Election 2011

Costco says it will offer job interviews to any Washington state liquor worker who is displaced when stores close in June.

Charla Bear / KPLU

Now that voters have kicked the state out of the liquor store business, some people are looking forward to changes in how they buy booze. Others, though, say the decision is not cause for celebration. 

Perhaps it was the struggling economy. Perhaps it was the thought of paying triple figures for vehicle registration. But Seattle voters did something on Tuesday they don't often do: They said no to a tax increase.

Associated Press

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The mood in state liquor stores across Washington is subdued. More than nine-hundred state employees face lay-off with the passage of Costco-backed Initiative 1183 .

Washington voters have ended nearly 80 years of state-controlled liquor sales. As of Tuesday night, Initiative 1183 was passing with 60 percent of the vote. The measure privatizes the sale of booze and closes state liquor stores.

Seattle Times reports that the second try, plus more than $22 million, was the charm for Costco Wholesale in attempting to kick the state out of the liquor business and allow private retailers to sell liquor in Washington.

Initiative 1183 was passing with more than 60 percent of the early returns, including King, Pierce, Snohomish and Spokane counties. "We are very pleased and grateful to all of the coalition members across the state," said Joel Benoliel, Costco's chief legal officer.

Tacoma News Tribune reports that Tacoma voters are easily passing citywide ballot Initiative No. 1 – the measure seeking to make “marijuana or cannabis offenses … the lowest enforcement priority of the City of Tacoma.

After initial ballot counts posted as of 8:15 p.m., 65 percent of voters (16,888) were favoring the measure, compared to 35 percent of those casting “no votes” (9,240 total).

Early election returns show Tim Eyman's anti-tolling initiative is failing.

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington voters have approved a constitutional amendment that requires the Legislature to set aside cash during boom years.

Seattle voters are saying "no" to new taxes to help pay to patch potholes, improve bus service and plan for future transit needs. Proposition 1 would've levied an extra $60 annual fee for vehicle registrations in the city. It was being defeated 60 percent to 40 percent, according to early returns Tuesday. The measure was a top priority of Mayor Mike McGinn and the City Council. It would've raised about $200 million over 10 years. Proponents said it was necessary to continue investing in the city's transportation infrastructure.

Erin Hennessey / KPLU

OLYMPIA, Wash. — This is the last chance for voters to have a say in this year's election. Washington ballots must be postmarked or returned to an official drop-off site on Tuesday.

An embarrassing computer glitch -- but one that anyone can relate to -- in King County explains why 11,000 voters didn’t receive their ballots until just over a week before Election Day. And, just as that problem was resolved, Washington's Secretary of State discovered that 21,000 voters around the state may not have received ballots.

The county’s election director, Sherril Huff, has been invited to the Metropolitan King County Council’s Committee of the Whole on Monday to talk about 11,000 unmailed ballots, the council reports in a press release. 

Saying he's basing his decision in part on the fact that state government needs more money, Attorney General Rob McKenna says he'll vote for a measure that would privatize liquor sales in Washington.

Statewide initiatives on the Washington ballot have many people here still studying up and wondering how to vote. Registered voters have about a week left to make up their minds. Two of the most talked about issues are whether to get rid of state-run liquor stores and on how highway tolls can be spent. A survey of voters, done by researchers at the University of Washington, offers some insight into what voters might decide after all the votes are tallied.

The statewide Washington Poll, put together by UW political science Professor Matt Barreto, says the liquor privatization measure, I-1183, will likely pass because it has the hit the crucial tipping point of 50 percent. Barreto's poll says only 43 percent of those surveyed opposed the measure.

Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

Tough times demand tough leaders.  But what kind of tough?

Voters from places as diverse as Stanwood, Edmonds and Everett are deciding who will serve as Snohomish County Executive.

Incumbent Democrat Aaron Reardon is seeking a 3rd term. His Republican challenger is Mike Hope, a state lawmaker who is a former Marine Corps reservist and works as a Seattle police detective. 

Keith Seinfeld / KPLU

If you ever drive or walk in Seattle, it’s easy to spot places where the streets and bus system could work better. Voters have a chance to make improvements this fall, if they approve a $60 licensing fee on every car in the city.

However, some complain that the measure would cost too much and deliver too little. 

As people across Washington face the deadline to pay their property taxes – Seattle is asking homeowners to consider shelling out even more next year.

The Families and Education levy is up for renewal on the November ballot … at double the cost to taxpayers. 

Joel Goodman / Flickr

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The fight to privatize liquor sales in Washington just got a lot more expensive. Costco has dumped another $9 million into the Yes on Initiative 1183 campaign.

That brings the wholesale giant’s total spending to more than $22 million – a state record for a ballot measure.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A $20 million war over liquor privatization in Washington is filling the airwaves. Both sides of Initiative 1183 are serving up contradictory claims. One key point of contention: will liquor consumption go up if private retailers take over the sale of hard alcohol? The "No" campaign says it will.

If Initiative 1183 passes, state liquor stores will close and larger grocery stores will be allowed to sell booze. In fact, Washington's Office of Financial Management estimates the number of outlets selling spirits will increase by a factor of four.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington voters are getting bombarded with a twenty million dollar fight over the privatization of hard liquor sales. Initiative 11-83 on the fall ballot would close state liquor stores.

Costco and other large retailers are funding the "yes" side in an effort to pick up that business. Beer, wine and spirits wholesalers are bankrolling the "no" effort. Both sides make wildly contradictory claims.

Business banning together to influence elections in Washington is nothing new, but this group may not be the usual suspects with the usual politics.

The newly formed group, the Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy (CASE), announced in a press release today that it is poised to take action in the upcoming Seattle elections with more than 40 companies already supporting it. The PAC members, it said, represent sectors that include restaurants, retail, manufacturing, construction, tourism and recreation, real estate, finance, professional services, transportation and life sciences.

Liam Moriarty / KPLU

Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:

  • Thousands Mourn Slain Guard as Investigations Continue
  • Pierce Transit Ballot Defeated
  • School Votes Mixed

 

Guard's Memorial Draws Huge Crowds

Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:

  • Feds Need to Help I-5 Mess near Lewis-McChord Base
  • Bellevue Business Giant Resigns Over Eastside Light Rail
  • Election Day for Pierce Transit, Some Schools

 

Pentagon Should Help Fix JBLM Traffic Mess: Report

A new report on the impact of military bases to their local communities recommends the Pentagon pony up for traffic improvements - including I-5 upgrades - along Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The National Research Council study is detailed by reporter Adam Ashton in The News Tribune:

The report shows that the U.S. military is spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year to improve Lewis-McChord, but not on off-base roadwork. The military spent $1.8 billion on capital projects at the base over the past three years, and it plans to spend another $2 billion over the next five.