The Daily Troll: Gregoire to EPA. The chill (literal) at City Hall.

The sometimes-environmental governor could be headed to D.C., according to Joel Connelly. Publicola senses office workers' undermining of a city campaign to save money on energy bills.

By Joe Copeland

January 04, 2013.

The calm before the kickoff

How far ahead of a home Seahawks' playoff game would the partying in Pioneer Square have started? Forty-eight hours? Alas, there's no way to know, since the Seattle squad is traveling to D.C. to meet-and-greet-and-beat the national media's beloved Washington Redskins.

Also traveling there for Crosscut's readers: Sportswriter Art Thiel. For all his reports, check in often at Crosscut's special "Art Thiel in D.C." page this weekend or follow his updates through our Twitter feed and Facebook page

No rest for the gov

Joel Connelly at reports that President Barack Obama is about to nominate Gov. Chris Gregoire as Environmental Protection Agency administrator. Connelly attributes the sourcing for his report in this way: "according to a very private prediction from a very senior source in Washington's congressional delegation." Well essentially (and delightfully) that could mean just about anything: Did Sen. Patty Murray call Connelly up? Did a couple of folks pass along some word that they had heard from a longtime staffer in one of the congressional offices? Connelly is so savvy that we will bet on Gregoire for nomination — and easy Senate confirmation, precisely because she has (as Connelly notes) a mixed record on the environment. So industry and Republicans will figure she's as good as they can get from the prez.

Temperature falling at City Hall

Publicola's Morning Fizz today notes that the Seattle city government is trying to save money by lowering winter temperature settings at City Hall and other buildings. A department of Finance and Administrative Services spokeswoman assures one or the other of the Publicola reporting Super Duo (Josh Feit and Erica C. Barnett) that "not a lot" of workers are complaining. Still, "Fizz hears that some city employees are getting around the rules by bringing in their own heaters right now — a power drain that will certainly show up on the city's energy ledger."

A la the fare inspectors checking on members of the public aboard Metro's Rapid Ride buses, maybe the Finance and Administrative Services could do its own walk-throughs looking for culprits? No need to fine the public employees as a fare dodger would be, but if it's in the office of a politician, it sure would be fun to have it documented.

Mudslides forever? 

The most recent reminder from Sound Transit about suspended Northline Sounder service came into our inboxes at 12:12 p.m. No service this evening. Maybe next week? As both Seattle Transit Blog and The Seattle Times reported, this year's service cancelations already constitute a winter record.

The Times' account by Alexa Vaughn captures commuters' frustrations (it's a little head-scratching why Sound Transit doesn't go into overachievement mode to make bus alternatives comfortable and abundant), but also reports on projects and strategies that could alleviate the situation in the Edmonds-Mukilteo area. Apparently drainage improvements along the line in north Seattle helped deal with slides there in the 1990s. (For a really thorough overview of the effects on long-term passenger rail service growth, see Floyd McKay and C.B. Hall's December 2011 report for Crosscut here.)

Kimberly Reason of Sound Transit emailed us this in response to a question about the future:

Sound Transit is in ongoing discussions with BNSF Railway about slide mitigation planning efforts. We know the State Department of Transportation has been awarded a $16 million grant for slide mitigation and look forward to progress on that project. We also understand that the problem is a complex one, encompassing multiple geotechnical and other issues that would require significant funding investments to address.

Tully's is now so glam. Or not.

Ah, the fun! Actor Patrick Dempsey ("Grey's Anatomy") had the winning bid for Tully's, and promptly set hearts racing and cell cam's clicking at local Tully's outlets he visited during the morning. Crosscut Publisher Greg Shaw happened to be at one, capturing photos and a quick interview.)

By midday, jilted-bidder Starbucks was moving in for the buzz-kill. Seattle Times' Melissa Allison reports that a Starbucks spokesman said "we are evaluating our options," which apparently include going to a bankruptcy court to object that it and another bidder had actually offered more than Dempsey's $9.15 million for the struggling chain's retail stores. 

Really, Starbucks? Do you know how many fans Dempsey has? Maybe that's the point, though.

Adieu, Steve Kelley

Rick Anderson of Seattle Weekly reports that Seattle Times sports columnist Steve Kelley is departing around the end of the month after a remarkable 31 years at the paper. Anderson quotes Kelley as saying he wants "to do something else." He has some book and movie ideas. And we like this part, too: "he'll continue as a volunteer coach at Shorewood High and teaching writing to Seattle 4th graders."

The heat before the kickoff

OK, Seattle Seahawks fans have been kinda embarrassing in their treatment of the other team's fans at home games, according to a couple of telling letters that the Seattle Times published last weekend. (Kudos for the blunt truth telling.)

So, let's not take trash-talking too seriously. But here's a Redskin-fan take on how the game — and the Seahawks — will go down.

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

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Printed on January 29, 2015