Holding our breath on marijuana
The state Liquor Control Board says it won't meet its goal of hiring an adviser on marijuana this week. There are far more applicants than expected, AP reports. Who'd have thought there'd be so much interest in getting paid to be a marijuana consultant? When the Liquor Board screening is done, maybe we can ask the runners-up to apply for the quality control team now examining the cracked pontoons for the new 520 floating bridge.
Former Gov. Chris Gregoire lost out twice today on a possible appointment to the Obama cabinet. The president nominated Gina McCarthy, head of the Environmental Protection Agency's air pollution division, to be the new EPA administrator, and tapped MIT nuclear physicist Ernie Moniz as his new Secretary of Energy. Gregoire had been mentioned as a possible candidate for both positions. The former governor got passed over last month when President Obama named Sally Jewell, REI's CEO, to head the Interior Department.
McCarthy's nomination will likely light up the right wing. She's a champion of taking action to curb climate change, who helped Mitt Romney tackle global warming-related pollution when he was governor of Massachusetts. That was before Mitt started pandering to his party's base on science-y stuff, when he still saw climate change as a threat rather than a hoax.
Gas tax skepticism
Pollster Stuart Elway has found that state voters heavily oppose hikes in the gas tax and annual car tab fees. That's according to The Seattle Times. Those taxes are the bedrocks of a big transportation package proposed by Democrats in the state House of Representatives this session. Elway's survey also found that 70 percent of respondents believe the transportation system is satisfactory or better. Only 7 percent think it's in poor shape. That disparity could derail the push by businesses, labor and some Olympia leaders to create a sense of urgency around getting a big transportation package before voters this year.
Bike apology traced
Republican state Rep. Ed Orcutt has apologized for writing that taxes on bicycling are warranted because cyclists, you know, breathe. And, uhh, pollute the air by exhaling all that carbon dioxide. (At least, Orcutt concedes that excess carbon dioxide is a danger.) Scott Sunde at seattlepi.com traces the evolution of Orcutt's apology for his irrelevant, not to mention ridiculous, emphasis on breathing bicyclists as a cause of global warming. But, hey, if a legislator can swallow his or her pride long enough to retract a nutty statement, more power to them. Offer that lawmaker a free spot in the Seattle to Portland bike event.
The Seattle City Council this afternoon mandated that 50 percent of the vending machine items in all city buildings be healthy. Don't worry: The new fiat won't change the lineup of vending maching choices at city rec centers. They have offered all healthy snacks for several years (although, as a Seattle Times story last month noted, potato chips qualify as "healthy."). Since we can't think of any council members who really need to lose weight, they may just be sincere about wanting to promote healthy options for city workers?
Water for all Seattle's kids
City Councilmember Jean Godden will introduce legislation on Tuesday to protect homes with children from having the water cut off over failure to pay utility bills. Godden said close to 70 families with kids were among the nearly 140 who had their water shut off last year. She said that offering families with kids some emergency assistance on utility bills up to two times a year could essentially end the problem. There's currently a once-a-year limit on emergency assistance, which can be as much as $340. Godden says she was surprised to learn that some Seattle kids have been living in homes with no running water.
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