Wouldn't it be weird if... After losing in the primary election, onetime mayoral candidate Peter Steinbrueck got appointed by mayor-elect Ed Murray to serve as head of the city's Department of Neighborhoods (the current widespread post-election rumor)? Steinbrueck has also been rumored as a potential contender for the newly created Seattle City Council District 4, where he lives (in Ravenna). 

Murray spokesman Sandeep Kaushik says the transition team "has not gotten anywhere near the point" of choosing department heads yet. Steinbrueck hasn't returned a call for comment

Wouldn't it (not actually) be weird if ...  One result of district elections, which voters overwhelmingly passed while also turning out Mayor Mike McGinn, ends up being to hand massive new power to the newly elected Mayor Murray? 

With districts carving up the city council into seven neighborhood-based fiefdoms, and with the potential for new council members to rise up from geographically-based activist organizations, the mayor seems likely to have more power than ever, with the entire city (as opposed to around 88,000 residents) as his constituents. 

Wouldn't it be weird it ... District elections helped propel one of West Seattle council member Tom Rasmussen's projects, a proposed "green boulevard" on Fauntleroy Way SW, to full funding and completion years before it was expected—at the expense of $500,000 in 2014 spending, proposed by Mayor Mike McGinn in his latest budget, to study a proposed bike and pedestrian bridge linking the North Seattle Community College to a new light-rail station at Northgate)? 

Council staffers say Rasmussen's proposal, which looks, on its face, like a direct giveaway to the district in which he'll have to run for reelection in 2015, merely moves half a million dollars forward to 2014; according to the proposed amendment, the planning work for the Northgate bridge "will have to be done, but it need not be done in 2014." 

Wouldn't it be weird if ... An appeal filed by Capitol Hill and Eastlake neighborhood activists to stop the development of micro-housing, AKA aPodments, in their neighborhoods actually leads to more aPodments

The appeal, filed with the city's Department of Planning and Development, complains that the city hasn't adequately studied the potential environmental impacts of new proposed rules intended to impose more stringent regulations on micro-apartments, including rules requiring micro-housing to go through the design review process (from which it's currently exempt) and to include adequately sized kitchens and common areas (a frequent complaint about the builtings).

It also claims, without presenting evidence, that small apartments contribute to "overall crime," noise, climate change, harm to "birds and other animals," and—the horrors!"increased bicycle traffic."  

Because the appeal won't even get a city hearing until January of next year, developers are currently free to continue developing micro-housing buildings under the current rules, which don't require design review or a minimum size for common areas. 

 

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