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The Daily Troll: NBA will break some hearts. A win for south King Co. Feds go after fake Chihuly case.

Seattle schools' math deficit. In defense of tiny apartments.
Chihuly's "Lime Green Icicle Tower" in Boston

Chihuly's "Lime Green Icicle Tower" in Boston Flickr

NBA: Expansion is out

NBA Commissioner David Stern said today that either Seattle or Sacramento is going to be disappointed, according to the Sacramento Bee and other media. As Sportspress Northwest interprets it, this isn't the first time Stern has said there will be no make-everyone-happy expansion solution, but his repetition of the message underlines the NBA's rejection of the (sensible) option. Stern also said the final decision won't come until May 13, or close to that date. A committee of league owners will make its recommendation on Monday, instead of tomorrow, as Stern had earlier indicated.

Graduation roadblock

Seattle Schools Superintendent José Banda said today that there are approximately 80 high school seniors who are in danger of being unable to graduate this year solely because they are coming up short on new state math requirements. In a letter to the students and their families, Banda said the district has concluded it can't get a waiver. He outlined a host of options, including retaking an end-of-course exam for either algebra or geometry and using SAT/ACT test scores as an alternative demonstration of competence.

Banda notes that some of the options would mean waiting until November to receive a diploma. OK, but in a city with tons of brilliant science and math workers, isn't there a way to mobilize enough volunteer tutors or mentors to make sure this doesn't happen in the future?

Chihuly fakes

Federal authorities today arrested a Renton man  for offering fake Dale Chihuly glass pieces and paintings. Sadly, the case that brought it to attention involved a man who had wanted  to donate works by Chihuly to a museum at Gonzaga University and ended up spending $22,000. Jen Graves, The Stranger's outstanding arts critic, asks about the case against Michael Little:

If the accusations are true, I wonder: Were they good forgeries? Chihuly has expert glassblowers fabricating his pieces, and he employs at least one man who specializes in making his splattery paintings. Who made these forgeries? Little himself? Or was he just the trafficker?

Chihuly is noted for his arguably over-aggressive assertion of rights. But, if the allegations are true, this sounds like one of the meanest and oldest tricks in the arts theft world.

Micro apartments

There have been calls for a moratorium on apodment construction in Seattle. Part of the concern comes from the city's exemption of the new units from normal neighborhood notification and design rules (How on Earth does a city manage to come up with something that goofy just to promote density?). But, as Seattle Times editorial writer Thanh Tan notes in an excellent, video-illustrated posting this afternoon, fixing the shortcoming doesn't require a moratorium. And it's possible to mix quality with micro-housing. 

Tan includes a neat ABC News video from Tokyo that is very informative, even kind of inspirational. But a couple of points that ought to raise questions in Seattle: The best Japanese apodments seem to have kitchens in each unit, unlike what the city is encouraging. And note that even the tiny units featured in Tokyo seem to be larger than some of the 150 to 200 square feet apartments that have been mentioned here. 

Sound Transit

Sound Transit is breaking ground on a 1.6 mile extension of its Link lightrail line, which currently ends at Sea-Tac Airport. The extension, which will end at a new station at Angle Lake, is expected to be finished in 2016, four years ahead of an original promise to voters. Finally, a good rail option for the growing communities of Des Moines, Kent and south SeaTac. The event is at 11 a.m. Friday at 19863 28th Avenue S., SeaTac. Sen. Patty Murray and Gov. Jay Inslee will speak. Details here.

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Posted Thu, Apr 25, 5:19 p.m. Inappropriate

"Sound Transit is breaking ground on a 1.6 mile extension of its Link lightrail line, which currently ends at Sea-Tac Airport. The extension, which will end at a new station at Angle Lake, is expected to be finished in 2016"

This is one of the most incredibly stupid wastes of money in our area yet. Here is some information on this 1.6-mile segment of Link light rail:


This 1.6-mile long segment will cost $383 million! That is just about $240 million per mile.

And it is projected to carry only 5,400 riders per day -- only 2,700 riders per day in each direction! 2,700 people is fewer people than one freeway lane carries per HOUR.

$383 million for 2,700 round trips per day. Yes, that is per DAY, not per hour.

And there is already a RapidRide bus line between S. 200th St. and SeaTac airport. This insanely expensive little light rail segment will just duplicate an existing RapidRide bus route.

We have a backlog of billions of dollars of deferred maintenance and repairs on roads and highways in our area, and Sound Transit is spending $383 million to move 5,400 people 1.6 miles per day.

The stupidity never ends.


Posted Fri, Apr 26, 7:28 a.m. Inappropriate

1 of 2

Why are you ignoring the tax costs of the financing plan, "Lincoln"? That's something the state democratic PR agents always do. Is that who pays you . . . the state democrats?

The tax costs to the public of what Sound Transit is up to are staggering, and abusive by any measure. Lincoln's "$383 million" figure ignores completely the financing costs, which are massive and target individuals and families with heavy, excessive sales taxes for close to two generations.

A reasonable estimate of the tax costs to the public of ST2 is $85 billion, due to how the unaccountable Sound Transit boardmembers pledge to collect those regressive taxes at or near the maximum rates while any of the bonds remain outstanding (that'll be through the mid-2050's).

Anyone have a different estimate? Hint: no Sound Transit documents that have been released from that silo in the past several years have provided any good estimate of the tax costs of ST2.

The mushrooming tax costs -- which this municipality is keeping from the public -- would result in an unparalleled financial debacle. It is entirely possible East Link will never go into the construction phase, which would be a great outcome (for all but the contractors, a few urban property speculators, the financiers, and, yes, a good number of the state democratic party functionaries).


Posted Fri, Apr 26, 7:29 a.m. Inappropriate

2 of 2

Here’s the evidence supporting that $85 billion tax cost estimate -- a Sound Transit document from 2010:


That shows that through 2040 the tax collections necessitated by the bond sale contract security pledges will be over $44 billion.

Those projections were prepared before the significant downward revisions of the tax revenue forecasts for the near term (the $44 billion figure as of 2040 may still be accurate though).

Those near-term lowered tax revenue revisions Sound Transit recently disclosed mean: 1) the bulk of the bonds would need to be sold later than what was anticipated for that document, 2) the amount of debt outstanding in 2040 will be greater than what the footnote shows (“$4.9 billion; Interest Balance = $2.1 billion”), and 3) there won’t be the reserves shown on that exhibit, which could have been used to pay off bonds on an accelerated basis in the 2040’s.

That document shows the annual tax collection level in 2040 at the $2.3 billion level. That massive level of taxing will need to continue for perhaps 15 years after that, due to the bond sale contract security pledges Sound Transit uses. The way those operate is once the political-appointee legislators on that board passes those security pledge tax imposition laws that municipality is required to continue taxing at or near the maximum rates while any of the bonds are outstanding.

In light of those Sound Transit figures, and projecting forward 14 or so years from 2040, it’s entirely possible the tax costs to the public of financing the ST2 capital spending budgets could reach $85 billion.

NONE of Sound Transit’s peers impose anything like that amount of regressive tax on individuals and families for buses and trains. It’s disgusting and abusive. The three county region around Portland has been building out an extensive light rail, bus and streetcar system and it always has done so WITH NO NEW TAXES TARGETING INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES. In contrast, the unaccountable political appointees of state democrats comprising Sound Transit’s board are eager to impose scores of billions of new regressive taxes on people here, making this the part of the county with the most regressive taxing structure.

Hey "Lincoln" -- give us your estimate of the regressive tax costs to the public of ST2.


Posted Thu, Apr 25, 11:48 p.m. Inappropriate

Some anecdotes: About ten years ago I took a weekend photo lithography class. There was a pile of prints on the floor and drying racks of some sort of flower. The instructor, who owned the studio, told me they were "Chihulys." He went on to explain that Chihuly would spend about five minutes making one of these paintings and then send it to him. He would make several hundred prints. Then a woman employee of Chihuly's would come over and sign his name to the print and slash a bit of paint across the print.

I've watched documentaries of Chihuly painting before where he puts on the Beatles White Album and makes a quick painting so this anecdote sounds plausible.

I once got into a conversation on a Fremont bus route with a guy from San Francisco. He was a glass artist and had interviewed for a job with Chihuly. I can still recall him saying that Chihuly paid $12 an hour.

Chihuly is a marketing genius. And artist? Not so much.Check this bit of street art out: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kl8n/5463261339/

Posted Fri, Apr 26, 8:44 a.m. Inappropriate

I worked directly with Dale Chihuly for seven years including the time frame Mr. Drabble mentions.It’s true his assistant would be employed to apply the painted handwork to the lithographs per his specifications, but I assure you, the artist signs his own prints.
Here is some other street art involving Chihuly: http://www.craftcouncil.org/timeline/1990s/RemerChandelier_RJ.jpg


Posted Sat, Apr 27, 10:58 a.m. Inappropriate

I finally got your photo link to work. That piece reminds me of the Christmas lights Macy's hangs on the corner of its building at 4th and Pine. How many of the individual components of glass that make up that piece did Chihuly make? Or did he have them made in a factory by underpaid employees who he will sue should they dare to go off on their own and try to earn a dollar for themselves that some Chihuly doesn't get a cut of. To ask the question is to answer it.

I have nevr cared for Chihuly's art and I have always considered him more businessman than artist. But, as my taking the time to make three comments here demonstrates, I began to feel great contempt for the man when he sued one of his former employees for "copying" his work.

Chihuly is a bully, just another corporate welfare parasite on this community--similar to Paul Allen, the Ellises and Nordstroms, and now Ballmer and Hansen.

Posted Fri, Apr 26, 5:40 p.m. Inappropriate

"I assure you, the artist signs his own prints."

That's great! Because the Chihuly branding is the only value those prints have. In terms of artistic merit they weren't fit for the wall of an Aurora motel.

And--just today I was sketching at a cafe and made a circle. A shape found in nature. Shapes found in nature are what inspire Chihuly's "art." I hope that he doesn't track me down, as he has former employees who made "his art" for hire and sue me for using my artistic ability for my own profit--not his.

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