1. Details are starting to emerge about the Republican candidate to replace retiring state Sen. Cheryl Pflug (R-5), Snohomish businessman Brad Toft. (Last month, Pflug took the unusual step of trashing her own party, charging them with pushing Dino Rossi's appointment as her replacement to smooth the way for Toft, prompting a firestorm of insults from GOP chair Kirby Wilbur, among them the charge that Pflug isn't a "real Republican.")
Today, the AP reports that Toft attempted to have court files sealed in a case in which College Pro Painters sued Toft for failing to pay a $10,000 franchise fee he owed to the company. About $4,000 of Toft's wages were garnished as a result of the case. He has also been accused of failing to pay thousands in wages to an employee; driving with a suspended license; and swinging a bat at an employee's head as a "joke."
2. Happy birthday news: Link Light Rail is three years old today, and---as Seattle Transit Blog notes---ridership for the first half of the year is up 10.5 percent over the same period in 2011. Lots of charts and graphs, plus (as STB also notes), "ridership numbers are fun"!
3. The Stranger published its endorsements today. Of note, they endorsed former state Rep. Laura Ruderman in the crowd of Democrats running in the newly drawn 1st Congressional District. And they endorsed Noel Frame in the crowded field of Democrats competing to fill retiring state Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson's (D-36, Ballard) seat.
The Stranger chose Frame over the other in-sync liberals, because they were more impressed with her aggressive focus on tax reform and education funding. They also liked her background as a "movement-builder" as the head of Progressive Majority, which cultivates lefty candidates.
It's a bit of a coup for Frame. The Stranger came out hot and heavy for Frame's charismatic opponent, Sahar Fathi, early on in the race.
4. The Tacoma News Tribune has a profile of Republican state Sen. Michael Baumgartner, who's running in a long-shot race against two-term Democratic US Sen. Maria Cantwell. Baumgartner, who's only served in the state senate for one year, comes across as dogged but realistic, arguing that although he's a Republican (and one from Eastern Washington, no less) in a Democratic state, he can work on both sides of the aisle and isn't tied to the Tea Party.
Grain of salt on that last claim, though: He supports a balanced budget amendment to the constitution, thinks "radical terrorists" are a major threat that could lead to another 9/11, and opposes all abortions except when a woman's life is at risk (but not in cases of rape or incest).
5. The driver who hit and killed cyclist Mike Wang (at an estimated 45 mph) last year has pleaded guilty to felony hit-and-run, for which he will serve between 31 and 41 months in prison. That's a sentence of between two years and seven months and three years and five months; sentencing is scheduled for August 10.
Wang's death catalyzed a major push last year for a statewide safe speeds bill, which would have made it easier (and less expensive) for cities to lower speed limits on arterials. Seattle Bike Blog has more.