1. While Seattle and the nation (and The Nation) were fixated on the inauguration of the city's first socialist city council member in more than 100 years (and the city's first-ever gay mayor too), across the water, Bellevue's city council was electing a new mayor that represented the changing times as well: Light-rail proponent Claudia Balducci.
Balducci, an up-tempo liberal, has served on the council for 10 years, but her ascencion to mayor reflects the shift toward a more urban Bellevue. (Bellevue mayors are chosen not by popular vote but by the council.)
Balducci's deputy mayor, somewhat ironically, is council member Kevin Wallace, who frequently clashed with Balducci early in his first council term, holding meetings with fellow light-rail opponents that Balducci charged violated the state's open-meetings act. Balducci also accused him of a conflict of interest related to property his company, Wallace Properties, owns along a proposed light-rail route that was ultimately rejected.
Balducci and Wallace practically came to blows over a series of light-rail related conflict-of-interest allegations in 2010; however, perhaps the adoption of a preferred rail route (and the new 4-3 pro-rail majority on the council) has cooled any residual hostility.
2. A new Elway Poll finds that in the wake of the Boeing Machinists' vote to accept the company's contract offer and keep construction of the new 777X plane in Everett, voters' optimism spiked, with strong majorities "expecting things to get better" after the vote.
The poll, which measures voter expectations for the next year for their household, community, state, and county, showed that 83 percent believed things would improve for their household (up from 68 percent); 78 percent believed things would improve for their community (up from 67 percent) and 64 percent believed things would get better for the state as a whole (up from 58 percent).
Overall, younger voters, Democrats, Seattle residents, and men were the most optimistic groups in the poll.
3. On the heels of news that the company former mayor Mike McGinn chose to provide high-speed broadband service in Seattle, Gigabit Squared, has apparently failed to deliver on its promise to provide service on Chicago's South Side, the Puget Sound Business Journal reported yesterday that Gigabit's plans in Seattle are "dead."
The Cincinnati-based company, which has not yet set up a single broadband system in any city during its five years in business, was apparently unable to secure financing for its multi-million-dollar Seattle proposal, and the city now plans to look for a company with a "more realistic financing mechanism" to provide high-speed broadband.