1. Two Republican state senators, Don Benton (R-17, Vancouver and Ann Rivers (R-18, La Center), have proposed legislation that would withhold funding for the Columbia River Crossing bridge between Vancouver and Portland if the project includes light rail, the Columbian reports.
As currently proposed, the project would build a new I-5 bridge over the Columbia River and extend light rail from Portland to Vancouver.
Arch-conservative Benton, as we reported yesterday, also has a bill to keep the U.N. out of our business (damn it!) and a bill to have law enforcement track the status of all immigrants.
2. At the Seattle Times, economic reporter and columnist John Talton succinctly sums up what went wrong with the Boeing Dreamliner (the FAA grounded all of the new 787s yesterday): "Radical outsourcing" of the Dreamliner's construction, an "experiment that proved to be costly, inefficient and now dangerous."
"One can't successfully build the most advanced airliner in history the way companies make cheap imports from China," Talton writes.
3. Job growth remains weak, education is woefully underfunded, the climate is warming, and there's no solution to the state's multi-billion-dollar transportation funding shortfall in sight. So what do state Republicans (and two dissident Democrats) who make up the "Majority Coalition Caucus" want to focus on? Finding out who spilled documents to an AP reporter about the latest in a series of abusive outbursts by Republican Sen. Pam Roach (R-31), the AP reports.
Roach, who has a well-documented history of verbally attacking staff members, had been kicked out of the GOP caucus over her over-the-top behavior; earlier this week, the caucus restored her status as a caucus member. Legislators, unlike other elected officials are not subject to the state's Public Disclosure Act, so all their communications are effectively classified.
4. Also at the News Tribune, Peter "Crank" Callaghan breaks out the world's tiniest violin for state Sen. Ed Murray, who complained bitterly about Seattle's loss of political power in Olympia when the Majority Coalition took over the senate. If he's elected mayor, Callaghan suggests, maybe Murray can "help his city take the lead by abandoning the stereotypes that far too many Seattleites use to shove the rest of us into neat, condescending and oh-so-clever pigeon holes."
5. The Seattle Times reports that a Kirkland developer is taking the city to court because the city adopted new zoning that drastically slashes the density of his proposed apartment complex south of the city, from 143 to 58. The city changed the zoning after neighbors complained that it was "out of character" with the surrounding neighborhood.