City Hall, National Politics, Organized Labor

City Hall

City Hall's minnows will have to keep feeding the Shark for a while. Contrary to the political rumor mill, controversial Deputy Mayor Tim "the Shark" Ceis plans to remain at Fifth and James. "I don't know how long," says Ceis. "There is some work I want to complete with the mayor, particularly on transportation and education." Ceis says the city's transportation priorities include completing the funding for a tunnel replacement of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and for rebuilding the Highway 520 floating bridge, the expansion of Sound Transit's light rail to Northgate, and a grab bag of local projects. Says Ceis: "I still like the job." GEORGE HOWLAND JR.

National Politics

If you're keeping score, the indictment toll is now three former attorneys for the Seattle-based Preston Gates Ellis law and lobbying firm, three who connect the dots of influence-peddling scandals in D.C. Former Preston Gates lobbyist Michael Scanlon pleaded guilty this week to conspiracy to defraud Indian tribes and government officials. The flip should enable federal investigators to make cases against others involved, including Scanlon's ex-mentor, partner, and Preston Gates alum, Jack Abramoff. Abramoff and Scanlon and the $82 million in fees they collected from 2000 through 2004 are at the core of the scandals that have swept up Scanlon's former boss, ex–House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, and another Preston Gates alum, Bush appointee David Safavian, the ex–General Services Administration chief accused of obstructing a criminal investigation into Abramoff's land dealings. Abramoff himself faces conspiracy charges in a Florida gambling-boat venture and, with buddy Scanlon likely to turn on him, could be ready to make a deal with prosecutors, too. Ultimate target: DeLay and friends. P.S.: Despite the millions he reportedly reaped, Abramoff is now said to be financially ruined. RICK ANDERSON

Organized Labor

The state's fastest growing union, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), is poised to add 10,000 new members. That will boost its ranks to 74,000 statewide. On Saturday, Nov. 19, at-home child-care providers voted overwhelming, 3,633-258, to become part of the SEIU. Now the union has to get the Legislature to pass a law recognizing it as the representative of these workers in future negotiations with the state. The state Department of Social and Health Services licenses or contracts for day care with 10,000 at-home providers across the state. The union has the support of Gov. Christine Gregoire in its organizing effort; SEIU spent $875,000 on pro-Gregoire advertising in the 2004 election. Child-care workers hope the union will win better pay, access to health insurance, and influence on regulations. Earlier this year, the SEIU had success with a similar organizing effort in Illinois. The union's combination of political savvy and attention to groups like at-home day-care providers who are outside the mainstream labor movement continues to rack up victories nationwide. GEORGE HOWLAND JR.

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