1. State Rep. Hans Dunshee (D-44, Suburban Everett) is earning his reputation as the environmental community's star legislator. Yesterday, environmental advocates were chagrined when the Senate left the hazardous substance tax increase out of its budget. (Enviros had pitched the idea of tripling the tax— earmarking the majority of the new money, about $225 million, for the general fund for a few years before using it all for storm water clean up, which is where it traditionally goes.)

Dunshee, chair of the House Capital Budget Committee, quietly put the tax idea—a smaller version—in the capital budget, earmarking all the money—$54 million—for storm water clean up.

2. Yesterday, the First Hill Improvement Association sent an angry letter to Seattle City Council members, arguing against siting the First Hill streetcar—promised to the First Hill neighborhood by Sound Transit after the agency eliminated a planned First Hill light rail stop—on Capitol Hill.

A group of Capitol Hill business owners and residents has argued that moving the streetcar to Capitol Hill would spur development there. Yesterday's letter from the First Hill group noted low ridership, adverse traffic impacts, and poor integration with bicycles on the Capitol Hill alternative.

3. Former mayor Greg Nickels, currently doing a fellowship at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, will join the board of the Cascade Land Conservancy—a group dedicated to preserving rural and undeveloped land in Washington State—in May.

4. Southeast King County Rep. Skip Priest's (R-30) two amendments to the education reform bill—mandating a statewide standard for teacher evaluations and making sure student achievement data was included in teacher evaluations—failed in the House Education Committee yesterday.

The amendments were hyped by State Schools Superintendent Randy Dorn on Monday as necessary fixes to make Washington eligible for President Obama's Race to the Top grants.

Priest tells PubliCola: "The result is that the final bill is closer to a race to the middle than a race to the top," adding that when it comes to the lacking data on student improvement the hole in the legislation is "much larger than the doughnut."

5. Proof that the British press likes to exaggerate: While City Council Member Tom Rasmussen aide Ann Corbitt definitely had a four-hour romp with British soccer star Ashley Cole, is Rasmussen—as the Daily Mail has it—really "One of Seattle's most powerful Democrats?"

6. The King County Alliance for Human Services an advocacy group that lobbies against human services cuts, had planned to make a pitch yesterday to the King County Council to put a 0.3 percent sales tax for human services on the November ballot in King County. (King County faces ongoing shortfalls in the tens of millions, and has already made devastating cuts to human services).

However, that push was preempted by yesterday's state Senate budget proposal, which included an identical sales tax increase.

If that budget doesn't pass, the Alliance plans to move forward with its own proposal.

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