1. After a series of packed statewide listening tour meetings in Bellevue, Everett, Wenatchee, Yakima, and Pasco, the state senate transportation committee has changed the location of tonight's scheduled meeting in Spokane—from downtown Spokane to the suburbs (from Greater Spokane Inc. in downtown Spokane to the theater at Central Valley High School in Spokane Valley.)
Sen. Curtis King (R-14, Yakima), the co-chair of the transportation committee, posted the following notice on his website:
“In Bellevue, we saw close to 400 people pack themselves into a school gymnasium,” King said. “It was standing room only, and the same was true for the Everett location. Hundreds of people turned out, which made us realize that some of the other facilities may not be large enough to handle the crowd. I’ve said it before, but it’s a good day in state government when we have to make room for more citizens due to the overwhelming turnout.”
The theater at Central Valley High School holds over 500 comfortably and is already set up to host presentations. The address is 821 S Sullivan Rd. in Spokane Valley. Because it’s a public school, it will also accommodate attendees with a variety of disabilities.
The 16-member transportation committee is nominally split evenly between Democratic and Republican members, but one of the eight Democrats is Sen. Tim Sheldon (D-35, Potlatch), who abandoned the Democratic caucus to join the Republican-dominated governing Majority Coalition Caucus, putting the committee in GOP hands. The Republicans rejected the $10 billion transportation package earlier this year on the grounds that it funded light rail between Vancouver, Washington and Portland, and it was funded by a ten-and-a-half cent gas tax (taxes are verboten among the MCC).
Transit advocates in Spokane sense a conspiracy. In an email that went out yesterday titled "I'm not sure they want you to testify," Spokane councilman Jon Snyder wrote:
The Senate Republicans are having a listening tour to hear what citizens want for transportation in our state. It was originally scheduled to be in downtown Spokane tomorrow--but then it was suddenly switched to Spokane Valley.
That makes it harder for those using public transit in Spokane to testify.
That makes it harder for folks in Spokane who bike and walk to testify.
That makes it harder for most folks in Spokane to testify.
Should we let that stop us? The Senate Republicans need to hear strong support for a balanced transportation policy, one that support fixing our roads first, support public transit, and supporting biking and walking along with other transportation projects.
Snyder concluded: "Need a ride? A free bus will be leaving at 5pm at 25 W. Main St, outside the Saranac Building. RSVP to me if you can."
The Seattle meeting (which was added after the an original Seattle date was canceled), is scheduled for October 14 at the King County Courthouse from 6-9 pm.
2. At a "speed-dating"-style candidate forum hosted by the Housing Development Consortium yesterday (at which candidates for city offices made their way around a large group of tables, stopping at each table for just over five minutes to answer questions), the two candidates for mayor—incumbent Mike McGinn and his challenger, state Sen. Ed Murray—made their case to housing advocates that they were the better candidate to represent the pro-low-income-housing forces.
Murray, increasingly voicing the "pro-neighborhood" rap that failed primary candidate Peter Steinbrueck used earlier this campaign season, lit in to McGinn on microhousing noting the city "has not figured out how to make" aPodments work.
McGinn said his approach toward the problem with public urination downtown was "to build a public restroom"—a reference to the just-approved "Portland Loo" in Pioneer Square, which will be the city's only publicly operated restroom.
Murray, meanwhile, increasingly voicing the "pro-neighborhood" rap that failed primary candidate Peter Steinbrueck used earlier this campaign season, lit in to McGinn on microhousing noting the city "has not figured out how to make" rooming houses (AKA "aPodments") work. He also criticized McGinn's famous stand against allowing a Whole Foods development in West Seattle until the grocer increased its wages, saying McGinn "made an issue two days before the [August primary] election of something he can't actually effect."
In the emails obtained through a public records request, Fizz found that a representative for Hedreen, Shauna Decker, repeatedly asked the city's Department of Planning and Development director Diane Sugimura—not someone with whom most developers have a direct Batphone connection—to expedite the city's review of the proposed hotel. After at least four apparent phone messages from Decker and several direct emails to Sugimura, Sugimura wrote a note to her assistant saying simply, "Geesh," and declined to move the meetings up as Decker requested.
Hedreen has contributed $10,000 to an independent-expenditure campaign for McGinn's opponent, state Sen. Ed Murray (D-43).
4. The Seattle Times has the sad and gross story about the recent hazing incident at Garfield High School, though they didn't publish the full email to parents from GHS Principal Ted Howard.
Here it is:
Do you know where your son or daughter is at tonight? I spent the afternoon with Officer Radford and many other officers walking through the Arboretum. One hundred or more Garfield students were participating in hazing incidents, drinking hard alcohol and beer. Students were being paddled, had on diapers, eggs were being thrown at students and shoe polish was all over their body. As students ran and scattered from the scene they caused at least one, maybe more car accidents due to running in front of cars. I was also called a "Nigger" by a student and many other derogatory names. [Howard is black.—Eds.]
As I email you tonight I asked the question do you know where your son or daughter is at? I ask that question because I want you to know that we all have a responsibility to keep our kids safe. We all work hard to make sure they learn life lessons and make better decisions. Tonight some of our students didn't make good decisions. If students were there to watch, cause harm to another student or behave inappropriately this impacts the entire GHS community and puts the GHS community in a negative light.
I am asked every year how we will address hazing. Every year we work really hard to teach our students about respect, how to honor each other's cultures, and to have empathy. I am asking you tonight to continue that conversation with your son or daughter. We are a community, a community that grows together and learns together. Please have a conversation with your son and daughter about decisions, how they can and will impact people's lives.
Thank you for your time.