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Sunday, March 9, 2008

Democratic Party Faithful Pissed at Speaker Chopp

posted by on March 9 at 22:06 PM

House Speaker Frank Chopp’s (D-43, Wallingford) decision for the second year in a row to kill Sen. Brian Weinstein’s (D-41, Mercer Island) bill that would have given homebuyer’s a guaranteed warranty has the typically partisan Northwest Progressive Institute hopping mad.

They’re naming names:

And yet we know that there are at least seven Democratic representatives in the state House who have foolishly sided with the BIAW and used their influence to block legislation the BIAW opposes, or at least pledged to vote against it. This includes SB 6385 - the Homeowner’s Bill of Rights.

Speaker Frank Chopp - 43rd District
Representatives Judy Clibborn and Fred Jarrett - 41st District
Representative Larry Springer - 45th District
Representatives Deborah Eddy and Ross Hunter - 48th District
Representative Mark Ericks - 1st District

Of all of these individuals, it is perhaps Judy Clibborn who has been the most honest about her position - though she hasn’t hesitated to deceive her constituents by explaining her opposition to SB 6385 using a canned BIAW response filled with false assertions and lies.
From: Clibborn, Rep. Judy
Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2008 2:48 PM
Subject: RE: Cause of action for negligent construction -SB 6385

This is a bad bill. I will do everything in my power to see that it does not get to the floor for a vote. It is currently in Rules and not eligible for a vote. IF it gets out, I will vote no.

The message speaks for itself. Judy Clibborn has allowed herself to be used as a tool of the BIAW. Rather than standing up for the people she’s supposed to represent, she has sold herself to the other side.

The BIAW will undoubtedly reward Clibborn’s loyalty with a check from its political action committee, the “Affordable Housing Council” - as it has done in the past:

11/06/2006: $700.00 from the WA AFFORDABLE HOUSING COUNCIL (general)
07/28/2006: $700.00 from the WA AFFORDABLE HOUSING COUNCIL (primary)
09/13/2004: $675.00 from the WA AFFORDABLE HOUSING COUNCIL (primary)
11/01/2004: $675.00 from the WA AFFORDABLE HOUSING COUNCIL (general)

At the same time, the BIAW will be working to ensure that Clibborn loses her Transportation Committee chairmanship by spending huge sums of money to help Republicans take control of Olympia. That is, after all, their agenda.

RSS icon Comments


Why isn't anyone working on it as an initiative? Couldn't someone just cut and paste the text of the bill into a voter sponsored initiative?

Posted by Chris | March 9, 2008 10:11 PM

God, they are not there to do the Republican's job for them, shit! Vote like fucking Democrats from a goddamn reliably blue state, JESUS

Posted by vooodooo84 | March 9, 2008 10:13 PM

@1 it will probably be harder to paint the homebuilding industry as evil compared to the insurance industry like last year's ballot measure (even if their lobbying efforts are worse)

Posted by vooodooo84 | March 9, 2008 10:15 PM

Great time to attack home builders as the whole real estate, building, buying - all of it is tanking big time .... and taking the whole economy with it.

There will now be PLENTY of choices out there for buyers. Also, there will be hundred of builders in bankruptcy. Sure, go sue. An empty pocket is not a good target.

Get out of Oly, get the national politics rolling.

By the way, it would be a Mercer Islander, Weinstien, who would be so concerned with the home buying problems of the rich.

And people RICH enough to buy a new home, perhaps, do not generate the same link with all voters as the hungry, homeless and sick.

Posted by Xeres | March 10, 2008 12:06 AM

It is really unfortunate that practically the entire Eastside Democratic House delegation is in the pocket of the BIAW. Ironically enough, on the state Senate side, all of the Eastside delegation — Democrats Brian Weinstein, Rodney Tom, and Eric Oemig, as well as Republican Cheryl Pflug — all support SB 6385.

We could use some progressive Democratic candidates to stand up to the BIAW incumbents in the August primary election. How about folks like Maureen Judge in the 41st, Keri Andrews in the 48th, and Brad Larssen in the 45th (assuming he files his candidacy papers on time for a change)?

Posted by Richard Pope | March 10, 2008 12:16 AM

Primary challengers?

Posted by dbto | March 10, 2008 12:16 AM

The only way Frank gets primary challengers who have a chance is if he publicly endorses Sen Clinton and tries to force superdelegates to vote for her.

Posted by Will in Seattle | March 10, 2008 12:22 AM

I'm an architect, and I am opposed to this bill. I understand the concerns this bill is trying to address- namely, shoddy construction by contractors who won''t stand behind their work. But this bill lumps all the members of the design team under the liability umbrella- it makes me, the architect, designer, or engineer, also liable for the work of the contractor. That makes us liable for work we did not perform. I'm already professionably liable for errors or negligence in the design, I don't need additional liability and if this law passes I won't be able to get professional insurance for my practice. Also, the 10 year warranty period is too long. After 10 years it will be too difficult to distinguish what constitutes a warranty item and what is a reasonabl expected maintenance or repair item. To confuse it more, contractors will be able to argue in some cases that the homeowner did not adequately maintain or care for the home during the warranty period, setting up protracted legal battles and making a general mess out things.
It's bad legislation written by someone who does not understand the construction industry.
Our building code, permit and review processes are already designed to ensure protection of the public for life safety issues. If some contractors are slipping through cracks in the system, we should address the enforcement of existing codes and not write new laws that only increase the ambiguity and confusion around enforcement.
This is not a "in the pocket of the BIAW" issue. It's a bad law and the BIAW is justified in opposing it. The AIA (American Institute of Architects) is also opposed to this bill and they do not always side with the BIAW.

Posted by grumpypants | March 10, 2008 1:02 AM

Colorado passed similar legislation 3-4 years ago, and I can honestly state that the only people who have benefitted from it are the lawyers. Construction litigation in this state has become so hairy, unwieldy and expensive that virtually all insurance companies have stopped writing business in the state. And that's for architects and engineers, as well as the contractors. What coverage that is available is hideously expensive and - I shit you not - specifically excludes coverage for negligence, which is kinda the whole point of E&O coverage. You folks should think long and hard before passing this bill.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | March 10, 2008 4:43 AM

Same right wing objections. Lawyers are the only ones who profit and this law will make the wrong people suffer.
The fact is there are a lot of shoddy houses going up and home buyers are getting stuck with the bill. The rich never want to take responsibility they only want to take your money. And the BIAW should be frozen out until they take some less partisan positions. Whomever it is at BIAW that blatantly supports right wingers should know they can't profit by ripping off the people who can least afford it. At least not until the Republicans take control again...

Posted by Vince | March 10, 2008 7:24 AM

God - Richard Pope has risen. AND now, takes on Frank Chopp. Ha, ha, ha.

How sad, and funny.

Richard, don't know you, but your politics are wretched and your track record in elections is - ZERO. Hence, your influence in setting policy is ZERO.

Posted by Angel | March 10, 2008 7:28 AM

Chopp is immune. Totally OK in his district.

You may not agree with all the the arcane legislative stuff, but The old Fremont Public Association is a model for community based programs to feed the hungry, and address tons of social ills, a list to long to name here - funded and working every day from a great community center on 45th. (relatively new) Frank has delivered big time in putting on the street old time leftist social ideas.

And it is all Franks baby. He is the Director, remember all legislators have real jobs. There is not a better track record in organizing such a program - about 20 years - in this state, and I suspect in America.

Sorry, if you don't live in the 43rd, you do not count.

If he chooses, Frank will die in office at a ripe old, old, old age.

(And this issue is better proposed in the long session next year. Weinstein is retiring, and that bodes better for the topic, he is not skilled in politics, and a bit of an ass)

Posted by Adam | March 10, 2008 7:45 AM

Clibborn, Jarrett, Eddy & Springer are the same 4 ass clowns who run transportation issues in the House. Clibborn was appointed to the chair position by none other than Frank Chopp. It's a good thing if you like roads over transit, hate the environment and think the east side is more important than Seattle. Chopp's district should dump him and elect a real democrat instead of a power hungry dictator who thinks any majority is better than a progressive majority.

Posted by Dr. Bob | March 10, 2008 8:03 AM

Grumpypants and other critics of warranty legislation: The legislature has tried for 8 years to create some remedy for homeowners stuck with crappy work, including design work. BIAW has defeated every effort. Their goal is to maintain the status quo. Washington law prevents claims for negligent construction, no matter how negligent and how much damage it does. Tell me Grumpy, if your design fails, or the structural design leads to collapse, why should you escape responsibility? You are only responsible for your negligence, not the builder's. Washington law is clear that you are only liable for your own negligence. If the builder screws up, you have nothing to worry about. Builders, architects and engineers are the only professionals who are immune from liability for negligence. Why should they get a free ride.

And, to the pessimist from Colorado, I'm confident that the industry can learn to prevent liability by training its members to improve construction methods, like they were 50 years ago, and thereby reduce the cost of insurance. That's what doctors, hospitals, drivers, and every other group does when it faces liability.

This Gang of 7 Half-Democrats are like the Trojan Horse. They are working from within the Democratic party to destroy it. They have all taken money from BIAW and cannot be trusted to be objective or fair. The House of Representatives, being the House of the People, would be better off without them. At least the Republicans are honest about their affiliation.

Posted by strauss | March 10, 2008 8:07 AM

Hey Josh -

It's an election year. You should do a big exposé on these trojan horse democrats and on Chopp. No wonder the House has failed on so many issues important to progressives. For the past four years they've apparently had the building industry and the business lobbyists running their agenda!

Posted by Young Dem | March 10, 2008 8:29 AM

Well, Josh, I'm one of those "party faithful," and I'm not so pissed at Speaker Chopp, because I understand what you and Dan and Goldy and Andrew simply refuse to get.

Frank doesn't control the votes of Clibborn, Jarrett, Springer, Eddy, Hunter, and Ericks, and he doesn't control the votes of Brian Blake, Dean Takko, or Lynn Kessler, either.

Just because twerp "progressive" bloggers demand that the Speaker club certain Democrats into submission on their pet causes doesn't mean that is necessary or desirable -- or even politically possible.

The Districts that these folks represent are not like Seattle, and do not become so just because people are elected with a D next to their names. In the Dan Evans world, these people might well have run as Republicans. Hell, Jarrett WAS one until mid-session.

Except now, the Republicans can not deliver SHIT for these Districts, so these folks run as Democrats.

Is that better or is it not? Would twerp bloggers prefer that they run as Republicans? Because hear this clearly: In these Districts there are not enough voters who are "progressive" enough to satisfy Josh -- and Clibborn, Springer, Hunter, and Eddy are the best we can expect -- for now.

None of these are bad people (I don't know Ericks), and none of them are dumb. They WILL respond to pressure from THEIR CONSTITUENTS, and that is where it will have to come from.

Their Districts will have to organize, either to influence the incumbents or to challenge them successfully in primaries. There is no shortcut.

In the case of the Homeowners' Bill of rights, aggrieved homeowners will have to organize along with activist Democrats in the relevant Districts and educate voters who the incumbents will respond to. They will have to demonstrate that they have the political muscle to either influence an incumbent's vote, or to deny that incumbent the Democratic party nod.

Right now that muscle does not exist in those Districts, and all the king's bloggers and all the king's men will not make it so.

Should the Homeowners' Bill of Rights become law? Absolutely yes! Are there the votes in the House? Certainly not. Will the Speaker vote yes when the votes are there? I'd bet on it. Will he use his muscle when the bill is one or two votes away? I'd bet yes on that, too.

Posted by ivan | March 10, 2008 10:55 AM

thanks Ivan - such common sense

what a delight - but - from some of the comments, the bill needs work too

next session ... the long session ...

Posted by zak | March 10, 2008 11:10 AM

There are 63 Democrats in the House; subtract 7 and you get 56 (thanks to Ross Hunter for doing the math). Fifty-six votes are MORE than enough to pass this thing.

I did not read nor analyze the bill, as it never came out of Rules. I DID cosponsor the bill w/Mark Ericks that launches the contractor licensing review. Yes, we do care about this issue, but haven't come to exactly the same strategy as Sen. Weinstein.

Many, if not all, of the seven targeted in this post were supported in the last election by BOTH the trial lawyers (pro on this bill) and BIAW (con), so I'm not seeing the importance of the BIAW-support angle.

We did pass important climate change legislation (enviros/conservationists), privacy bills (ACLU), have got SR520 moving along with an emphasis on transit linkages, a working families' tax credit, among other good progressive things.

Even if we didn't solve this problem, I think our overall track record is pretty good.

Posted by Deb Eddy | March 10, 2008 11:31 AM

Eh? Rep. Eddy is touting Climate Change legislation? Didn't Josh post about the fact she joined R's in killing 6580 when it was up for a vote in the House ten days ago? (passed the senate 31-18)

This is getting a bit surreal.

"Is that better or is it not? Would twerp bloggers prefer that they run as Republicans? Because hear this clearly: In these Districts there are not enough voters who are "progressive" enough to satisfy Josh -- and Clibborn, Springer, Hunter, and Eddy are the best we can expect -- for now."

Ivan - at least when Republicans suck-up to the Rovian Tom McCabe (biaw) they are honest about their position. Eastside Dems have been terrible on transit issues, too - and in that case, I wouldn't mind seeing somebody like Jim Horn win his old seat back. Again, at least Horn was honest about the fact he's doing Kemper Freeman's bidding. These eastside Democrats have tried to have it both ways: appeasing the deep-pocketed right wing interests ...and sucking up to enviros when it comes time to get an endorsement.

We Dems have plenty of seats to spare, and keep a decent majority. Why should we elect Dems who ignore basic progressive values, simply because the decided one day to stick a D next to their names?

Anybody remember that Tim Shelden guy? He reliably voted with the R's on resource issues, choice, gays, guns, propeerty rights - Eddy, Clibborn, Jarrett....they seems to be dead set on mimicking the Shelden model on transportation, consumer rights and the environment.

Posted by Jason D | March 10, 2008 6:10 PM

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