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Saturday, March 20, 2004

Transportation Panel

A group of people from LA had a panel here to see what to do about transportation. They apparently like BRT and monorail but love more roads and light rail. And apparently integration is the key.

The major projects they think we should be doing are mass transit across Lake Washington (I'd personally like to see a King County monorail do that). And an Everett-Seattle run that's more regular than the ST commuter line.



UW Tuition Increase

It's now $4,770 for a year at the U.



Friday, March 19, 2004

$7.7 Million

The Times sent a letter saying that it lost 7.7 million dollars last year. I have no idea if it's a ploy to get a better deal in the JOA or if it's genuine financial trouble (of course it could be both).

The forecast, in a March 17 letter Blethen sent to community and business leaders, seems designed to buttress the publisher's claim that the paper's joint operating agreement with the rival Seattle Post-Intelligencer must be revised for the family-controlled Times to survive.

Advertising revenue is down about $50 million a year from four years ago, the publisher wrote without giving specifics.



Another 8th District Republican

Another Republican candidate for the 8th district. Is there anyone who knows anything about Conrad Lee? Someone from Bellevue perhaps?

Bellevue City Councilman Conrad Lee has added his name to an increasingly crowded field of Republicans seeking to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Jennifer Dunn.

Lee, the regional administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration, said he will resign from that post Monday and become one of four candidates seeking the Republican nomination for the seat.



UW President

The Seattle Times is saying that Mark Emmert is a candidate to be the next UW President. I hadn't heard of him either, but he's apparently pretty qualified. He currently holds the chancellory at Louisiana State University.



Thursday, March 18, 2004

Clearly I don't Check The Rossi Web Page Enough

This is a couple weeks old, but it's just too funny. Dino Rossi is bragging about the fact that there's a poll out saying that he's a point behind Gregoire for the Governor's race. Wow. Sounds impressive in lefty Washington. I mean neither of them has really kicked up their campaign and already it's close.

But what even he admits is that this is a poll of all 4 major party candidates. So if the election were held today, and there was no primary, and he faced 3 Democratic opponents, and no Democrat voted strategically, he'd still lose. Kudos. That's just the sort of thing you want to be telling people.



Compost

Seattle will be handing out cones that you can compost stuff with. It's nice if you drink a lot of tea or coffee and have a yard. Or at least lots of plants. But they are lagging behind the suburbs who of course have more yards and plants.

Before beginning a yearlong food-composting pilot program with King County, Kirkland boasted a recycling rate of 56 percent and climbing. Seattle's recycling rate has dropped below 40 percent.

But like Kirkland, Seattle's garbage-collection rates are based on the size of the can, so there would be an economic incentive for residents to reduce the amount of garbage going to the dump.

"We would always prioritize waste reduction over recycling," Woestwin said. "It would be less costly for customers, ultimately."



Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Dear Archbishop Brunett,

Maybe if you spent less time trying to deny homosexuals basic human rights, you could spend more of your time helping your parishioners get their children into Catholic schools. Just a though. Also, someone should mention to the Washington State Catholic Conference that they shouldn’t bear false witness, especially when it’s about something on the record. I mean you wouldn’t want to look hypocritical breaking a commandment to stop homosexuals from having rights. Or does the commandment say it’s ok if it’s part of a blast fax campaign?

Happy Saint Pats,

Carl Ballard



Hiring to be Down in Spring

It's only a forecast of course, but it's still pretty depressing given that we've just started to get back on our feet.

Despite a steadily declining unemployment rate so far this year, Seattle-area employers will slow their hiring during the April-to-June quarter, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.

About half of the employers interviewed for the survey said they expect to maintain their current employment levels during the next three months, while 19 percent said they will hire more workers. About 14 percent intend to reduce their work forces.

"The area employment outlook is more conservative than the first quarter forecast, when 32 percent of the companies interviewed predicted an increase in hiring activity, while 13 percent planned to decrease the hiring pace," said Donna Braungardt, a Manpower spokesperson. "Job market projections are stronger than last year at this time, when 8 percent of companies surveyed thought employment increases were likely and 15 percent intended to cut back."



Monorail Route Change In SoDo

There is proposed route change that will probably save millions of dollars. It's because the Seattle school district was willing to work with the Monorail folks. This probably says something important about intergovernmental operations but I don't know what.

One of my favorite things about the Monorail is that it's going through a neighborhood that I don't know much about. Ballard, West Seattle, and of course Downtown are all at least somewhat familiar to me. But I hardly ever have occasion to go down to SoDo except for an M's game. So anything that gives me an excuse to go out and wander aimlessly, but still know how to get out is going to be wonderful.



Gay Bothell Methodists

I wasn't going to mention this story, because I'm dancing dangerously close to queer blog from the straight guy, but I happen to know one of the protesters. Although he wasn't mentioned in the article, and he was planning on not getting arrested. Looks like the trial got underway without too much trouble.

Minor Edit to solve some gramarical nonsense.



Tuesday, March 16, 2004

I Miss Savage Love Live

For those of you who don't remember, back in the day Dan Savage had a radio show on KCMU (now KEXP) called Savage Love Live. Basically it was his column if it were a live call in show with a producer, and in the later years a co host. 3 of the best hours of radio every Sunday. Picture Love Line but not awful. Anyway this trip down memory lane isn't completely random. I brought up because on the Santorum web site he says, "I'd love to join Franken on his new radio network, if the powers that be over there were thinking about a sex advice show...."



6.1

The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent in February from January's 6.5 percent, Washington officials said Tuesday.

The nation's unemployment rate stayed at 5.6 percent last month.



Unincorporated Urban King County

Could take a hit. They are encouraging annexation or incorporation of these areas. I don't know how this will affect service on a local level. I don't know what it will do to the Skyway Fire Department for example.

Local services provided by the county include patrols by sheriff's deputies, park operations, district courts and jailing of misdemeanants.

County officials say providing such services to urban areas has become prohibitively expensive for a county government that lacks the authority to impose utility taxes as cities do.

Sims' staff projects a budget shortfall of about $20 million next year — the fourth consecutive year in which revenues have fallen far short of the amount needed to maintain existing programs.

Following the advice of a budget advisory task force last year, Sims has made urban annexations a top priority. Countywide, 218,000 people live in those unincorporated islands — a population larger than any city in the state except Seattle.



I Heart the Senn Campaign

A week or so ago I sent the AG candidates an email asking about what they would do with the gay marriage lawsuit that would probably extend into their term. While none of the candidates has responded yet I did get this from Senn's campaign manager

Carl, I think your blog is really great--anything to engage political discussion outside of the Olympia echo chamber. I've forwarded your query to Deborah.

I can't imagine not voting for Senn in the primary before, but this is frosting as they say. Also, If Deborah Senn doesn't respond, it isn't a big deal. I didn't actually expect any of them to respond. I'm a not very well known blog that's lucky to get a couple dozen hits a day, and they are busy at the Senn campaign and all the other AG campaigns.

Also is there an Olympia echo chamber? I didn't realize but I wasn't exactly near the seat of power when I lived down there.



Monday, March 15, 2004

An Interesting Article

On Norm Dicks advising the Kerry campaign.

Dicks (D-Belfair) reminded Kerry at a meeting of Capitol Hill Democrats that others, including Republicans, had targeted the budget of the super-secret National Reconnaissance Office in 1995 after the agency admitted it had accumulated nearly $4 billion in unspent funds.

Later, as a courier from the Kerry campaign sat in the lobby of Dicks' office, the Washington state Democrat and his staff hurriedly assembled a packet of unclassified information for the campaign on the NRO flap - information that a day later showed up in The Washington Post.

With the Bush campaign taking to the airwaves with attack ads, Dicks has quickly emerged as one of Kerry's leading advisers on defense and intelligence issues. He has worked behind the scenes and has publicly defended the Massachusetts senator's record on news shows and in conference calls with newspaper reporters.

"I've been busy," Dicks said. "I'm excited about winning this election."



Smoking Initiatives

You'd think with two proposed changes to an anti-smoking law that I think needs tweaking I could find one to support. Of course we don't know how the Snohomish County case will work through the courts.

The Entertainment Industry Coalition's initiative, filed with the secretary of state late Friday, would ban smoking in public spaces open to minors, such as family restaurants, but not in bars or non-tribal casinos.

Breathe Easy Washington, led by Kevin Phelps, chairman of the Tacoma-Pierce County Board of Health, plans to counter this morning by filing an initiative that would ban smoking in all public, indoor spaces, including bars, restaurants and non-tribal casinos

I don't mean to whine about the initiative process, but here's my biggest problem with initiatives: They offer no room for compromise. If the anti smoking initiatives fails it will make it tougher to enact the more moderate position that I have (cities and counties should be able to ban smoking if they want, and King County or at least Seattle and some of the ring cities should). I don't want to impose a smoking ban on Vancouver, but it'll probably be the only way to get one for my area.



Seattle may Start Importing Canadian Drugs

Rasmussen's first major effort on city council is to figure out a means to reimburse city officials who get Canadian prescription drugs. It'll be a nice step if it gets through. There is a meeting tomorrow at City Hall from 11:00 to 3:00.



Sunday, March 14, 2004

Open Thread

I think it's a slow news day but maybe I'm just not looking hard enough. But you can use this to discuss anything you want (or more likely nothing at all) as long as you keep it under 1000 characters.



Who Says The Daily O is Awful when the Leg isn't in Session?

Oh right it was me. But they have a nice story on toxic waste in the South Sound.

Several thousand Thurston County residents have drunk water tainted by solvents and pesticides before and since the Model Toxics Control Act passed in 1989.

One reason that number is so large is that for as long as three years in the early 1990s, Tumwater city water customers drank water that was slightly polluted by industrial solvents. The Tumwater pollution case resulted in the only federal Superfund cleanup site in the county.

...

"I don't think we have a Love Canal here in Thurston County," Yu said, referring to the well-known toxic waste site in New York state that prompted creation of the federal Superfund law. "But there have been pockets of effect and possibilities of risk."

For instance, she said, two children of a Rochester area bullet manufacturer whose property became a hazardous waste site in 1990 had high levels of lead in their blood when they were tested.



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