On Other Blogs
On Other Blogs Today: Charter Schools and Poor Performance; Tall Buildings and Big Houses; Tim Burgess and the Stranger
Our daily roundup
1. Neighborhood activists who decry the "end of Seattle's single-family neighborhoods" and policies that "force people to live in shoeboxes," take heart: According to a new study, reported in the Puget Sound Business Journal, more than 13 percent of Seattle's homes have nine rooms or more, putting the city at 26th in the nation, or in the top quarter of the cities the study ranked.
The median home in Seattle had 5.5 rooms.
2. Seattle City Council member Tim Burgess' mayoral campaign got off to a clumsy start on Tuesday. He apparently promised an exclusive announcement interview to the Stranger, but then did interviews with several media outlets (including the Seattle Times and PubliCola), allowing everyone to hit with the story at the same time.
Evidently trying to win favor with the alt-weekly (Burgess has a reputation for being a conservative), he ended up pissing off the liberal paper.
3. As the state of Washington prepares to implement I-1240, the initiative authorizing 40 charter schools statewide, Bloomberg News reports that a new study by the National Association of Charter Authorizers has concluded that one in five charter schools around the country should be shut down because of poor student performance.
The study found that between "900 to 1,300 of the privately run, publicly financed schools should close because they are in the bottom 15 percent of public schools in their states," Bloomberg reports.
Studies have consistently showed mixed results from charters, and opponents have expressed concern that charters promote segregation, siphon students from the most motivated families out of the public-school system, and fail to provide equal access to students with special needs, such as English-language learners and students with disabilities.
4. At Seattle's Land Use Code, urban density proponent Roger Valdez takes a look at mayoral candidate Tim Burgess' record on land-use issues and finds it mostly positive.
Valdez notes Burgess' annoyance at the city's tendency to try to "split the baby" on zoning issues (giving developers 65 feet when they ask for 85, for example), as well as his advocacy for the controversial upzone around the Roosevelt light rail station.
Caveat for rent-control and inclusionary zoning advocates, though: Valdez, who's not a fan, says he hopes Burgess won't end up supporting inclusionary zoning, which requires developers to provide a certain number of affordable units in new buildings—Burgess is one of several council members considering it—writing that "price controls are a bad thing."
5. As state senate transportation committee chair Mary Margaret Haugen (D-10) prepares to leave the senate after losing to Republican Barbara Bailey, the Everett Herald profiles Haugen and her "improbable journey from cutting hair in her Camano Island home to designing transportation policy for the state."
The best nugget from the story: As a legislator, Haugen cut the hair of fellow legislators, including both Democrats and Republicans. "I charged them one vote," she joked.
Haugen, of course, is best known as a fierce advocate for highway funding (including roads and ferries, which are part of the state highway system) and an opponent of many transit measures supported by environmentalists and liberal Democrats. Indeed, she tells the Herald that the only vote she regrets taking is a vote to allow the Washington State Convention Center above I-5 in downtown Seattle, because the location limits freeway expansion.
Haugen has been replaced as transportation chair by a Democrat who's generally viewed as more friendly to transit, Tracey Eide (D-30).