Art work by Noel Franklin
In a story that brings needed light to behind-the-scenes police activity, the Seattle Times reports that the Seattle Police Department conducted an extensive review of phone records in an effort to find the sources of leaks to the media.
How extensive? Well, the department went over the records for 120,000 phone calls. But it hasn't told The Times how much money it spent on the inquiry and it hasn't released public records the paper is seeking.
The probe resulted in turning over information to an internal police office for a review that could have led to disciplinary action; the paper reported that the department's Office of Professional Accountability's review was inconclusive. The paper itself was involved with one of the two department-media contacts that led to the OPA review; that's not at all surprising given The Times' excellent coverage of the police and major crime stories.
The report says two police officials, neither a target of the inquiry, alerted the paper to the hunt for sources. A top police official said there was no attempt to suppress information but the department had obligations to look at the disclosures, which he said could have damaged important investigations. The story notes that the hunt for the sources of leaks came as the department was under intense scrutiny over its use-of-force policies and practices.
Update 4:35 p.m.: Robert Mak show ending
In what it termed "bad news for Washington political watchers," The Seattle Times just posted a story that KING5 is canceling "Up Front with Robert Mak." Publicola had a report earlier in the day saying that the cancelation was in the works but that Mak would remain as a reporter with the channel.
The Times' Jim Brunner reported that Mak hasn't formally committed to staying but was expected to do so, along with the show's longtime producer, Mike Cate. He wrote:
The Emmy-award winning show will air its final segment Dec. 2, ending an 11-year run as one of the region’s best known and most in-depth TV programs covering politics and government. Mak regularly interviewed top elected leaders and other newsmakers, moderated candidate debates and showed a deft touch in explaining some of the region’s thorniest political and social issues.
Cycling to catch up with Portland?
Will Seattle ever catch up with Portland as a biking leader? Seattle is rewriting its bicycle master plan, which may be the best opportunity for moving the city forward quickly.
An update on the city's work by Seattle Bike Blog has some excellent details for what could be coming eventually to a number of central Seattle neighborhoods and downtown. The posting, part of a series of reviews, is quite enthusiastic about the master plan ideas so far.
The story gives considerable attention to proposals for "cycle tracks" as ways to make it more comfortable for the non-road-warrior class of cyclist (most of us) to travel on busy streets. It turns out that the easiest way to understand what cycle tracks are is to go to ... a web site of the Portland mayor's office. The tracks basically involve putting street parking a distance from the sidewalk curb, creating a comfortable barrier between cars and bicyclists. Or, as the Portland video puts it, reducing any nervousness drivers might feel about being close to "their friends" the bicyclists.
Urban planning in the suburbs
Seattle, though, can rest comfortably in the belief that it is always ahead of its immediate neighbors in walkability and smart transportation choices. Or not.
Bellevue, it would seem, is trying to have both the advantages of new construction and the superior transportation options that are usually associated with older central cities. As Seattle Transit Blog noted a while back, Bellevue residents can submit their ideas for road names in a near-downtown part of Bellevue that will undergo redevelopment. A city announcement says, "The city will build the streets, to include a grand boulevard, in the Bel-Red area as it is transformed from a light industrial district to a transit-oriented development featuring housing, shopping and commerce."
Suggestions for names must be submitted by Nov. 30. Something to do at a Bellevue family gathering perhaps — assuming no one is running off to start shopping early?
Rob McKenna video
The defeated Republican candidate for governor released a new video this afternoon on Facebook and YouTube, which he called a "Thanksgiving Message." He referred to the loss as "a huge disappointment" but said, "I want to assure that I will continue to be involved in the political process and continue to offer my thoughts on the best policies to move our state forward."
Referring to the budget decisions that must be made in Olympia, McKenna said, "Your voice for holding the line on taxes and funding our schools first needs to be heard."
With snow in the mountains, the stories about holiday travel challenges will probably be with us all weekend. A good overview of the state and national travel picture by The News Tribune notes that the mudslides which started with the rain Monday have blocked Amtrak and Sound Transit trains through at least Thursday.
For those as eager for bargains as family gatherings, the stories about Friday shopping are already appearing with the requisite debates about whether it's good to keep moving the "post-Thanksgiving" sales ever earlier. So far, 8 p.m. seems to be about the earliest door opening of any significance. Any bets on when the first story about a brawl over a must-have toy or piece of electronics will appear?
But if you feel too calm to do battle at the store, you can thank your Thanksgiving meal. And it's not just the turkey that makes people sleepy, according to this Scientific American video (which we spotted on Scienceblogs.com).
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