On Other Blogs Today

On Other Blogs Today: Parklets, Russia, Car Sharing, and More

Our daily roundup.

By Erica C. Barnett September 20, 2013


1. PARK(ing) Day—an annual event, started in San Francisco, where people convert parking spaces into one-day-only parklets—has turned into a global event, spanning 162 cities, 35 countries, and six continents, The Hill reports. (No temporary parks yet in Antarctica, we assume).

Organizers now say they're trying to shift the focus of the event from temporary action to systemic change—by which they mean "the quality of urban space." 

2. At his sometimes-incendiary blog, Mayor Mike McGinn's campaign consultant, John Wyble, praises PubliCola for our use of the word "abstrusely" in this morning's lead Fizz item revealing the existence of a new pro-Ed Murray independent expenditure group, People for a New Seattle Mayor—and speculates on campaign manager Dean Nielsen's use of the word "nimble" (Nielsen told us the new IE would be a "smaller, more nimble group.")

Wyble suggests that by "nimble," Nielsen must have meant, among other things: Easier to hide donations; harder to track; and easier to get around campaign finance disclosure laws. 

3. California has adopted legislation legalizing and regulating some of the same ridesharing services that have overrun Seattle in recent months, including Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

The new regulations—28 of them—are aimed at ensuring ridesharing users' safety and at bringing the new industry in line with the standards taxis have to meet. In Seattle, city council members are debating whether the new services should be regulated like taxis or allowed to operate unregulated, as they currently do. 

4. The Stranger's Slog has been fuming lately over city council president Sally Clark's decision not to sponsor a nonbinding resolution condemning antigay violence in Russia, running more than a dozen posts in the last few days calling Clark, among other things, "despicable" and accusing her of making the resolution an issue in the mayor's race (huh?).

Anyway, today, Clark wrote a response to the onslaught, noting that Russian policy isn't exactly the Seattle City Council's bailiwick and pointing out the many other nations where antigay policies are also the official norm: 

[P]ersonally, I believe resolutions adopted by the Council should be specific to issues affecting life for people in Seattle.  For people who want the Council to pass a resolution this approach can be maddening, but we need a filter of some kind. We have an active, passionate citizenry in Seattle which is great. We could pass resolutions in every meeting of the Council and we would never cover the breadth of issues important to Seattleites. 

Also, international affairs? Not our specialty. I’m not saying we should never go there with resolutions, but we should, in the words of one e-mailer this week, tread gingerly and with the help of people who actually know what they’re talking about. I’ll say more about that in a moment. ...

What’s happening in Russia is deplorable. Let’s also recognize that what’s happening in 75 other countries not mentioned in the recent focus on Russia is equally deplorable (http://76crimes.com/). Instead of building conspiracy theories about why I didn’t say yes to a resolution, why not come up with strategies to better educate people on what’s happening in Russia and in these 76 countries, and give people real ways to be heard and make change. And do you want to talk about the situation for women in far too many parts of the globe? That can keep us busy with resolutions for a while, too.

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