1. Mayor Nickels office can be brilliant. Get this latest trick. They are siding with their longtime nemesis, low-income housing advocate, lesser-Seattle crusader, John Fox. Team Nickels sent a letter to State Rep. Sharon Nelson (D-34, West Seattle, Vashon) criticizing the bill she's sponsoring that would mandate density around light rail transit hubs. Fox is leading the grass roots fight against the bill.
Here's why Team Nickels is brilliant. Team "Development" Nickels actually fricking supports Nelson's bill. Nickels is a huge fan of density and light rail. But the mayor realizes the bill may have been a political misstep because it reads like a top-down mandate from state bureaucrats that ignores local control, and so it plays into populist Fox's hands. Indeed, Fox appears to have the momentum in this fight, scoring a victory this week when South Seattle's 37th District Democrats came out against the bill.
Team Nickels' clever ploy? 1) Halt the bill so density doesn't look like a Maoist program from state planners. 2) Make nice with John Fox and the neighbors, so it looks like they're doing what Rep. Nelson didn't do (get neighborhood buy in). And then, 3) Up the density requirements around transit hubs themselves to 50 units per-acre—just like Nelson's bill mandates.
I have an idea: If you're for this type of transit development, grow a pair, cut to the chase, and support Rep. Nelson's bill so we don't have to wait three years to start building along the light rail line.
2. There's a bill in Olympia to stop outrageous interest rates on payday loans—it's being sponsored by Sen. Adam Kline (D-37, South Seattle). The bill seems like a hopeless proposition though. Word is, Speaker of the House Rep. Frank Chopp (D-43, Wallingford) will kill it if the Senate sends it over.
3. Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-36, Ballard) is sponsoring a bill that would strike the state statute that requires Washington to apply for abstinence-only education funding. UPDATE: And it passed out of committee today.