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On Other Blogs Today: Coal, Rail, Tiny Apartments, and More

Our daily roundup.

By Erica C. Barnett December 13, 2012


Image via SmartSpace.



 1. As we mentioned in Fizz this morning, the host of a big fundraiser last night for state Sen. and mayoral candidate Ed Murray, Roger Nyhus, is working to promote a controversial proposal to send as many as 18 coal trains a day through Seattle to a new coal terminal in Bellingham. (The Seattle hearing on the proposal is this afternoon at 4.)

Sightline has a list of other companies that are being paid by the coal industry to promote their interests, including Seattle-based firms Berk Consulting and Strategies 360, as well as the Gallatin Group, a Northwest public-affairs firm with offices in Seattle. 

2. The Seattle Times reports that Sound Transit has narrowed the number of potential sites for its light-rail maintenance yard in Bellevue to two, in response to complaints that at least two of the proposed sites would have hindered developers' plans to build high-density, transit-oriented mixed-use development adjacent to the new Bel-Red rail station. (PubliCola reported on the rail-vs.-development conflict in July). 

The new proposal (which also includes one site in Lynnwood), would enable Sound Transit to buy land to the west of the most controversial of the three sites, just north of the planned 120th Ave. E station, allowing more development there.

The biggest incentive to choose this so-called "microhousing": Price. 

3. As Seattle residents continue to kvetch that "aPODments"—small apartments with shared kitchens on each floor—are ruining the "traditional" character of their neighborhoods, San Francisco moved forward this week to allow up to 375 new units as small as 220 square feet, including kitchens and private bathrooms.

The biggest incentive to choose this so-called "microhousing": Price. In a city where the average studio rents for $2,126, the micro-apartments will likely rent for $950 or less, GOOD reports.

Because the units will be smaller than traditional apartments, they'll also have a smaller environmental footprint. Seattle, why do we keep letting San Francisco and Portland out innovate us? 

4. In a column with some less-than-insightful observations (pitching gay marriage as an equal-rights issue, rather than a bid for extra privileges, works better), New York Times columnist Frank Bruni breaks down a recent poll that shows just who supported marriage equality in Washington State.

Among the most likely groups to support gay marriage, according to the poll, by the centrist Democratic group Third Way: Women, and people under 50, and people with kids under 18 years old.

Among those least likely to support marriage equality? Regular churchgoers, rural voters, and men. 

5. In related news, the Atlantic's Richard Florida reports on a new study ranking US cities by gay-friendliness. (Rankings are based on things like non-discrimination policies, legal recognition of same-sex relationships, and services and programs for the LGBT community).

Seattle is one of 11 cities to get a 100 percent rating on all the factors considered in the study, which is available at the link.

The only non-coastal city to score 100 percent: St. Louis, MO. 

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