1. Things obviously look a lot different around here this morning. We've redesigned the site to accommodate a major expansion that we'll be rolling out over the next few weeks and months.

We plan on: Expanding our hard news coverage (adding more reporters and beats); getting serious about covering Seattle's dynamite arts and culture scene (for example, nightlife advocate, rock music entrepreneur, and Five Point owner David Meinert is PubliCola's new BarNerd); while we continue to provide the best inside politics coverage in the city.

Bear with us as we work out the bugs in the new site. And let us know what you think of the new look.

And please join us on Wednesday, January 27 at the Crocodile in Belltown for our one-year anniversary party.



THEE Satisfaction is playing. The Washington Bus is hosting. And we'll be revealing the results of our latest, exclusive PubliCola/Precision polling.

2. We're not sure how we missed this high petty drama during the great To-suspend-or-not-suspend-the-ban-on-park-and-rides-near-light-rail-stations debate last week.

As you know, Mayor Mike McGinn came down on the Allow-park-and-rides-for-now side. (He argued, in a post on his city website blog, that since there's a lull in development, the city should use vacant property as park-and-rides to introduce car commuters to light rail and use parking tax revenue to help the city.)

In the post, McGinn politically attacked Futurewise, one of the all-star environmental advocacy groups in the state. Futurewise communications director, Sara Nikolic, had written a blog post of her own at local Green blog Hugeasscity criticizing McGinn's decision. (She argued that letting people get used to driving to light rail is counterproductive, and it might be hard to give up those parking revenues). She also went on KUOW to criticize McGinn's decision to suspend the ban.

Here's the petty drama: In 2007, McGinn's Sierra Club broke with the rest of the environmental community, including Nikolic's Futurewise, to oppose the light rail expansion because it came with roads. That's cool and all, but apparently McGinn still hasn't forgiven Futurewise's apostasy, and he's still feeling a little extra righteous about it. Or else, he just likes using his bully pulpit to take political cheap shots.

Here's McGinn on his city blog:
"Folks may recall I helped lead the fight against the Roads and Transit ballot measure which would have built 184 new miles of highway and advocated against building new highway capacity on the waterfront. Those projects were endorsed and supported by all the traditional power brokers (and indeed, a few of the environmentalists concerned about this decision), yet I was happy to work hard against tough political opposition for the right outcomes."

I don't know if folks still recall all that. But Mayor McGinn certainly does!

3. A few of the bills that Teodora, Josh C., and Josh F. (our mighty Oly Team) are tracking, have hearings in the House today. There's a gay rights bill that would legalize surrogacy. There's a bill that would outlaw texting while driving. And there's a human rights bill that would limit the use of shackles on pregnant women and teens in correctional facilities.

4. Joe Fain, chief of staff for Republican King County Council Member Pete Von Reichbauer who helped lead the campaign for non-partisan elections to King County Government in 2008, is running for state Senate in Southeast King County's 47th Legislative District against incumbent Democrat Sen. Claudia Kauffman.