November in Seattle
Lots of low lights, or highlights, from the rain: It took only until early afternoon for the official opening of mudslide season along the railroad tracks north of Seattle (yes, Sound Transit's north Sounder run to Everett is cancelled). By noon, Sea-Tac Airport had a record rainfall for Nov. 19, which presumably is a day where the record is pretty competitive with just about any other day of the year. According to KOMONews.com, it's the most likely day of the year for rain to fall.
Oh, and as the morning rush hour started, Mercer Street traffic under Aurora Avenue was blocked by flooding. A TV reporter said crews were coming to clear blocked drains. Which raises some interesting questions, since the city constantly advises everyone to check and clear drains. Is it not a city responsibility to clear drains along a major transportation corridor? The city wants every motorist to consider stopping and checking the drains on Mercer? Presumably not, since — thank god — the city suggests "safely adopting" a drain. Or, perhaps the lesson is just that if everyone is responsible, no one is responsible.
They are still seriously counting votes in Vancouver, where a legislative race could determine whether Democrats or a Republican-led coalition has control of the state Senate. Two batches of newly counted votes left Republican Don Benton ahead of Democrat Tim Probst by 115 votes out of more than 54,000. Benton's lead, such as it is, has held pretty close to 100 for days, but Probst led in the first counts.
Perhaps not surprisingly, a House race in the same district (the 17th) is also almost as tight. But in this case, Democrat Monica Stonier leads Republican Julie Olson by 120 votes. The race doesn't have any bearing on the Democrats' control of the House. It's got to gnaw at Democrats that the race against the long-serving Benton couldn't be the one that was tipping their way.
Under state election laws, both races are within the one-half of 1 percent margin where an automatic recount would occur.
Coal, oil and more for China
Hearings around the state are focusing on the environmental questions that should be addressed in deciding about new coal ports to feed China's hunger for energy. There are already relatively limited shipments from the Vancouver, B.C. region, and proposals for shipping from Bellingham, Longview and Oregon. At the same time, there are controversies in British Columbia about a pipeline to bring oil products from Alberta's tar sand deposits to the coast for shipping to Asia.
Now, an Alaska Dispatch report looks at the possibility of a 1,600 mile rail line from Alberta to Alaska's Trans-Alaska Pipeline to carry oil products to Asia or elsewhere in world markets. Limiting climate change is beginning to feel like a game of Whack-A-Mole.
Crowded debate podiums
The 2013 election is almost a year away but Publicola this morning mentioned six people reportedly thinking about a run against Mayor Mike McGinn: Albert Shen, a business consultant; City Council members Tim Burgess and Bruce Harrell; ex-Council Member Peter Steinbrueck; state Sen. Ed Murray; and Seattle Chamber CEO Maud Daudon.
Somewhere it's not raining
Arizona, anyone? Seattle Mariner fans are familiar with Peoria as the spring training home of the team. And the Peoria Javelinas just won the Arizona Fall League championship, with the help of a heads-up play by Mariners' first round draft pick Mike Zunino. Playing catcher, Zunino stepped on home plate after an apparent run by the opposing team. Baseball America described an ensuing series of appeals as resembling "a close political election, with the result being contested and a subsequent delay until a winner was finally declared."
Kinda like Washington state elections.
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