Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sodo site selected for homeless is found to be contaminated | Seattle Times Newspaper

Seatlle Mayor Mike McGinn sure did mess this up. He offered his solution without understanding the situation. He can't lay this on the city council, or opponents of contaminated sites.
Mayor Mike McGinn chose the site this month without knowing it was contaminated, even though a city consultant reported those findings more than a year ago.
Sodo site selected for homeless is found to be contaminated, Seattle Times Newspaper

Two things need to be understood here: how will we clean up this site; where will the encampment go now?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Nissan Leaf runs equivalent of 99 miles per gallon | Seattle Times Newspaper

That's a "gallon" of electrons.
The Nissan Leaf, an electric car aimed at attracting environmentally conscious motorists, will get the equivalent of 99 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving, based on government testing.

Nissan Motor Corp. said Monday the Environmental Protection Agency's fuel efficiency window sticker, which provides information about the car's energy use, would estimate the electric car will achieve the equivalent of 106 mpg in city driving and 92 mpg on the highway.

EPA's tests estimate the Leaf can travel 73 miles on a fully charged battery and will cost $561 a year in electricity. Nissan has said the Leaf can travel 100 miles on a full charge, based on tests used by California regulators.

Nissan and General Motors Co. are both releasing electric cars within weeks in the auto industry's most prominent attempt at mass-producing vehicles that shift away from petroleum. The Leaf does not have a gas engine and must be recharged once its battery is depleted.

Business & Technology | Nissan Leaf runs equivalent of 99 miles per gallon
| Seattle Times Newspaper

Click the link and read about the Chevy Volt, a electric-gas hybrid.

Welcome to the future.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

My first Xtranormal video, Furry Costume

If you do not have flash, then watch the iPhone version of the movie, Furry Costume, here.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New leadership Recommendations, Ed Murray as Senate Ways & Means Committee Chairman | Seattle Times Newspaper

Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown says Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, has been recommended by the caucus Committee on Committees to become chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, one of the most powerful jobs in the Legislature.

The full caucus will take up the recommendation in December. If approved, Murray would replace to Sen. Margarita Prentice, D-Renton, who is in line to become the president pro tempore of the Senate.

Politics Northwest | New leadership for several state Senate committees | Seattle Times Newspaper

This is good news for Seattle, and King County.

I am going to repeat this from the prior post (again):

Seattle Times: State budget likely to go from bad to much worse

"Should we get out of the business of those things that we never heard a word in four public meetings or on a website with thousands of hits?" she asked. "Should we be funding it?"

When asked for an example, Gregoire said, "As hard-hitting as this may sound to people I very much respect, we heard nothing about the arts. If you put that into print I bet I'll hear something."

State Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus, isn't sold on the idea of cuts to the arts. "One of the things we know is the arts is a major jobs generator," he said. "There are 8,000 related art jobs in my legislative district alone. We have to be careful, if we're going to cut programs, that we don't create the anti-stimulus budget."

The state spends about $6 million every two years on the arts. While that might not sound like much money compared with the overall state budget, "We can't afford anything right now," Gregoire said. "Every time I get a call, I get 'Well, it will only cost X.' It's every call. I get this from legislators. I tell every single one of them ... I don't have X."

Local News | State budget likely to go from bad to much worse | Seattle Times Newspaper

Ed Murray is right, our economy in THIS area depends on arts funding. It also depends on Safeco Field being able to keep its parking fee as a means to fund capital maintenance. It also depends on a great variety of arts and entertainment to attract tourists, business, and in turn increase tax revenues, that in turn increase the general fund.
These "tourist taxes" are set to start expiring next year if the state does not take any action. To keep the taxes going takes a majority vote in the state legislation. Attempting to recreate these taxes later would take a 2/3 majority vote in the state legislature. Quite frankly, if the rest of the state does not see our business directly benefitting them then they are not likely going to be interested in supporting it on a purely ideological way.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Seattle Times: Bellevue budget shortfall amid Bel-Red revamp

Bellevue and the Bel-Red development slows its pace to match the reality of the economy.

An ambitious plan to turn Bellevue's Bel-Red neighborhood into a bustling, urban center with a downtown Kirkland-style heart has run into an obstacle — a $100 million shortfall in the city's capital budget. . . .

The current budget proposal from City Manager Steve Sarkozy includes work on roads critical to Bel-Red, such as $32 million in design work for the future Northeast 15th Street, but excludes more peripheral projects, like the $2 million expansion of Northeast Second Street, which would help funnel traffic out of downtown.

The city must keep moving quickly enough to keep the confidence of investors like Wright Runstad, which has partnered with the city for the Bel-Red neighborhood. The Seattle developer bought the 16-block swath once occupied by Safeway's distribution center.

The city's ambitions for the area center on Wright Runstad's plans to build more than 3 million square feet of office space, 1,000 residences and parks in a style similar to Kirkland's downtown and roughly as big as Seattle's Pioneer Square. Sound Transit also is planning a light-rail station on the site.

Greg Johnson, president of Wright Runstad, said the company sees recovery in the apartment market and is moving forward with planning and development for multifamily buildings on the site, with the goal of having buildings open by 2013 or 2014, he said.

"There couldn't be a better time to do public-private [projects] because of the bidding environment," he said.

The city has committed to design work for Bel-Red and has tried to position itself for some projects for federal grants, both of which are important, Johnson said.

Bellevue has a reputation as forward-thinking and reliable when it comes to making public policy.

"We don't want them to slow down any more than they have," Johnson said. "They're debating whether they want to keep pace on projects or shift priorities. We're advocating keep the same priorities and at least commit projects to keep pace on design."
Bellevue budget shortfall amid Bel-Red revamp, Seattle Times Newspaper

Seattle Times Columnist Danny Westneat: Husky fan questions UW's 'Qwest' for a new $250 million stadium

Let's follow the self-serving argument by Mick McHugh for just a second, and see what kind of tool for that business owner Danny Westneat is.

Why in the world is the University of Washington about to spend $250 million for a new football stadium?

"I'm here looking out at this $500 million football stadium, that we've already built, and which sits empty most of the time," McHugh said the other day. "Can't we think about all this a little differently?"

McHugh was at the helm of his Pioneer Square bar, F.X. McRory's. It's across the street from the Seahawks' football palace, Qwest Field.

For the past year, McHugh has been buttonholing anyone who comes by about his idea to have the Huskies play all their home games at Qwest.
. . .
"The UW is raising tuition, they're restricting local enrollment, they're closing themselves off from the community," McHugh says. "What if they took that $250 million for the stadium and used it for scholarships instead?"
Danny Westneat | Husky fan questions UW's 'Qwest' for a new $250 million stadium | Seattle Times Newspaper

Gosh Danny, I have no idea why a guy that owns a business across the street from Qwest Field is using you to lobby for more business at Qwest Field across the street from his business.

It's the money, stupid. You play in Qwest Field owned by a Public Facilities District then they get the revenue, at least some of it. You play in Husky Stadium the Husky Stadium gets the revenue, all of it.

Hey, maybe Westneat can go ask the owner of the Ram Restaurant at University Village if moving the football games away from his business to a good idea.

What Danny Westneat failed to do is gather facts before writing his column. He is clearly unaware that Husky Football pays for itself and covers the cost, and scholarships, in many other sports. This is nit an "either, or" proposition; either we fund academics or we fund athletics. The funding for academics comes from the State of Washington and tuition. The funding for the stadium remodel is coming from stadium revenues and private donations. Many of those private donors already give to the University of Washington as much as they are choosing.
It is their money, not yours.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Seattle Times Newspaper, National Politics: Bachmann bid for GOP leadership gets cool reaction

Self-proclaimed tea party leader Michele Bachmann's bid for a top Republican post in the House received a cool reaction Thursday from Speaker-to-be John Boehner, an early test of how GOP leaders will treat the antiestablishment movement's winners in Tuesday's elections.

"Constitutional conservatives deserve a loud and clear voice in leadership!" Bachmann, R-Minn., who founded the Tea Party Caucus, said in a one-paragraph Facebook announcement that she is running for GOP conference chairman.

House Republican leaders don't disagree. But that doesn't mean they want the hyperbolic Bachmann being a spokeswoman for the new majority during the 2012 election cycle.

Boehner, aware of the role tea partiers played in making him the next House speaker, is endorsing no one. His lieutenants are lining up behind Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, leaving no doubt that Hensarling - and not Bachmann - is the leadership favorite to chair the GOP conference.

"There are few who have done as much for the Republican team as Jeb," the expected House majority leader, Eric Cantor of Virginia, said in a statement.
National Politics | Bachmann bid for GOP leadership gets cool reaction
| Seattle Times Newspaper

This will come back to hurt the GOP. The "wildly uninformed" have spoken. A self-proclaimed leaderless movement deserves a self-proclaimed leader, that little bit of hypocrisy only took two days to manifest itself.

Welcome to Washington DC Tea Party and two years of self-loathing.

Did the selection of Dino Rossi, a candidate that could run a close race, backfire on Washington State Republicans?

Democrats retaining control of the Washington State Legislature should help King County gain control of its tourist taxes, and other transportation taxing options to support Metro Transit.

The votes are still being counted.

I mailed my ballot on Monday, it was received by King County Elections today. You can figure that most ballots mailed Monday or Tuesday would be counted by Friday. The numbers released tomorrow evening should be enough to declare winners in most races.

Usually late voting benefits Republicans, so I am told. I am guessing that a late "get out the vote" effort to boost U.S. Senator Patty Murray’s chances will benefit Democrats in state races, especially in King County.

I had heard that having Dino Rossi in the race against Patty Murray would give her a run for her money, and would prevent Murray from spending her money to help other races. I think that worked against the Republicans in races where a Tea Party Candidate was not running, for example: in the 48th State Legislative District Ross Hunter is about a point up on his opponent, former Washington State Republican Party Chair Diane Tebilius. She is anything but Tea Party material. Had Murray been up (or down) in the polls by 5 or 6 points the "get out the vote" effort would not have have had Joe Biden (twice), Michelle Obama, and a host of others showing up to support Patty Murray.

Here is the King County Elections web site.
Ross Hunter and Rodney Tom are in the 48 Legislative District, in King County.
The counts for state-wide and Federal elections are King Cointy’s numbers ONLY.
New numbers are available at 4:30 pm everyday until November 23, when the vote is certified.

The state collects and reports those totals (they have a neat iPhone app)

To further my Rossi selection backfired guesswork, it was quite likely that the state Senate was going to shift from Democratic Control to the Republicans by 1 or 2 seats, instead the Democrats might hold the Senate by 1 or 2 seats. One of those seats might be Rodney Tom’s.

• Three-term incumbent Sen. Tracey Eide, D-Federal Way, was leading her challenger, Republican Tony Moore, by just more than 2 percentage points in the 30th District in Southwest King County.

• Incumbent Sen. Rodney Tom, D-Bellevue, was leading his Republican challenger, Gregg Bennett, by just more than 1 percentage point in the 48th District, which includes parts of Bellevue, Redmond and Kirkland, along with Medina and Clyde Hill.

• Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, was leading Republican challenger Dave Schmidt by 93 votes in Snohomish County's 44th District, which includes Mill Creek, Snohomish, Lake Stevens and parts of Marysville.

To gain a one-vote majority in the Senate, Republicans may need to take all three of those and hang onto other races in which they lead. Democrats made gains in all three of those races in Wednesday's count.

Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus, acknowledged his party could lose three or four Senate seats but said he was encouraged that Democrats gained votes Wednesday in some close races.

"It's a good trend," he said. "It continues to appear that we're bucking the national trend."
3 races in King, Snohomish counties could help Dems keep control of Senate, Seattle Times Newspaper

The Democratss took a beating in Washington State, but not to the degree predicted about a week ago. Maybe they have the National Republican Senatorial Committee to thank.