Morning Fizz

"So, Soundgarden at Your Campaign Kick-Off?"

By Morning Fizz March 24, 2011

1. Over On his Facebook page, King County Executive Dow Constantine linked the current Seattle Magazine article "Is Dow Constantine More Powerful Than Mike McGinn?"—a profile which mostly, as opposed to the McGinn comparison, posits that Constantine is the Democrats' best chance to win the governor's mansion in 2012.

Constantine comments on the link: "Nice article (ignore the headline)." And local nightlife entrepreneur David Meinert, who organized rock show fundraisers during Constantine's successful 2009 KC executive campaign, comments: "So, Soundgarden at your campaign kick-off?"

As for the 2012 governor's race, Constantine tells Seattle Magazine:
For now, Constantine is focusing on the task at hand, but says after his time in the county executive’s office, he’d like to continue in public service. “I don’t know if that means higher elected office,” he says. “I have always, since I was a kid, been driven by a desire to make things better.”

2. At yesterday's city council transportation committee meeting, the Seattle Department of Transportation rolled out four potential plans for Mercer Place West, part of the Mercer West project in South Lake Union.

The proposals range from a bare-bones $200,000 plan to simply extend the left turn lanes on Elliott Ave. West to an elaborate $13 million proposal to add a sidewalk and bike lane and extend a merging lane all the way to the top of the hill that West Mercer Place crosses.

The Port of Seattle reportedly wants the $13 million Cadillac proposal; the mayor, the $200,000 Dodge Dart version. Somewhat surprisingly, the cheapest version is also the best, in terms of travel time---according to SDOT's analysis, it would reduce travel times along West Mercer Place between 4 and 52 seconds, compared to a mere 1-to-5-second reduction for the $13 million proposal. Both the mayor's office and a spokeswoman for the Port say they're reviewing the analysis before stating a concrete preference.

3. Voting to restrict eligibility for the Basic Health Plan, a $137 million state program that subsidizes health care for about 64,000 poor people, the state senate kicked 12,000 people off the program yesterday. (The house passed the bill earlier this month.)

The new requirements mandate that only legal U.S. residents (as opposed to "Washington residents") and only people making 133 percent of the federal poverty level (as opposed to the current 200 percent standard) qualify; for a family of three, 133 percent is $24,000 a year as opposed to the 200 percent level, $37,000 a year.

The plus side? The new standards qualify the state for federal money that will cover half the costs for the subsidized premiums and will save the sate $70 million in the next biennium.

Joining the two liberal house members—Democratic Reps. Andy Billig (D-3, Spokane) and Marko Liias (D-21, Edmonds)—who voted against the move on March 1, two senators voted "No" yesterday: Republican Sens. Andy Hill (R-45, Redmond) and Steve Litzow (R-41, Mercer Island), two freshman from the Eastside Seattle suburbs who are establishing liberal voting records on issues such as choice, pot, and the environment.

4. You know how the legislature supposedly favors elitist urban Seattle over "real" Washington like Kent and Tukwila and Sumner?

Hmmmm ... The house transportation committee passed the transportation budget yesterday with an amendment that killed a Seattle Department of Transportation grant for a transit priority corridor on Market/45th St., swapping it out for more commuter trains to Lakewood.

Both worthy projects, but score one for sprawl over density and against Seattle.
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