On Other Blogs Today

On Other Blogs Today: Parking, Marrying, and Spinning Wildly

Our daily roundup.

By Erica C. Barnett December 11, 2013



1. Streetsblog D.C. has a post about what they consider the bright future of apartment buildings without parking, focusing on Portland, Boston, and Seattle. I can't speak for Boston or Portland, but the blog's description of a utopian Seattle filled with parking-free oases seems, at best, premature.

Although urban villages indeed do not include parking requirements for new housing developments, pressure from single-family residents often means that some car parking is inevitable, even if the residents of the new building don't need or want it. Or want to pay for it: According to Streetsblog, eliminating on-site parking cuts down the cost of development between 20 and 30 percent. 

2. Although florists and other businesses who refuse to serve gay couples may get all the attention, KUOW reports that legal same-sex marriage has provided a big economic jolt to Washington state.

In the first year gay marriage has been legal, some 17 percent of all weddings have been same-sex marriages, boosting incomes for florists, wedding planners, dressmakers, and other businesses that make up the wedding industry. The average wedding, KUOW reports, costs between $35,000 and $40,000.

3. Sentence of the week: "In that event, the powerful drill face might spin weirdly without success."

That's the Seattle Times' Mike Lindblom, talking about what might happen if Bertha, the tunnel-boring machine, runs into a large boulder stuck in loose sand (as opposed to more solid soil or fill).

Seattle Times transportation reporter Mike Lindblom.

The state department of transportation (WSDOT) is currently trying to figure out what kind of obstruction stopped the machine from moving forward. Seattle Tunnel Partners, the tunnel contracting team, is attempting to drill down 60 feet to identify the mystery object (which could be inside Bertha itself or in front of the machine's cutting head) and figure out how to break it up or remove it.

4. At the Columbian, Peter Callaghan argues that the way the state Democratic and Republican parties appoint replacements for state legislators who depart before their terms are through—whether to assume a completely different office (state Sen. and Seattle mayor-elect Ed Murray, D-43), to ascend from the house to the senate (state Rep. Jan Angel, R-26), or to resign altogether (state Sen. Nick Harper, D-38)—is designed to circumvent the state constitution. 

The way it usually works is this: After a legislator steps down, candidates step up to take his or her place. In a few weeks, the precinct committee officers of that legislator's party, in that legislator's district, debate and vote among themselves and send several names to the local county council, which has the ultimate say. However, county councils pretty much always go with the PCOs' first choice. And that, Callaghan says, is undemocratic. 

"Giving local party committees that much of a role was probably always more power than they should have had. Precinct committee officers often run unopposed; many are themselves appointed. And accountability to the voters who will be represented by the new appointee is less than zero."

Filed under
Show Comments