1. Eastern Washington state Sen. Mark Schoesler (R-9, Ritzville) will take over as state senate majority leader, the spot held by retiring state Sen. Rodney Tom (D-48, Medina). 

Sen. Tom was the dissident Democrat who caucused with the Republicans last session (along with fellow dissident Democratic state Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-35, Potlatch) to give the GOP-dominated Majority Coalition Caucus control of the senate. 

The Republicans, who now have a bona fide party line 25-24 majority—and a 26-23 overall edge with Sheldon still caucusing with them in the MCC—elected Schoelser yesterday.

Schoesler was the Republican leader last session, but will now also lead the MCC. 

There had been rumors that the more moderate state Sen. Bruce Dammeier (R-25, Puyallup) was running for the top spot. Dammeier, vice chair of the K-12 education committee, is a longtime education policy maven and education funding advocate who has a cordial relationship with the Democrats. His leadership would have signaled a softer, bipartisan image.  

Schoesler is said to have called the shots for Tom's MCC.

Schoesler is a more hard line Republican and is said to have called the shots for Tom's MCC as the Republican leader, preventing the supposedly bipartisan MCC from compromising on transportation funding, for example. 

2. Yesterday's Afternoon Jolt starred long time cop body camera advocate Seattle City Council member Bruce Harrell (he got the headline treatment).

But in case you missed it, the second Jolt item is worth noting: Another winner was the West Seattle Neighborhood group (Neighbors Encouraging Reasonable Development, or NERD).

NERD won its appeal in front of the city hearing examiner, getting them to overrule the Department of Planning and Development. The hearing examiner put a planned 100-apartment development project on SW Avalon Way between SW Genesse and SW Andover/Yancy (in the West Seattle Junction "Hub Urban Village") on hold until DPD scales back the building and reassesses the parking needs.  

3. Speaking of the silent majority (?), a new city council candidate has entered in the 4th District (North of the Montlake cut taking in the U. District, Roosevelt, Ravenna, Wedgwood, and Sandpoint). 

The Seattle Times has the news that Taso Lagos, son of the owners of the longtime U. District spot, the Continental Greek Restaurant on the Ave., has jumped in. Lagos is a lecturer at the UW Jackson School. 

The Times reports: "The city should continue to encourage real estate development in the U District and in Roosevelt but should leave other 4th District neighborhoods 'pretty much pristine,' he says."

City Council member Jean Godden, the incumbent in the newly created 4th District, has filed to run—as have Democratic Party activist Michael Maddux and Transportation Choices Coalition executive director Rob Johnson. 

Former Tim Burgess aide, Alex Pederesen is rumored to be gearing up for a run in the 4th as well

4. And this just in from Metro: 

Metro is testing a new bus ticket vending machine at the northbound bus stop on Third Avenue between Pine and Stewart streets in front of Macy’s in downtown Seattle. Beginning today, riders can use the machine to buy tickets while waiting for the bus.

This off-board payment option will help riders who don’t have ORCA cards board more quickly. The ticket vending machine works much like a parking pay station. Choose the type of fare and pay with cash or a credit/debit card.

The machine will dispense a paper ticket that can be shown to the bus driver when boarding the bus. The tickets are good for two hours—you can ride Metro as much as you like during that time.

The six-month pilot program will last through May 2015. If users like the machine, Metro will consider installing more. Visit the webpage and share your thoughts on the online survey.

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