Morning Fizz

It Just Makes Sense

By Morning Fizz January 14, 2010


1. "We are not going to prosecute marijuana possession cases. The day I came into office, we dismissed six pending cases."


—Quote of the night from New Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes at Town Hall's debut "Night Cap" event, where Erica and Josh interviewed Holmes salon style.

The City Attorney is dismissing marijuana cases? Welcome to the Holmes era.

2. At yesterday's city council retreat/question-and-answer free-for-all, newly elected City Council member Mike O'Brien asked his former Sierra Club cohort, Mike McGinn, what sounded like a softball: Given that McGinn was elected on an environmental platform, and given that McGinn supporters have been clamoring for policies that will make Seattle the nation's first carbon-neutral city, O'Brien asked, what kind of forward-thinking climate initiative might McGinn push as mayor?

McGinn's somewhat surprising (underwhelming?) response: "I’ve only thought a little bit about it. … I’m not terribly inclined, frankly, to stick some bold stake in the ground about where we’re going to be in the future. … It feels good to set bold goals… but it doesn’t feel good to set bold goals and then take steps that are inconsistent with them."

3. The chances that President Obama may read PubliCola increased from a Gazillion-to-1 to a Billion-to-1 yesterday.

On his blog, Obama's Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, linked Erica's post about a policy change at the DOT that rewards transit-friendly cities with more transit money.

LaHood wrote:
Obviously, we still must evaluate a project's ability to move people from one place to another. But, as PubliCola notes, now we can add to the mix how new transit ideas can help communities reduce their carbon footprints, spur economic activity, and relieve congestion.

It's what people want, and it just makes sense.

4. Since first taking office in 2001, state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has been trying to outlaw the practice of "credit scoring"—when insurance companies use an enrollee's credit record to set auto and health insurance rates.

Thanks to the recession (when people are both lacking insurance and relying on credit to survive), Kreidler believes this is the year his populist proposal to end credit scoring—which he calls a form of redlining—will pass.

Kreidler's got two Seattle-area legislators—Rep. Sharon Nelson (D-34) and Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-36)—running bills to end credit scoring. Both bills are scheduled for hearings next week.

Rep. Neslon said in a press statement:
“You should not have to pay a high premium if you are a responsible driver merely were late on your card payment. Insurers should set rates based on factors that have a proven correlation to insurance risk—factors like driving record, age and the condition of the property. This method of rating policy holders has disproportionally impacted communities of color, especially Latino and African-American communities, which has resulted in higher policy premiums. Even those with good credit histories may be just one financial crisis or one late payment away from a significant change in their credit score, which could considerably increase their insurance rates even if they’ve never filed a claim or had a driving infraction.”

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