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Friday, April 13, 2007

Hey, Supermajority Democrats!

posted by on April 13 at 16:25 PM

The bill to protect Maury Island from strip mining— the bill that got stripped late last month thanks to some serious lobbying by mining company Glacier NW, needs to come up for one more vote today if it’s going to be amended back up to speed and/or at least pass the legislature in some form. (Today is the cut off for bills that passed one house earlier in the session to make it out of the other.)

It already passed the Senate back on March 6.

Activists who support the bill fear that the bill may just die in the House in the next hour.

Rep. Joe McDermott (D-34, West Seattle) has a series of amendments to strengthen the bill. I’ve got a call into McDermott to see where things are at as we tick toward 5 0’clock cut off.

Rep. Joe McDermott (D-34, West Seattle) just left a message on my voice mail (4:40pm) saying, “it’s a sad day for Puget Sound.” He says the Maury Island bill is dead.

The Republicans offered up 60 amendments “using the process to slow down the bill… to kill time” —and kill the bill.

McDermott explained that he and bill supporters Rep. Dave Upthegrove (D-33, Des Moines) and Rep. Eileen Cody (D-34, West Seattle) worked continually all week to get the bill to the floor, but “even if we stripped away some of the Republican amendments,” McDermott said, there still would have been enough—with amendment sponsors allowed three minutes each—to run interference.

“It’s extremely disappointing,” McDermott says.

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Josh--please list the Democrats who didn't support this bill so I can work against them next year.

And also shine a little light on the governor who stood on the sidelines on this one.

Posted by tiptoe tommy | April 13, 2007 5:13 PM

If Gregoire or Chopp wanted to save the sound more than kiss corporate ass, they would have delivered the handful of votes needed to pass the bill. Instead, Chopp refused to let them vote on it.

Posted by Maury | April 13, 2007 6:34 PM

Tommy @ 1:

Don't look to Josh to shed any light on anything. He's too busy whipping up the body-pierced masses in his futile, pointless jihad against the Speaker of the House.

Having spent three weeks of my life lobbying legislators, their staff members, and their constituents to try to get this bill passed, I can tell you that the votes weren't there to begin with.

Glacier had seven high-paid lobbyists on the floor, and they persuaded too many leislators that if they did not get this mine, roads and jobs would be at stake.

It was a lie, of course, but they got away with it. I heard just about every argument from every Democrat in the caucus who was either hostile or indifferent to this bill. They just didn't have the facts.

If this was a bill like the Family Leave Bill, for which we could slowly build support until there was no stopping it, we could plan a longer-range strategy.

But the clock is ticking on this one, and even if we come back with this bill or one like it in the next session, by then Glacier might have its Corps of Engineers permit. There's no telling what that time frame might be.

To succeed in another legislative campaign after losing this time, we'll have to make this a cause celebre and foster a real groundswell of public opinion that just was not there this time.

I have some ideas about how we might do that, but right now I need a whiskey.

Posted by ivan | April 13, 2007 6:37 PM

Maury @ 2:

You were in the caucus room, maybe, and you heard the Speaker "refuse" to let it come to a vote?

Quit drinking Josh's Kool-Aid. The Speaker worked pretty hard for this bill. I have an e-mail from Dave Upthegrove describing his efforts as "heroic." The votes weren't there.

Posted by ivan | April 13, 2007 6:41 PM

Ivan--I only pointed to Josh because he is the ONLY journalist writing on this issue.

I would hardly call Chopp's efforts "heroic" unless that is defined as too little, too late.

We need more public awareness on this issue. Puget Sound is something we should all care about.

Posted by tiptoe tommy | April 13, 2007 11:06 PM

Tommy @ 5:

#1, Josh is not the only journalist (if that's how you define him) writing on this issue -- the P-I, the Times, the Vashon Beachcomber, and several local blogs have been reporting on this issue all along.

#2, You can characterize Chopp's efforts any way you want to, but I was quoting Rep. Dave Upthegrove, the chairman of the House Select Committee on Puget Sound, who appears to be in a better position than you and I are to evaluate them.

#3, Yes, we do need more public awareness on Puget Sound. Failure to pass SB 6011 makes the Governor's touted Puget Sound Partnership a feel-good boondoggle if Glacier is allowed to mine gravel on Maury Island and barge it away.

They simply cannot move that much gravel over that period of time without spilling it and wasting the marine ecosystem.

Glacier will continue to prosper without the Maury mine, will continue to buy out or drive out its competition, and will continue to attempt to fix the price of sand and gravel in this state.

Why let them do it at the expense of the Sound?

Posted by ivan | April 14, 2007 6:09 AM

Ivan, we agree on the end goal. But the fact remains...if either Governor Gregoire or Speaker Chopp had made this a Democratic caucus priority it would have happened. They didn't because of their own choices.

Posted by tiptoe tommy | April 14, 2007 5:15 PM

Tommy @ 7:

They didn't make this bill a priority because it wasn't introduced until after the session started. By then their agendas were already in place.

If you get all or most of your political news from the Stranger, you might think that because there are 62 Democrats in the House, all anyone has to do is snap their fingers and say "this bill is PROGRESSIVE!" and BINGO! Instant gratification!

Well, not everybody who has a D next to their name is going to jump because Josh Feit says frog. Even when there is an agenda in place, and deals have been made, it is hard to get everything through that you want.

The votes were never there for this bill in the House. Yes, that came as a surprise, because the Senate was supposed to be the tougher chamber.

We wanted this to come to a vote, win or lose, so we could have a scorecard to use against any Dems who voted against us. But don't worry. We know who they were and they will hear from us.

The good news is that the enviros got most of what they wanted so this bill should be a true priority in the next session, assuming Glacier does not have its dock permits from the Corps of Engineers by then.

We will need Frank Chopp to help us get it, and pointing fingers at him and blaming him for lack of leadership at this point is no use at all, except for some stupid children I could name who think there is anything to be gained from it.

Posted by ivan | April 14, 2007 8:09 PM

6011 should have been a "no brainer" -- I agree with Josh. This bill was simple -- no industrial port in a sensitive aquatic area.

No matter who did what in Olympia the simple fact is this didn't even get a vote from the House.

A team of corporate lobbyists and attorneys gutted the bill in the "Select Committee to Save Puget Sound" (??????)and then prevented the vote on the floor--

So, even with a supermajority of Dems, it's business as usual in Olympia.

Good luck on saving Puget Sound -- looks like it's still for sale.

Posted by EnviroDem | April 15, 2007 8:33 AM

Frankly speaking, I have the same question as tiptoe tommy -- where was the Gov on this one?

She's all about saving the Sound so what's up?

I don't get it?

Posted by Frankly Speaking | April 15, 2007 8:58 AM


Land rapers will buy whoever they can buy. The party makes no difference. If you live in the 1st Legislative District (Bothell area, part of Woodinville), you might ask Democratic Rep. Al O'Brien how much they bought him for.


I am guessing we will hear from the Governor on how serious about cleaning up the Sound she is, as her re-election draws nearer.

I tried to warn her that the stakes would be higher for her if this bill did not pass (yes, even lowlife scum like me get to meet with the Governor on occasion).

I'll be repeating this point again and again, right up until this issue is finally resolved. Glacier will prosper whether this project goes forward or not. Puget Sound and the nearshore of Maury Island will be harmed irreparably if this project goes forward.

This project is about the short-term benefit to a giant multinational conglomerate that already monopolizes sand and gravel in this state, at the expense of the health of the Sound and the marine ecosystem.

Posted by ivan | April 15, 2007 10:22 AM

One more comment on this thread, this one directed to Maury @ 2:

I have it first-hand from two Democratic House members who worked long and hard for this bill that Speaker Chopp wanted to bring it to the floor even though it did not have the votes.

So your statement that "Chopp refused to let them vote on it" is contradictory to what these people, who I know and work with, tell me.

Posted by ivan | April 15, 2007 1:49 PM

Frankly speaking, I'm totally confused.

Glacier will prosper if this goes forward and Puget Sound will suffer -- so Ivan that makes sense.

So, can someone tell me why the Gov. didn't weigh in or if she weighed in why didn't she win? Nasty corporate dudes vs. protecting the Sound and the Gov didn't get the bill passed -- or did she try?

I still don't get it -- what am I missing???

Frankly, this makes no sense at all -- somehow we're missing a puzzle piece - what is it?? who is it? why?

Posted by Frankly Speaking | April 15, 2007 6:14 PM

Hey Ivan - The Speaker - especially this one - can decide what comes to the floor for a vote.

Posted by Maury | April 15, 2007 8:48 PM

Maury @ 14:

Yeah, and if he had brought this one to a vote, Family Leave wouldn't have gotten a vote.

Look, I LIVE on Vashon/Maury Island. Do you get it? This is MY community we're talking about here. The Republicans ran out the clock and forced the Dems to choose between 6011 and the Family Leave bill.

Frank made the right choice, and in his shoes, that's the choice I would have made.

I can name a dozen Democrats that you might justly point a finger at for this one. But the Speaker is not one of them. Sorry to disappoint you.

Posted by ivan | April 15, 2007 10:19 PM

So, I've got an idea.

Let's ask that it be added to the Puget Sound Partnership bill. I checked and that one made it through!

This would be great and the Governor would certainly support it.

How's that for an idea? How do we get this done -- no Republican corporate lobbyists can stop this!

Posted by EnviroDem | April 16, 2007 6:53 AM


The Governor, I'd have you know, is the *only* elected Democratic office holder whose jurisdiction includes Vashon/Maury Islands who has *not* enthusiastically endorsed the Maury Island Marine Reserve.

So we have Joe McDermott, Eileen Cody, Erik Poulsen, Dow Constantine, Ron Sims, Jim McDermott, Patty Murray, and Maria Cantwell all on record as saying loudly and clearly "block the dock," and from the Governor -- nada, zip.

You bet this has to be made part of the Partnership. But that has to be in the next session, and in the interim we have to create the groundswell, in our districts, that will induce the entire House and Senate Democratic caucuses to vote for it.

Posted by ivan | April 16, 2007 8:43 AM

So, why didn't the Governor get behind 6011? (I'm not buying that "her agenda was full".) It seems like a perfect start to putting her Puget Sound Partnership into practice.

Posted by Ethel | April 16, 2007 9:50 AM

Ethel @ 18:

That's a question that everybody should be asking the Governor -- repeatedly -- until we get a straight answer.

Posted by ivan | April 16, 2007 10:12 AM

For entry #15: Anyone who has watched Olympia for many years like I have knows they save bills that they want to die for the last day. If they really wanted the bill to pass, Chopp would have forced a vote on it the day before. The family leave bill and time shortage are convenient excuses. If they would have voted on the bill, at least we would know which representatives stand with Puget Sound and the environment, and which ones stand with the lobbyists and special interests. Maybe that's precisely why it never happened.

Posted by steve | April 16, 2007 11:36 AM

Steve @ 20:

What part of "we didn't have the votes" do you fail to understand? How much time are they supposed to take to prove a point at the expense of another bill, where they *did* have the votes?

They *did* have the votes for family leave, and the Rats *still* tried to filibuster it.

And still you want to blame Chopp? I call bullshit on all of that. You want to point fingers? Here are the Democrats at whom to point fingers:

Deb Eddy (48)
Larry Springer (45)
Roger Goodman (45)
Al O'Brien (1)
Judy Clibborn (41)
Brian Blake (19)
Dean Takko (19)
Deb Wallace (17)
Bill Grant (16)

And certainly not least, your House Majority Leader:

Lynn Kessler (24)

Give it up. We lost this time. We have to go get them in the next session, and these legislators are the ones whose votes we need to move.

Quit this futile, self-defeating Speaker-bashing and let's get to work.

Posted by ivan | April 16, 2007 12:38 PM

Question for 21. What is 62 (the so-called Democratic majority) MINUS these 10 turncoats? And how do you know who we should point fingers at when the bill was kept from a vote? Sounds like you are an insider who Chopp asked to watch SLOG. Even if you add him as a nonsupporter, that still equals 51. One more than what's needed to pass the bill. The fish rots from the head down.

Posted by steve | April 16, 2007 2:19 PM


Stop being willfully obtuse. I give a shit about this because I live on Vashon, as I have said upthread. The names on this list are those who I know *for sure* were opposed, from discussions with House members (including my own) and with our lobbyists.

Three House members who sweated blood to get this bill passed told me we didn't have the votes, period. So I'm supposed to believe *you?* I don't think so.

Posted by ivan | April 16, 2007 2:52 PM

Speaking Frankly, it seems that no matter how you look at it the Dems are in control and this bill got killed in the House. Right?

So, the next question is where's the Gov on adding 6011 to her big save the sound thing?

The Gov's a Dem right?

So, that should fly -- or not?

Posted by Frankly Speaking | April 16, 2007 6:42 PM

Sounds like the Gov may not want to answer any questions about 6011. We are left to wonder why...

Posted by ethel | April 17, 2007 10:00 AM

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