1. City attorney Pete Holmes attended last night's meeting of the Southeast Seattle Crime Prevention Council—the first time, according to several in attendance, that a city attorney has showed up for the monthly meeting.
After listening to the usual litany of South End complaints—a new liquor license granted to a dollar store in Hillman City, too many social services being located in the area, a large restaurant in the Genessee District that's been having raves—Holmes said the city's budget situation probably means things will get worse before they get better. "We'll probably lose six to ten lawyers next year if the budget holds," on top of stagnant police staffing.
Since taking office, Holmes has fired about a dozen assistant city attorneys and other staff.
2. Station-area planning didn't come up much at last night's meeting, but the Southeast Seattle group seems poised to oppose any effort to revive last year's failed transit-oriented development bill, which would have increased density around light rail stations. Some in the group believe density around rail stops will mean increased crime in Southeast Seattle. We'll have more on that debate later today.
3. State GOP leaders—Attorney General Rob McKenna, state senate minority leader Walla Walla-area Sen. Mike Hewitt (R-16), state house minority leader Chehalis-area sate Rep. Richard DeBolt (R-20 ), and Secretary of Sate Sam Reed—wrote an editorial for the Seattle Times this week suggesting ways to deal with the state's $2.6 billion short fall without raising taxes.
Along with scaling back health care coverage for state employees, calling off raises for state employees, and offering a private alternative to the state's workers compensation plan, the Republicans suggest cutting off the Washington State Liquor Control Board and privatizing liquor sales.
Republican Yakima-area state Sen. Curtis King (R-14) has, in fact, teamed up with conservative Olympic peninsula Democratic state Sen. Tim Sheldon (D-35) to propose legislation that would do just that.
We don't get how this brings in money for the state though. The WSCLB's operating budget is $120.75 million, but statewide liquor revenues are $330 million. So, we save $120.75 million, but we lose $330 million? That means altogether, we lose $209.25 million.
4. The city has issued a cease-and-desist order against the Grocery Outlet at MLK Jr. Way S. and S. Rainier Ave. for illegally operating a park-and-ride for light rail users. According to the order, issued by the Department of Planning and Development in September, park-and-rides are illegal in areas near rail stations. The violation carries a fine of up to $500 per day.
5. The Seattle Times spoke to Don Davidson, the newly appointed mayor of Bellevue, yesterday. From the looks of his comments, the Bellevue council is poised to vote 4-3 in favor of council member Kevin Wallace's elevated "vision line" light rail alignment, which would run east of downtown Bellevue, avoiding the area where people live and work and skipping over the South Bellevue park-and-ride. "There was a 4-3 split, and now that's reversed itself," Davidson told the Times. "It's something that people should be listening to."
6. King County Executive Dow Constantine announced yesterday that he had decided to transfer Puget Sound Park to the city of Burien, concluding a longstanding (and convoluted) battle between the city and the county that has held up annexation of part of rural King County by the city since last year.
“After detailed discussions, I agree that transfer of the park to the city is the right thing to do and should occur as part of that larger annexation," Constantine said in a statement.