1. SHARE/WHEEL, the homeless group that runs Tent City and is affiliated with the tent encampment Nickelsville, sent out an alarmist "NEWS FLASH" yesterday telling supporters that an encampment ordinance the city council's human services committee plans to adopt tomorrow represents a "stifling of creativity in keeping people together and safe, and quite possibly an end to Tent City3’s decade of stability" because it requires private (non-religious) entities to acquire (and pay for) a permit to host tent cities once a consent decree allowing tent cities at religious institutions, adopted in 2002, expires this year.[pullquote]The legislation is actually designed to make it easier for churches and other religious institutions to host tent cities.[/pullquote]
The legislation is actually designed to make it easier for churches and other religious institutions to host tent cities temporarily once the consent decree expires. The new legislation expands the potential for tent cities at non-religious institutions, allowing more than one tent city on private property at a time. Additionally, the new legislation now exempts religious institutions from permitting requirements, making it easier for churches to host tent cities in the future.
Between 2008 and 2011, Department of Planning and Development records show, there have been just five applications for longer-term (more than four weeks) encampments. Of those, two have had the $1,250 permit fee waived based on "hardship."
The council's human services committee will discuss the legislation this afternoon at 2:00 in city council chambers.
2. Republican state Sen. Michael Baumgartner (R-6, Spokane), who's been mentioned as a possible GOP candidate to take on incumbent US Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), floated the idea on Twitter yesterday.
"The past couple of weeks many have asked me to explore running for US Senate. What do you think?"
Twenty hours on, Baumgartner, who can lean moderate on social and environmental issues, has only gotten two reactions; just one person retweeted it and one person said it would be her "dream come true."
Both folks described themselves as Tea Partiers.
3. The Seattle Times had a report on a new Elway Poll yesterday that showed Tim Eyman's latest initiative, I-1125, which would regulate tolling, gaining ground from 49 percent support last month to 56 percent now.
I-1125 regulates tolling in several ways: it says toll revenue can only fund work on the road being tolled; mandates that the state legislature approve tolls instead of the state Transportation Commission; mandates flat rate tolls—prohibiting variable rates that increase during rush hour; and to the glee of its main financial backer, Bellevue developer Kemper Freeman, would prevent light rail from being built across I-90, something voters approved in 2008.
Freeman has contributed more than $1 million, out of the $1.3 million raised, to Eyman's initiative.
4. Speaking of Eyman, in an ironic twist of fate, the small government initiative hawker's hometown of Mukilteo may ban plastic bags, the Everett Herald reports. (In Seattle, of course, even a 20-cent fee on plastic bags didn't fly with voters, thanks largely to a $1.4 million campaign run by the petroleum and plastic industry). According to the Herald, city council members generally support the idea, as does the local chamber of commerce.
"The city might work with the chamber on a publicity campaign to spread the word about the ordinance. One example would be a reusable tote with a Mukilteo logo on it, said Mukilteo Councilwoman Jennifer Gregerson."