A reader alerted us to a story in the Seattle PI online about lobbying that Silas Potter did at the State Legislature for more leeway in running business development programs. In the Auditor's work documents, it notes a couple of times that Potter had been told not to go to the Legislature and lobby (but he apparently didn't stop). As well, a former legislator, Velma Veloria, was paid by his office to lobby as well (even though lobbying for the district is strictly limited and must go through Legal and neither person did).
Apparently there was little opposition to the bill (which passed) but:
Larry Stevens of the Mechanical Contractors of Western Washington and National Electrical Contractors Association, testified on March 15, 2007 that he was concerned about a lack of oversight. "There needs to be some parameters around it. This bill...is a little too wide open," he said. "It just throws it open....there are no public works police out there."
Right, nobody but us gadflies.
So perhaps who else seems to need to be questioned in this case? Rep. Sharon Tamiko Santos. According to the story:
The measure was sponsored by Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos, D-Seattle. Santos told seattlepi.com on Monday that the legislation evolved from discussions she had over many years about how to increase government contract opportunities for minority-owned businesses.
"This particular approach was , in part, drafted upon a model of success that was brought to me by constituents," she said. "They did point to the Seattle Public Schools as a model of success."
Really? And who might those constituents be? And did she check with anyone on the Board or in upper management to see if this program was really "a model of success"?
Astonishingly, in light of what is now happening, she still says:
Santos said she didn't think the law need to be changed in light of the ongoing criminal investigation into the Seattle Public Schools program. She said local governments should have their own, rigid review process for how public monies are spent. "The state shouldn't micromanage. We expect their (sic) to be tight oversight," she said.
And the fact that there wasn't in this case doesn't tell you anything?
In January she pleaded guilty to negligent driving charges stemming from a July DUI arrest.