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On Other Blogs Today: Market Update, Benton Reality Check, and More

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By Erica C. Barnett June 25, 2013



1. The Seattle Times reports on new designs for the west side of Pike Place Market—part of a larger plan to expand the market and connect it to the revamped downtown waterfront. The plans feature a new covered glass walkway and view plazas fronting Western Ave., underground parking, and flexible commercial space to showcase local food producers.

The Times' commenters are generally horrified by the modern, steel-and-glass structure—which is admittedly a departure from the original Market's turn-of-the-century brick-and-cobblestone motif—but I think it looks promising (although what's up with those weird exposed timbers?). Judge for yourself; the full plans are available here 

2. The News Tribune has dubbed state Sen. Don Benton (R-17, Vancouver), who filed a formal complaint against his colleague Ann Rivers for allegedly cursing at and threatening him, a "born-again champion of the respectful workplace."

That appears to be shorthand for "hypocrite": Benton, the TNT notes, was the No. 1 apologist for Sen. Pam Roach, who was kicked out of her caucus for attacking a senior staff member—just the latest in a string of bizarre and inappropriate workplace behavior from the senator.  Benton, who said the senate was "a pressure cooker for high blood pressure, short fuses and hot tempers," was the only member of the senate facilities and operations committee to vote against reprimanding Roach. 

And, the Columbian points out, Benton himself is hardly a choirboy. His former Republican colleague Cheryl Pflug tells the paper Benton got in her face immediately after she voted in favor of gay marriage, yelling, "Fuck you! Fuck you!" and that "there was a threat after that, something about making sure I didn’t come back.” Pflug says it was hardly the first time Benton had yelled at her; she said she didn't file a complaint because tempers in the senate tend to run high.

3. The Columbian also reports that latest transportation plan out of the U.S. Senate (shepherded by Washington state U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, who heads up the appropriations committee that makes transportation decisions) includes $65 million for the controversial Columbia River Crossing bridge between Portland and Vancouver. Republicans at both the federal and state level oppose the bridge, arguing that lowering the height of the bridge to accommodate light rail will hurt upstream businesses.

Currently, the bridge's fate rests on whether the state legislature agrees to provide $450 million toward its $3.4 billion cost. The state of Oregon has already agreed to put up $450 million, and CRC planners are currently working to secure an $850 million federal grant.

4. Meanwhile, in Texas' state legislature, Democratic Fort Worth state Sen. Wendy Davis is filibustering to prevent the passage of a noxious anti-abortion bill that would ban all abortions after 20 weeks, require all abortions to be performed at centers licensed for surgery (effectively shutting down all but five abortion clinics in the state), and, in case you wondered just how much Texas Republicans hate women, would include no exception for pregnancies that resulted from rape or incest. (One of the sponsors of the bill, Republican Jodie Laubenburg, said there was no need for a rape exemption because rape kits administered at hospitals are used so women "can get cleaned out," preventing pregnancy.)

Davis' planned 13-hour filibuster is being broadcast live by the Texas Tribune. If she manages to kill the bill, anti-choice Republican Gov. Rick Perry could call a special session to allow sponsors to reintroduce it.

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