1. As Boeing suffers a loss of confidence in the wake of the Dreamliner mess this week, Politico reports that the company is turning to its "friends in high places": Namely, Washington State US Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, both longtime allies of the embattled airline. Congress is considering an investigation into the Dreamliner's troubles.
Murray, Politico reports, has received $173,000 from Boeing and Boeing employees since her election to Congress two decades ago, and Cantwell has received more than $100,000 from the company and its employees in her 11 years in the Senate.
There seems to be no reason to discourage these developments: the units are habitable and are filling a need in the housing market."—Richard Conlin on aPODments"2. City council member Richard Conlin has a thoughtful piece on his blog about so-called micro-units or aPODments—single-room units typically clustered around shared living areas and kitchens. The units, which can be built without design review because each cluster of living spaces technically constitutes a single apartment. Because Seattle's land-use code allows eight unrelated people to live together in a single unit, 56 microunits clustered around seven kitchens, for example, would be legal under the code.
Single-family neighbors of micro-units have complained about the developments, arguing that they ruin neighborhood "character," bring unsavory people into a neighborhood, and threaten residents' ability to find on-street parking. However, Conlin points out that "complaints [about micro-housing] seem to die down after the project is completed, and the oldest micro-unit building, on 23rdAvenue near Madison, has been operating for years without generating any complaints that I am aware of."
Conlin goes on to outline the (warning: wonky) reasons it would be hard to change the land-use code to outlaw micro-apartments, and concludes, "there seems to be no reason to discourage these developments: the units are habitable and are filling a need in the housing market."
3. The Seattle Times reports that state Sen. Ed Murray (D-43) sternly chastised fellow Sen. Rodney Tom (D-48), one of two Democratic senators who bolted and joined the Republicans to form the "Majority Coalition Caucus," today over an email Tom wrote trashing the state's Guaranteed Education Tuition program as a "Ponzi scheme."
Tom, Murray claimed, had overstepped his bounds by polling members of a committee charged with making a recommendation on whether to allow state universities to charge different tuition for different programs on GET, an unrelated program, at the end of last year's session.
The drama over Seattle's proposed NBA arena continues to keep fans on a roller-coaster.
"While it may technically be within your legal authority as the Chair of the Advisory Committee to email committee members on the final day of the calendar year and ask for their input on a proposal that was never properly vetted in a public forum," Murray wrote, "your actions certainly do not follow the spirit of transparency and open government for which the State of Washington and the State Senate are known."
4. Wondering who was going to replace former state Sen. Derek Kilmer, who was elected to Congress (D-6) last year? Wonder no more: The Kitsap Sun reports that the Pierce County Council and Kitsap County commissioners picked Nathan Schlicher, an emergency room doctor from Gig Harbor.
5. The drama over Seattle's proposed NBA arena continues to keep fans on a roller-coaster; in the latest development, the Sacramento Bee reports that Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson will announce a group of local partners who will propose a deal to buy the Kings next week. San Francisco hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen has reportedly been in discussions with the Maloof family, which owns the Kings, to buy the team and bring them to Seattle.
The Bee story also cites NBA commissioner David Stern saying he has talked to Mayor Mike McGinn directly about bringing an NBA team back to Seattle, something McGinn has denied.