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Saturday, April 24, 2004

Bainbridge-Poulsbo Monorail?

That's the idea being floated by Jim Henry of the Poulsbo City Council. I don't know enough about Kitsap to know if it's a good idea or not. If it is a good idea generally, I don't know if the specific route is good (if it stops by the Poulsbo bakery, I'll be good). But apparently the grade is good for it. And they own a significant amount of the right of way.

Henry, a champion of public transportation, hopes to bring a bit of that big-city idea to Poulsbo. For several months, he and Councilwoman Kathryn Quade have been quietly exploring the idea of a monorail running on an elevated track from the Bainbridge Island ferry terminal to the Olhava development on Poulsbo's west side.



Boo!

Fred Meyer and QFC are wankers, and Safeway is slightly less wankerish, but still annoying.

Update I'm not shopping at a store with this in the window.



Worker's Comp Initiative

The Building Industry Association of Washington is going to file an initiative to limit the amount of compensation injured workers can get.

The proposed changes include:

Limiting lawyers' fees in workers' comp cases.

Eliminating the practice of including benefits such as health insurance and pensions when calculating benefits for injured workers, which would reduce benefits for many workers.

Using a workers' average income over a longer period to calculate benefits, which would reduce benefits for seasonal workers injured during their busiest seasons.

I don't know what the deal is with lawyers' fees, but the other two are bullshit. Of course injured workers should be compensated for their lost healthcare. And using average income from the past years does two things. First it limits the amount of compensation workers in their first few years (who are more accident prone) can get if they are injured. Second it undervalues any raises within the time frame.



I Like Downtown Bellevue

But parking intimidates the hell out of me. It's OK if you take the bus, though. I was on the street corner protesting when Bush came to town a while ago, and got out and walked about afterwards. Since then, I've been back a few times.

Anyway they are apparently planning a revitalization of downtown. And this Times article apparently doesn't need to mention the best thing about the area, Downtown Park.



Friday, April 23, 2004

The Grange and the Primary

The Grange is doing two things to give us a Cajun Primary. First there is the lawsuit. They are trying to say that Locke's line item veto doesn't count. There might be a case there, but I don't think so. And even if there is, it might be years off.

More likely to actually get something done is that they are trying to put an initiative on the ballot to give us the top two primary system. Although I hope it fails, this is the way to go.



Seattle Center

Aparently the city of Seattle is paying for much of the Center's operating costs. Fine. And aparently they are going to pay for more. I don't know what other options are (other than having the Sonics or T-Birds not suck). This is fine for the short term. Feit thinks that running the monorail through the Center will be a good thing for it financially. I don't know if he's right or not, but I have no problem with running it through, so this is an added benifit.

Next week, the city council will vote on another (less expensive) option that could actually save the Center: Run the monorail line right through it! "I think it gives us the opportunity to make the Center a grand quilt of things and people and activities coming together," says Seattle Center Director Virginia Anderson. Anderson is not alone. An April 6 letter to council from nearly 30 Seattle Center-area folks including the Queen Anne Community Council, Pacific Science Center, Seattle Sonics, etc., etc. asked council to pass the pending legislation. "Traveling through Seattle Center will be the most beneficial route for businesses, residents, and tourists," the letter states, citing everything from honoring the futuristic intent of the Seattle Center's World's Fair design to freeing up both First Avenue and Mercer Street from monorail guideways and construction--allowing long-standing community plans for redevelopment on those corridors. More important, it will bring thousands through the attendance-deprived Center everyday.

Problem is, after a barrage of lobbying from Bumbershoot organizers (Bumbershoot is at Seattle Center just four days a year, by the way) and "green space" activists (there are just two blocks of green space at the Center, located near an amusement park, a basketball stadium, and noisy rock shows) the council seems terrified of actually moving forward. Things are heading toward a five to four vote that could go either way. Even longtime monorail supporter Nick Licata is getting cold feet: He was evasive when I asked him about his vote, saying simply that Seattle Center is "public land." (That's right, Nick, but much of the route from Ballard to West Seattle is also on public right of way, which is why it's so cool.)



Thursday, April 22, 2004

Ruderman's Voter's Bill of Rights

Here. I don't know exactly what "Guarantee the right to vote, and have your vote counted" means. Does that mean everybody? Felons? Non Citizens? Still by and large it looks good.



The Good News

Boeing isn't doing too badly.

The Bad News: It's because they are laying off people left and right.



Brightwater

Northenders who are concerned about what Brightwater might look like are invited to tour the sewer plant in Renton.

Tours of the Renton plant will be offered from 4 to 6 p.m. at 1520 S.W. Grady Way. Tours of the West Point plant will be given from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at 1400 W. Utah St.

People with special needs should call 206-296-8361.



Times Picture Costs Job

The Sunday Seattle Times has garnered a lot of natiional attention over the past few days after publishing a picture of flag-draped codffins of soldiers from Iraq Nam. Now the photographer, Kuwaiti-based cargo worker Tami Silicio, has been fired for taking the picture.

" Silicio was let go yesterday for violating U.S. government and company regulations, said William Silva, president of Maytag Aircraft, the contractor that employed Silicio at Kuwait International Airport."

Picture and photo at:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2001909527_coffin22m.html

According to bartcop, 706 such coffins have come home to date.



Dear George Nethercutt,

I saw your Vote for me, my daughter has Diabetes ad, that you're calling Meredith. Is there something wrong with you? Do you stay up late thinking of ways to exploit your daughter?

Remember all the outrage when Al Gore mentioned that a member of his family had brest cancer? Now multiply that by a dozen because your daughter should be closer to you. And by another dozen because you threw her on TV. I guess that makes you one gross man.

Loads of Love,

Carl Ballard

PS. I'm still waiting on a reply to why you hate the National Guard so much.



New Book

During my endless search for something interesting in the Seattle (Sunday) Times, I ran across a new edition of Washington State Government and Politics by Cornell Clayton, Lance LeLoup, and Nicholas Lovrich, all of the WSU Political Science Department (ISBN 0874222737, $20 list, $14 at Amazon). This book is a collection of essays about State government and should be an interesting read.

Edit from Carl. Just to point you to the link if you want to buy it online from Elliott Bay Books.



Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Open Thread

Have at it. Or not. I'm probably out until Thursday night at the earliest. Maybe Brenda will have something, maybe not.



Reichert's Campaign Releases Poll, Reichert Doing Well

52% of the 601 voters surveyed would vote for Reichert. A couple of caveats. First, it sure helps to be the only candidate with any name recognition to speak of. After the primary heats up a bit his numbers will probably come down. Second this was an internal poll so he wouldn't have released it if it didn't show him doing well. Still over half in a 4 way race with undecided the only other thing above single digits, is going to be a pretty high climb for any of the other challengers.



Sunday, April 18, 2004

WEA Endorses Gregoire

I was surprised at how well she did. She got most of the Rossi votes after the first ballot. That isn't too surprising. But then she got a substantial portion of Sims' votes to put her at 62.2% to 37.8% over Talmadge.

Interestingly this may knock Talmadge out of the race. That would be too bad this early on, because his voice keeps the other two honest, and because I still hadn't decided who I'm going to vote for.



Heidi Behrens-Benedict Profile

The King County Journal does a nice profile with only a few odd, unnecessary details.



Primary Hotting Up

It's wonderful to see Sims acting like a Democrat. I don't think we'll ever get an income tax, but it's good to have someone discussing the issue. Maybe it will move a few people who hear about it. Maybe people will realize that it will mean lower sales and property taxes. And that we can target taxes better.

But it isn't just the never going to happen stuff where Sims is doing well. At least he's talking the talk on gay rights. His actions disappointed me. (I had hoped he would do the right thing on gay marriage, and instead he offered the most polite denial of rights to anyone ever.)

Interestingly this leftward tilt may be in part due to the new primary that y'all hate so much. Now in the primary the candidates will have to appeal to a lot fewer centrist and righty cross overs. A good thing about the new primary that I hadn't even thought of. If he'll move right if he wins the primary is a fair question, and I don't know the answer. But at least for now, I like this Ron Sims.

But it's Sims grabbing the attention these days.

Widely seen as Attorney General Gregoire's main competition for the nomination in September, Sims is embracing the right for same-sex partners to marry and opposing the current Democratic governor's new charter school program. He's also talking about tax hikes and a state income tax.

The income tax is considered a "third rail" of Washington politics, hugely unpopular with voters and an easy issue for opponents to use as fire-eating campaign grist.

"Sure, I'm taking risks," Sims says. "Democrats are looking for a leader. Leadership always entails personal risk."



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