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Spin Control

Posts tagged: chris marr

Marr, Foster leaving Liquor Board

OLYMPIA – Two of the three members of the state board that oversees Washington’s liquor and marijuana laws will step down early next year.

Chairwoman Sharon Foster has informed Gov. Jay Inslee that she will not accept a reappointment to the Liquor Control Board when her term expires in January, and former state Sen. Chris Marr said he is leaving that month to take a position as a lobbyist. . .

 

Board delays pot rules

OLYMPIA — The state's rules for legally growing and selling marijuana will get another rewrite.

The Washington State Liquor Control Board voted unanimously this morning to delay final approval of the rules while the staff crafts new provisions in several areas, including a possible limit to the amount of marijuana to be grown in the state and changes to the way the 1,000-foot restrictions for stores will be calculated.

The changes were prompted in part by hearings around the state last week.

“We've definitely heard some things some people didn't like in the first rules,” Chairwoman Sharon Foster said. “Things have changed as people have become more educated on the issue.”

The new rules will be filed by the first week of September, and at least one hearing will be held on them in early October. The board would approve them, unless the hearing prompts further changes, on Oct. 16 and begin accepting applications for licenses for marijuana growers, processors and retailers in mid November. Under that timetable, the board would comply with the mandate of Initiative 502 to have rules in place by Dec. 1.

Board member Chris Marr said it was possible, but “highly unlikely” that the rules would have to be revised again as a result of the October hearing, unless there's some clear direction from the federal government how they will react to the state's legal system for recreational marijuana. Production, transporting and sale of marijuana remains illegal under federal law even though Washington and Colorado have legalized it for recreational use by adults and 19 states have legalized it for medical uses.

If there is some direction from the federal government “we'd be smart to heed that” even that meant missing the Dec. 1 deadline established by I-502, Marr said.

Gregoire: Reform liquor board and lottery

OLYMPIA – Washington should abolish the Liquor Control Board and see if a private company can do a better job of managing the state Lottery, Gov. Chris Gregoire said Thursday.

It should also spread some of the efficiency standards and cost-cutting measures successful in business, known as Lean, across more state agencies, she said in proposing a series of government reforms for the Legislature to consider when it returns next month.

Many Republicans and some Democrats said they wanted to reform government, to raise productivity and cut costs, before considering most of the cuts to programs and staffing Gregoire proposed last month or any tax increases like her proposal for a temporary half-cent increase in the sales tax.

The governor said Washington will likely have to do all three – institute reforms, cut key programs and raise taxes.

“I’d like them to come forward with reform ideas that would close a $2 billion hole,” she said.

To read the rest of this post, go inside the blog.

Baumgartner backs Marr

OLYMPIA — A few months ago, Mike Baumgartner and Chris Marr were locked in a generally contentious and historically expensive state Senate campaign in Spokane's 6th District.

Today, Baumgartner was openly supporting Marr — for a spot on the state Liquor Control Board.

Gov. Chris Gregoire's nomination of Marr to the board, which has to be approved by the Senate, came up for a vote in the morning session. Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown of Spokane, a fellow Democrat and longtime Marr ally, moved for his confirmation by reciting a long list of positions on Marr's resume.

That would have been enough to get the vote, which was pretty much a foregone conclusion. But Baumgartner, who beat Marr in the November election, rose for his first official floor comments.

“I've known Chris Marr from the campaign trail and I think he'll be an excellent servant to people in his new role,” Baumgartner said. Appointment passed 43-3.

Baumgartner was spared the hazing that usually accompanies a member's first speech for those comments. That will come later, he acknowledged.

Marr on state Liquor Board

OLYMPIA — Former state Sen. Chris Marr was appointed to the Washington State Liquor Control Board Thursday by Gov. Chris Gregoire.

Marr, who served one term in the Senate from Spokane's 6th District but lost his re-election on Nov. 2 to Republican Mike Baumgartner, replaces Linda Bremer on the three-member board that oversees the sale of alcohol and programs to prevent its misuse. The appointment starts Feb. 1, and must be confirmed by the state Senate.

Gregoire cited Marr's experience in the Legislature and in business, where he was managing partner of Foothills Auto Group before his election to the Senate.

“The public has indicated support for the revenue liquor sales generate for essential state and local services, improved convenience and most importantly — ensuring public safety is not compromised,” Marr said in the press release that announced the appointment.

Note on caucus membership lists

OLYMPIA— A state senator stays a member of his or her caucus until a successor is sworn in. Thus, Jean Berkey and Chris Marr and some others defeated in the 2010 elections remained on the Senate Democratic Caucus roster yesterday morning, and up to that point Senator-elect Nick Harper was not listed.

That explanation  comes from Jeff Reading of the Senate Democratic Caucus, in response to yesterday's post that noted Harper was on the Senate roster for the legislative Web page, but not on the caucus web site.

So clearly it was not, as Spin Control jokingly suggested, a case of the caucus staff being so busy with other stuff that they hadn't had time to change the website.

Marr ethics complaint dismissed

OLYMPIA — A complaint that an aide for Sen. Chris Marr improperly used a state computer for campaign purposes was dismissed Wednesday by the Legislative Ethics Board. The computer didn’t belong to the state, and it was used by Marr, not his aide, the board concluded.

The complaint was filed by Steven Neill, a supporter of now Senator-elect Mike Baumgartner in October. Neill contended that a campaign e-mail was sent out by Marr legislative aide Barb Bumann on state time and a state computer, and that Marr would thus be guilty of violating the state’s campaign law through “knowing acquiescence” of that action.

The ethics staff investigation concluded, however, that Bumann didn’t have a state laptop during the 2010 campaign season — or any other time. As Marr’s unpaid campaign treasurer, she did loan the campaign her personal laptop to file reports with the Public Disclosure Commission, and to send out campaign updates. She also gave Marr and some other campaign members the password so they could have access to the laptop; although the e-mails had Bumann’s name in the header, both she and Marr said he sent out the campaign e-mails.

“No evidence to the contrary was discovered,” the staff said. And the e-mails seem to be written by Marr, because they refer to “I, me and my opponent” and have his cell phone number on it, the staff said.

The complaint was dismissed for “lack of reasonable cause.”

 

Mapping the Vote: 6th District Senate race

Republican challenger Mike Baumgartner is beating Democratic incumbent Sen. Chris Marr in Spokane’s 6th Legislative District by strong showings in precincts outside the city of Spokane.

This map shows vote percentages from the end of election night.

Both sides misstate income tax positions of Baumgartner, Marr

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Claim: “With (Marr’s) tax increases, it’s hurting my employees and my business and the last thing I need right now is an income tax,” said Julie (who doesn’t give a last name and claims to be a Spokane business owner).

Source: TV ad from “Spokane Families for Change,” a group made up this year. It is funded completely by Working Families for Change, which is funded completely by The Leadership Council, a committee aimed at electing Republicans to the state Senate. Among the top contributors are the Washington Health Care Association, the Building Industry of Washington and the Washington Hospital political action committee. By diverting money like this, the true source of the money does not have to appear on ads.

Truthfulness: Perhaps true if Julie sells cigarettes. False as it applies to income tax.

Analysis: Incumbent Democrat state Sen. Chris Marr voted this year to increase the tax on cigarettes from $2.03 to $3.03 a pack. He voted against the other taxes that the Legislature used this year to balance the budget.

It should be noted, however, that even though Marr voted against the final budget, he voted for an earlier version of the budget that assumed new taxes would be approved, saying he wanted to move the process forward.

Marr and his Republican challenger Michael Baumgartner both have taken strong stands against the income tax in general and the proposed income tax on next week’s ballot. The ad cites the Democratic Party platform as the source for its allegation that Marr backs an income tax. But Marr never signed or took a pledge to the party platform.

Claim: Baumgartner “supports corporate income tax that would harm small businesses.”

Source: Mailer from Marr campaign

Truthfulness: Half-truth, maybe even quarter-truth.

Analysis: What Marr doesn’t say is that Baumgartner would only support the creation of a new business tax if the state’s unpopular business and occupation tax were eliminated. And, technically, Baumgartner is supportive of a single-business tax, which is similar to a corporate income tax, but different.

Baumgartner has endorsed the Washington Policy Center’s proposed single-business tax, which is based on a tax in Texas. It’s a hybrid between the business and occupation tax, which is a tax on revenue, and an income tax, which would be a tax on profits. The proposed tax would be a tax on revenue, but businesses could deduct their cost of labor or cost of materials or $60,000 under the proposal from the police center, said Carl Gipson, who co-authored a report for the policy center about the single-business tax.

Businesses have long called the B & O tax unfair because businesses have to pay it even if they’re not profitable. Gipson said the group looked for alternatives a corporate income tax, in part, because of constitutional and other challenges to the creation of a corporate
income tax. Marr has said he opposes the policy center’s proposal.

Marmots emerge as the surprise issue in the Baumgartner-Marr battle

Claim: “Chris Marr (D) has wasted too much time in Olympia. (He) voted to designate the Olympic Marmot the official endemic mammal of the State of Washington, voted to create Christmas tree inspectors, voted to require truth in music advertising (and) voted to designate the Lady Washington as the official ship of the State of Washington.”

Source: Mailer from “People for Jobs,” a group that gets all its money from Enterprise Washington’s Jobs political action committee, which gets its money mostly from business interests. Contributors include Comcast, Farmers’ Insurance and Puget Sound Energy. By diverting money like this, the true source of the money can be concealed on the mailers.

Truthfulness: The first sentence is for voters to decide. The second sentence is 100 percent true and could also be said about almost all Washington legislators from both parties.

Analysis: People for Jobs mailed at least three mailers targeting Marr so far this campaign season. All of them make some questionable connections to Marr, including one that talks about how someone stole $431,376 from a victims’ compensation fund - as if Marr had anything to do with it. He didn’t.

Imagine the ad that could have been produced if Marr had voted against naming the Olympic marmot the state endemic animal. Here’s a possibility: “Chris Marr hates school children. Marr viciously stomped on the dream of fourth- and fifth-graders at Wedgwood Elementary School when he voted against their proposal to honor the Olympic Marmot, which is found only on the Olympic Peninsula.” (Note to campaign operatives: It would be unfair to pullout the first sentence, use an ellipsis and post it on a mailer so it says: ” ‘Chris Marr hates school children ….’ — Spokesman-Review 10-29-2010.’ “)

The “marmot issue” really didn’t seem like a prominent campaign topic until this gem arrived in mailboxes. So let’s quickly review Senate Bill 5071 from 2009. Kelly Clark’s fourth-grade class had lobbied the Legislature for years on several proposals as part of her civics lessons. The marmot bill was the first to gain traction and pass. Final votes were 43 to 4 in the Senate and 84 to 13 in the House.

Ad check: Union-funded flyers misstate Baumgartner’s positions

Claim: “Michael Baumgartner pledged to outlaw all abortions - and to not allow women and their families to decide what’s best when facing serious medical complications in their pregnancies.”

Source: Mailer from Healthy PAC, which is funded completely by Safety PAC, which is funded mostly by Service Employees International Union and Planned Parenthood. By diverting money like this, the true source of the money can be concealed on the mailers.

Truthfulness: False

Analysis: This mailer is similar to a few other mostly misleading mailers against Baumgartner paid for mostly by unions through tactics that allowed them to be anonymous on the ads.

This claim is attributed to a Spokesman-Review article about the Spokane County Republican Party platform and to Human Life of Washington. The platform, which was signed by Baumgartner, defines life as from “conception until natural death,” but it does not specifically address if abortions should be allowed in cases when a woman’s life is at risk. Human Life of Washington CEO Dan Kennedy said his organization, which endorsed Baumgartner, does not ask candidates about their position about making an exception in cases when a woman’s life is in danger.

Baumgartner said he would support allowing exceptions in cases when the mother’s life is at risk. He said he would not support making exceptions in cases of rape. (Marr supports abortion rights and says he agrees with the state’s current laws related to abortion, which do not require minors to notify parents before receiving an abortion.)

Baumgartner added that he supports safety testing of children’s products (a similar ad falsely implied he didn’t. That mailer was paid for by Strong PAC, which is funded completely by CARE PAC, which is funded mostly by the Washington Federation of State Employees).

More Marr and Baumgartner ad fact checks are here and here.

And here’s one from today’s paper about false claims made by backers of Al French, who is running against Bonnie Mager for county commissioner.

PDC asks AG to take Dem strategist to court

OLYMPIA — The state Public Disclosure Commission voted today to ask Attorney General Rob McKenna to seek civil penalties prosecute a liberal political strategist for concealing the sources of money that helped defeat a Democratic incumbent in the August primary. The violations are so severe, the board said, the primary could be overtuned and the election redone.

The PDC voted 3-0 to reject an offered settlement of $30,000 from Lisa MacLean for disclosure violations in the campaign against state Sen. Jean Berkey of Everett. MacLean helped set up political action committees that concealed that labor unions were helping to fund a Republican challenger as well as a Democratic opponent to Berkey in the primary.

MacLean’s firm, Moxie Media, helped set up Progress PAC and Stand Up For Citizens PAC, which collected money from labor unions to support Democrat Nick Harper over Berkey, whom the unions opposed because of votes against key legislation in the last session. Moxie also set up two other groups, Conservative PAC and Cut Taxes PAC, which sponsored mailer ads and robocalls in support of Republican Rod Rieger. Pre-election reports didn’t disclose the source of the money for the pro-Rieger ads.

Harper finished first in the election and Rieger finished second, 124 votes ahead of Berkey.

A PDC investigation showed MacLean deliberately obscured the source of the money for the independent campaign helping Rieger. Contributions that should have been revealed before the election weren’t disclosed until almost a month after the election. MacLean kept her name off the ads, also, using the name of another member of the firm “because he has a lower profile,” the PDC staff reported. She created secondary PACs to move money around, and told donors it was unlikely they’d be linked to it before the election.

MacLean was willing to settle the complaint for $30,000 but the PDC board said the violations were, in the words of Commissioner Jane Noland “reprehensible.” They turned the case over to the attorney general under a statute that allows for a court to overturn an election if it finds violations by political committees may have effected the outcome. It also allows for fines of $10,000 for each violation of state campaign laws, and treble punitive damages if a judge determines they were intentional.

So why should readers in Spokane care about all this? Because MacLean and her company, Moxie Media, have been busy in the 6th District Senate race, too. More on that later, and in Friday’s Spokesman-Review.

Two GOP funders criticize anti-Marr ad

Two associations that gave money to a Republican group that is funding an ad against incumbent Democratic state Sen. Chris Marr criticized the spot and say they will reevaluate their political donation strategies in light of the commercial.

The Washington Health Care Association gave $30,000 to The Leadership Council, which is the fund dedicated to the election of Republicans to the state Senate. The Washington Hospital Association gave $20,000 to the council.

Leadership Council money has funded Spokane Families for Change, a political action committee created this month that paid for a commercial highlighting a 2005 sexual harrassment lawsuit against Foothills Automall. At the time, Marr was a co-owner of the dealership and a named party in the lawsuit. On Saturday, Dawn Fowler, the woman who filed the suit demanded that the ad to be removed from the air, called Marr “a good boss,” and said specific allegations regarding Marr in her suit that was quoted in the ad were untrue. She said she contacted Marr after seeing the ad.

“While we cannot stop the misleading and dishonest anti-Marr campaign ads, we want to make it abundantly clear that WHCA did not contribute money to the Republican Leadership Council for the purpose of preventing the re-election of Senator Marr,” said Washington Health Care Association President and CEO Gary Weeks in a letter to The Spokesman-Review.

Randy Revelle, treasurer of the hospital association’s political action committee, called Marr a “true champion of health care and hospitals,” in a letter to The Spokesman-Review. 

The hospital association and health care association, which represents nursing homes, also gave money to the Roosevelt Fund, which is dedicated to electing Democrats to the state Senate. The health care association gave $800 to Marr’s re-election campaign.

Revelle said when his group gave to The Leadership Council, he did not know that the money could be transferred to political action committees that would target individual candidates.

Asked why the organization doesn’t simply give its campaign money to individual candidates, Revelle said the group has found it important to give to party leadership funds, but that policy will be examined.

“If you want to have access to the leadership, you need to participate in their funding programs,” Revelle said. “We just have to decide in the future if we should take that risk again.”

 

Woman who claimed harassment calls for anti-Marr ad to be pulled from air

The woman whose sexual harassment lawsuit was highlighted in a recent campaign commercial against state Sen. Chris Marr demanded Saturday that the ad be pulled from TV.

In a hand-written letter released by the Marr campaign, Dawn Fowler said she was outraged when she saw the ad.

“I want voters to know (Marr) a was good and responsible boss,” Fowler said in the letter. “I have never contended that he was guilty of sexual harassment, as the ad claims. My issue was with co-workers and others at Foothills Auto, not Chris Marr.”

Marr is a Democrat in the midst of a heated re-election bid against Republican Michael Baumgartner.

In a brief interview Saturday afternoon, Fowler said that she reached out to Marr after seeing the ad and that all the words in the letter are hers.

“The families involved have worked to put this troubled issue behind us and move forward,” she wrote. “It’s too bad Chris’ opponents can’t just focus on real issues rather than bring up things to hurt other people.”

 

Group funding anti-Marr TV ad — Spokane Families for Change — not funded by Spokane families

A new TV commercial began running this week criticizing state Sen. Chris Marr for running an auto dealership that settled a sexual harassment lawsuit with an employee.

The issue popped up in Marr’s first run for office in 2006. Marr, a Democrat, is in a heated reelection battle with Republican Michael Baumgartner.

We at Spin Control haven’t seen the ad yet, but we are told it was financed by a group called “Spokane Families for Change.”

According to the Public Disclosure Commission, Spokane Families for Change raised $80,000 from one donation from a Kirkland-based fund called “Working Families for Change.”

The Kirkland group’s $200,000 came entirely from three donations this year from “The Leadership Council.”

The Leadership Council’s has raised $827,000. The biggest donations are from the Republican State Leadership Council, Washington Health Care Association, the Building Industry Association of Washington, the Washington Hospital Association political action committee, Sabey Corp., Katsam, Anheuser-Busch, Bank of America, Comcast and MillerCoors.

Only four individuals with Spokane addresses are listed as contributors to the Leadership Council. They each gave $500: John Condon, Terrill Hunt, David Moore and Larry Moran.

Ferris hosting next battle between Baumgartner and Marr

The Ferris High School debate team will host a debate Wednesday between incumbent Democratic state Sen. Chris Marr and his Republican opponent, Michael Baumgartner.
The two candidates, who are fighting one of the most expensive state Legislative battles this year in Washington, hope to represent the 6th Legislative District, which surrounds central Spokane on the north, west and south.
The debate starts at 7 p.m. in the Ferris High School auditorium. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the Ferris Jazz Orchestra will play until the political forum starts.

(If you’ve seen the two debate so far this election season, you’ll find the boxing poster imagery quite relevant.)

KHQ says Baumgartner deleted questions from station’s Facebook Q & A

KHQ is reporting that Republican state Senate candidate Michael Baumgarter deleted questions to him from Facebook users during a KHQ Facebook interview last week.

Mark Billings, executive assignment producer at KHQ, said the Baumgartner campaign admitted to deleting questions they felt were biased and likely written by supporters of his opponent, incumbent Democrat state Sen. Chris Marr.

This campaign season, KHQ’s Facebook page has hosted question and answer sessions with almost 10 candidates. Billings, who has organized the events, said candidates come to the KHQ newsroom and are signed on using KHQ’s Facebook account.

Billings said the session was monitored by a KHQ staff member, but that person was looking for cuss words and vulgarity. The moderator didn’t notice that some questions had been deleted.

Baumgartner, who was the 7th candidate to participate in the KHQ Facebook feature, was told that he had the right to “answer or not answer any question.” Billings said. He also was told that a moderator would be watching the posts and to check with the moderator if problems arose.

Billings said he did not specifically tell Baumgartner that he was not allowed to delete posts, but that ”I felt that was pretty clear.”

Here is a bit of what KHQ posted on Facebook earlier today about the incident:

 

Baumgartner will halt campaigning temporarily this weekend

The ding dongs Michael Baumgartner will hear this weekend won’t be from ringing the doorbells of potential voters.

They will be wedding bells.

(OK, that was dumbest lede ever, sorry.)

Republican Michael Baumgartner will get a break this weekend from the state’s costliest legislative race to get married.

He and his fiancee, British citizen Eleanor Mayne, aren’t just going to the Courthouse. They’re getting hitched in front 200 or so people on Sunday at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes in downtown Spokane. Reception to follow at the Spokane Club.

The unusual timing, Baumgartner said, is related to Mayne’s citizenship. She was granted a fiance visa in August, giving them three months to make it official. 

Baumgartner acknowledged at a debate that will air tonight on KSPS that wedding planning has taken him from the campaign trail. But he says he doesn’t regret having to take time from the contentious race.

“I’m excited to be getting married to the love of my life,” Baumgartner said after the debate.

The race between incumbent Democratic state Sen. Chris Marr in the Sixth Legislative District has been highly contentious. Both sides accuse the other unfair, negative campaigning.

Baumgartner said he met Mayne when both worked for Civilian Police International, a company that had a contract to run a wheat seed distribution program in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province. Baumgartner was there from December 2008 until August 2009.

Marr campaign warned to display party affiliation

The state Public Disclosure Commission plans to send a warning letter to the campaign of state Sen. Chris Marr for not mentioning his Democratic Party affiliation in a TV ad.

Phil Stutzman, the PDC’s director of compliance, said the commission decided not to open a formal investigation because Marr’s campaign agreed to change the advertisement.

The PDC received a complaint about the ad from Curtis Fackler, vice chairman of the Spokane County Republican Party, on Sept. 23.

Stutzman said he viewed the ad and agreed it violated campaign law that requires candidate ads to list party affiliation.

Marr said the lack of a party affiliation in the ad was “an oversight” and corrected as soon as the campaign learned of it. A copy of it on YouTube was still available as of 5 p.m. today, but was pulled by 5:45 p.m.

Baumgartner said Marr is hiding his party affiliation, despite his position as the Majority Whip in the state Senate.

“It just seems that Marr is for some reason embarrassed to be running as a Democrat,” Baumgartner said. “The law says you should put your party affiliation on there and you should.” 

Marr said he isn’t running from his party and said all his other advertising has listed the correct affiliation.

“If Baumgartner wants to make a big issue of it, I suppose they can,” Marr said. “I would say that there are more substantive things to talk about.”

Baumgartner, Marr talk budget cuts

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Here’s the second in a series of videos with incumbent Democratic state Sen. Chris Marr and his Republican opponent, Michael Baumgartner.

They describe cuts that they think should be made to state government to help balance the budget.

The first video, where they answer: “Would you support raising taxes to help balance the budget?” is here.

Check back later this week to hear them giving their positions for paying to extend the North Spokane freeway south of Francis Avenue.

 

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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