1. The council's housing and human services committee approved legislation yesterday that makes smoking pot in public a civil infraction subject to a $27 fine, in response to Initiative 502, which legalized the recreational use and possession of marijuana—but banned people from smoking pot in public.
As we reported Tuesday, there's some question about whether the law, which requires cops to give public smokers a warning before issuing a citation for a second offense, will lead to more enforcement than exists under a previous Seattle initiative, I-75, which makes pot possession the city's lowest law-enforcement priority.
"It's an educate-first, ticket-last approach," city attorney Pete Holmes said at yesterday's meeting.
Holmes noted another potential (only-in-Seattle) concern: What about people who don't have a private residence in which to smoke? (The law effectively restricts legal pot consumption to homeowners and renters whose landlords allow smoking on their property).
The law effectively restricts legal pot consumption to homeowners and renters whose landlords allow smoking on their property.
For that matter, what about people who visit Seattle and want to smoke pot here?
"We need to find some outlet, some way to accommodate equal access and freedom" for non-homeowners and tourists, Holmes said, adding that his office was working on a proposal to address those potential buyers.
2. The state department of transportation (WSDOT) said yesterday that it still doesn't know what's blocking Bertha, the downtown tunnel-boring machine, which has been stuck about 1,000 feet along its route through downtown for the last five days.
Project manager Chris Dixon, with Seattle Tunnel Partners, told reporters yesterday that figuring out what's blocking Bertha could take until at least next week—or potentially weeks longer, if initial plans to explore the cutting head of the machine, which involve sending divers 60 feet under the surface under hyperbaric pressure, don't work out. The culprit could be something caught inside the machine's cutting head itself, which would be easier to remove, or something (like a boulder) blocking the cutting head from moving forward.
"We were tunneling very successfully and productively up Alaskan Way until last week, when we started encountering resistance," Dixon said yesterday. "Something is causing that resistance, but we don't know what it is. ...Until we get down there, we won't know."
Dixon said that because the machine is drilling below the level where settlers regraded the waterfront with fill, it should be traveling through "native soils"—meaning the obstruction is unlikely to be an artifact or anything else made by humans.
3. The Seattle Times continues to have up-to-the-minute coverage of the contract talks (and de facto 777X talks) between the machinists union, the International Association of Machinists (IAM) District 751, and Boeing.
The latest: IAM 751 President Tom Wroblewski told the Times "the two sides are not close to an agreement."
Boeing is expected to respond to IAM's latest offer today.