Paul Queary

Paul Queary, a veteran AP reporter and editor, is founder of The Washington Observer, an independent newsletter on politics, government and the influence thereof in Washington State.

Bulletproof? Dow Constantine Draws A Serious Challenger

Constantine, now 59, has never faced a real challenge from the left. Can Joe Nguyen, 37, pull it off? There’s no big scandal dogging Constantine or the county, which is generally considered to be pretty well-run, especially compared to the perpetually flaring dumpster fires down the street at Seattle City Hall. But Nguyen gets to run in the second year of pandemic discontent.

Brought to you by Uncle Joe’s Pile ‘o Cash: A Historic State Legislative Session

Operatives and lawmakers involved in the passage of the climate proposals this year say that the package was on the brink of collapse at several points during the session. The difference this year: lots of money available to the lawmakers, so no need to cut into sacred cows.

A Day in Governor Inslee’s Schedule

We hadn’t yet seen a day as top-to-bottom newsy as March 29. Here’s a spin through it, with some context and a few illuminating and not-so-illuminating explanations from Inslee’s office.

Evicted: The Incredible Shrinking State House Press

There have been plans to knock down the press houses for at least 20 years. One of the reasons it didn’t happen in the 2000s was the opposition of David Postman,⁵ who then presided over a three-person statehouse bureau for The Seattle Times in the Blue House’s best space, with a view of the capitol and the fountain.

Rent Control: How a Legislative Bill Dies

For opponents, the bill represented the thin end of the wedge of “real” rent control, something that could usher in decades of stagnant rents, tenants who never leave, depressed property values, and a system that would scare away investors in new housing projects.

Olympia Influence Watch: “Clean Fuel Washington” is actually Big Biofuel

Because we’re fans of both transparency and of getting to the bottom of things, we were happy to see this pop up at the Public Disclosure Commission a few days after the story ran, in which Clean Fuel Washington reveals that it is neither particularly Washington nor particularly clean.

Gambling Operator Makes a Big Bet on Sports Betting in Washington

Maverick Gaming, the largest non-tribal gambling operator in Washington State, quietly dropped an additional $1 million into its political action committee recently, likely in preparation for a signature drive to put a sports gambling initiative on the ballot in November.

Will Washington Really Have A Capital Gains Tax?

A relative handful of whales, some of whom you’ve heard of, will likely pay the lion’s share. For those high rollers, SB 5096 could carry a seven-figure price tag.

Two lessons on the Complicated Politics of Climate Change Legislation

Understanding Democrats who voted against a stricter clean fuels standard, and an alternative to Carlyle’s cap-and-trade plan gets a hearing in his committee

Whodunit: How a Key Part of Gov. Inslee’s Climate Agenda Died This Week

Opponents of the bill had the usual allies, but they also had opponents in the Democratic camp, fearful of crossing unions. Another factor was Covid, which slowed negotiations, so opponents were able to run out the clock.