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Saturday, March 13, 2004

Liar Liar

It's a little thing, I realize. But George Nethercutt was in Bothell yesterday and he was trying to make a good impression on us folks here on the West side of the Cascades.

Mainly, Nethercutt sought to show that although he's from Spokane, he is a friend of the rainy side of the state. He joked with employees that he's been rooting for the UW basketball team and pointed out he now rents an apartment in Bellevue.


First of all, thanks for that rooting, whoo boy it sure helped against Stanford. But more to the point it was a lie. Or he isn't very loyal. When two cities in his area have teams going to the tournie, Cheney (Eastern) and Spokane (Gonzaga (where he went to law school)), he's rooting for the UW? I root for the Zags because I've liked the underdog story, my cousin almost went there, and they are a fun team. But I can't muster the energy to give a damn about Eastern's first tournie appearance ever. And if WSU were in March madness, I'd be rooting against them every step of the way. Surely Nethercutt doesn't really care about the UW, or as a Cougar and Bulldog, roots against them.



About Time

The Department of Licensing (DOL) is enacting administrative rules, which will be effective April 23, requiring drivers to give a correct home address when they renew license tabs. The aim is to keep Seattle residents from giving a mailing address outside the city to dodge the monorail tax.

Currently, more than 5 percent of anticipated monorail taxes are lost because of people switching their registration addresses, according to a memo released this week by the Seattle Monorail Project.



Locke and the Primary

Well it looks like there is a line item that Lock can use. This of course means that the supporters of Cajun got played for suckers. I mean I'm a moron and it took me about 7 seconds from hearing about the bill without even reading it to figure out that it could be vetoed and Montana would still be left. The good government side of me is conflicted. I think given the alternatives Montana would be a better primary than Cajun but this is clearly not what the legislature wanted to do. Still all in all, I say line item veto away Governor Locke.



Friday, March 12, 2004

Can Someone Explain

Why several papers over the past few days have been telling me about the monorail EIS but it still isn't up on the monorail site?



Roads, Roads, Roads

You see we have to widen I-5 in Everett because the Olympics will be held in Vancouver. Don't think about it too hard or too long.

Agreement on the transportation bill had been held up while House and Senate leaders debated a separate but related bill dealing with the Regional Transportation Investment District.

House members wanted more authority for RTID financing, but when they lost that effort they agreed to compromise on the larger bill.

"It's a miracle," exclaimed a jubilant state Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, vice-chairwoman of the Senate Transportation Committee. "I never would have said we could have done this."

As a result, work on the Everett I-5 project will start in 2006 rather than 2008, assuring construction will be finished as travelers drive to Vancouver, B.C., for the 2010 Winter Olympics.



Good News For Sound Transit

They are under budget on some Eastside projects. This means that they will be able to do some more projects. I know this is a fraction of the wasted money on light rail, but it's still good news. And it furthers my point about what they should be doing: trains and busses good, light rail badish. Although the Tacoma LINK is pretty neat.



Thursday, March 11, 2004

Savage Clarifies Marriage license

It's a lot funnier coming from him than the Times story.

"The media calls every day and asks, 'Have any come yet?' We were beginning to think that no one was ever going to show up."

Us too--which is why we decided to take matters into our own hands. Like I said, Amy and Sonia and I didn't show up at the county building last Friday because we were planning to sue. We came to make a point about the absurdity of our marriage laws. Amy can't marry Sonia, I can't marry Terry--why? Because the sanctity of marriage must be protected from the queers! But Amy and I can get a marriage license--and into a sham marriage, if we care to, a joke marriage, one that I promise you won't produce children. And we can do this with the state's blessing--why? Because one of us is a man and one of us is a woman. Who cares that one of us is a gay man and one of us is a lesbian? So marriage is to be protected from the homos--unless the homos marry each other.

Is it putting too fine a point on it to say that this is a pretty fucked-up situation?

Finally, almost as maddening as the fact that the county will issue me and Amy a marriage license but not Amy and Sonia, is the fact that we were, according to the people we spoke with at the county, the first same-sex couple that showed up asking for a marriage license. We've been beating up the straight politicians for weeks on this issue but now I have to ask: What the hell is wrong with the queers in this town? We sat in our offices waiting for someone to call for a demonstration, trying to be good media types and report on the news instead of trying to make it. But eventually we got tired of waiting and Amy Jenniges wrote a call to arms in last week's Stranger, a call that led to Monday morning's demonstration in the county building. Our call to arms and the hard work of Brian Peters evidently freaked the shit out of Sims and led to the filing of a lawsuit on behalf of six gay couples. Great. About time. But this should have happened weeks ago.



Leg Gets Stuff Done

Well they got a budget that looks reasonable and a primary. No mention in the article if the "eco terrorism" provisions made it through the budget bill. And the primary may be vetoed by Locke. But if it isn't or if he can use his line item then that's all for the legislature this year.



AG and Same Sex Marriage

There has been some speculation in the comment boards as to what Gregoire's office will have to do now that the state and county are being sued by same sex couples. Well the Times provides us with some more clues.

The state attorney general will likely be brought into the landmark suit filed earlier this week by six same-sex couples who were denied marriage licenses.

While the suit is against King County, it challenges the constitutionality of state law, which the office of Attorney General Christine Gregoire defends

...

Stone said, "We're telling our clients not to be disappointed if this takes a year to 18 months."

The couples are challenging the section of state law that restricts marriage to a union between one man and one woman. Further reinforcing the law, the Legislature in 1998 passed a Defense of Marriage Act.

So who the next AG is might be more important than the current one. I don't know what any of the current crop of candidates would do. I'll email their campaigns and post any response they have (don't expect a response though).



Bah

Charter schools are coming to town.



Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Session to end Tomorrow

And we still don't have a budget (although we do biannual budgets so this budget is more of an adjustment than a new budget) or a primary. Are you freaking out about that? I am. I know there's all sorts of horse trading going on as we speak, but still I'd like to not have a special session as it would hurt the fundraising ability of our best candidate for governor, and it's a waste of resources better used not having a special session.



Sims Kicks Off Campaign

From the press release on his web page.

"Washington citizens are crying out for leadership," said Sims. "They are looking for vision. They are seeking a leader who will work to get things done. My record as King County Executive shows that I'm willing to take on the biggest challenges - building light rail, reforming our criminal justice system, downsizing government. I'm the only candidate running for Governor who has that type of executive experience - who can manage a large and diverse work force - and get things done."

After addressing the crowd, longtime friend and community activist Ken Alhadeff said "The morning was electric - the room was full of hope for a better Washington State under the leadership of Ron Sims."



Is there a Democratic Rep not Running for an Executive Post?

Mike Cooper is running for Commissioner of Public Lands. It's currently one of two Republican held executive positions and of the two our more likely pick up. I don't know what the likelihood of our keeping his seat is but it's pretty far North so it might be tough.

"I'm running because it's time to chart a new course. Washington needs to manage its trust lands for future generations, not merely for short term gain," Cooper said. "We have a constitutional responsibility to maximize the use of our state trust lands. We can do it more efficiently and more responsibly."

Cooper, 54, is a firefighter with the Shoreline Fire Department. He's chair-man of the Fisheries, Ecology and Parks committee in the state House, where he has served as a legislator for eight years.

Cooper said he supports "green certification," a sort of environmental seal of approval, for Washington State's 2.1 million acres of timber trust lands.

Late Update:Weird. The link up top is no longer for the story and it's now linking to a girls high school basketball game. That isn't too surprising because it's a link to a page that ends with "newsupdate" so it's for breaking news. But I can't find the article on the main Olympian page. Probably bad searching skills on my part.



Port of Seattle in Bellevue?

The city of Bellevue on Tuesday asked the Port of Seattle to help pay for a feasibility study to see whether the two should share the cost of expanding Bellevue's convention center.

The port is expected to decide March 23 whether it will split the cost of a proposed $250,000 study.

At issue: Would backing Bellevue's convention center expansion fit the port's mission to further trade and economic development on the Eastside?

"The port has been looking for some time for a sensible project on the Eastside. A project that stuck out has not come along yet," said port spokesman Mick Shultz. "I do not know whether this project will either but, as an agency whose mission it is to generate economic vitality countywide, there's no reason we shouldn't consider it."



Wow Bev Harris in the Weekly

Talking about electronic voting of course. And doing a fine job of it in a good article by George Howland Jr. And I saw at least a couple other people reading it on the bus, more so than most Wednesdays. A few problems. Like explaining Renotn, and an annoying repetition of the phrase "Harris and her allies."

At the start of this year's Washington Legislature, there were two bills about issues related to electronic voting. Harris and her ally, Linda Franz, another voting activist, introduced one with the help of legislators in both the House and the Senate. It died a relatively quick death, however.

The other bill, introduced by Secretary of State Reed, represented a big change in his position. Up until December, Reed and his office had strongly resisted any effort to require touch-screen voting machines to have a voter-verified audit trail. Reed says that as he toured the state talking with ordinary voters, he realized there was a lot of anxiety about the new electronic voting. He has seen this phenomenon before, he says, when other new voting technology—like the optical scan paper ballot—was introduced. "It was one thing to hear from a few people on the Internet," he says, "but we found ordinary citizens didn't trust these machines."

Harris and her allies, however, are furious opponents of Reed's bill. They say it leaves the door open for insecure Internet voting, takes too long to require a paper trail with touch-screen voting machines, and has an insufficient audit requirement and a host of other ills. "You have a secretary of state that crafts legislation that sounds good but doesn't deliver," says Franz.



Tuesday, March 09, 2004

House Passes Cajun Primary

It's a different bill than the one in the senate so there will still be some back and forth. The main difference is that this bill would put in place a Montana primary if the Cajun primary is struck down by the courts.

The House proposal adds a twist, however — requiring the state to revert to a much-different election system patterned after Montana's if the Louisiana plan doesn't pass muster in court.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Finkbeiner, R-Kirkland, said the House version has a good chance of making it through the Senate and to Locke's desk.

Republican and Democratic party officials have said they'll fight the state in court if the Louisiana-style system is adopted. They argue that it strips the parties of their constitutional right to decide who may carry a party banner. Republican Party Chairman Chris Vance said that's still true even with the bill passed by the House yesterday.

I haven't read the exact language, so this may be coming from left field but I wonder if the Governor could use his line item veto to cut the Cajun parts of the primary and leave us with a Montana primary. That would piss some people off but it's not like he's running for reelection.

Minor edits because Blogger is being temperamental, and again to add a link.



Two Savage Stories in 24 Hours

The Times has a nice little article about how Dan Savage pushed the gay marriage issue in Seattle. He and Amy Jenniges and their partners went to the county before the recent 6 couples and asked for licenses. I didn't post on the recent Savage Love on the topic because I usually read the news in the Stranger online and the fluff in newspaper form. Helps them sell advertising and gives me something to read on the bus. So it was a few days late by the time I had read it.

Both Jenniges and Savage, who is gay, were refused licenses to marry their respective same-sex partners. What they might do next worried gay-rights advocates and Sims, who soon learned of Savage's visit.

"The word spread, and they were afraid I was going to sue," said Savage. "I guess they wanted someone meek and not as lippy. I guess they wanted someone more sympathetic to a jury."

...

As for Savage, there is a postscript to his story. When he was at the county office Friday, he asked if he could get a license to marry Jenniges, even though, as Savage said, "I don't really like her."

He was given a license, and the two plan to have a big ceremony April 10, possibly to raise money for Lambda Legal Defense. Savage said the two would stop short of legally tying the knot.

He said he never intended making himself the center of a lawsuit. "My boyfriend would divorce me first," he said.



Lake Union Looks so Much Better

I know the Kalakala had its fans on this board and in real life. I was not among them. I thought that it was a big ugly rusty hulk that probably smells awful. It's kind of impressive close up and ugly from the freeway. And now it's gone.



Eastside Playfields

KIRKLAND -- With a plan to build five athletic fields at the Houghton Landfill more than two years behind schedule, Kirkland American Little League has fired the contractor it says is responsible.

Santana Sports Park was supposed to open for play in April 2002, but Santana Trucking & Excavating has failed to live up to the terms of its contract, said Tom Dillon, board member and former president of Kirkland American Little League and a current Kirkland City Council member.



Monday, March 08, 2004

SpreadingSantorum Isn't at the top Anymore

So to all the google bots lurking about Santorum Santorum Santorum Santorum Santorum Santorum Santorum and for good measure Rick Santorum.



Alex Alben on Media Consolidation

The Alben blog (and it's by Alben himself as opposed to BFA or the CCB) has a new post on media consolidation.

Today, CBS has been merged into Viacom, which also owns MTV, the Infinity radio group and a host of other media properties. Like the other networks, it no longer brings us live "gavel to gavel" coverage of political conventions. Instead, radio audiences are treated to "shock jocks" and football fans had to suffer through halftime "entertainment" that brought into question the network's commitment to its license obligations.

The key point to remember is that we, the public, own the airwaves—for radio, TV and new data services—not the corporations who are routinely granted licenses to rent them. Exploiting a public resource, broadcasters used to feel an obligation to create great "public affairs" programming, to police indecent programming and to abide by a "Fairness Doctrine" for political debate. Over the past 30 years, the FCC rules and self-imposed regulation that created this atmosphere for respecting the "public" dimension of the public airwaves has gradually withered away with each new call for deregulation.

...

As an Internet executive, I was frequently called upon to validate the theory that the multitude of voices available on the web make traditional media ownership rules obsolete. But I couldn't agree with this conclusion. Yes, there are millions of web sites featuring a wild variety of unique opinions. Yet the Internet also has the effect of magnifying the traditional voices of the biggest media brands. The most popular Internet sites for news, for example, are all owned by the major TV and print media companies.

It's time for Congress to seriously review media ownership rules, and give the FCC clear guidance to connect license renewal to a commitment to high-quality public affairs programming. This may not require rigid new rules, but rather should aim to stimulate broadcasters to put the "public" back into the public airwaves they utilize to conduct their highly profitable businesses.



Republicans Caucus Tuesday

Hopefully it will deliver a victory for Blake Ashby. We live in hope.



A Little Dog Park

On Third and Bell.

Also is it strange that the lead suggested that what most people do at the park is buy drugs and fight? I'll admit that I don't know this park, but still.



Mad Cow Makes Me So Mad

It's funny (in a laugh to keep from crying sense) that I was prevented from giving blood because I spent too much time in England after the mad cow scare but cow blood was still OK for other cows to eat until the US case. Anyway Washington State is probably going to be monitoring for the disease more closely than the federal guidelines. Provided we can get the bills passed.

House Bill 2298 would strengthen the state Agriculture Department's authority to quarantine and treat diseased animals. Its companion, Senate Bill 6107, passed the House on March 2.

House Bill 2299 and a companion bill in the Senate would prepare Washington to join a federal livestock-tracing program.

"Animals move from state to state and across national lines," said Jay Gordon, executive director of the Washington State Dairy Federation. In a livestock-disease outbreak, farmers and government officials need to track sick animals quickly, he said.

Other bills address Washington's billion-dollar beef and dairy industry. More than 10,000 farms and businesses produce more than 660 million pounds of beef and 640 million gallons of milk per year, according to the Agriculture Department.

HB 2802 would outlaw the transportation and delivery of live "downer" livestock — animals too sick or weak to stand or walk by themselves — except for medical care or euthanasia. Agriculture officials say such animals are statistically more likely to have mad-cow disease.

The bill would make moving live downer cattle, sheep and other animals to or from livestock markets, feedlots or slaughterhouses a gross misdemeanor. Violators would face up to $5,000 in fines and one year in jail.



Sunday, March 07, 2004

A Start

Nickels is unilaterally saying that he will recognize gay marriages performed in other jurisdictions as legal for city employees. And he's going to ask the city council to extend the privilege for all city residents. Brenda will probably (and correctly) point out the full faith and credit issues here better than me, but I'd just like to add "duh" to whatever she says. Seriously I'd rather this clarification so it doesn't become an issue even though it shouldn't be an issue anyway.

Also sorry for the not many posts today. I'll try to do better in the future.



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