1. Seattle Transit Blog's Ben Schiendelman fact-checks city council member Sally Clark for not pushing to study a rail line down Eastlake and across the Ship Canal 2013, as Mayor Mike McGinn proposed earlier this week. His outrage seems a little out of proportion, given that McGinn's proposal would only move the study up one year, and given that the "contradiction" Schiendelman cites is that Clark initially said she'd try to find the money sooner if possible.
Of course, it's an election year, and keeping to the original schedule would deny McGinn an election season win. Schiendelman, a McGinn supporter, accuses Clark of doing just that—holding up the McGinn proposal "as an issue for her friends on the Council"—Bruce Harrell and Tim Burgess, who are both challenging McGinn—"to attack the mayor."
Forgive us for our lack of outrage: Either way, the city is going to study it, but it may be next year (i.e., after the next mayoral election) instead of this one.
Schiendelman spoke at a McGinn press conference this week where the mayor asked the council to find an extra $300,000 to accelerate the study, something he doesn't note in his post.*
2. A King County District Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit arguing that the proposed new Sonics arena violates Initiative 91, which requires any publicly subsidized arena to produce a profit, the Puget Sound Business Journal reports. An earlier lawsuit made what we considered a better argument: that the arena shouldn't be allowed to move forward until the state does a full environmental impact statement.
The reasoning: Because the arena plan only includes one viable location—Chris Hansen's land in SoDo—moving forward without an EIS that considered other viable alternatives would make the SoDo site a fait accompli. That lawsuit was dismissed in February.
3. In a blow to opponents of the proposed coal terminal near Bellingham, state Rep. Reuven Carlyle (D-36, Queen Anne), has withdrawn his proposal to study the economic impacts of coal exports on the state of Washington, the Olympian reports.
The Republican-dominated Majority Coalition Caucus was unlikely to go along with Carlyle's $150,000 proposal. The new terminal could mean as much as 100 million additional tons of coal exports from Washington and Oregon to China and India, and as much as 240 million tons of additional carbon emissions a year.
4. Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that the epidemic of landslides that have repeatedly halted Amtrak, Sounder, and freight rail service between Seattle and Everett will likely get worse as the climate heats up and rainfall—which stresses soil and causes landslides—increases.
In Washington, climate change is likely to lead to wetter winters—meaning more landslides even as Sound Transit tries to ramp up Sounder service and lawmakers consider the aforementioned coal terminal, which would dramatically increase train traffic along the landslide-prone route.
5. Using the scary example of a son who hacked his father to death after doctors released him from Western State Hospital, a mental-health facility, the News Tribune's editorial board argues in favor of legislation that would make it easier to involuntarily commit people who are accused of crimes but deemed mentally incompetent to stand trial. While we don't want dangerous felons walking the streets, we're also wary of a law that would allow the state to effectively lock people up for months or years when they haven't been convicted of any crime.
*P.S. STB—which, although we don't always agree with them, is an On Other Blogs Today favorite —won a much-deserved Seattle Municipal League award for government news reporting.