Caffeinated News

1. In an email response to a former Metro bus driver who questioned Metro's practice of flashing Seahawks logos and slogans on Metro bus displays, Metro acknowledged Friday that "we have found that some of our operators have proven to be diehard Seahawks fans and are displaying the signs more often than originally approved. As a result, all of these messages will be removed from the signage system effective with our February service change." (The service change doesn't happen until February 14. The Super Bowl is this Sunday, February 1.)

As opposed to the regular and ongoing Seahawks displays, Metro explained: "It was our intention that the team signs were to be used only when a coach is out of service (returning to its home base) or in conjunction with a special event for a specific team." 

Former Metro operator, West Seattle resident GP Hickey, sent an email to Metro earlier this month asking if the Seahawks signage, which has been appearing for weeks on the digital Metro bus destination displays, was A) a form of free advertising and B) in violation of Metro advertising guidelines against favoritism, providing an opportunity to the for-profit Seahawks, that other businesses weren't getting.

Metro's opaque answer was a bit of a tautology: The ad ("message") wasn't an ad because it wasn't an ad.

From Metro's response:

Following is my response to your specific questions:
1) Do the Seahawks pay for this advertising?  The Seahawks did not ask Metro to run these banners, and they pay nothing.
2) If the Seahawks don't pay for this ad isn't that unfair to those who do pay to advertise on buses? Isn't it unfair to businesses that don't have the option to place an ad there? The Seahawks message in the destination sign is not an advertisement. You can see our advertising guidelines, which are posted on our website.
3) Metro and Sound Transit are (mostly) funded by taxes paid locally and federally. I suspect that there must be some sort of prohibition against providing free advertising for a for profit private company.  Isn't this illegal? Running the Seahawks message in the destination sign is not illegal. It does not fit the criteria of advertising, and there is no expense incurred by King County or its citizens.

2. There's a poll in the field right now gauging public opinion on transportation policy in general and on a new "Bridging the Gap" levy in specific; in 2006, Seattle voters passed a nine-year $365 million transportation maintenance levy called Bridging the Gap. Mayor Ed Murray has cued it up for renewal. 

Specifically regarding Bridging the Gap, the pollsters wanted to know if people supported increasing the size of the levy to the tune of about $130 more per year per person.

The pollsters also wanted to know—rate it one (low) to seven (high)—what people's funding priorities were: fixing potholes, improving freight mobility, local neighborhood projects, giving buses priority at lights, bike and pedestrian projects, new light rail stations in Seattle, bus rapid transit, earthquake upgrades to bridges, safe routes to schools, basic maintenance, converting lanes to bus only, dynamic stoplights during heavy traffic?

The poll also tried to suss out if people supported an increase in the commercial parking tax, if we should focus on fixing what we have or building more, and how Bertha was playing into people's attitudes—

A: We shouldn’t make big investment in transportation and give more money to politicians with Bertha stuck

B: Seattle is growing fast and has a big backlog. We can wait for Bertha to start fixing stuff

3. File this under A + B = C.

Following up two major pieces of city council news last week—that veteran city council member (and standout progressive) Nick Licata and West Seattle City Council member Tom Rasmussen weren't seeking reelection—I've heard that longtime Licata aide and West Seattle resident Lisa Herbold is considering a run.

Herbold has been a driving force in Licata's office on economic and social justice issues.

With Rasmussen out, there are currently three candidates filed to run in the First District (West Seattle): Navy vet George Capestany; army vet and activist and former city neighborhood council chair Chas Redmond; and chair of the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council Amanda Kay Helmick.

4. Speaking of city council races (and Licata's announcement), Slog has the news this morning that incumbent Council member Mike O'Brien is offiically running in the Sixth Council District—from Green Lake northwest to Golden Gardens. (Licata lives in the Sixth.)


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