National Transportation Safety Board
Felix and the Mariners
Felix Hernandez and the Mariners have a deal. Or they don't. USA Today reports the star pitcher will receive $175 million for seven years, making him the highest-paid pitcher in baseball history. Baseball's in-house news service, MLB.com, soft-pedals the story, saying that nothing has been finalized. Even the team that has lost more of its fan base than any other pro sports franchise can't blow this — right?
Boeing, FAA are scolded
National Transportation Safety Board chair Deborah Hersman today went right after the Boeing 787 and the federal certification of the plane's battery system. The cause of a fire on the ground in Boston, she said, had been narrowed down to a battery.
Hersman bluntly questioned whether the plane's design had enough protections against battery fires and whether the Federal Aviation Administration's safety certification process even worked. Boeing apparently is already preparing a major redesign, but Hersman's attack is an extra blow for the company. It should additionally (as in damn ought to) put the FAA on guard against another foolish mistake in deferring to the aerospace giant.
Ballard RainWise Garden
Seattle Public Utilities seems to be getting a good handle on using rain gardens to deal with runoff problems in the Ballard area. The Ballard News-Tribune reports that homeowners seem happy with a program that offers rebates on privately installed gardens that capture rain and reduce sewage overflows into Puget Sound during storms. An earlier effort that attempted to install rain gardens as part of street redesigns was pretty much a big mess.
Today's D.C. hearings on the nomination of John Brennan as CIA director brought bipartisan questioning on the appropriate uses of drones, the same theme that brought heated testimony at a Seattle City Council hearing on Wednesday.
City Council members are promising to tighten the restrictions on the use of two Seattle Police Department drones, The Seattle Times reported. Some people urged complete abandonment of the drones; the ACLU isn't too happy about them either, but argued for treating the already-purchased drones as a pilot project subject to careful auditing.
The council-proposed restrictions already include requirements for warrants in most cases and a ban on overflights of public assemblies; some commenters asked for a prohibition on the use of any general information accidentally picked up during an unrelated investigation in which drones are used.
Medical and recreational unite!
Crosscut's Tom James, who wrote this morning about the troubling legal gap between recreational marijuana sales under I-502 and black market sales, reports from Olympia on the legalization beat:
The push to combine the markets for medical and recreational marijuana is officially on, and the subject is heating up at the capitol. Two pieces of legislation — a bill dropped Thursday by Rep. Ross Hunter and a proposed substitute to a bill by Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Wells — are the first moves in the push. Hunter's bill, seconded by House heavyweight Reuven Carlyle proposes only one item: a 25 percent tax for medical marijuana dispensaries. That's the same tax level as established for recreational pot under initiative 502.
"We've got to have one market," said Hunter. "And once you have it, it's like over-the-counter medicine ... it's like Aspirin."
Asked if the bill was the start of a push to combine the two markets, Carlyle had a one-word answer: "Yes."
Jay Berneburg, a Tacoma attorney specializing in medical marijuana, said that's not true. "It would be like Aspirin if they had thirty two varieties of aspirin that treated thirty two different symptoms. It's far more specialized."
Park for kids with disabilities
The city of Bellevue and the Bellevue Rotary Club are planning a park with accommodations for children with disabilities. The city's monthly video news report has a nice section on the effort, which is seeking donations from corporations, foundations and others. The segment begins at the 2:15 mark.
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