Morning Fizz: The Supposed Gap
Caffeinated news and gossip featuring the council and the streetcar, the council and incentive zoning, and Mayor Murray and President Obama.
1. Yesterday afternoon, the city council approved a resolution adopting the First Avenue Streetcar as the city's preferred option for linking up the South Lake Union streetcar with the under-construction First Hill streetcar. Nick Licata was the lone "No" vote.
At yesterday's meeting, Licata said he wanted to hold off on the vote for a few weeks, arguing that buses are less expensive (and therefore can serve more riders) than streetcars. Licata said the supposed "gap" between the two existing streetcars could be served just as well, or better, by buses. "I do not feel comfortable supporting this legislation," Licata said.
2. In more council action yesterday: After getting a briefing in the afternoon about a report urging them to A) increase incentive zoning fees as a way to increase affordable housing or B) establish a mandatory payment by developers into the city's affordable housing fund if they build in high growth areas, the council held an evening hearing on IZ (as incentive zoning is referred to by policy heads.)
Erica will have a post on the IZ report and the hearing later today.
For now, here are her tweets from last night's meeting, including:
"Michelle, this is the new mayor of Seattle's husband."—President Obama
3. Mayor Ed Murray is giving the warmup pitch at a private Democratic Party fundraiser in Madrona this afternoon starring President Obama.
Murray will talk to the group of $500-to-$10,000-donors about income inequality, and says he'll talk to Obama, who's likely to show up after Murray's talk, about the stark situation facing Seattle's young African Americans and East African immigrants in education and the economy.
Murray has met Obama—going back to the president's time as a U.S. senator—several times, and reports that at the White House Christmas party last year, Obama playfully ignored Murray in the receiving line, simply turning to the First Lady and saying: "Michelle, this is the new mayor of Seattle's husband," when Murray and his husband Michael Shiosoki, who'd just officially tied the knot that summer, got their turn to greet the First Couple.