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On Other Blogs Today: Floating Homes, Footprints, and Finances

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By Erica C. Barnett December 17, 2012


Image via city of Seattle.



1. The PI.com reports that owners of floating homes are angry that the city may start requiring them to follow environmental laws and stop dumping their sewage in Lake Union.

Owners of these "houseboats," many of them multi-story mansions with small outboard motors too puny to actually move them across the water, are effectively arguing that their property rights include the right to pollute the public lake and endanger salmon; they've also rejected a proposal by some city council members to provide amnesty from environmental regulations to homes that meet certain requirements, including height and size limits and environmental mitigation.

2. You've heard of your carbon footprint, but what about your land footprint?

Seattle Transit Blog describes a little-known concept: The amount of land we live in (also known as density) largely determines our environmental impact, because the denser the neighborhood, the less people generally need to travel to get to their jobs, the store, and so on.

In Seattle, the average person has about 3,800 square feet of residential space to live in, which is quite a rebuke to NIMBYs who say density proponents are trying to "force everyone to live in shoeboxes."

3. The Stranger devotes a ton of ink to Kate Martin, a recent school board candidate and longtime neighborhood and skate-park activist who now says she's running for mayor.

The irascible Martin will certainly be a long-shot candidate.

As we've reported: Martin ran unsuccessfully for school board in 2011 along with a batch of backlash candidates, including a couple who actually won, and characterized ed reformers as Gates Foundation lackeys. Martin also attempted to recall several members of the school board, and had to be escorted out of her son's school by police after staging a "stand-in" when school officials refused to assign him to a new math class.

Martin, the only woman in the race so far, is a long-time antagonist of Mayor Mike McGinn (she once challenged him, unsuccessfully, to head the Greenwood Community Council).

4. Nine Democrats in the state legislature are proposing a new fee on lobbyists to improve and help pay for the operations of the state Public Disclosure Commission, the group that oversees state campaign finance law and provides public access to information about campaigns and lobbying, KOMO reports.

Although similar proposals have failed in the past, anyone who has attempted to navigate the PDC's impossible web site can understand why they keep coming up.

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