Caffeinated News & Gossip

1. In case you missed it, Erica had the scoop yesterday: the city is planning to sell the Pacific Place Garage.

2. Mayoral candidate Peter Steinbrueck reported raising just over $16,000 in January.

Not a ton. But he does have a few notable contributors: Consultant Cathy Allen (Steinbrueck has yet to sign on a consultant), arena opponent Peter Goldman, and husband-of-city-council-member Sally Bagshaw Brad Bagshaw—who, council member Bagshaw points out, also contributed to her council colleague Tim Burgess, who's also running for mayor. 

For her part, Bagshaw maxed out to Burgess in November, and says she won't be contributing to any other candidate. 

3. Mayoral candidate and City Council member Bruce Harrell will introduce legislation on Wednesday to regulate the Seattle Police Department's use of unmanned drones, stipulating, among other new restrictions, that SPD can't operate any drones other than the two it currently owns; that drones can only be used for data collection on a specified target, not general surveillance; that drones can't be operated at night or over populated areas; that SPD obtain a warrant to use drones in most cases; and that SPD must delete data collected by drones unless it "shows evidence of criminal activity or civil liability, or the data is collected for training purposes."

Mayoral candidate and City Council member Bruce Harrell will introduce legislation on Wednesday to regulate the Seattle Police Department's use of unmanned drones

4. In other mayoral candidate news: State Sen. Ed Murray is introducing more wishful thinking legislation today that will play well in Seattle—Washington state's own version of the DREAM Act to allow children of undocumented immigrants to attend college or serve in the military. 

Liberal Murray has also proposed a captial gains tax.

5. Speaking of immigration reform: In the context of President Obama's recent call for legislation granting undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship, along with similar speechifying by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla), the Republican-controlled U.S. House  begins hearings today on immigration in the Judiciary Committee.  Conservative chair Rep. Robert Goodlatte (R-VA) begrudgingly says the hearings will look at similar path-to-citizenship proposals.

Newly elected Washington state U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA, 1) is on the committee. One of the stark contrasts between DelBene and her former Republican opponent, John Koster, was on immigration reform: DelBene enthusiastically supported path-to-citizenship legislation, Koster did not.

6. Apparently still high off the Republican domination of the state senate (or perhaps still high off his breathtaking 74-vote, automatic recount victory in November),  Sen. Don Benton (R-17, Vancouver) has introduced a bill (one of the astounding 54 bills on which he's a prime sponsor) that would increase the number of payday loans a person could take out from eight to 12 a year. Opponents of payday lending say the high-interest loans, which provide quick cash at annual interest rates as high as 400 percent, trap people in a vicious cycle of debt.

Benton is also one of the prime sponsors of a bill that would create a new type of high-interest consumer loan, complete with substantial monthly fees, penalties for late payment, and terms that could allow a lender to repossess a borrower's car if he or she went into default. 

7. At its 1pm meeting today, the Port of Seattle will begin hearing three-minute pitches from the 29 candidates who have announced they want to take former commissioner (now state Rep.) Gael Tarleton's seat.

You can watch the show here.

Four to six of the 29 will make the cut. Round two? A pair of public hearings—one at the downtown Seattle library on February 26 and one at Renton City Hall on February 27—where the audience can ask questions.