Politics Reporters Jim Brunner and Daniel Beekman look at the progressive family feud over Initiative 732, which seeks to impose a carbon tax in Washington based on one in place in British Columbia. They also unveil two political losers this week: Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Seattle's wasted tax dollars on a media-leak probe.
Seattle taxpayers and state Attorney General Bob Ferguson were losers this week, as Mayor Ed Murray’s $65,000 investigation into leaked documents ended with a whimper and Ferguson’s office faced sanctions for deleting emails pertinent to a lawsuit over the Oso mudslide that killed 43 people in 2014.
In Episode 5 of our weekly Seattle Times politics podcast, we explain what happened with the mayor’s probe and break down Ferguson’s email scandal.
Then we sit down with a proponent and an opponent of state Initiative 732 to figure out why most of Washington’s environmental groups and progressive organizations are opposing a tax on carbon burned in oil, natural gas and coal.
- At 0:40, we unveil our winner for the week in politics: no one. Jim Brunner says, “Everybody needs to do better.” Murray’s investigation into leaked documents related to a new union contract with Seattle cops lasted two months but went nowhere, Dan Beekman says.
- At 3:35, we discuss the family feud between climate-change activists over I-732. “It’s one of the more bizarre political fights I’ve seen in this state,” say Brunner.
- At 6:05, I-732 backer Yoram Bauman, a PhD and comedian who styles himself a “stand-up economist,” describes the ballot measure as “a grassroots efforts that’s been motivated by hundreds and thousands of people in Washington state who feel like we have a moral obligation to take action.”
- Bauman slams environmental groups like the Sierra Club at 11:30 for not supporting the carbon-tax initiative. At at 21:00, he says the measure’s plan to cut other taxes appeals to voters who disagree with Donald Trump about climate change but who nonetheless have “conservative tendencies.”
- At 22:45, I-732 opponent Rebecca Saldaña of Puget Sound Sage calls the measure imperfect. When it comes to taxing carbon, “We can’t afford to get it wrong,” she says. And at 36:00, she suggests “white privilege” may be partly responsible for conflict around the plan.
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Find and listen to past episodes of The Overcast here.
Send us your feedback and your nominations for next week’s winner and loser in local politics. Leave a comment on this post, tweet at us (@Jim_Brunner and @dbeekman), email us (email@example.com) or drop us a voicemail at 206-464-8778.