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RSS icon Comments on Chopp's Shop? Sommers's Reign?


Helen has five times the IQ and twice the testosterone of Chopp...

Posted by StrangerDanger | November 27, 2006 6:48 PM

I agree that she beats Chopp hands down. That being said, if you can't get what you want done in 30+ years you should retire.

I lived in the 36th when Woldt ran against Sommers. There was a lot of bad blood across the board, but that being said there was and still is a pretty significant anti-Helen contingent that thinks she should have been gone long ago.

Given that I think Chopp is a bit of a weenie, I think it should be all settled through a jello wrestling contest, to be held on the border of the 36th and 43rd districts.

Chopp has an opportunity to step into Murray's shoes a bit and take the lead on Seattle's transportation issues. As Speaker he could set things up pretty nicely (especially given the fact that the new transportation chair won't be from Seattle). It would be nice if he'd actually do something other than help Wal-Mart.

Posted by Dave Coffman | November 27, 2006 7:06 PM


You keep looking for nefarious reasons for the things Chopp is doing. It frankly is starting to smack of a political agenda and flies in the face of the role *structurally* of Speaker in those cases of a government made up of an Executive and Speaker of the same party.

There are of course plenty of individual examples of D legislative leaders in partisan govts. going after D Mayors, Govs, and Presidents...same goes for R legislative leaders going after R Mayor, Govs, and Presidents. This is usually when the legislator has an axe to grind or has political ambitions to take their job. Structurally though it is in the best interest of a D speaker to work with a D gov because maintaining the primacy of the party benefits them all.

Creating 3 committees with nearly a 2 to 1 Democratic majority to replace 1 committee triples the number of committee victories the D's have and increases the liklihood of winning more full House votes.

Rep. Sommers may be unhappy about losing some of her individual power as an elected, but it's a sacrifice to INCREASE the power of D's in the State House.

Similarly, your column last week about Speaker Chopp and the letter sent to Gov. Gregoire said: "If she goes with the tunnel option, he can use his clout as speaker to rally the caucus against her whenever he feels like it. This is a serious threat to Gregoire. She's approaching her critical third session as governor and needs a record of achievement when she goes out for what's sure to be a tough reelection bid."

This is a similar perversion of the role of Speaker to the one you post here now. This letter is only an indication that Chopp may rally the caucus to oppose funding the tunnel...rather than "anytime he feels like it." Chopp doesn't have it out for Gregoire. If he was eying the Gov's seat that would be another thing. But they are on the same side of the aisle.

Gregoire probably even suggested that Chopp write the letter and get sigatures of D's who are worried that they may face a R challenge if they let themselves be pressured by Seattle to support tunnel funding. This letter also - in case the tunnel goes forward - distances those D's from the tunnel. Electeds do this all the time when they worry about baggage from an upcoming vote coming back to haunt them some time in the future...get it on record early, don't just count on the public record of your vote. Some things are SO bad that you need proof that you fought them to isolate yourself. This letter tells me that they think a vote to support tunnel funding is THAT threatening...

You are confusing the power he could in theory wield to throw his weight around with the real *protective* and *strategic* role he is exercising with this letter as speaker and party leader.

D's supporting the tunnel in Seattle are acting like bad D's. Their position threatens the party on the state and federal levels in 2 years when the R's are looking for issues to run against D's on. THAT was the point of Chopp's letter. Further, I believe, this is what Chopp is organizing to avoid (with lots of legislative accomplishments) with the committee reorg.

Posted by LH | November 27, 2006 7:59 PM

"D's supporting the tunnel in Seattle are acting like bad D's. Their position threatens the party on the state and federal levels in 2 years when the R's are looking for issues to run against D's on."

I was suprised that McGavick had a chance to do so this year and yet didn't. Maybe he didn't understand how the whole Viaduct issue makes the Ds look assinine because of their inability to do anything after almost 6 years -- abd it could get worse since Gregoire let herself get boxed-into choosing between the two very stupid and unrealistic options of the Tunnel or the Rebuild. (No I am not pimping for the Surface Option which I believe is also unrealistic -- unless you dislike drivers and people from Ballard and West Seattle.)

Posted by David Sucher | November 28, 2006 5:32 AM

Remember, though, that McGavick doesn't care about local issues. He just wanted to be your Senator so he could go to DC and talk about "big ideas".

Posted by laterite | November 28, 2006 8:07 AM

The 'big idea' illustrated by the Viaduct situation is that _the Dems can't manage._ Even in the face of what they themselves call an 'emergency' they dither and, so far as I can see, come up only with impractical solutions.

Posted by david Sucher | November 28, 2006 10:16 AM

The 'big idea' illustrated by the Viaduct situation is that the Dems can't manage. Even in the face of what they themselves call an 'emergency' they dither and, so far as I can see, come up only with impractical solutions.

Posted by david Sucher | November 28, 2006 10:17 AM

David Sucher,

Uh yeah, the Dems have only managed us into the best economic and legislative health this state and its government have ever had.

The Repubs would have blown it all on Enron stock, tax cuts for billionaires and gay bashing rallies.

Posted by Andrew | November 28, 2006 10:42 AM

I agree with 3, stop your hating, Josh. So, the tunnel's dead, deal with it.

Posted by Will in Seattle | November 28, 2006 10:42 AM

LH - While I understand where you are coming from in your argument it also really pisses me off. I get so angered about Seattle D's whimping out on getting Seattle what it needs and is entitled to because of fear of the eastside / statewide vote. Maybe all those Seattle Dem's who get reelected without a challenger should get off their complacent lazy asses and work on building political capital.

The D’s have the majority – a significant majority – in both houses and we the Governor’s house. We can spend the next 2 years playing defense and trying to fuck over liberal Seattle to prove that D’s are not beholden to Seattle or, we can actually grow a left nut and fight for an urban agenda.

Remember the Urban Archipelago? (“…pandering to rural voters is a waste of time…’ We can also start to challenge this stupid notion that we are gobbling up all the resources of the state when the reality is that Seattle is a ‘donor’ to the rest of the states programs and infrastructure.

Posted by Crankster | November 28, 2006 11:54 AM

Yeah, I agree largely with Crankster. Let's take this large majority out for a spin and see what it can do. It's time for the Dems to grow some testicles.

Playing defense only plays into the hands of the R's. The D's made significant gains in the last election- and any more gains will be much more difficult from here on out. Both the House and Senate are just shy of supermajority status, which if a couple of seats were flipped in the next election cycle to the D's would happen. I think that actually would help the R's (they'd claim complete and total domination by the D's to the voters... and would have a point). Now is the time for the D's to think big, push for big plans and make things happen. Now is NOT the time to play defense.

Additionally, given the vitriol of the last governor's race, it's 50/50 whether the D's hold the mansion in 2008. Gregoire has accomplished more than I thought she would, but she still hasn't come out with anything of substance that lays the vision of where the state is going for the next generation. That ability is where real leadeship lies, along with the cajones to get it done.

If the whining across the party doesn't stop, the D's will not only fail to accomplish much but will be subject to punishment at the polls when the R's claim that it's not their fault. Our memory only has to look at the election earlier this month to have a graphic view of how that happens.

Posted by Dave Coffman | November 28, 2006 12:35 PM

Crankster and Coffman -

I'd agree WHOLEHEARTEDLY with you if we were talking about "getting Seattle what it needs" - *AND* that "something" was a thing that there was a Seattle consensus, for instance, the fight in the 2006 legislative session for discrimination protections for people based upon sexual orientation.

It makes no sense to fight the good fight and suffer the consequences when there is no agreement on whether it *IS* the good fight. It's one thing for the letter signers to worry about a R challenge, it's quite another thing when they're worried about getting the support of registered D's because of this issue.

If the tunnel goes forward it's going to be very destructive not just on the federal and state levels but locally folks like Chopp and Gregoire KNOW that when the chips fall they won't even have a unified Seattle to fall back on.

Posted by LH | November 28, 2006 1:27 PM

Want to elect Rossi in 2008? Encourage the Democratic caucus to support the AWV Tunnel (or, for that matter, tearing down the AWV and replacing it with nothing).

All of the Chopp-bashing in the Stranger agenda is transparently the result of his support for replacing the AWV in-kind (which, I might remind you, more than 50% of voters in the City limits agree with), and completely discounts all of the great work he has done to build a Democratic majority and support other progressive social justice issues.

You won't just have a Rethug Governor if the D's push too hard on some issues, you might just lose a few Democratic House and Senate seats, too.

Chopp is dead right, folks. Capitol Hill-centric thinking won't fly among a good number of City Dems, let alone the suburban and exurban ones. Ignore his wisdom at your (and our) peril.

And please keep in mind that your "urban agenda" will actively fuck over a good part of the western half of the City of Seattle (you know, those 80,000 West Seattleites that the Stranger repeatedly and inaccurately refers to as living in the suburbs).

Posted by Mr. X | November 28, 2006 1:34 PM

Mr. X,

I live in West Seattle and I'm in favor of the surface street option because it's the cheapest and building more capacity just means encouraging more pollution spewing cars, so you don't speak for all of us.

I'd rather see the so far non-existent tunnel/rebuild funds go towards education and public transit.

Posted by Andrew | November 28, 2006 2:48 PM

Problem is Andrew that there are no public transit plans for West Seattle. None. Or Ballard. Or Greenwood. Or Richmond Beach. Or Normandy Park. Or White Center. Look at Sound Transit's Phase 2. There is NOTHING in those plans for anything to be done/built/proposed/accomplished west of Highway 99 north or south of Downtown. It's like Ballard and West Seattle have been completely left out of the metropolitan area picture.

You want to talk revolt? Let's see what happens when upwards of 250,000 people (what I estimate lives W of Hwy 99 from the King County Border to SeaTac) completely and totally gets left behind with regards to this fallacy of "regional transit planning".

Posted by Dave Coffman | November 28, 2006 3:00 PM

Frank Chopp is wrong about the tunnel. Pissing off a large part of the democratic base in this city by building the big ugly elevated viaduct and starting a battle between the city and the state is not good for the governor, Seattle, or the rest of the state.

Helen Sommers has been good for a long time, but now she has Margaret Pageler/Paige Miller disease. Once you start talking down to the public and saying, "you don't understand the issues"--it is time to go.

By and large, Seattle's delegation to the leg is ineffectual and underwhelming. They don't even caucus together on a common agenda like Tacoma and Spokane. And they are all Democrats! If we lost them all, it would be no great loss.

Posted by i prefer a reality based commute | November 28, 2006 3:03 PM

Will In Seattle,
This post wasn't about the tunnel. It was about some fun bickering between two powerful Democrats. A perfect newsy sloggy item in the run up to the session.
And, wtf, case you don't read Slog enough (???), half of my post output is about bashing the tunnel. I'm not for the tunnel.

Posted by Josh Feit | November 28, 2006 3:09 PM

No Josh, ultimately you are working for an elevated viaduct. The surface option has no money for any of its improvements so it is not a real option, just a talking point.

Posted by i prefer a reality based commute | November 28, 2006 3:13 PM

Mr. X is correct. The tunnel is the Elect Dino Rossi option.

The key to Gregoire winning in 2008 is to keep the Eastside as blue as it is now. Deliver 520, don't give away the farm to Seattle on the Viaduct, and she's in.

Posted by A | November 28, 2006 3:24 PM

A's analysis sounds a lot like southern Democrats saying, moderate your message and we will win.

Well, A, the public always chooses real Republicans over faux Republicans every day. What they really want is real leadership with a little bit of cojones...

Posted by i prefer a reality based commute | November 28, 2006 3:29 PM

Well Andrew, that makes one of you (and I seriously doubt that support for the PWC scheme in West Seattle gets even close to its already pathetic citywide poll number of about 15%).

Posted by Mr. X | November 28, 2006 6:27 PM

Reality-Based Commute,

The proposed elevated replacement for the AWV has over 50% support among city residents, where the tunnel has less than half that.

Just who's on the wrong side of Seattle voters?

Posted by Mr. X | November 28, 2006 6:29 PM

It ain't about Seattle- and Seattle D's better hope that Sommers wins this battle and is there to hold the line on the budget, or ya'll will see a repeat of '93-'94...

Sommers is where she is at because she is the best there is- and some of us notice that those very "progressives" such as the SEIU, who claim that Helen needs to go, were down in southwest Washington supporting Don Benton and Joe Zarelli in 2004, and were over east of the lake supporting Luke Esser this year.

What that says is they are less interested in "progressive" and more interested in the very short-term question of "who will give us a blank check THIS year?"

Sommers knows that Democratic majorities are built not in Seattle, but in the Puget Sound suburbs, and that is the constituencies that must be kept satisfied. When you add the Seattle opposition to idiocies like the tunnel to suburban attitudes of "If Seattle wants to spend that kind of money, let Seattle foot the bill", Seattle is going to continue to be the tail on the donkey, not the controlling impulses.

Get used to it.

Posted by Captain Wierd | November 28, 2006 9:11 PM

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