1. Sad news: Former state Sen. Jean Berkey (D-38), who lost to fellow Democrat Nick Harper in 2010 after Democratic consulting firm Moxie Media masterminded a right-wing attack, which the state later found illegal, against Berkey (while simultaneously attacking her from the left), died last week after a brief illness.
The Everett Herald reports that Berkey, 74, died at her home on Fidalgo Island.
2. My Ballard has the news that the old Ballard branch library (across from the QFC on 24th Ave. NW) is being torn down and replaced by—you guessed it—apartments. Six stories of new apartments, specifically, including ground-level retail, three live-work units, 107 apartments, and 80 new parking spaces. The new project will be known as "Ballard West."
3. Geekwire has some theories about Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's abrupt announcement that he will leave the company within a year. Nothing that Ballmer previously said he would stay at Microsoft until his youngest child graduates college, or around 2018, they write, "something doesn't add up." Theories include: A battle over control of the company with ValueAct Capital, which has been buying up shares and pushing for reform; that founder Bill Gates pushed him out; or that Microsoft's smartphone partner Nokia may be seeking more control of the company.
4. Also on Geekwire today: Noted patent troll and Modernist Cuisine hobby publisher Nathan Myhrvold (a former Microsoft CTO himself) has set up lobbying office for his Intellectual Ventures firm in Washington, D.C., presumably to fight against a federal investigation into patent-holding firms "that will require companies to answer questions about the legitimacy of their business."
Intellectual Ventures does not make any actual product; instead, the Bellevue company makes their millions by filing for vague, broad patents (for example: "Online data storage") and extracting license fees from companies that actually developed products using their patented "inventions."
5. On her blog, the Seattle Schools Community Forum, Seattle school activist Melissa Westbrook has a lengthy interview with mayoral candidate Ed Murray about what he thinks the role of a Seattle mayor is in dealing with the Seattle School District (a separate entity from the city).
Murray tells Westbrook he doesn't think the city should take over the school district, but adds that he thinks the city should take more of a role in providing police to improve public safety in school zones, suggests that the city might appoint some school board members, and giving immigrant communities more city support to come up with proposals for funding under the city's Families and Education Levy.