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On Other Blogs Today: Portland vs. Fluoride, Vancouver vs. Light Rail, and More

Our daily roundup.

By Erica C. Barnett May 22, 2013



1. Oh, Portland, don't ever change: Portland voters choose rotten teeth over fluoridation, by a vote of 60 to 40 percent, the Oregonian reports.

2. The Columbian applauds Gov. Jay Inslee for "turning up the heat" on the Columbia River Crossing, the controversial bridge between Portland and Vancouver.

Inslee vetoed $81 million in funding to study options for the bridge Monday because he wants the legislature to match the $450 million the state of Oregon has agreed to provide to build the bridge.

CRC foes oppose the project because it would include light rail, and because it would require a lower bridge than the existing crossing. 

"Many people in Clark County don't like light rail, but many in Portland won't support a new bridge without it," the paper writes. "Many people here want a third bridge, but many Portland officials reject the environmental intrusions and new freeways that a third bridge would require."

3. Over at Crosscut, "Mossback" Knute Berger looks at the history of Seattle's mayors and concludes that Seattle prefers to elect "newcomers," and that being from here doesn't seem to predict political success, thanks, perhaps, to "Seattle's politics of perpetual growth, renewal and restlessness."

But his definition of "newbies" is pretty bizarre; it's a category that includes all but one of Seattle's past mayors, including Greg Nickels (who moved here when he was 6) and Wes Uhlman, who moved here in his teens. That strikes us as an awfully exclusionary definition of "Seattleite" that would basically require every mayoral candidate to show their birth certificate to qualify as anything but a "newcomer." 

4. Sonics Rising, the pro-Sonics web site, reports on the news that legendary Chicago Bulls and L.A. Lakers coach Phil Jackson was on tap to run the new Seattle NBA team if San Francisco hedge-fund manager and city officials reached an agreement to buy the Sacramento Kings and move them to a new arena here.  

Jackson appeared on the Dan Patrick sports-talk show yesterday and told Patrick, "I had an agreement with (Hansen). ... He did everything right — except, you know, win the franchise."

5. Apropos of my post today on the anti-abortion bent of the insurance companies filing to participate in the state health exchange, Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat reports that half of the state of Washington's medical system will likely soon be run by Catholic institutions—institutions that balk at providing birth control, do not provide abortions, and refuse many kinds of end-of-life care, including assisted suicide. 

"Most of us aren’t Catholic, so I’m guessing we’d never go along with letting the creeds of that one faith run something as universal as education," he writes. "So why are we allowing it with health care?" 

6. Real Change interviewed the candidates for mayor (all except Bruce Harrell, who apparently did not respond) to find out how they feel about tent encampments like Nickelsville (which a city council committee is discussing this afternoon). Most of them bobbed and weaved, saying the city needs to focus on long-term housing solutions, but one, Socialist Mary Martin, was more specific.

We call for releasing the housing stocks. There are so many housing rentals that are being held back. The second thing that goes with this is we call for a massive federally funded jobs program, so we can move where we need to move—as much as you can under capitalism. So this is our answer and solution to the problem. If we’re elected, we don’t promise anything but the fight.

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