1.David Goldstein had a meaty scoop yesterday over at his hotly partisan Democratic blog Horsesass.
He got his hands on audio of Eastside King County US Rep. Dave Reichert (R-8) talking behind closed doors to Republican precinct committee officers, cynically explaining that sometimes he has to vote with environmentalists to keep the seat because those votes—he mentions protecting Wild Sky and Alpine Lakes (although he doesn't mention his vote for the climate change bill)—keeps environmentalist groups and their "millions of dollars" "out of the game" at election time.
2. At yesterday's King County Regional Transportation Committee meeting, Metro general manager Kevin Desmond shed some more light on a new study that found that Metro loses around $62,000 to fare evasion every week.
Desmond said that some of the suggestions for reducing fare evasion—like getting rid of cash fares entirely, adding more transit police, and asking drivers to more aggressively enforce fares—might not be practical. "Until you eliminate cash from our daily society, it’s hard to imagine having [people pay] before you get on the bus at all ... 9,000 bus stops," Desmond said. More transit police might actually cost more overall than Metro loses in unpaid fares. And Metro "has a strong ethic of protecting the drivers' security."
Metro does seem open to the possibility of eliminating the Ride-Free Zone downtown, which leads to people refusing to pay when they arrive at their destination. Desmond said Metro's study of the ride-free zone "may lead to a determination to abandon [the zone], but that's many months down the road."
3. Standing in her front yard yesterday, 70-year-old Central District homeowner Dixie Mitchell demanded that Dino Rossi, a potential GOP candidate against Sen. Patty Murray, not speak at a private real estate event next Tuesday in Bellevue where, as we reported, he's on the bill.
The Homeowner Conference is partially being advertised as a chance for investors to learn "How to consistently earn over a 50% ROI [return on investment] per year buying and selling foreclosures" and "The 9 secrets behind Washington's most successful foreclosure investors."
Mitchell's home is not in foreclosure yet, but she has been sent papers by a bank indicating that foreclosure may be near. She and her husband couldn't make payments after he lost his job and became ill.
Rossi is scheduled to speak at the event, but as the P-I reported yesterday, his spokeswoman Mary Lane Strow said Rossi won't speak about foreclosures, but about the business of commercial real estate generally.
Even if that's so, said Rachel Berkson of the Washington Community Action Network, the organization which put on the press conference in Mitchell's front yard, there's still a problem: Rossi is clearly a draw to a conference where people will learn how to capitalize on foreclosed homes, and as someone who might be an elected official in Washington, he shouldn't support that.
4. Ever since Mayor Mike McGinn introduced his "Walk/Bike/Ride" proposal, which includes restriping Nickerson St. between Ballard and Fremont for bike lanes, the city council has been under heavy pressure to oppose the proposal. They probably won't, at least not in its current form—council sources say some members only planned to oppose the plan if it included significant new taxes—but businesses in the area seem determined to fight it.
In a letter to Seattle Channel host C.R. Douglas cc'd to the mayor and city council, Manufacturing Industrial Council director Dave Gering compared Walk/Bike/Ride to "a mediocre effort effort by a freshman sociology student."
"Nothing has changed [since former mayor Greg Nickels killed plans to put bike lanes on Nickerson] except that we now have a mayor who supports the surface option to replace the viaduct," Gering wrote. In fact, one thing that has changed is that the city has done a traffic analysis that shows that, if anything, traffic on Nickerson will improve when the bike lanes and center turning lane are added.