Art work by Noel Franklin
Google expanding in Kirkland
Google is announcing an expansion of its campus in Kirkland this afternoon. The Puget Sound Business Journal had suggested in January that an expansion might bring an additional 800 employees to the 1,000 already working in Seattle and Kirkland. Whatever Google has planned is big enough that Gov. Jay Inslee plans to attend the 4:30 p.m. announcement.
Boeing gets FAA blessing
The Federal Aviation Administration has approved Boeing's basic plan for redesigning and testing the battery system for its 787 airliners. The FAA also said in its announcement that Boeing can conduct limited test flights of two planes with a new containment system to deal with smoke and overheating.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said that a comprehensive series of tests will show whether the redesign works. He promised the FAA won't allow the planes back in service "unless we’re satisfied that the new design ensures the safety of the aircraft and its passengers.”
WSDOT shakeup continues
Jerry Lenzi, a key leader on the 520 bridge project, assistant secretary and chief engineer of the Washington State Department of Transportation, announced he will leave his post next month. In a Monday email that Crosscut obtained, he says that he will miss co-workers and 'the work that remains to be done." Like the tremendous amount of cleaning up to be done on the 520 bridge, with the delivery of new cracked bridge pontoons, and a ferry put out of service by shoddy communications and safety practices in the state's own maintenance facility.
Gov. Jay Inslee recently appointed Lynn Peterson, an adviser to Oregon's governor, as transportation secretary. She's an engineer, but much of her background appears to be in policy, particularly on the ties between sustainability and transportation. But it looks like she is being dropped into a situation where organizational sustainability is the first issue.
New Seattle Weekly editor
The Seattle Weekly today announced a new editor-in-chief, Mark Baumgarten, who had been editor-at-large for City Arts, a cultural publication. The statement from the publisher is all about Baumgarten's ties to music journalism. News? Well, there are some good news people left, but the departure of capable editor Mike Seely looks more than ever like a signal of new owner Sound Publishing's priorities, which aren't the news.
Pelosi: Leave Washington pot alone
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi wants the Justice Department to leave marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado alone. Joel Connelly reports on a Pelosi interview with the Denver Post editorial board, where she appeared with a Colorado congressman who is co-sponsoring a federal marijuana legalization bill introduced by Oregon Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer. Blumenauer's measure won't go anywhere for now, but good for him.
New special ed director
In an email today, Seattle Public Schools Superintendent José Banda announced that he had hired a veteran of the field to be the district's new executive director of special education. Zakiyyah McWilliams has held major special education positions in the Compton Unified School District outside Los Angeles since 2007, and she has also had experience in other parts of education. As Seattle Times education expert Linda Shaw notes, Seattle has a history of problems with a lack of strong leadership in special education.
Big last-minute campaign contributions would become legal under a bill that responds to court decisions striking down limits on political giving. Crosscut's John Stang reports:
Washington's Senate voted 45-4 Tuesday to eliminate a limit on combined campaign contributions of more than $50,000 to any statewide election or $5,000 to a non-statewide campaign within 21 days of the general election.
This legislative elimination was prompted by a U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that Washington's current law on this matter is unconstitutional. This is part of a bill by Sen.Pam Roach, R-Auburn, which was introduced at the request of the Washington Public Disclosure Commission. The rest of the bill consists of housekeeping measures.
Sen. Bob Hasegawa, D-Seattle, contended the bill should be rewritten to back up the state's interest in giving voters access to contribution information. The court held the state hadn't shown adequate reason for the 21-day blocking of contibutions. Sens. Hasegawa, David Frockt, D-Seattle, Sharon Nelson, D-Seattle, and Maralyn Chase, D- Shoreline, voted against the bill, which now goes to the House.
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