Morning Fizz: Caffeinated News & Gossip

By Josh Feit March 9, 2009

fizz251. Great editorial  from Sightline on Friday about the state legislature's decision to "abet sprawl" with the $341 million in transportation stimulus money from the Feds: 
Adding general purpose lanes to freeways in these areas is a surefire way to abet sprawl. No doubt, in a few years we'll all be shocked -- shocked -- to discover that growth management hasn't been terribly effective in Bothell, Yakima, and Ridgefield. What's more, adding single-occupancy lanes is inimical to the state's legal commitment to reduce vehicle miles traveled, not to mention to the state's many efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. You don't need a fancy traffic model to guess that adding freeway lanes will increase our climate emissions and deepen our dependence on fossil fuels.  

2. Brilliant list of predictions  from the Stranger two years ago ; ). Specifically, I'm talking about item No. 14 on the list, about an online-only P-I

3. Must-read installment from PubliCola's own NerdNerd yesterday on how to deal with the state budget crisis. 

This was the plan for Wednesday night: Let’s get drunk and debate the budget...

So you know March Madness? The basketball thing? Okay, what if instead of basketball teams, you had experts on imperiled pieces of the state budget, which is facing grim cuts. The experts would face off against each other one-on-one, arguing why their special programs and services should be saved from the chopping block. The audience would vote which of the pair to spare and that expert would advance to the final four or, god be praised, win the event and not get cut. It’s old folks versus public schools! The environment versus child care! It’s the State Budget in 2009!

We decided to call the event March Sadness.

4. Entertaining story from The Tacoma News Tribune this weekend about how testy former State Senator Brian Weinstein—who used to irk his colleagues in the Senate with his brash manner—pissed off enough of his colleagues this session as an outside agitator, that they killed an asbestos liability bill Weinstein's law firm supported.
Senate Bill 5964, the measure that would have made the sought-after changes, is now dead -- retaliation for what Sens. Jim Kastama, Mary Margaret Haugen and Jim Hargrove and many of their their colleagues considered attack ads that went over the top.

The advertisements suggested the trio were denying justice to families of people who died from exposure to asbestos and accused Kastama, D-Puyallup, Haugen, D-Camano Island and Hargrove, D-Hoquiam of blocking passage of the bill. ...

The targeted senators lay most of the blame on a former colleague, Brian Weinstein ... Weinstein is now a member of Bergman Draper & Frockt, the Seattle law firm that paid for the ads and which has been lobbying for passage of the bill.

“In four years, he (Weinstein) never really learned a thing about how this place works,” Sen. Brian Hatfield, D-Raymond, said Saturday. 

The question is: Are the Democrats mad enough at Weinstein that they'll also kill a bill Sen. Rodney Tom (D-48, Redmond, Bellevue, Clyde Hill) is sponsoring this year—the homebuyers' bill of rights? The legislation is strongly associated with Weinstein because Weinstein championed it two years running when he was a senator. 

Sen. Tom's bill was scheduled for a vote on Friday, but was put on hold, one insider conjectured, because they "Just gotta wash the Weinstein off."

I'd guess it's  likely to pass the Senate. (Weinstein's stronger bill passed the Senate in both '07 and '08 before getting offed in the House of Chopp.)
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