Caffeinated News

1. Former Tim Burgess aide Alex Pedersen, who'd been thinking about jumping into the race for city council in the 4th District (northeast of the Montlake cut taking in the U. District, Ravenna, Wedgwood, and Sandpoint) sent an email to the local press yesterday evening saying he's decided not to run.

Pedersen wrote:

“Although other neighborhood leaders have encouraged me, I want to be clear that I will NOT be a candidate for the City Council in 2015. Our children are at a magical time in their lives and my wife and I want to cherish this together.  It is also important that I stay focused on the complex issue of affordable housing. I am proud that I was able to work for Council President Tim Burgess to expand research-based solutions, such as Nurse Family Partnership and high-quality preschool for our city.My family and I will continue the fun of publishing the Northeast Seattle newsletter www.4toExplore for several thousand subscribers and remain a strong voice for our neighborhoods. Thank you."

The crowded field in the 4th, where longtime city council incumbent Jean Godden is running for reelection, also includes Transportation Choices Coalition executive director Rob Johnson (a clean cut, transit planning nerd—with lots of big name allies such as King County Executive Dow Constantine—who led the recent Metro funding efforts);  UW Jackson school lecturer Taso Lagos (whose parents own the longtime popular U. District neighborhood spot, the Continental Greek Restaurant); and witty Democratic Party activist Michael Maddux (a single gay dad who played a key role in passing this year's permanent parks district measure.)

2. If you haven't clicked on the link that Seattle Times reporter Mike Lindblom included in his front-page story about Alaskan Way tunnel costs where he noted that Seattle Tunnel Parnters, the Bertha tunnel contracting team that has asked WSDOT for an additional $190 million—you should.

The link, from Engineering  News-Record, says Tutor-Perini, one fo the STP contractors, won a "landmark" lawsuit in a 15-year battle with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation over disputed billing claims on Boston's Big Dig project. Tutor-Perini won $89 million in the settlement.

3. In identifying the top 15 news stories of 2014, including Ebola, the post-Ferguson protests, Putin in the Ukraine, and ISIS in Syria and Iraq, the New York Times included Seattle's $15 minimum wage as a "big issue" of the year.

 The NYT wrote:

"A minimum wage workers can live on: Not long ago, the idea of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would have seemed unrealistic. No longer. Low-wage workers captured the public’s attention—and changed the terms of the debate — by calling for a minimum wage that is more than twice the current federal minimum of $7.25 an hour. In June, Seattle approved a law to raise the minimum to $15 an hour, phasing it in for small and large employers."