1. King County Metro is facing 17 percent service cuts due to limp sales tax revenues. Metro Director Kevin Desmond is presenting an outline to the press today of the routes that will be cut unless additional funding is found. (The state legislature is currently considering funding options are currently under consideration in the legislature, including a local option bill being sponsored by Rep. Jessyn Farrell, D-46, N. Seattle.)
The Council passed a temporary $20 car-tab tax in 2011, but that tax, which provides about $25 million annually, runs out in 2014.
2. With all the news on Gov. Jay Inslee's budget late last week, we failed to report on the loopy standoff in the senate government operations committee between committee chair Sen. Pam Roach (R-31, Auburn), and Rep. Roger Goodman (D-45, Kirkland); the governor's office and Sen. Bob Hasegawa (D-11, Beacon Hill) also got in on the melee, taking Goodman's side.
At issue is a Goodman bill that would allow first responders to jump into action—say, in the case of fires, as they were prevented from doing last summer—immediately after the governor issues a declaration of emergency, without having to wait for the secretary of state's office to affix the state seal to the document.
Sen. Roach sees the seal as a check and balance on executive power, but Goodman—and Hasegawa and the governor's office, all citing the secretary of state's own testimony and the law— argued that it's just a "formality" to affirm that the governor's signature is the governor's signature. In other words, the secretary of state has no authority to disagree with the governor's assessment that there's an emergency.
This is must watch TV and comes with the line (or non sequitur) of the week: Roach says, "the right has its black helicopters, and now the left has its drones."
It also comes with, perhaps, an unprecedented revelation from a member of the state legislature: Sen. Roach, who actually sponsored the senate version of this bill, said she voted against it. Roach acknowledges that it "might be a first"—to have the prime sponsor vote against his or her own bill, when no amendments have been attached.
Roach's bill, which she voted against because she's worried that the governor could crack down on civil unrest without the secretary of state's "check" (even though the secretary of state doesn't have the power to reject the state of emergency if the governor actually signs the declaration), passed 47-2.
Goodman's version, which he was testifying for in Roach's senate committee, passed the house 89-7.
2. Car2go, the one-way carsharing service, expanded over the weekend into South and West Seattle, and the blue-and-white Smartfor2 cars immediately started showing up all over the south end (and, reportedly West Seattle).
There's obviously even more demand. Just as they did before, the cars have already started bunching up right at the southern border of the company's "home area," where users can park on-street free of charge, designated by the blue line along Orcas.
Car2Go added 100 new cars, and has authority from the city to add 70 more in the future. The company pays the city $1,330 per space for access to on-street parking.