City Hall

Vulnerable to Collapse

By Morning Fizz February 1, 2010

1. Elizabeth Campbell, best known for suing the state and city to stop the proposed $4.2 billion Alaskan Way tunnel and for filing extensive (and revealing) records requests about the tunnel, just lost one round against the city. City ethics director Wayne Barnett shot down her claim, in a records request filed this weekend, that outgoing Office of Sustainability and the Environment director Mike Mann is legally barred from contracting with the city.

As we first reported, Mann told city employees that he planned to resign last week, after spending nearly a month with no word from Mayor Mike McGinn about whether he would be asked to leave. In what was widely viewed as a face-saving move, McGinn announced Mann would be working on a public-private partnership to create green jobs with the city shortly after word of Mann's resignation leaked.

In an email to Campbell, Barnett wrote that according to a 1995 opinion by the ethics commission, the ethics code "does not prohibit a former employee from contracting directly with the city. ... This is a binding opinion, and for the record I think it makes sense.  Since the employee is still using his or her skills to advance the City's interests, there is no conflict between the City's interests and those of some third party."

2. Speaking of Mann: As Chris reported yesterday, he'll be addressing the city council today on the future of OSE, which has remained a bit of a mystery even to those working in the office.

3. Potential good news for McGinn's proposed $241 million seawall ballot measure: The Army Corps of Engineers, which McGinn had said was uninterested in providing funding for the project, is reportedly interested in contributing some funding to rebuilding the structure, which would be vulnerable to collapse in an earthquake. The more outside funding can be obtained, the lower the total price tag could be for the bonding measure, which council members now say will probably go on the ballot in August or November.

4. PubliCola's prolific TechNerd, Glenn Fleishman, pontificates on the impact the new iPad will have on Amazon's Kindle ebook reader over on TidBITS, a Mac news site where he's a staff writer. The takeaway: "When the iPad ships in two months, we can get a better sense of how it will be received. If it's a glorified book reader with a browser to most people, then the ebook portion of the iPad may be vastly more important than if it's more often used as a new kind of general-computing device in which ebooks are a footnote."

5. Seattle Transit Blog has a roundup of all the changes that are coming to Metro bus routes this month. The biggies: Less service on 40 routes, no more 194 to the airport (because it's redundant with light rail) and better service on the routes 8, 9, 36, and 60, which all connect to Link light rail. Official Metro news release here.
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