Our weekly roundup:
1. Fizz LIKES the (very) credible rumor we keep hearing that Rob Johnson, the longtime executive director of invaluable local non-profit Transportation Choices Coalition, is seriously considering a run against incumbent city council member Jean Godden in the new 4th District, which stretches from the Montlake Cut north to 85th and from I-5 east to Lake Washington (basically, the U District plus all the quaint, pretty and affluent neighborhoods northeast of it.)
You've got competition Mike O'Brien. No, not for your seat (O'Brien lives in the 6th District, due west of Johnson's), but for being the venerated council member with the unique political skill of taking sides while still establishing genuine camaraderie with adversaries.
And we do like Johnson's side. As dues-paying members of TCC (sorry, Fizz doesn't claim to be objective when it comes to supporting urbanist issues like multi-modal transportation), we'd be relieved if the new districting system, which could potentially herald a renaissance of provincialism in Seattle, actually produced a big picture smarty like Johnson.
Footnote: Johnson has emerged as an ally of new Mayor Ed Murray, and given that we're also hearing Johnson's consultant is Murray consultant Christian Sinderman, a Johnson candidacy would surely be part of a Murray effort to establish a full-fledged bloc on the council.
Mind you, given that current council members as disparate as populist progressive Nick Licata and reserved technocrat Tim Burgess are both big Murray fans, council/mayoral standoffs have not been an issue lately. To the contrary, and speaking of mayoral/council relations...
2. Fizz DISLIKES that Mayor Murray announced his budget and then promptly left for Ireland. Murray's penchant for out-of-town commitments has prompted a Cola Public Disclosure Request for time and dollars spent elsewhere (we'll report back) because we're starting to get tired of his political Adult ADHD.
The Seattle Housing Authority wants to phase in a 500 percent rent increase in five years, when small biz got seven years to phase in a 60 percent pay increase to $15 an hour.
3. Fizz LIKES that the Puget Sound Regional Council is all fired up about Sound Transit funding, but we DISLIKE the fact that Republican King County Council member Kathy Lambert, making the case at yesterday's PSRC Board meeting that Sound Transit's potential 2016 ballot measure should include light rail to outlying parts of King County such as Issaquah and Sammamish, claimed that sprawl is over.
The coming battle for ST3 is whether it should add more light rail in Seattle with, say, a Ballard-to-U District line or a West Seattle-to-downtown line, or whether it should keep expanding out into the region.
In the past, Lambert said, "the bogeyman was sprawl. … However, we are past that. We don’t have to worry about that anymore. Every bit of King County is zoned , every inch. When you look at the last Census, the growth came along the I-90 and [State Route]18 corridor, so we need to be looking at, where is the growth coming … and make sure those areas are not forgotten."
Good on Lambert for recognizing that urbanized areas need transit (even areas that were "urbanized" by policies that encouraged sprawl); boo to her for blithely declaring sprawl a thing of the past as light rail development in the suburbs continues to be compromised by shying away from transit-oriented development (note the lost opportunity in Bel-Red) and development continues to gobble up farmland across the Puget Sound's rural areas.
Speaking of suburban development ...
4. Fizz LIKES this new, seven-acre Transit Oriented Development, mixed-use (58 affordable units and 185 market rate units along with commercial development) project in Kirkland at the Metro park and ride. More please.
5. Fizz DISLIKES that the Seattle Housing Authority wants to phase in a 500 percent rent increase in five years, when small biz got seven years to phase in a 60 percent pay increase to $15 an hour.
6. Finally, Fizz DISLIKES that nobody has repo-ed Obama's Nobel yet.
Wasn't that prize for pursuing Middle East peace?