1. Just to be clear on the story I posted yesterday about an internal Port of Seattle document showing that the commercial real estate firm the Port hired to scope out properties for a new, consolidated Port headquarters had included Chris Hansen’s arena site on the list (yup): I saw some tweets about the news from enthusiastic Sonics fans who were running a little too fast with the story. These tweets said the Port had considered Hansen’s property as recently as March.
What my story said was that internal documents showed the Port was still paying for the scoping work as recently as March. However, the story did not say the Hansen site was still under consideration in March. Port spokesman Peter McGraw says that even though bills for the scoping work were still in the pipeline in March, the actual SoDo scoping work, including any consideration of the Hansen arena, was off the table by then.
I’m still reviewing internal emails to independently confirm McGraw’s statement.
Meanwhile, here’s an idea for the Port: Why don’t they build their new headquarters across the street from their pals at city hall? There’s a vacant lot right there. I've got a contest going for development ideas for the prime downtown spot.
2. Former Massachusetts U.S. representative Barney Frank, the first openly gay member of congress (he came out in 1987 after first being elected in 1980), endorsed state representative Brady Walkinshaw (D-43, Capitol Hill) this week. Walkinshaw, a gay Cuban-American, is running for retiring U.S. representative Jim McDermott’s (D-WA, 7) seat. Walkinshaw announced he was running when veteran liberal icon McDermott himself was still intending to seek reelection. Walkinshaw’s unconventional move nudged McDermott out. Since McDermott dropped out, two other serious candidates have declared—state senator and civil rights leader Pramila Jayapal (D-37, Southeast Seattle) and King County council member Joe McDermott.
In addition to being known as a gay civil rights champion, Frank, who sent out a fundraising appeal on Walkinshaw’s behalf this week, is perhaps best well known for prime sponsoring Dodd-Frank, the Obama-backed federal regulatory response to 2008’s historic Wall Street malfeasance. Dodd-Frank did not go as far as progressives wanted (no Great Depresssion era Glass-Steagall act, for example), but it went too far for conservatives who believe it overregulates Wall Street banks by implementing the Volcker Rule. The Volcker rule doesn’t outright ban commercial banks from the speculative market like Glass-Steagall once did, but does limit it.
Frank has also been critical of Bernie Sanders —who has endorsed Walkinshaw’s opponent Jayapal.
Walkinshaw says: “I’m proud of his endorsement as a civil rights leader and as the first openly LGBT member of congress.”
Walkinshaw, in fact, was in D.C. yesterday doing a campaign fundraiser hosted by U.S. representative Jared Polis (D-CO) at Polis’s home. Polis, who is gay, chairs the gay caucus in Congress, the LGBT equality caucus. Polis has endorsed Walkinshaw.
3. The Seattle Department of Transportation is scheduled to present to a skeptical Mike O’Brien at council member O’Brien’s transportation committee meeting on Tuesday.
The bike board recently revealed that the Ninth Avenue protected bike lane project was being delayed until 2018 due to heavy construction there. But O’Brien put an amendment on the recent controversial Pronto legislation that allowed SDOT to buy the local bike share nonprofit saying the council would only free up money for bike share expansion if bike infrastructure projects like Ninth—which would connect the new Westlake bike land to South Lake Union and through downtown to the Second Avenue bike lane—were ready to go.
I’ve heard O’Brien briefly met with SDOT director Scott Kubly this week to ask Kubly about the delay on Ninth and hopes to get more clarity at Tuesday’s upcoming meeting.
4. Subarea equity is dead. Long live subarea equity.
As both the Seattle Transit Blog and Seattle Times reporter Mike Lindblom tweeted out from yesterday’s Sound Transit capital committee meeting, the agency officially made the case that the whole region should pay for the second downtown Seattle tunnel. "Absent any additional tunnel capacity downtown, all these lines fail," ST CEO Peter Rogoff said, pushing the new regionalist philosophy at ST that what’s spent in one subarea doesn’t ultimately stay in that subarea.
Sound Transit CFO Brian McCartan teed up this radical idea back in December when he told the board “We are defining equity in the context of an integrated, regional system.” At that meeting McCartan read the actual language of ST’s authorizing legislation to the board. It only said, he explained, that the board has to submit a proposition to the voters that “identifies the degree to which revenues generated within each county will benefit the residents of that county....”
The idea that local money has to fund local projects, McCartan added was only something the board superimposed on the legislation. Additionally, he said the board has the flexibility to determine what constitutes a benefit in the first place, pointing out that a project “doesn’t have to be physically in one area” to provide a benefit.
Yesterday, ST made it clear the tunnel fit the regional benefit bill.