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Monday, March 10, 2008

Oly Folly, Year 2

posted by on March 10 at 11:09 AM

In yesterday’s post about disgruntled Democrats condemning House Speaker Frank Chopp (D-BIAW) for snuffing out Sen. Brian Weinstein and Rep. Brendan Williams’s homebuyers’ rights bill, a commenter (“Young Dem”) wrote:

It’s an election year. You should do a big exposť 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!

That’s a good idea, Young Dem.

In the meantime, (sigh) check out this story I did last year at this time as the Democratic-majority session came to a close: “Misled: Democrats Have a Supermajority in Olympia. Progressive Legislation Is Being Killed. Who’s Blocking the Democratic Agenda? Seattle’s Frank Chopp, Speaker of the House.”

When this ran last year, Chopp was super pissed, and his sycophantic colleagues, who were more than happy to criticize him off the record, cheered him in caucus when he ridiculed the story.

Chopp was short-sighted to be pissed about a story like that. He should have peddled it east of the mountains as proof that, despite the “43rd District” tag by his name, he doesn’t represent Seattle.

In addition to the homebuyers’ rights bill (which the arch-conservative Building Industry Association of Washington, BIAW, killed) what else died this session:

1) A bill to make global warming a litmus test for new development

2) A bill to stop mentally ill people from getting handguns

3) A couple of bills to stop expanded strip mining on Maury Island

4) A bill to outlaw plastic grocery store bags

5) A bill to expand family and medical leave

6) A bill to expand health care

7) A bill to regulate payday loan interest rates

8) A bill to cap condo conversions

9) A bill to prevent landlords from discriminating against Section 8 tenants and

10) A bill to protect student free speech.

And that’s just a cursory Top-10 list of the bills I’ve been keeping track of this session.

Meanwhile, the legislature expanded the state’s right to get DNA samples, overruled King County’s right to enact local health code standards, and killed a bill to pass a progressive tax credit for working families.

Certainly, all of this can’t be laid entirely at Speaker Chopp’s feet. The Section 8 bill, for example, sailed through the House only to get bogged down in the Senate. And Chopp has made a stand for additional funding for low-income housing.

But his blatant sop to the BIAW on the homebuyers’ rights legislation is totally embarrassing.

RSS icon Comments


Josh - in two weeks this session will be forgotten. Please spare us a bit, Josh.

Chopp is in a safe district and he speaks for a lot of Seattle quite nicely on the long term. Or, the newbie grouch from Mercer Island was to take his place?

Dying by cutting your belly open is nice theater, but not the game in Oly. If you have the votes, voila, new law ... many of which are not needed at all.

Posted by Harold | March 10, 2008 11:44 AM

@1 - As one of Chopp's 43rd District constituents, I'm nothing but disappointed with his overall performance this session. At this point, he's certainly not getting my vote in his next re-election bid.

Posted by Hernandez | March 10, 2008 11:52 AM

@1 is right. It'll be forgotten. Unless there's a serious candidate to challenge the Speaker. Which will be hard to find in such a safe district with such a powerful incumbent.

I think the question Young Dem should have asked is "how do we get Chopp out of office?" Considering that there's an expectaction that the youth vote will be a major factor in 2008... could the Cap Hill youth vote fire Speaker Chopp?

Is it worth electing a Republican, knowing we can toss him/her out after two years? Will there even be an R to vote for?

Is there any Dem who would run against Chopp that could raise money and have enough name recognition to challenge the Speaker, and who wouldn't face (or care about facing) any political repercussions if s/he loses?

I'll vote for just about anyone to get that man out of office, but...

Posted by MAO | March 10, 2008 11:55 AM

@3 - Doesn't necessarily have to be a Republican. I think maybe a Green would have a better chance, although admittedly it still is a long shot due to the power of incumbency.

Posted by Hernandez | March 10, 2008 12:01 PM

@4 Good point. I often forget the third parties.

Posted by MAO | March 10, 2008 12:48 PM

You're the one who's embarrassing, Josh, for misrepresenting to your readers what's attainable.

There aren't the votes for this stuff right now, and the Speaker is elected by his caucus members, who represent THEIR constituents, and not commenters on Slog.

In other words, he can make his wishes known, but he can't control the members' votes.

And nobody is going to unseat him. The Cap Hill Youth vote? ROTFLMAO! Ain't happening!

Be a journalist and not a shill, Josh. We have the same agenda, but your view of how to get there is relentlessly and increasingly at variance with reality.

Posted by ivan | March 10, 2008 1:01 PM

@ 6,

I don't follow you Ivan @ #6. Who's Feit shilling for?

Also, he doesn't appear to saying anyone is going to unseat Chopp or run against him.

Please explain your point cuz I don't get you.

Posted by Chuck | March 10, 2008 1:22 PM

Chopp is protecting the Governor. And until she's elected with a very comfy mandate, she is going to pick and choose very carefully what she lets onto her desk to sign.

Posted by kds | March 10, 2008 2:54 PM

@6 Speaker Chopp represents this Slog commenter, much to his chagrin.

I bet lots of other Slog commenters and Stranger readers live in the 43rd as well. Something tells me that's sorta the Stranger's home turf.

As to unseating him (@7, @6 was referring to me @3), why not? Incumbency does not confer invulnerability, nor does a lock-solid district. Thinking nationally, three off the top of my head--NJ-CD 12 in 98, MD-CD 4 a few months ago, IL-CD 14 yesterday...

Even a strong challenge from the left might force Chopp to represent his constituents rather than the housing and roads construction industries he seems to represent now.

Anyway, as long as you think Chopp is invulnerable, why got all worked up because some wacky fools like me dream of a day when Jamie Pedersen and Ed Murray have a progressive seatmate for the 43rd?

Posted by MAO | March 10, 2008 3:30 PM

Jamie, Jamie - above

Is that the same Jamie the Stranger worked against about a year ago? Worked against big time

Frank Chop is not vulnerable at all

Posted by Carey | March 10, 2008 3:58 PM

I hear you on all of them except for the grocery bags. THAT'S just stupid. Come on Josh become a little more versed in reality.

Posted by midnight rider | March 10, 2008 4:13 PM

"10) A bill to protect student free speech."

Goddamnit, needs to label links that are PDFs. So now that Firefox is done crashing, can someone give me the shorthand of this bill? The title is a little vague.

Posted by Dougsf | March 10, 2008 6:13 PM

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