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    The Daily Troll: Inslee switches transportation leaders. Judge rejects Mastro ring appeal. Roach wants biblical law.

    The new governor reaches out to Oregon for a transportation secretary. Judge to Medina woman: You flee, you lose the rings. Hand-sanitizer suspected in fire.
    The Daily Troll: News for your evening commute.

    The Daily Troll: News for your evening commute. Art work by Noel Franklin

    Mastro ring appeal

    A federal judge today refused to return two rings to Linda Mastro, the wife of bankrupt local real-estate mogul Michael R. Mastro. According to the Seattle Times reported, the judge said Linda Mastro lost her right to appeal when she fled the country in 2011. That was after a bankruptcy court ordered her to give up the $1.4 million rings. The Mastros, longtime Clyde Hill and Medina residents, are in France, resisting extradition. The rings are back in Seattle in the custody of that noted art connoisseur: the FBI. Free travel advice: Take nothing worth more than $1 million on hurried trips abroad.

    Inslee's transporation shakeup

    Gov. Jay Inslee will bring in Lynn Peterson, an Oregon transportation expert, as his new Secretary of Transportation. The appointment  will be politically popular with Inslee's Democratic and environmental base, because she's the current sustainability and transportation advisor to Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber. Peterson's professional background is as a transportation planner and she has undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering, as well as a graduate degree in transportation planning, so she should have no trouble talking shop with the transportation engineers in her new office. One potential question certain to arise though: Does Peterson have the management experience to lead such a sprawling transportation organization? She did serve as a Clackmas County commissioner. Even so, some transportation advocates wanted Inslee to keep Paula Hammond.

    McGinn: Togetherness

    Mayor Mike McGinn's State of the City speech ended on a note of togetherness as he stressed advances in job creation, environmental protection and the city's quality of life during his first term: "Let us renew our commitment to build ... And let us resolve to go further together." Two of the council members present, Bruce Harrell and Tim Burgess, are part of the growing field of opponents seeking to unseat McGinn in his re-election bid this year. Crosscut's Knute Berger is preparing a report on the Mayor's State of the City speech. 

    Pam Roach: Good enough for God

    Sen Pam Roach had her audience alternately chuckling and groaning on Tuesday as she argued for her own bill requiring state employees to tell the truth. Crosscut's Tom James reports:

    A Senate committee staff counsel noted that many state employees are already required by their oaths of office to tell the truth. But Roach said she wanted to be sure the concept was explicitly enshrined in state law. The Bible, Roach said, commands Christians "to not bear false witness." She said the requirement to tell the truth should be fine for state employees "if it is good enough for God."

    Roach's biggest disappointment, it seemed, was that no one showed up to argue with her. A representative of the ACLU had signed up to oppose the bill, but he declined to testify. Still Roach repeatedly asked where the ACLU was. To a smattering of chuckles, Roach said she wanted to question the organization that would "object to telling the truth."

    Boeing union: to strike or not to strike

    Members of Boeing's engineering union are wrapping up the final vote on whether to a) accept the company's contract offer or b) strike. Voting ends at 5 p.m. The Herald says to expect a quick announcement of results.  

    Beard nominations

    Two Seattle restaurants, Shanik and The Whale Wins, are semi-finalists for Best New Restaurant in the 2013 James Beard Foundation Awards. And Maria Hines of Tilth is one of the 20-some contenders for Outstanding Chef nationally.

    Other Puget Sound area nominees for national citations include: William Leaman, Bakery Nouveau, Outstanding Pastry Chef; Canlis, Outstanding Restaurant; John Howie, Bellevue, Outstanding Restaurateur; Café Juanita, Outstanding Service; Chris Weber, The Herbfarm, Woodinville, Blaine Wetzel of The Willows Inn on Lummi Island and Mark Bodinet of Copperleaf Restaurant at Cedarbrook Lodge (in the Sea-Tac area), Rising Star Chef of the Year; Canon, Outstanding Bar Program.

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    Posted Wed, Feb 20, 10:25 a.m. Inappropriate

    I am not sure about the "transportation advocates" wanting to keep Paula Hammond who, as WSDOT secretary, bears full responsibility for the bankrupting policies of that outfit. As it stands today, we have $4.2 billion for a P-1 class facility, the SR 99 deep-bored tunnel, that will have a smaller capacity than the one it replaces (and a daily power consumption of 70 megawatts), $4.8 billion for a floating bridge that allegedly may sink if an earthquake arrives (although that is pure speculation since floating objects never sink in earthquakes) except over half of that cost is for lids and noise walls that are more dangerous to motorists who alone bear their cost, and $5+ billion for the Columbia River Crossing (CRC) with light rail links to Vancouver - typically voted down by those citizens. So, for short, we have an agency spending $14 billion for about 14 miles of road. Amazing. All done without so much as a blink.

    But, contrast the CRC at its massive price with the recently opened Murry Morgan bridge (11th Street) over the Foss waterway in Tacoma. Like the CRC, it has a vertical lift span, is made of steel, is in an earthquake zone, and is 100 years old. So, what is the CRC all about? What is it supposed to do?

    Notably, Paula Hammond steadfastly refused to perform a Value Engineering Study on any of these projects, even though they are mandated by Title 23, USC Section 106 and reiterated by OMB Circular No. A-13, entitled Value Engineering.

    Instead of addressing the safe and efficient movement of peoples and goods, Ms. Hammond has apparently focused on a different target. At a billion-a-mile, those who pay gas taxes deserve a new approach. Any bets the new secretary will fail in that quest?


    Posted Wed, Feb 20, 1:18 p.m. Inappropriate

    Paula Hammond is as fine a leader as we are likely to see in our lifetimes. Her successor has some very big shoes to fill.

    A friendly amendment to Senator Roach's bill? Let's require legislators to tell the truth, too. What's sauce for the goose....


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