Get ready, huddled masses — the election is over, and that means the people you elected shift from the hard work of campaigning to the hard work of talking about doing stuff.
Around Washingtonland, the season of news releases is upon us. Assorted state lawmakers announce big ideas. It’s the champagne phase, before the cold reality of the legislative session turns fizzy policy dreams into achy, what-was-I-thinking hangovers.
The Sniff’s favorite part of this tradition is the Hero Bill — an inside joke aimed at proposals that everyone with an ounce of political acumen knows don’t have a chance of passing.
Lawmaking veterans (i.e., bored cynics) deride hero bills. What killjoys! Hero bills are fun — they make news. They’re plays for publicity, attention-grabbers, brand-builders. The Sniff once proposed a hero bill to stop the horrific treatment of lambs by the Hannibal Lecter administration. No votes (naturally), but tons of face time!
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Lawmaking veterans (i.e. bored cynics) deride hero bills. What killjoys! Hero bills are fun – they make news. They’re plays for publicity, attention-grabbers, brand-builders. The Sniff once proposed a hero bill to stop the horrific treatment of lambs by the Hannibal Lecter administration. No votes (naturally), but tons of face time!
The latest hero bill hit the Sniffbox on Wednesday, courtesy of Republican state Sen. Doug Ericksen, who represents the Bellinghamsters and Ferndalistas, a pair of northern clans.
As hero bills go, this one’s a doozy. Ericksen’s not fiddling around with banning ketchup on hot dogs (which would be totally sensible and popular). Instead, he’s proposing to criminalize what he calls “economic terrorism.”
Hey, that word sounds bad! Ericksen’s news release says his bill would create a brand-new felony applied to “illegal protests that block transportation and commerce, cause property damage, threaten jobs, and put public safety at risk.”
For good measure, the bill would apply to those who, “fund, organize, sponsor, or otherwise encourage others to commit acts of economic terrorism.”
Obviously, that bit is the most heroic part. Think of the law-enforcement opportunities — anyone who gives a thumbs-up to a protest on Facebook or Twitter could be hunted down and held accountable!
But despair, ever vigilant, stalks the hero — Ericksen might, might persuade a slim R majority in the state Senate to give his bill a perfunctory hearing. Even if he gets it through, he’ll run smack into the state House of Representatives, where Democrats hold an equally slim majority, not to mention leftover election rage. Apart from that, Gov. Big Jay Inslee, coming off a lopsided election victory, wields the giant veto pen.
In other words, Ericksen’s bill isn’t going anywhere, and he knows it. But look folks, you gotta make wild noise these days to get that sweet name ID.
The fine print: The Sniff doesn’t read contracts — maybe that’s why the royalty checks are so skimpy. But the shadowy leaders of LeMay — America’s Car Museum didn’t reach their all-powerful positions by skipping over the fine print.
Apparently, that’s why they’re suing the city of Tacoma and its banker over the terms of a loan that financed the chrome-plated car palace. Some sort of argument over payments on interest, apparently — it’s complicated stuff, kind of like when you’re sitting in the dealership showroom, and the salesperson tells you he’ll have to talk to the manager about terms, and all you’re thinking about is getting behind the wheel.
It’s complicated stuff, kind of like when you’re sitting in the dealership showroom, and the salesperson tells you he’ll have to talk to the manager about terms, and all you’re thinking about is getting behind the wheel.
The scary prospect is how this lawsuit ends. What if the city and its bank get tough and museum backers default? What if a crew of repo men takes over the museum, and downgrades the spiffy classic car displays to a line of ’90s minivans? Be afraid!
Reader intel: A Nose fan embedded in deep cover sends this ominous note regarding a fungal invasion at the Pierce County Annex, where the county auditor and county assessor hold bureaucratic sway over Pierceland’s denizens. Over to you, Carl:
“In front of the Pierce County Annex near 38th Street, the whole grass patch between the parking and the street on the south side is filled with fly amanita mushrooms (Amanita muscaria), a highly hallucinogenic mushroom. Also poisonous. Alice in Wonderland mushroom. Six inches across and bright red.”
What to make of this cryptic missive? The Sniff posted the red flag in the balcony flower pot, per Carl’s additional instructions. No response so far. You have to hope the mushroom guardians haven’t spotted him.
Empire Puyallup: Look out, Tacoma — Puyallup is shoving you out of the influence spotlight.
No, this isn’t about new county executive Bruce Dammeier, who hails from P-town (rumors say he’s scone-friendly.)
No, this isn’t about new county Executive Bruce Dammeier, who hails from P-town (rumors say he’s scone-friendly.) It’s not about Pistol Pam Roach, who’s not from Puyallup, though she’s about to represent it on said County Council. It’s not even about the Puyallup Fair (notice that The Sniff uses the event’s true name).
No, a far more powerful force extends a mighty arm from P-town — that would be Jim Mendoza, newly anointed Grand Master of Masons in Washington. He heads the Grand Lodge of Washington, which is a bit like being the statewide king of secret handshakes. Helps veterans, spreads good will across the state, etc. Stick that in your portfolio, Tacoma!