1. Seattle Transit Blog fact-checks the Seattle Times' histrionic story about anti-light-rail Bellevue City Council members' supposed "shock" that Sound Transit is thinking about building a light-rail maintenance yard in Bellevue (actual headline: "Plan for Bellevue light-rail yard stuns city officials.") The news is hardly "stunning" (nor, frankly, news)—PubliCola reported that that Sound Transit was considering a light rail maintenance yard in the Bel-Red area of Bellevue back in June.
2. STB also surveyed the candidates to fill the King County Council seat being vacated by North Seattle Democrat Bob Ferguson, who will become state attorney general in January, about their views on transportation and transit.
Although all six candidates who responded to the survey were generally pro-transit, there were a few outliers: Sarajane Siegfriedt, who lost her race for 46th District state representative in November, was the only candidate who said toll revenue should only be used for improvements to the road being tolled; she also replied "waffle" to a question about whether transit-oriented development or parking was most important around suburban rail stations (everyone else said TOD).
Attorney Keith Scully, meanwhile, said it was "important" that any tax increase for King County Metro service go before voters, and Will Hall was the only candidate who said he would be open to adopting a regressive tax to pay for Metro service. The Washington state legislature that will convene next year will be the least diverse in a generation..
3. The Washington state legislature that will convene next year will be the least diverse, in terms of gender and race, in the last generation, the Olympian reports. Fully three-quarters of state legislators next year will be white men, and only 30 percent will be women. (If Democrat Monica Stonier is elected to the state house in the 17th District, the legislature will include one half-Hispanic member).
The demographic skew is much more pronounced among Republicans, whose ranks will include just 16 (or 17) women, depending on the ultimate outcome of the November elections, and not a single minority. In a state where the Hispanic population increased by nearly 75 percent in the last decade, more than any other group, that's a trend that the Republican Party should consider troubling.
4. Why in the world aren't Republicans appealing to Hispanic voters? After all, as Camas Republican Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler argues in a Q&A with the Columbian, Hispanics are "family oriented." Never mind that Hispanic voters (along with the rest of the country) overwhelmingly rejected the Republicans' socially conservative agenda during the last election—or that in the same interview, Herrera Beutler argues for "securing our borders" against illegal immigration.
5. Does the state legislature need more women? They're doing pretty well on "women's issues" like birth control and teen pregnancy. As Grist reports, Washington State is the only state in the union to win an A+ rating from the Population Institute in its ranking of states on availability of birth control, teen and unintended pregnancy rates, access to emergency contraception and abortion, and access to medically accurate sex education.
6. The Washington Post has a big profile of Washington State US Sen. Patty Murray, who's about to take over the Senate budget committee as it launches into discussions over the looming "fiscal cliff"—a combination of tax increases and spending cuts that will kick in next January if Congress can't agree to a bipartisan deficit-reduction package.