Update: 6:40 p.m.
Rob McKenna has conceded in the race for governor against Jay Inslee. Here's his recorded statement to his supporters.
Another fail for ferries
Washington State Ferries will likely be without the service of one of its ships for months. That's bad enough in a constantly stressed public transportation system. Worse, if an investigative report by KING 5's Susannah Frame is even close to correct, it's probably because of violating one of the most basic safety procedures in the books.
In a story first broadcast Thursday night and updated today, KING reports that it is lucky no one died when a surge of electricity entered a motor of the Walla Walla while it was undergoing maintenance at the ferry system's Bainbridge Island facility. The surge blasted apart a section of the motor and melted large chunks of steel and copper.
Sources told KING the cause of the accident is still under investigation, but that it could have been prevented if employees had followed a longstanding safety procedure known as the "lockout/tagout" (LOTO) process — a simple, well-known way to label and lock equipment during repair work. Do a web search for "LOTO process" or any of the other suggested terms the search engine brings up. This has been around for decades.
There is one acronym Washington State Ferries does usually get right: Its own. Perhaps some legislative oversight committee will hold a hearing on the issue: "WTF, WSF?"
A round of applause for broadcast news
Speaking of KING's report, let's talk about broadcast news for a minute, which doesn't get nearly the respect it deserves from print journalists. There are, in fact, scores of good journalists and many good broadcast news outlets, both TV and radio, around Puget Sound.
A classy KING tweet today brought up an easily overlooked departure from the scene: KOMO's Brian Johnson is retiring after 53 years. "Bryan is retiring today, and he leaves at the top of his game," says a KOMO tribute. It's no exaggeration, at least if watching him dig into an issue at city press conference a few months ago is any indication.
Rivers of sweat aren't for everyone
The city of Seattle is holding a series of public meetings to shape the update of its biking master plan, something it has been working on since the early part of the year. There's a helpful op-ed today on The SunBreak that raises important points about the need for the city to make biking easier and more manageable for larger numbers of people — not just highly fit males.
In urging the city to think much more broadly, Michael van Baker writes about surveys showing the percentage of women bicycling downtown has barely budged from 20 percent in the early 1990s:
In a city with as many outdoorsy women as Seattle boasts — trust me, REI membership is not 22 percent female — that’s not an accident. It’s a discriminatory by-product [of city transportation thinking].
His larger point:
In-city cycling doesn’t need to exceed 12 or 15 mph to get everyone where they need to go in a reasonable amount of time. It’s safer for all concerned, lets cyclists of all ages and experiential-stripes mingle, and everyone can arrive at their destination without trailing rivers of sweat if they don’t want to.
Van Baker goes on to suggest the city needs a lobby more dedicated to bicycling moms with kids and the like, rather than one overwhelmingly identified with the annual Seattle-to-Portland bike race (yes, he's taking a bit of a shot at the Cascade Bicycle Club here but also notes the value of much of their advocacy). Seattle Bike Blog is also covering the update.
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