Federal Way school track: Oops
A contractor's crew members tore up a good part of the track at Federal Way's Sequoyah Middle School before school staffers alerted them that they were at the wrong school. The Seattle Times reports that a school district official has talked with the contractor and the track will be fixed in about a month. The school team has just finished its season, so the timing isn't that bad. But it certainly gives the kids and coaches something extra to talk about at the end of season this afternoon.
Seattle Center's operation of three parking garages came in for strong criticism today from the state auditor's office, which found a lack of adequate controls to ensure the city is receiving the revenues it should. The detailed findings read like a minor house of taxpayer horrors: People with expired monthly permits go right on parking without being checked. At the Mercer Street garage, nearly 50 percent of cars exit without the attendants making any clear record of whether the drivers paid. The city fails to regularly evaluate what revenues it should expect from the three garages or check whether it receives adequate money.
The city did provide a detailed response with commitments to implement most of the auditor's recommendations.
Coincidentally, the state findings came the day after Levi Pulkkinen of seattlepi.com reported on a similar problem identified by the city auditor's office. The office reports that the city is failing to stay on top of its long-known problem with disabled parking permit abuse. In part, changes in state law have made it harder to enforce the rules. But the auditor also found city cutbacks in the unit responsible for investigating violations. Geesh, and we thought the one thing the city was aggressive about was parking enforcement. Apparently, that only applies to honest citizens who wouldn't dream of abusing a disabled parking pass.
Rock-throwing over Pebble Mine
The full roster of Washington, Oregon and California senators have sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to protect Alaskan salmon habitat from the proposed Pebble Mine, Joel Connelly of seattlepi.com reports. The timing is critical: The Pebble Partnership, which is behind the proposal to site a huge mining operation in Bristol Bay, is making a big lobbying push this week with both White House officials and members of Congress to keep its proposal alive. The partnership is trying to prevent the EPA from making a decision on development in the Bristol Bay area, which spawns more than half the world's sockeye catch. But since the EPA already knows they'd be deciding between three proposals — call them big, bigger, biggest, or maybe bad, worse, worst — why not just make a decision now?
Olympia: More time in seats
The Legislature is spending a generally quiet day — at least as far as the media can see — as it prepares to drift into a second special session. The current special session ends on Tuesday, but officials have been saying for days that they will need another session. At a Capitol lunchroom, lawmakers chatted about the length of the next session. They have known for months that they had to make budget decisions. Now that they are in overtime, the Senate Majority Coalition suddenly wants to throw key questions around the budget to ... voters. Don't we elect — and pay — the lawmakers to make decisions?
Council passes job background bill
Seattle City Council today unanimously decided to impose constraints on employers' abilities to check the criminal records of prospective workers. Under the new bill, employers will not be able to ask potential employees about their criminal background until after initial screening of an applicant's qualifications. The proposal was spearheaded by Councilmember Bruce Harrell, who says that passage will reduce recitivism and provide more positive opportunities and choices for those with criminal records. Crosscut's Tom James is preparing a report.
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