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Crosscut's week in review (June 5)

Some of the top stories for our readers this week.

From a look at the struggles in non-profit service agencies to an insightful examination by Knute Berger of how Seattle's history plays into political gridlock, Crosscut brought readers a wide range of news, analysis and commentary this holiday-shortened week.

The biggest item for readership was Berger's provocative argument that Seattle tends to split over the pursuit of rather Utopian visions that relate back to migration from the eastern parts of the country. Some come here wanting opportunity in recreating what they left, others want the opportunity to start something new.

Enjoy it here: "How Utopian thinking leads to Seattle's gridlock."

Kent Kammerer, an astute observer of Seattle's budgeting practices and treatment of neighborhoods, weighed in with excellent observations about the effects of a city's revenue squeeze and its policy of urging municipal departments to become more entrepreneurial. He asked particularly about whether the city should be going into the good green area of selling discarded items for reuse if it competes with existing stores doing the same thing.

Here: "City Hall wants some of the business action."

The report on struggling social services came from a soon-to-graduate University of Washington journalism student, Katie McVicker, who reported particularly on one agency in the domestic violence field's near-death experience and on how other agencies have closed their doors or are struggling. Sadly, with so many people homeless, the local Habitat for Humanity is among those who have had to lay off staff.

"Social services are barely surviving, or closing."

A Crosscut report on Metro Transit's labor costs attracted attention elsewhere in the media. Doug MacDonald, the former state secretary of transportation, detailed how the local bus drivers make the third highest wages in the country. As he also noted, the drivers are pretty much the county's way of interacting with the public (something those of us who ride daily appreciate, almost always in a positive sense for me). The report is important to anyone concerned with how we get savings to preserve services.

"Metro's high wage scale factors into its bus service equation."

Another report that tied well into the economy was Ronald Holden's look at turnover in the local restaurant business. It provided readers insight into an important area of economic activity as well as some fun information on how talented chefs and managers are recreating their operations.

"Death and resurrection in the restaurant business."

For a surprising read about world's fairs, a topic that even native Seattleites might not suspect would be so fascinating, please take a look at Berger's "Expo in Shanghai: green lessons for Seattle, U.S."

There are a lot more new articles that we were proud to present. I'll mention a few others:

"Light-hearted Coppelia a technical triumph."

"Public can act against BP, oil dependency."

"UW survey: CNN, NPR spread Tea Party's message."

And, for a historic week in Seattle's sports history, there was this from writer Mike Henderson, who saw the beginning and ending games for Ken Griffey's time in a Mariner uniform: "Between first and last at-bats, Griffey saved Seattle baseball."

Joe Copeland is political editor for Crosscut. You can reach him at Joe.Copeland@crosscut.com.


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