp but haven't heard back.
Finally, it's clear that Rep. Judy Clibborn (D-41) is the one who actually introduced his amendment. Does that mean she wrote it herself? Did it come from Chopp? The governor? I have asked Clibborn the question and will update if/when I hear back.
UPDATE: Viet Shelton, a spokesman for Gregoire, insists that the governor's office had nothing to do with the language. "The Speaker’s office made clear that cost overrun language was required in the bill or it wouldn’t move off the floor of the House. The language did not originate in the Governor’s office," he says.