1. File this under "Isn't it Weird That" ...
In their endorsement of Albert Shen, the engineering consultant who's challenging Mike O'Brien—a thoughtful and innovative progressive force on the Seattle City Council whose diplomacy and brainpower are highly valued by his council colleagues—the Seattle Times wrote: "O’Brien, the former Sierra Club chairman, has strayed beyond the leftward boundary of the reasonable too many times. In 2011 he proposed a city income tax. He also proposed an outright ban on plastic shopping bags."
It's not weird that the Times chose the nominal business-backed alternative to a popular progressive like O'Brien. It is, however, weird that the Seattle Times would cite the plastic bag ban as evidence of O'Brien's supposedly radical agenda.
In November 2011, when the City Council took up O'Brien's plastic bag ban, the Seattle Times editorial board published an editorial titled "This Time, Ban the Bag," promoting the ban.
In November 2011, when the Seattle City Council took up O'Brien's plastic bag ban, the Seattle Times editorial board published an editorial titled "This Time, Ban the Bag," (the title of the online version is "Bellingham Shows Seattle How to Bag Plastic Bags"), supporting the ban and saying the Seattle council had initially gotten it wrong in 2008 when they simply tried to place a 20-cent fee on plastic bags, writing: "If plastic bags are bad, why not ban them?"
(Voters rejected the fee at the polls in 2009.)
The Times' "Ban the Bag" editorial went on (dramatically) to document how hazardous plastic bags are, citing Bellingham's better solution: "Bellingham bans single-use carry out bags outright."
The pro-ban editorial ends: "Plastic bags have never been free. Their true costs are more evident. The Seattle City Council has a better story to tell and a better way to deliver it."
Here's a screen shot of the Seattle Times' pro "Ban the Bag" editorial that ran in the print edition:
2. As the City Council takes a look at amending taxicab regulations to perhaps rein in share economy car services such as Uber and Lyft and Sidecar, Uber sent a letter this week to the council complaining that a "demand study" the council has commissioned to take a look at the current market is biased in favor of taxi and limousine services.
One convincing piece of evidence? The chief researcher on the study, Ray Mundy, lobbies for the taxi industry and has acknowledged his bias.
In the letter, Uber lobbyist Cory Owens notes:
Chief survey researcher admits he is biased toward taxi industry. “I’m pretty much biased toward the taxi industry,” Ray Mundy, Principal of TTLF [“Taxi report hits rocky terrain”, Austin Chronicle, September 23, 2011]
Chief survey researcher makes a living advocating for taxi companies. According to his own website, Mundy “coordinates seminars” on issues including “marketing taxi services” [Ray A. Mundy, Ph.D. TTLF]
Chief survey researcher has history of opposing environmentally friendly vehicle options. “Mundy also deals a blow to the bid by one-time [Austin] City Council candidate Chris Nielsen to get his fleet of electric vehicles officially sanctioned. [“Taxi report hits rocky terrain”, Austin Chronicle, September 23, 2011]
The July 16 email to council ends: "I implore you to look beyond any report written by a taxi industry consultant and focus on your constituents - many of whom are looking for easier ways to live, work and play in this great city."
3. Here's some followup to our story yesterday that KING 5's poll—which wasn't good for Mayor Mike McGinn to begin with (his numbers dropped slightly from 22 to 21 in the mayor's race, while his rival state Sen. Ed Murray jumped from 15 to 22)—may have actually oversestimated his showing because the poll oversampled younger voters. (Young voters favor McGinn, but they're not predicted to show up in the August 6 primary as prominently—56 percent—as the KING 5 poll had it.)
The Murray campaign jumped on our story and adjusted the KING 5 poll results to reflect King County Elections prediction for an older voter turnout.
Here's what they say; consider the source, but here they are: Murray edges up to 23 percent, McGinn drops to 19 percent, and Steinbreuck goes from 14 percent to 16 percent.