Crosscut

Midday Scan: Boeing's make-up gift to Everett

Boeing eyes ways to expand production in Everett. Meanwhile, Alaska and its oil companies are looking more and more like some bizarre Downton Abbey metaphor and Washington's public schools are faced with shrinking budgets.

By Pete Jackson

April 24, 2012.

Everett and Boeing hang together like General Motors and Detroit. Except for a couple midlife peccadilloes in Chicago and South Carolina, Boeing has been a fine partner, transforming the City of Smokestacks into an international hub for aerospace manufacturing and innovation. (Note: this message was not sponsored by the Everett Chamber.) As if paying penance for its disillusioning infidelity, Boeing could give the city one whopper of a make-up gift: a new facility to produce the 777's massive composite wings.   

"To build its major upgrade to the blockbuster 777 widebody jet, Boeing is considering how to squeeze additional manufacturing work into its busy Everett site, perhaps even finding room for an additional assembly line," the Seattle Times' Dominic Gates writes. "'Boeing is actively looking at multiple scenarios for expanding the Everett site to accommodate the building of the new jet,' said a veteran company insider with knowledge of the internal discussions." 

At times Alaska resembles a deep-freeze version of Masterpiece Theatre's Downton Abbey. The oil companies are the Earl and Countess of Grantham and everyone else is either a valet or a housemaid. (Granted those valets and housemaids are grateful to the Earl and Countess for their generosity.) As Alaska lawmakers consider how much to tax Big Oil, questions center on the governor's catchall proposal to tread lightly.

"Gov. Sean Parnell's oil tax plan takes an approach that winds up giving oil companies 'quite a lot' of money for projects that are economic today, a consultant told lawmakers Monday," the AP's Becky Bohrer writes in an article that appears in this morning's Anchorage Daily News. "Janak Mayer of PFC Energy told the House Resources Committee that the alternative to a uniform lowering of government take is a system with greater complexity and potential for what he calls 'perverse incentives,' such as creating a situation where companies that must agree to projects going forward in some fields become focused on their own projects, and pursuing lower tax rates of their own." As if oil companies needed more "perverse incentives."  

If sea lions didn't look like comedian Buddy Hackett, there wouldn't be a perennial debate about how and when to kill them. Their mortal sin? Like all Northwesterners, sea lions have a hefty appetite for salmon. Too bad that no one explained to these Hackett-like creatures that salmon are an endangered species.  

"A federal judge has authorized wildlife officials in Oregon and Washington to kill as many as 30 California sea lions each year near the Bonneville Dam. Four have been killed so far this spring. A conservation group has filed a lawsuit in an attempt to stop the killings," the Northwest News Network reports. "Now, a coalition of tribal groups has filed a legal brief in defense of the program. The tribes claim sea lions are munching even more salmon than fishermen are catching." 

So much for the Baby Boom boom-let. With fewer students enrolled in Washington's public schools, lawmakers are compelled to reduce the K-12 budget. However, how should we define "reduce?" Contouring to the changing demographic or slashing away to align with state coffers?  

"Washington state's public schools will get less money than anticipated from the state in the coming school year, but don't call it a budget cut," the AP's Jonathan Kaminsky reports. "As state lawmakers have trumpeted since passing a bipartisan spending plan earlier this month, it is the first budget in three years that includes no new cuts to K-12 education. But because of a lower-than-expected increase in student enrollment, schools will be forced to make do with $61 million less than what had been earmarked by the state in the two-year budget passed in 2011."

Lastly, what goes better with Seattle coffee than classical music? (the caffeine, after all, keeps you awake.) As the Seattlepi.com's Raechel Dawson writes, area coffee shops offer an accessible venue to showcase the best in classical music while reviving a passion for a timeless musical form.

"At first, it seemed like a normal Friday night at the Green Bean Coffeehouse in Greenwood. An elderly woman lounged in a red chair. A barista took orders behind the bar. Then there was the harpist setting up in the corner next to the violinists," Dawson writes. 

 

Link Summary

Seattle Times, "Everett a strong bet for future 777 line"

Anchorage Daily News, "Tax plan gives money back to oil companies, consultant says" 

EarthFix, "Tribal group claims sea lions munch more salmon than previously thought"

The News Tribune, "Fewer students mean less state money for schools"

Seattlepi.com, "Seattle coffee shops: 'Hope for the future of classical music?'"

Pete Jackson, is a journalist with deep ties to the Northwest and a former gubernatorial speechwriter. You can reach him in care of editor@crosscut.com.

View this story online at: http://crosscut.com/2012/04/24/crosscut-blog/20888/Midday-Scan-Boeings-makeup-gift-Everett/

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Printed on November 22, 2014