The City Council member jumps in the race, mixing uplift with criticism. Gregoire goes out with praise. Should the state take over low-performing school districts? A green building is almost done.
Do icemen cometh?
It keeps looking like Seattle investors really do have the inside track on the Sacramento Kings NBA franchise. But what about the other pro sport that's supposed to settle into the arena that hedge fund magnate Chris Hansen is hoping to build in Sodo? All's been quiet on the hockey front, but at least the NHL has finally untangled its fiasco-filled owner-player relationship problems long enough to start its lockout-shortened season. That development inspired The Stranger's Megan Selling to put together a list of hockey-related songs. If hockey is hip enough to inspire The Slog, it's bound to be a winner in Seattle.
City Councilmember Bruce Harrell declared for mayor today. He already has a website up and running, and his invitation to the formal campaign kickoff — Feb. 7 at the First AME Church (1522 14th Avenue) — has a nicely inspirational tone: "We must resurrect the spirit in Seattle that made it uniquely wonderful — a magnet for good people and good businesses; a collaborative city that once took pride in its ability to provide opportunity to all of its residents." But, as The Seattle Times' Lynn Thompson points out, don't expect Harrell to be so warm and fuzzy on the campaign trail. Thompson shares a quote from Harrell about Mayor Mike McGinn: “I respect different styles of leadership," says Harrell. "His style is ineffective."
At Harrell's press conference, Joel Connelly of seattlepi.com reports that Harrell spoke of himself as someone who can be " 'an authentic mayor' who can 'walk the toughest streets without fear and intimidation' and 'enter corporate boardrooms and build trust.' " Okay then.
On the eve of Jay Inslee's swearing in as her replacement, Gov. Chris Gregoire delivered a farewell address, which is worth a read. (Check out our own John Stang's full report on Gregoire's speech.) The outgoing governor brags on lots of achievements, including some — education and the environment come to mind — where her administration's work was more mediocre than exemplary. That said, she's an extraordinary person who led the state well and always valued relationships. She introduced family members, including her daughters (one a lawyer, the other a law student) and two-month-old granddaughter:
It’s true. We’ve already opened her GET account, and as a family of lawyers, we’ve found the perfect way to lull her to sleep. Turns out reading the Revised Code of Washington to babies does wonders in putting both parent and child to bed.
Some might take the GET mention (GET, the savings account for prepaid tuition at a state university, is a Gregoire program) as a parting swipe at Sen. Rodney Tom, whose efforts to kill the popular, middle-class-friendly program have angered many. We certainly hope so. Even those of us irked by some of Gregoire's budget cuts, respect her courage in making them. She never balked at the tough calls.
BTW: There was a good salute to her this morning by The News Tribune's editorial page from a very middle-of-the-road perspective. It concludes:
For the last eight years, Washington has had a serious, focused and honorable leader in the governor’s mansion. The state is better off for it.
The Weekly's Nina Shapiro, an expert on education, reports that an intriguing idea has emerged in the Legislature: Letting the state create a school district to take over operation of low-performing schools. Shapiro says there is no legislation drafted so far. But the person talking up the idea is Eastside Democratic Rep. Ross Hunter, one of the real brains in the Legislature. Hunter tells her that the state wouldn't take over hundreds of schools, but would instead concentrate on the truly worst cases. She also notes that the jury is still out on whether state takeovers of school systems have been helpful elsewhere.
County Council nominees
Late this afternoon, King County Executive Dow Constantine cut the pool of possible appointees to the County Council seat vacated by Bob Ferguson (who is being sworn in Wednesday as state attorney general). The three names he is forwarding to the council for a final decision: Rod Dembowski, an attorney with Foster Pepper PLLC; Will Hall, a Shoreline City Council member and, in his day job, analyst with the Snohomish County Council; and state Rep. Cindy Ryu.
Last summer, fellow editor Berit Anderson wrote about the Bullitt Foundation's work on its new Bullitt Center, which is going up at 15th and Madison. The construction is nearing completion; the Center will be dedicated in April on — when else? — Earth Day, April 22. (The video is posted by the communications director for the Center.)
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