1. The Columbian reports that Washington state Republicans are ignoring Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber's warning that if Washington legislators refuse to allow light rail on the proposed Columbia River Crossing bridge connecting Portland and Vancouver, his state won't put up its promised $450 million contribution to the project.
In an interview with the paper, senate rail opponent Ann Rivers (R-18, La Center) seems unfazed by Kitzhaber's statement, calling the loss of $450 million "just another hurdle to overcome." Washington state legislators have yet to approve the state's own proposed $450 million contribution to the project.
2. Now that it's clear legislators will have to go to a special session to resolve their disputes over the state budget, education spending, and other critical issues, the Everett Herald reports that the length of that session remains "anyone's guess."
However, the Herald predicts, "It's a good bet once the overtime period begins it will last for most or all of the 30 days allowed by law" and could end up extending into a second special session "because the gulf between Democrats controlling the House, the Republicans running the Senate and the rookie governor is so deep and wide."
3. KIRO TV reports that some city officials believe a new peer-to-peer ridesharing service called Lyft is illegal because it doesn't comply with laws governing regular taxis and other for-hire cars. The way it works: A person who needs a ride somewhere logs on to the Lyft app on their smartphone to find a driver nearby who, in theory, has a similar destination. (In practice, Lyft and similar ridersharing systems like Sidecar have become a side business for some drivers).
The city says Lyft drivers should have to get for-hire vehicle licenses, like taxi drivers do. Lyft's owners say it's more like carpooling, and note that payment is technically optional. The city, however, isn't buying it: They say they'll ticket any Lyft driver (readily identifiable by the big pink moustache decals they have to install on the front of their cars) for failing to comply with citytaxi laws.
4. The latest news in the ping-pong match between Sacramento and Seattle, who are both vying for a new contract with the Sacramento Kings: According to the AP, the leader of California's state senate is seeking a change to state environmental law that would set statewide standards for noise and traffic issues related to urban development projects (like arenas), and protect developments that meet those standards from lawsuits. The change would make a new arena in Sacramento less risky by sheltering it from potential lawsuits.
What's next? Exempting all sports arenas from workplace safety regulations, minimum wage laws, and building codes?
5. On his blog, city council member Mike O'Brien has a timely reminder for Seattle residents who are sick of getting Yellow Pages phone books routinely delivered to their doors (also known as all Seattle residents with access to the Internet): Just two weeks remain for Seattleites opt out of yellow-pages delivery for the coming year. If you don't want the useless yellow book, say so at yellowpagesoptout.com, and let O'Brien know if you opt out and get a phone book anyway.