Saturday I wrote about rumors that Sen. Brian Weinstein was threatening to unretire should his Home Buyer’s Bill of Rights fail to get a vote in the state House, and wondered if that might have been a topic in his recent meeting with House Speaker Frank Chopp. Well today, Sen. Weinstein confirms my post. Or, um… maybe he denies it. Here, you read his email and figure it out for yourself:
Interesting theory you have.
The speaker and I had a very cordial meeting and there were no threats at all.
I can confirm that several of my colleagues have been asking me to reconsider my decision to not seek reelection. A number of consumer advocates have been asking me to stay as well. They are all worried about a real void in consumer protection leadership. I am worried as well. I have told them that I would at least think about it and that is all I have to say about this issue for now.
So Sen. Weinstein confirms that colleagues and consumer advocates are urging him to run for reelection, and he’s told them that he would at least think about it. No “threats” were made during his meeting with Speaker Chopp, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t an elephant standing in the room with them.
Weinstein would trounce Jarrett in a closed Democratic primary. He is a solid democrat and the state’s leader on consumer protection issues. If Jarret was such a good Democrat, why did he just covert in 2008 after a lifetime in politics as a Republican? In 2004, he supported Rossi for governor. Who is he supporting now? If it’s Gregoire, why did he change? Rossi and Gregoire have not changed positions at all? It’s solely because he is a political opportunist.
The problem with Sen. Weinstein’s homebuyer’s bill of rights is that a 10 year warranty will have a significant cost implication. Over a 10 year period problems in a house could easily be due to maintenance issues and not construction defects. Insurance to defend a developer from lawsuits will add cost to the price of a home making affordable housing that much scarcer. Imagine someone who keeps the interior temperature of their home very low to save energy, which can create a nice moist environment for mold, suing the builder for mold and mildew. Is that the builder’s fault, or the homeowners. As long as it’s a question that has to be settled in court, it will add cost to new home construction. What if a homeowner does some landscaping that alters the drainage pattern in their backyard which leads to water flowing toward the foundation instead of away from it. Is the leaky basement the builder’s fault or the homeowners? Houses, unlike most everything else we purchase are built one at a time by hand. The local jurisdiction signs off on the building plans and issues a permit. A building inspector signs off on the construction during various phases of process. In addition to the one year warranty from the builder, they hand over warranties for the various systems, such as the roof, appliances, heating and cooling, windows, etc from the manufacturers of those products.
This bill will not eliminate bad builders, but it will make new housing more expensive.
Richard Pope spews:
My suggestion — Brian Weinstein should stay in the Senate, regardless. We need to keep a REAL Democrat in there, and not replace him with a BIAW “Democrat”. As for Frank Chopp, the 43rd LD is very liberal and progressive. We could replace Chopp with a progressive in the primary, and not have to worry about losing that seat in November.
There is no doubt in my mind that Weinstein would easily defeat Fred Jarrett in the primary election for the Senate. And also little doubt that Weinstein would get re-elected — just look at the incredible 8,147 Democrats who attended precinct caucuses in the 41st LD — approximately 10 times the number of Republicans who attended.
Richard Pope spews:
I have to be very suspicious about Fred Jarrett’s supposed conversion to be a “Democrat”. Jarrett has quite a committed record as a REPUBLICAN. Apparently, the only issues that Jarrett really disagrees with most Republicans over are reproductive rights and gay rights. Jarrett is basically a Rudy Giuliani Republican (or a pre-2002 Mitt Romney Republican). Jarrett has been totally supportive of the Republicans on business and economic issues. He has been an enthusiastic supporter of Dave Reichert, Dino Rossi, George W. Bush, Rob McKenna, Jane Hague, and Republican-backed candidates for the Port of Seattle Commission.
Jarrett has been a Republican PCO for many years, but that is an easy enough task. In fact, he was re-elected in 2006 and served until he switched parties recently. Perhaps more importantly, Jarrett has been an active GOP leader, and even served as Chair of the 41st District Republicans. Jarrett was also very active in the Eastside Republican Club, right up until he switched parties.
I also find the timing of Jarrett’s switch to the Democrats to be interesting. State law allows legislators to receive campaign donations up until 30 days before the start of a regular session. So there tend to be a lot of last minute donations from a legislator’s most loyal supporters in the first week or two every December, just ahead of the pre-session fundraising freeze. Jarrett raked in over $11,000 from his loyal GOP supporters in early December, then announced his switch to the Democrats a day or two after fundraising had to legally cease.
When I compare this to Rodney Tom, I see genuine signs that Tom was seriously disaffected with the Republicans. For one thing, Tom had not sought election as a Republican PCO in 2004 (the last year he ran for legislature on the GOP ticket). Tom was never a leader in the GOP party organization. Tom was not active in the Eastside Republican Club — and tended to rank dead last in the GOP candidates whom ERC members supported at their annual candidate fundraising dinner. And Tom switched parties after a legislative session, and a few days before post-session fundraising could resume. Rather than switch parties immediately after raking in big bucks from Republicans (as Jarrett did), Tom switched parties right before the time he could start raising funds as a Democrat.
Tom also switched parties with the hope of moving up to the state Senate and also in fear of facing Democratic competition for his existing House seat. However, Tom took on an extremely difficult challenge of unseating an entrenched and savvy Republican incumbent (Luke Esser) in a district that still looked pretty Red. Jarrett, by contrast, is hoping to simply have a Democratic Senate seat handed to him as presumptive heir apparent in a solidly Blue looking district.
Roger Rabbit spews:
Weinstein should stay. Consumers are under assault by greedy Republicans as never before. Republicans want to sell you shoddy (and even dangerous) goods and services with no legal liability for your injury or economic loss. They oppose any government regulation that keeps crooked health insurance companies and mortgage brokers from gouging you and lying to you. We need all the consumer protection we can get. If Republicans got their way telemarketers could sell your social security number to Nigerian and Russian identity thieves.
Roger Rabbit spews:
@2 Poor, poor developers! Every other business has insurance; it’s a cost of doing business. I suppose the premiums could be pretty high if 80% of the homes they sell have defects.
If you want to live in a developer-friendly state move to Texas, where Bob Perry sets the example all other greedy homebuilders try to live up to. Perry is famous for two things: Giving millions of dollars to the Swift Boat Liars, and getting sued more frequently than any other homebuilder in Texas history. His houses are crap. Fortunately for him, Texas laws protect crooked homebuilders from lawsuits by the buyers they’ve defrauded. Like I said, if you want to live under that kind of system, then move to Texas. We don’t want that here in Washington. As far as we’re concerned, the Bob Perrys of the world can stay in Texas.
Roger Rabbit spews:
Of course, I’m not saying Bob Perry is a crook or defrauds home buyers. All I’m saying is he gets sued by angry home buyers. You can draw your own conclusions.
It’s hard to believe that Jarrett would be foolish enough to run against Weinstein. He converts to the Dems and the first thing he does is run against another Dem for the Senate and leave his House seat open and vulnerable to be lost to the Republicans? The Democrats won’t put up with it.
Anyway, Weinstein is a good senator. We need him. Consumer protection doesn’t get enough attention and Weinstein is the best on those issues.
Chad Minnick spews:
Can anyone corroborate Weinstein’s claim that his meeting with Chopp was “cordial?” I heard otherwise.
Methinks there is trouble in paradise.
Roger Rabbit spews:
However, even Texas may be unable to avoid passing a home buyers’ protection law, with someone as rancid as Perry in their midst:
“Bob ‘the Builder’ Perry is at it again … now he is … attempting to buy Supreme Court Justices. In case you haven’t kept up with Mr. Perry he is the homebuilder that has the Texas couple Bob and Jane Cull, locked in a 10-year legal battle over structural problems with their house. He is also the man who spent $8 million in campaign contributions to influence the creation of a new (2003) state agency that regulates homebuyers. Keep you finger crossed; despite the Perry influence, legislation is still moving through the Texas capitol to reign in the unregulated homebuilding industry.”
More choice tidbits about Perry:
” … [T]he man who runs ‘Perry Homes’ commands formidable political influence …. Perry’s … efforts … paid off with state legislation that directly impact his business interests. And, … Perry may be hoping to export some of that Texas style influence ….
“In Texas, Bob Perry has been a strong supporter of tort reform and legislation that is friendly to the homebuilder industry. … Perry’s campaign donations coupled with aggressive industry lobbying efforts has resulted in Texas tort reform legislation and other changes tangibly favorable to the homebuilder industry.
“It is no secret that the homebuilder industry would like to see similar homebuilder/buyer relationship reforms, especially those of a judicial nature, implemented on a national scale. …
“… [C]ritics of the Texas overhauls … point to a chilling of legal recourse options for homebuyers seeking reparation for allegedly shoddy workmanship in new home purchases. …
“In Texas, Bob Perry’s company has been no stranger to lawsuits. … Perry’s company has been sued 20 times since 1985. … 1700 plaintiffs brought suit against Perry, other developers and a chemical company for their roles in the construction of a massive housing development in suburban Houston … built over a toxic waste dump. The plaintiffs eventually settled for $200 million.
“Often homebuyers sue homebuilders or developers over ‘lemon’ conditions, shoddy construction or allegations of unfulfilled contract obligations. …
“Any speculation over Bob Perry’s behind the scenes national politicking requires a closer glance at his actions in Texas, and the potential role he and the powerful industry he’s a part of could play in the creation of policy on a national scale.
“Janet Ahmed recalls a day in 2003 when she and other homeowner activists were at the Texas legislature in Austin promoting a Home Lemon Law bill … she couldn’t help but notice the large number of women, mostly elderly, … dutifully shuffling about the State House. When quizzed by Ahmed, a few of the women said they were in town to talk to legislators about all those ‘awful frivolous lawsuits’ in Texas that were costing consumers so much money … the busloads of elderly lobbyist were … brought in, fed breakfast as well as slanted information … by … coaches connected to the Texas homebuilder industry … to promote tort reform specifically favorable to home builders and developers.
“Ahmed says the … tort reform blitz was organized by … the brother of another Texas homebuilder/developer, David Weekly… and … bankrolled by … Perry and Weekly ….
“Back before George W. Bush was elected Governor of Texas, the state’s homebuilder lobby had won passage of the Residential Construction Liability Act. The RCLA gave builders the ‘right to repair’ a construction defect, before the consumer could take the homebuilder to court. According [to] homeowner advocates … the … act … [left] homebuyers at the mercy of the homebuilders.
” … Legislation was passed placing limits on the amount of money that could be awarded to a homebuyer in a legal dispute, regardless of a builder’s determined level of negligence. Later legislation went further, making it more difficult for homebuyers to prove damage or structural flaws may have been caused during the original construction process. A 2004 ‘Los Angeles Times’ article reported that … builders … add[ed] arbitration clauses to their contracts forcing unhappy homeowners to take complaints before private arbitrators, rather than a judge and jury. The ‘Times’ noted that in 2003, the state legislature formed a new nine member ‘Residential Construction Commission’ made up of inspectors affiliated with … the homebuilder industry … the … legislation language was crafted by … the lawyer for (Bob) Perry Homes [who] was later appointed … to … the RCC panel.
In Texas, Binding Arbitration clauses drove unhappy homebuyers out of the public courts and into an Arbitration system that homebuyer advocates say is lengthy … [and]disputes are no longer open for public scrutiny. ‘Everybody has to go to binding arbitration, even if your roof is leaking or your wall cracking, and sometimes it takes months to resolve’ noted Janet Ahmed who went on to say if the situation is unlivable, and the homebuyer decides to fix the problem themselves, they … forfeit their warranty and future repairs become the sole responsibility of the homeowner.
At Ahmed’s organization’s web site HOBB.ORG, countless horror stories offer details of … stories where new homeowners discover defects like toxic mold or shoddy structural construction …. HOBB also highlights frustration over new roadblocks in the Texas legal system. … Groups like Public Citizen, Consumers Union and Homeowners Against Deficient Dwellings who’ve dealt with arbitration say it amounts to a Kangaroo court. …
“Ahmed says campaign contributions provided Bob Perry and his allies influence over the leaders who quickly passed legislation she argues is now responsible for regulating the home buying public and not the home builder industry. … Ahmed warns that what happened in Texas is coming to the rest of the country … if voters don’t pay attention to the motives of behind the scenes political players like Bob Perry. ‘If the wealthy Texas based homebuilders are able to limit liability in Texas then they are also going to try and influence the political arena in other states to do the same thing,’ she said.”
Read how a Houston couple’s dream home turned into an unbelievable nightmare. The first time they used the bathtub, all the water drained through the ceiling into the dining room. And that was only the beginning.
Roger Rabbit spews:
Homes built on top of toxic waste dumps. Homes with faulty plumbing and wiring, leaky roofs, and mold. Buyers of uninhabitable houses who are unable to endure months or even years of delays in fixing the defects and hire their own contractors to make repairs forfeit their warranties. Laws denying home buyers access to the courts and imposing mandatory arbitration with decisions made in secret by homebuilder cronies.
That’s our future, too, if BIAW influence and Bob Perry’s money get sway in Washington State, because Bob Perry is trying to export his political poison from Texas to the entire nation.
We need Weinstein in the senate, and I hope he reads the articles I linked above before he makes a final decision to not run again. His work isn’t done yet, and Washington’s home buyers and homeowners can’t afford for him to leave it unfinished.
Roger Rabbit spews:
Bob Perry’s money is a toxic substance.
Fred Jarrett flipped parties because….
1) When he retired from his day job at Boeing a year or so ago, he assumed that he would be in line for a plum county/state board position or in the private sector. Neither happened.
2) He could see the demography of the district changing, most notably that Mercer Island, where he is from, is a shrinking factor in legislative district elections.
3) Judy Clibborn offered him an out which would ensure greater influence for her in return for him stepping up to a higher position by running for state Senate.
I think a Jarrett-Weinstein race would not be that easy for Brian, though I would give him the nod as the likely winner. But what I consider far more likely is that Jarrett would not run against Weinstein unless he had solid financial support from both Clibborn and Chopp, and even then, you have to realize that it’s been half-past forever since he actually ran in a competitive race.
And that in turn means that Marcia Maxwell would have to step down if Jarrett wanted to stay in his old seat, or he would opt out of this election cycle entirely.
My two bits…
Richard Pope spews:
Palamedes @ 13
Let’s hope Fred Jarrett can get some government job that he is reasonably qualified for. Keep Brian Weinstein in the seat, and put Marcia Maxwell into Jarrett’s House seat.
I know a lot of bleeding heart democrats who are against this bill. Anybody who has dealt with the “condo defect industry” understands it’s just another avenue for lawyers to shake down “those with deep pockets” every time a lightbulb burns out.
The same people that would love to win a lawsuit over a sidewalk that is 1 inch out of level would be overjoyed to live in an “old world charmer” that is 6 inches out of level.
@6 Your argument that we need legislation requiring a longer warranty for homes is undercut by your statement that Texas, which has lax laws is the home of a developer who gets sued a lot. If he’s getting sued, there must be a legal venue for recourse. A longer warranty period will not get rid of bad developers. If Sen. Weinstein were serious about curbing abuses by shady developers he would propose legislation that tightens up the licensing standards for contractors. His current bill will add costs to those who follow the rules and build quality homes, while doing nothing to stop bad developers from building, selling, then running away to avoid claims. I’ve been a developer for 18 years and have never been sued once.
Here’s what’s going on: Weinstein is discovering that it is silly to seriously want to get something done in Olympia while being a lame duck. He was forced to be a lame duck in the Jarrett switch last year. Now he’s trying to say he’s reconsidering, but wait until March 13 when the legislature goes home.
Jarrett has significantly more issues with the Washington GOP than gay rights and abortion. He’s consistently been there on transportation at odds with the GOP leadership – on light rail and rasing gas taxes to pay for better roads. Same on Growth Management. He’s had to fight the GOP leadership on practically everything related to the environment. He’s also had to fight GOP leadership on their lack of interest in urban interests generally, GOP tactics generally and the obvious lack of intellect among GOP leadership in Olympia.
Most people who know Fred Jarrett well are simply grateful that he finally grew up and recognized that the party he grew up with essentially disappeared a decade or more ago. Democrats can easily welcome him into the fold and expect many other former Republicans to follow.
Chad Minnick spews:
I think Jarrett is a yes-ma’am to neither party.
He is joining the Democrats for one reason only; because they are in the majority and he can’t get anything done in the minority.
Unlike partisans in both parties who are content simply to occupy space and be called “Senator” by fawning lobbyists, Jarrett is a doer.
The prayer of many Republicans on the Eastside is that his sojourn into the wilderness of the liberal party will be short-lived when the GOP takes back the Senate.
[and off the liberals go on their tizzy…”you’ll never take back the Senate”…there, I said it for you so you don’t have to]