Saturday, June 26, 2010

New Decision making process for Washington State Legislative Districts: How to Play Monkey-Pirate-Robot-Ninja-Zombie

BoingBoing.net posted a variation of Rock, Paper, Scissors (what I call the legislative Executive Session), one called Monkey-Pirate-Robot-Ninja-Zombie: Rock Paper Scissors 9.0

You will have to click the link to read what to yell when a given role wins, the diagram below shows who has the advantage.

In Washington State politics we have a top two primary. The major political parties have games the system, and carved up legislative districts to their advantage. The problem now is that political parties are struggling with making endorsements that lead to unified support for one person. Gone are the days where the tax payer was on the hook to fund this decision making through the partisan primary system.

At some point soon the local legislative districts will have to make a more meaningful effort to make decisions early enough to gain some benefit from political party support.

I suggest they try "How to Play Monkey-Pirate-Robot-Ninja-Zombie", and act on the results long before the primary.
My guess is that there would be plenty of infighting to decide who gets to be which character

It's a gift: Seattle music-shop owner donates 140,000 records to St. Vincent de Paul Society of Seattle/King County | Seattle Times Newspaper

So he had to get rid of about a third of his inventory and he likes St. Vincent de Paul, simple as that.
Local News | Seattle music-shop owner donates 140,000 records to St. Vincent de Paul Society of Seattle/King County | Seattle Times Newspaper

This story made me feel happy, for the person giving the gift, and those that benefit. It's as simple as that.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What will Seattle do with Key Arena when a new arena is built?

What will Seattle do with Key Arena when a new arena is built? In order for a new arena to function it will have to be located near or in Seattle. It is unlikely that the City of Seattle will directly participate in creating a better arena to Key Arena.

Drawing 15,000 people that can afford a NBA ticket on a regular basis, 41 nights a year, is simply not ever going to happen again, no matter how much private money Steve Ballmer offered to improve a public building.

This does not mean the a new arena could not be located within Seattle on somebody else's property, in another location than Seattle Center.

What was lost in the fight where two conflicting parties were both right, the NBA has a broken business model, and Key Arena is not economically viable, was that the fans got screwed and the building remains obsolete. Congrats.

The NBA model is not viable, they know it, they intend to fix that next summer. Still, a new arena would need a NHL partner to fill up more of those night where the new arena is nit taking the high value concerts and shows from Key Arena. Key Arena's floor is not big enough for the NHL, with the cost of a remodel pushing that kind of project into just building a new arena. And that is where this is at.

The market will support the NBA, NHL, and they would support a new arena. Sooner or later, I expect it.

It looks like the NBA is a ways off from returning but Seattle should know that there is a market for it and the NHL, and that a new arena is a "given".
These things do take time, and politicians will not act until the forced to do so, but the end is near for Key Arena's ice cold hopes of a remodel.

For Sonic fans the golf course comments from former player Detlef Schrempf should give you some hope, and a sense of where the process is it.

Without mentioning names, Schrempf said Monday that there are people working to develop an ownership group and structure, raising money and discussing where to build an arena. He does not see that happening quickly, though.

“I think it’s still in its early stages,” Schrempf said. “Everyone hopes something will happen.”

He said there are several challenges to bring a team back to the Puget Sound region. In addition to paying the NBA a relocation fee — it cost Clay Bennett $30 million to move the Sonics — the new owner might have to build an arena. Sales taxes in King County helped build both Safeco Field and Qwest Field, but Legislature repeatedly balked at doing the same to upgrade KeyArena, which was renovated in 1995, or build a new arena.

Bennett said KeyArena was no longer was a viable facility for the NBA. Schrempf agrees.

“When we were there, it was always sold out and was fantastic,” said Schrempf, who averaged 16.6 points a game in six seasons for the Sonics after being acquired from Indiana in a 1993 trade. “But it’s an outdated arena and it won’t work for basketball anymore. If there’s a new team that eventually comes, they will have to build a new facility. That’s a given.”

Read the rest here, there is a nice shout out to the Sonicsgate docudrama folks. Schrempf discusses NBA's future in Seattle

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Rep. Dave Reichert - CHICKEN!

Dave Reichert is a CHICKEN!

Cock a doodle do!
My dame has lost her shoe,
My master's lost his fiddlestick,
And knows not what to do.

wikipedia, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1951, 2nd edn., 1997), p. 128.

We asked Rep. Dave Reichert and Democratic challenger Suzan DelBene whether they supported the move to make BP set up an escrow account, whether they approve of the six-month moratorium on offshore drilling, whether they want to see a permanent ban on offshore drilling on the West Coast and if they think the liability cap for oil producers should be raised.

Reichert, answering by e-mail through campaign spokesman Jeff Harvey, did not have a response to any of the questions.

"His feelings are we are still in the middle of the crisis, and have yet to determine or fully understand how this disaster occurred, how to stop it, how to fix the damage it has already caused, or how to prevent another disaster from happening in the future," Harvey wrote.

"Given that, before he answers a series of yes or no questions, he has some questions of his own that need to be answered."

Politics Northwest | Reichert has questions, not answers, on Gulf oil spill | Seattle Times Newspaper

While oil gushes out if a broken pipe for 60 days Dave "the CHICKEN" Reichert doesn't know if we should stop repeating the steps for 6 months that resulted in the worst unnatural disaster America has ever seen.

He has "questions" but, go ahead and keep on going!

CHICKEN!

Supreme Court ruling finds messages sent on employer-provided equipment not private - KansasCity.com

It's official, your company communication devices are are not yours, along with your communications. I doubt most people needed the court to tell them this.

“Given the prevalence of cell phones, pagers and smart phones in the workplace, an opinion like this can have far-reaching impact,” said Kansas City employment law attorney David Kight.

“It says to most employers that they may not be able to stay ahead of every technological development, but as long as they have a policy that clearly tells employees that, if they supply the equipment, then they (employers) can look at how it’s used.”

Surveys have indicated that more than three-fourths of employers believe it’s reasonable to allow employees to send personal e-mail or text messages on employer-provided equipment, as long as use isn’t excessive and doesn’t interfere with work.

At the same time, surveys have found that nearly half of employers say they monitor employee e-mail use with either automatic or manual reviews, and about one-fourth have fired workers for abusing e-mail or texting policies.

The case emphasizes the importance of having well-communicated workplace policies governing use of communication devices.

In an acknowledgement that “the ubiquity of those devices has made them generally affordable,” the opinion also noted that “employees who need cell phones or similar devices for personal matters can purchase and pay for their own.”

The Supreme Court accepted the case after an appellate court had ruled that the city of Ontario had encroached on the Fourth Amendment privacy rights of police Sgt. Jeff Quon when it looked at the content of his pager messages sent during his shifts over a two-month period.

Click the link and read the story.
Supreme Court ruling finds messages sent on employer-provided equipment not private - KansasCity.com

Thursday, June 17, 2010

What is worse, his apology or Two wrongs trying to make it Right: GOP lawmaker apologizes for apologizing to BP exec | Seattle Times Newspaper

I think Republican Congressman Barton was being honest when he apologized to British Petrolium CEO Tony Barton.
I think he was wrong to apologize (the first time).

I think his retraction is a face-saving lie.
I think he is a liar.

"I apologize," Barton said to BP CEO Tony Hayward, who was sitting at a witness table for another of Congress' ritual floggings of wayward corporate heads.

"I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong is subject to some sort of political pressure that is - again, in my words, amounts to a shakedown," Barton said. "So I apologize."

Nation & World | GOP lawmaker apologizes for apologizing to BP exec
| Seattle Times Newspaper


If you do not hold foriegn owned multi-national corporations in higher regard than the American people then you don't make that kind of mistake.

I feel like I have to spell this out since there is at least one person that does not agree with me, and is now telling a lie to cover up his true feelings.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Is Mike McGinn one-and-done, no matter what he does?

Is Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn in a no-win situation? Is he the man who replaced the man, Greg Nickels, and that's it?

He has only been mayor for 6 months and 10 days (but who is counting), but he is having to make cuts. Next year it will be even more cuts, the year after that his claim to fence straddling fame, the deep bore tunnel replacement for the Alaskan Way Viaduct, will begin construction. And we will be thankful at the time for the jobs and promise of a viaduct-free Seattle wasterfront.

Then he has to run for re-election.

Sure, a lot can happen between today and 3 years from now, but almost none of it in the control of the mayor.
Every promise he made during his campaign that has a dollar sign attached to it is either dead on arrival, conveniently forgotten, one an up hill battle.

West Side light rail levy vote while chopping parts of the budget by 14.5% next year just looks like a break in logic.

This is going to hurt us a lot more than it is going to hurt him, and Seattle will resent it. They will resent the iPhones for his staff, and $200,000 to paint stripes on Nickerson Avenue to may bike riders happy.
Let them eat sharrows!

About next year:
McGinn said he may increase fees or ask voters to increase their property taxes to pay for next year's budget. Without new revenue, some departments will be asked to cut as much as 14.5 percent from their budgets.

Those cuts are "probably deeper than I think the residents of this city want us to go," McGinn said.

Local News | Mayor to cut wading-pool hours, delay hiring 21 police officers in midyear budget cuts | Seattle Times Newspaper

McGinn, he may be one-and-done, no matter what.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Fwd: [Urban Politics] WHO PAYS FOR TUNNEL COST OVERRUNS? Urban Politics #294 - 6-7-2010

Hmmm, I agree with Nick Licata.
Mark that one down on your calendar.

Have a great day,
Mike Baker

Sent from my iPhone

Urban Politics #294, 6-7-2010

By City Councilmember Nick Licata


WHO PAYS FOR COST OVERRUNS? TUNNEL AGREEMENTS AND CONTRACT

The question that has dominated the discussion of the deep bore tunnel replacement for the Alaskan Way Viaduct has been: who will pay for any cost overruns? The answer is the State with regards to the contract for the tunnel. The reason is that the contractor that wins the design-build contract for the tunnel will be signing a contract with the State of Washington, not the City of Seattle. The contract will oblige WSDOT to cover risks associated with the tunnel.  The City of Seattle will not be contractually obligated to cover cost overruns for the tunnel.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Seattle Times: McGinn and Gregoire spar over tunnel costs

Everyday he earns the name Mayor McSandbag.

Politics Northwest | McGinn and Gregoire spar over tunnel costs | Seattle Times Newspaper
"Mr. Mayor, we have a track record that's loud and clear. We have a track record of getting every project done on time and on budget," Gregoire said, specifically referring to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and the recently finished highway ramps in Sodo.

McGinn noted that costs overran at the Third Avenue bus tunnel, the Brightwater sewage tunnel and the Beacon Hill light-rail tunnel.

"I didn't manage those projects," Gregoire replied.

Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond said the city needs to pass utility and planning agreements with the state soon, so that construction teams can prepare their tunnel bids on time for the October due date, keeping the project on schedule.

"One thing I can guarantee to everyone at this table is we will have cost overruns if we delay," said Gregoire. "The taxpayers are counting on us."

The $1.96 billion tunnel portion of the project already includes a $415 million cushion for risk and inflation, she said.

McGinn countered that the state recently allowed bidders to propose a 2016 tunnel completion date instead of the original 2015, because at least one bid team perceived enough cost risk to seek the looser schedule.

Gregoire said virtually all McGinn's points were debated over 13 years and that he's a latecomer to the issue. She said work should start now, because of the ideal economic climate to attract low bids, and that the 1953-vintage viaduct should be "retired" for safety.

McGinn argued the timeline isn't entirely about safety, given that the state would leave the old highway standing until the tunnel is done.

McGinn accused the state of creating this scenario by breaking earlier promises to cover the highway costs and by refusing to act on his requests earlier to change the state law -- so that "we are asked to be the default payor of cost overruns."

Gregoire said the overruns language is merely "legislative intent," and the Legislature couldn't make Seattle pay cost overruns unless lawmakers pass another bill.

"When the state budget is being drawn by the state, the state is responsible for the projects," she said afterward.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010