1. In a drawn-out, two hour battle yesterday, the state Senate Democrats passed a bill to suspend the I-960 rule which requires a two-thirds majority to raise taxes. Every Republican voted against the measure, and they did manage to pass several amendments to preserve some of the provisions of I-960.

The GOP amendments saved two of the transparency measures of I-960: A) Press releases will still be distributed when all tax-related bills are introduced that explain what the proposed taxes will cost taxpayers, who's sponsoring them, and when the hearings are.

And B) The Office of Financial Management will also still have to provide the public with a 10-year fiscal analysis for tax-related bills (in addition to the 6-year analysis already required for all bills).

In a press release after the vote, Tim Eyman, the father of I-960, said the Republicans had acted "heroically."

Democratic leadership has called the 10-year-analysis requirement "unreliable guesswork," and says it's the opposite of transparency because it gives the public shoddy information.

2. Seattle Transit Blog has a great summary of a just-released report by a Sound Transit consultant which compares four Bellevue options including freshman Bellevue City Council member Kevin Wallace's proposed light rail "Vision Line," which would—contrary to Sound Transit's preferred alignment through downtown Bellevue—run along I-405, to the east of downtown Bellevue residences and jobs.

The short version: Of the four options Sound Transit's consultant studied,

two—a surface option straight through downtown Bellevue, with two stations, and an expensive tunnel option—look great (in terms of ridership, development potential, and expense), whereas the two remaining options—an out-of-the-way surface option and the eastern, elevated option preferred by Wallace—are losers. In particular, the Wallace option has lower ridership (about 6,000 Bellevue boardings a day, compared to 8,000 for the other options) and less access to jobs and housing than all the other options.

Sound Transit and the Bellevue City Council will discuss the various East Link alignment options tomorrow, at a joint meeting of the council and the transit agency, starting at 1:30 pm at the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue.

3. This morning at 9 am, in city council chambers at City Hall (600 Fourth Ave.), both sides in the ongoing Children's Hospital dispute will have their chance to address the City Council. Residents of the Laurelhurst neighborhood are fighting an effort by Children's to expand its facility in the neighborhood, arguing that a bigger hospital will bring noise and traffic chaos to the area.

4. Also this morning, across the street from City Hall at the Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 Fifth Ave., Room 4050, there will be a continuation of the packed meeting last month when dozens of city employees showed up to express concerns about Mayor Mike McGinn's plans to eliminate or reclassify 200 senior management positions.

McGinn later put those plans on "pause," but he still intends to make the cuts as part of the mid-year budget reduction process.
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