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"I'm Always Suspicious of Efforts to Rein in Alleged Inefficiencies."

By Erica C. Barnett September 4, 2009


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1. Rumor is that anti-light rail forces on the Eastside (read: Eastside developer Kemper Freeman, Will Knedlik) are seeking to ensure that the upcoming Bellevue City Council election results in an anti-light rail council. The council's two most strident anti-light rail members, Don Davidson and Conrad Lee, are up for reelection this year; Freeman, through his company Kemper Holdings, has contributed $800 to Davidson and $1,000 to Lee.

The other two candidates Freeman et al are rumored to be supporting are Kevin Wallace, who is challenging council member Patty Bonincontri, and Jennifer Robertson, one of three candidates running for the seat left open by the death of council member Phil Noble. Freeman has given $500 to Wallace.

2. The Center for Neighborhood Technology 's Scott Bernstein has expressed skepticism about a Metro Transit audit that found a potential $31 million in savings from "efficiencies" like raising fares, eliminating transfers, and getting rid of Metro's fleet of electric trolley buses.

In an email, Bernstein noted that the trolley buses cost less over time (because they use much less energy and last longer than diesel buses) and noted that there's a large unmet "latent demand" for bus service in Seattle neighborhoods. "I'm always suspicious of efforts to rein in alleged inefficiencies without also recommending efforts to expand service and enhance revenue," Bernstein wrote.

3. SoulNerd, AKA Sable Verity, has a lengthy interview on her site with mayoral candidate Joe Mallahan. One quibble: Mallahan twice says he was "badly misquoted" by PubliCola when we reported that he criticized Mayor Greg Nickels for firing popular Department of Neighborhoods director Jim Diers and pursuing a "racial agenda" in the neighborhoods. Mallahan also says he told  Seattle Times reporter Bob Young PubliCola misquoted him.

Misquoting is an allegation reporters take extremely seriously. So, to be utterly clear: We absolutely did not misquote Mallahan (and this is the first time we've ever heard any accusations of that sort). Both Josh and I took thorough notes on our interview with Mallahan, and we both recorded that Mallahan said Diers had organized neighborhoods to make demands on city government and that Nickels had "cut the neighborhood budget in half in real dollars" and pursued "a racial agenda."

Confused by what Mallahan had meant by this (and concerned about quoting Mallahan on such a hot-button issue without thoroughly understanding what he meant), we called his campaign to give him an opportunity to explain and clarify, asking specifically: What did Mallahan mean when he said the mayor had pursued a "racial agenda"? Mallahan's campaign spokeswoman Charla Neuman responded that Mallahan believed Nickels had refocused the neighborhood department on addressing racial tension in the neighborhoods instead of basic services and hadn't followed through on tackling race issues.

After running our  interview with Neuman's explanation of Mallahan's quote, Neuman called back to clarify further, reemphasising the second point: Mallahan believed Nickels hadn't succeeded on tackling racial issues. We added Neuman's second clarification to the post prompting Neuman to call us back and thank us for clarifying Mallahan's position on Nickels' "racial agenda" in the neighborhoods. In several follow-up posts on the issue, we emphasized Mallahan's second point —using language like and "more important, Mallahan's campaign says..."

At no time did Mallahan raise any issues with his quote.

I've contacted Neuman to find out why Mallahan is telling people we misquoted him.

4. GameNerd Sam Machkovech debuts today.

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He'll be reporting from the Penny Arcade Expo, the nation's biggest gaming festival.

This morning's Morning Fizz is brought to you by Washington Conservation Voters .

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