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The Daily Troll: 520 bridge, Take 2. Onions not only Walla Walla stink. Police & city finally agree on something.

City reaches a deal on a new police contract. Just in time for May Day. Bike to Work month.

A very bad trip

A fire in the Sea-Tac Airport garage destroyed at least eight cars and damaged 10 others today. According to KIRO 7 News, the fire appeared to have been caused by a mechanical problem in a BMW or Prius on the north end of the garage's sixth floor. Officials said cars are often parked there for several days mid-week while business people are traveling. Now there's a surprise you don't want to return to.

Police, city finally agree on something

The city and the Seattle Police Officers Guild this afternoon announced a tentative deal for a four-year contract that would ensure Seattle officers remain the highest paid in the state. The guild agreed to drop its legal challenge to changes in police practices on use of force implemented under an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, according to a Seattle Times report.

Nobody was saying immediately how much the wage increases will be. In a statement, City Council public safety chair Bruce Harrell said officers haven't received a raise since 2010. He also had this line: "We demand a lot from our police department and I have faith in their ability to meet and succeed our expectations." As in, expectations for keeping things calm on the streets, say, tomorrow (May Day)?

Bike to Work month

Bike Month's Commute Challenge will start on Wednesday, so expect to see more spring-inspired bikers on the way to work. Various events will highlight biking in Bellevue and Everett and biking to school. The Cascade Bike Blog has the details.

Onions not the only Walla Walla stink

Sen. Mike Hewitt's co-sponsorship of a bill to allow business owners to discriminate based on religious beliefs has drawn fury from what Western Washingtonians might consider an unlikely source: his hometown of Walla Walla. As a Walla Walla Union-Bulletin story reports, part of the concern came from offensive remarks by a staffer. Asked how gays in a rural area could get along if the sole nearby grocer or service station refused them service, the aide reportedly suggested they'd have to grow their own food. Eastern Washington tourism officials were privately treating the situation as an emergency. The paper reported widespread calls for a boycott and heavy criticism from tourism-dependent businesses.

As the paper noted, it's ironic that Walla Walla is also home to profile-in-courage Republican Rep. Maureen Walsh, who cast a key vote for gay marriage last year. Double irony: Hewitt and his staff were cowardly failing to return any of the local paper's calls or emails.

520, Take 2

The Washington State Department of Transportation said "the second cycle of new pontoons" for the new Highway 520 floating bridge is en route from the Aberdeen casting yard. The first set, if you recall as WSDOT surely does, turned out to have a costly ($100 million) problem with cracks. Maybe it's a good sign that WSDOT is trying to be transparent in announcing milestones now. And, hey, at least in the video below, the pontoons float.

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Joe Copeland is political editor for Crosscut. You can reach him at Joe.Copeland@crosscut.com.

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Posted Wed, May 1, 12:19 p.m. Inappropriate

According to reporting in the Tacoma News Tribune, http://www.thenewstribune.com/2013/05/01/2579683/bmw-blamed-for-fire-at-sea-tac.html officials have determined the Sea-Tac garage fire started with a BMW, not a Prius. Still, the Trib report associated the Prius with lithium ion batteries and fire risk, when in fact, the vast majority of Prius vehicles do not have lithium ion batteries in them; that kind of battery is only in the new, plug-in Prius cars. There have been no reports of fires from factory-installed batteries in a Prius, except for some caught in the rising flood of salt water during Hurricane Sandy.


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