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On Other Blogs Today: Toxic Toys and a Tax Overhaul

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By Erica C. Barnett February 4, 2013



1. Want to know more about Seattle's first female mayor, Bertha Knight Landes? Inspired, perhaps, by the fact that the 2013 Seattle mayor's race seems likely to be won by yet another man (the only female candidate in the current pack of eight, Greenwood activist Kate Martin, is a long shot), the Seattle Times profiles Landes, noting that newspapers at the time "took pains to reassure readers that Landes was 'a plain, unassuming, churchgoing woman' not 'the chattering kind' and not a smoker or a threatening 'new woman.'”

After just two years in office, Landes was defeated (by a man) in 1928, and Seattle hasn't had a single female mayor in the 85 years since.

2. State Rep. Reuven Carlyle (D-36, Queen Anne, Ballard) is proposing a fundamental overhaul of the way the state considers tax exemptions, credits, preferential rates and changes to the state's tax structure. Essentially (or, as Carlyle puts it four separate times on his blog post outlining the proposal, "literally"), Carlyle would require the proponents of any tax exemption or change to create a business plan explaining why the legislature should grant their request and what the state will get in return.

"To date, my request for business plans has been met with blank stares by most."—Rep. Reuven Carlyle "Some of the meetings have gone well and some have been incredibly uncomfortable, as veterans of Olympia seem perplexed as to what a business case actually looks like," Carlyle writes. "To date, my request for business plans has been met with blank stares by most but not all."

3. With the passage of Initiative 502, allowing recreational marijuana use, the state of Washington is in danger of having two conflicting marijuana laws—one for medical pot use, and one for everyone else, the Spokesman-Review reports. That's because the stores set up to sell recreational marijuana, overseen by the state Liquor Control Board, will be separate from, and subject to different tax rates than, medical marijuana dispensaries. 

4. KOMO reports that Ballard residents are opposing a proposed new hygiene center for the homeless in their neighborhood. Their argument: Giving homeless people a place to shower and wash their clothes will lead to an "unwalkable" neighborhood as "large crowds of folks [wait] to go into use the bathroom and the laundromat."

5. Washington State environmental advocates are far from alone in pushing for new laws that would ban the use of toxic chemicals in upholstery and children's toys (as we reported last week, the Washington state Environmental Priorities Coalition is advocating a ban on cancer-causing chemicals in toys and furniture); according to Safer States, 26 state legislatures are considering bills this year that would restrict or ban chemicals including toxic flame retardants, formaldehyde, and BPA from certain consumer products. 

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