1. Let it never be said that we here at OOBT are big fans of dogs or smoking. But a ban on dogs AND smoking in downtown parks is more than even we're willing to endorse. That isn't the case for some folks who attended last night's park commission meeting, including former mayor Charley Royer.
The PI.com reports that Royer wants to ban smoking in parks to keep "thugs" from sitting around and intimidating people; other residents who attended the meeting argued that people's dogs, particularly pitbulls, are making Occidental and Westlake Parks "intimidating and uncomfortable" for other visitors. Maybe just a ban on pitbulls?*
*KIDDING, pitbull fans.
2. Calling himself (somewhat oxymoronically) a "radical agitator about transparency of how tax dollars flow," state Rep. Reuven Carlyle has posted a list of transportation taxes, and where they go, on his blog—a useful primer in the runup to senate Republicans' "listening tour" of the state, where they'll promote their "reform" agenda for transportation spending. (That agenda, predictably, includes reduced regulations and more spending on highways).
The takeaway for Seattle readers: Of the state's 39 counties, King County ranks 25th in terms of dollars spent to dollars received. Put another way, we put more dollars in to the state's transportation system than we get out—95 cents for every dollar. (At 59 cents per dollar, Franklin County ranks dead last).
Public transit made up just 1.19 percent of state transportation spending between 2004 and 2012, Carlyle continues, suggesting that "King County and other areas where public transportation dollars are valued shouldn’t be required to use incremental local dollars to fund our services, we should have access to the same pot of money as everyone else for our local needs."
3. The Seattle Times had more details this morning on a story we reported in today's Fizz—the city's Department of Planning and Development put the review of Chris Hansen's proposed SoDo arena on ice.
The Times reports that DPD (which didn't return our call yesterday) says Hansen has failed to pay his bills for two months—because he's been out of town. We wish our landlord was as generous with our rent payments as the city of Seattle has been with the $75,000 Hansen, who's seeking $200 million in bonds from the city (he promises to pay it back with arena revenues or his personal money) has failed to pay.
4. The Ballard News Tribune reports on a "scoping meeting" for the proposal to complete the "Missing Link" of the Burke-Gilman Trail in Ballard—a section of the trail where cyclists are forced to ride through rutted roads and across train tracks thanks to litigation by local industrial businesses and a debate that has been going on for a decade.
The trail, as proposed, would pass the driveways of several local businesses; they argue that, in the words of litigant Warren Aakervick, "Bike riders need to realize this isn't a perfect world." Apparently that doesn't apply to the suing businesses, who have argued that bikers should have to detour over to crowded Ballard Ave. instead of along Shilshole in order to avoid inconveniencing trucks.
5. Another reason to ban plastic bags: There's no market for them after they're used. According to the Olympian, a major Thurston County recycler has decided to stop taking plastic film and bags, because the major markets for the waste (they can only be "upcycled" into other plastic-based products, not truly recycled), including China, don't want them.
[Thurston County recycling provider LeMay Inc. district manager Jeff Harwood told the paper that "'Nobody wants it, and that’s it in a nutshell.'
"Harwood said China has become more selective about the quality of plastic material it receives. Plastic film, which is used in facilities such as lumber yards, is often contaminated with other material and therefore less desirable as a recyclable material."