Eastside church leader Ken Hutcherson is expected to launch his Gay Rights Fear and Loathing Campaign 2006 this week. Hutcherson wants consumers to boycott Microsoft, Boeing, Nike, and other corporations that support the gay-rights bill being debated in Olympia. Hutcherson was rumored to be the force behind Microsoft's wavering on a similar bill last year, leading to a narrow defeat. Microsoft promises no similar bugs in version 2006. That has brought the queerless crusader rushing back to his bully pulpit. Hutcherson, a black man who selectively cites the Bible as justification for his own particular prejudice, believes "there isn't a company big enough to stand up to God." Apparently he hasn't heard what they say about Bill Gates—the guy with more money than you know who. RICK ANDERSON
On Tuesday, Jan. 17, the Seattle City Council announced 14 semifinalists out of 98 who applied to fill the seat vacated by Jim Compton. Finalists will be announced on Monday, Jan. 23, and the council hopes to choose one by Friday, Jan. 27. The 14 are: Ross Baker, attorney, former lobbyist for AT&T Wireless, and public-affairs consultant; Bruce Bentley, volunteer, waste-management businessman, and former council candidate; Juan Jose Bocanegra, human-services advocate, neighborhood activist, and all-around hell-raiser; Stella Su-Li Chao, executive director of the International District Housing Alliance; Gail Chiarello, 46th District Democratic Party activist and public- sector financial manager; Sally J. Clark, staffer at Lifelong AIDS Alliance and former council aid to Tina Podlodowski; Joann H. Francis, attorney and former chief administrative officer at Sound Transit; Verlene Jones, union organizer and civil rights activist; Venerria Lucas Knox, former head of the city's Human Services Department and former director of community involvement for the Seattle Monorail Project; Sharon Maeda, a communications consultant and former executive director of Pacifica Radio; Dolores Sibonga, former council member; Darryl Smith, real-estate agent, head of the Rainier Valley Chamber of Commerce, and former council candidate; Javier Valdez, City Light employee and 43rd District Democratic Party activist; and Venus Velazquez, public-affairs consultant and former Department of Neighborhoods employee. GEORGE HOWLAND JR.
Former King County Council member Dwight Pelz pulled further ahead in his bid to become the next chair of the Washington State Democrats when the state's senior U.S. senator, Patty Murray, and Gov. Christine Gregoire endorsed him. As an elected official, Pelz was known for his sharp tongue, partisan brawling, and refusal to suffer fools. If he wins the majority of votes of the party's 176-member state committee on Jan. 28, he'll undoubtedly be good at feeding red meat to the party's base. It's unlikely, however, that he'll be able to expand membership. Meanwhile, state Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, is seeking the post that caused him so much trouble six years ago: the chair of the state Republican Party. During his eight-month tenure, Benton had huge fights with his executive board. In Jan. 28's vote of 117 state committee members, he'll almost certainly lose to former federal prosecutor Diane Tebelius of Bellevue or state party Vice Chair Fredi Simpson of Chelan. GEORGE HOWLAND JR.