McGavick's Millions

Plus: The Seahawks' new bench, drunk on tape, and a thumbs-down for the waterfront tunnel.

State Politics

Democratic activist, blogger, and KIRO-AM radio host David Goldstein confirms that he played a role in a lawsuit filed Aug. 1 against Republican U.S. Senate candidate and former Safeco CEO Mike McGavick. KING-TV's Robert Mak first reported that Goldstein had provided a crucial nexus in the lawsuit. On June 16, after chatting with attorney Knoll Lowney, Goldstein says he posted a request for plaintiffs for the lawyer's developing case against Safeco on his blog, "Are you a Safeco shareholder? Are you pissed off by the $17 million golden parachute Safeco gave Mike McGavick after he announced his resignation? If you are both, send me an email." One of the people who responded to Goldstein's request was Ashley Bullitt, liberal activist, member of the Bullitt clan of movers and shakers, and mother of Emma Schwartzman, who is the plaintiff in the case against Safeco and McGavick. Goldstein says he put Bullitt in touch with lawyer Lowney, and his involvement ended there. Schwartzman's complaint accuses McGavick and Safeco of performing an "illegal corporate transaction" when the company gave its departing CEO a $28 million golden parachute. Goldstein's involvement will certainly raise the credibility of McGavick's claim that the suit is politically motivated. GEORGE HOWLAND JR.

The Courts

It was a memorable way to open a manslaughter case: All together now, the judge said, "Gooooo Seahawks!" Leading a courtroom cheer was Pierce County Superior Court Judge Beverly Grant's way of easing tension on the Friday before Super Bowl Sunday this year. The attorneys then proceeded with their opening statements, though they could hardly top the judge's. Grant later apologized—and reportedly was just as sorry the Seahawks lost to the Steelers. On Friday, Aug. 4, she was admonished for her poor taste by the state Commission on Judicial Conduct. Two other judges were also disciplined: Spokane Superior Court Judge Robert Austin was admonished for indicating to a jury they had reached the wrong verdict and had failed Mother Justice, and Tacoma Municipal Court Judge David Ladenburg was admonished for telling a Muslim woman to remove her head covering or leave the courtroom. He's sorry and says he gets it now. RICK ANDERSON

The Law

You likely already know that, should you be stopped for driving drunk, your arrest will be captured by audio and video recordings. But the Washington State Supreme Court ruled last week that the arresting officer has to first tell you he's preserving your every slur and stumbling move on tape. As a result, four DUI cases have been remanded to trial courts for new hearings. "Although we conclude that conversations between traffic stop detainees and police officers are not private conversations," the high court said, "we hold that the privacy act requires that officers inform detainees that the officers are recording their conversation." The court assumes that drivers won't be too drunk to hear such warnings. RICK ANDERSON


Frank Chopp, the powerful speaker of the state House of Representatives, D-Wallingford, has co-signed a letter that characterizes Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels' proposed financing of a waterfront tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct as "too risky" and "speculative." On July 31, the letter was sent to Jane Garvey, the chair of Gov. Christine Gregoire's Expert Review Panel that is preparing a report on the financial and implementation plans for replacing the viaduct and other state projects. State House Appropriations Committee Chair Helen Sommers, D-Magnolia, and state House Juvenile Justice Committee Chair Mary Lou Dickerson, D–Phinney Ridge, also signed the letter. While Sommers and Dickerson have long been outspoken tunnel critics, Chopp has been quiet. He does not use the immense power of his bully pulpit often. If Chopp opposes something strongly, there is virtually no chance that it can be passed through the state House. The letter reviews the recent funding plan outlined by Nickels for the extra cost of the tunnel—around a billion dollars more than a replacement of the viaduct—and finds each source of money suspect. Seattleites may be asked to contribute their opinion through an advisory vote in November. GEORGE HOWLAND JR.

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