If it's not Mobile, AirBus isn't hiring
Airbus Amercas' CEO tells the Puget Sound Business Journal that the company's interest in the Pacific Northwest is limited — to parts. Barry Eccleston says he hopes to purchase a lot more aircraft parts from Puget Sound vendors, maybe even doubling Airbus's current $180 million a year spending total by 2020. But when writer Steve Wilhelm asked whether Airbus was thinking about building any facilities here in the Pacific Northwest, Eccleston gave a pretty much flat out no. Airbus, he said, is very happy with its engineering center in Mobile, Alabama, echoing what an analyst told Wilhelm just one day earlier: The growth centers for the aerospace industry are the American South and Asia.— J.C.
Public information request overload
Seattle received over 5,750 requests for public information last year, and expects even more this year, according to a City Council staffer. (Most of the 2012 requests — about 70 percent — were directed toward the Seattle Police Department, many for video recordings.) The city isn't exactly speedy when it comes to responding. In the last four years, Seattle has paid nearly $600,000 in legal settlements for its sluggishness. Which is why the expected growth in public information requests has the council considering whether it should add money for some new employees and an audit to its 2014 budget. Council staff is recommending a task force to improve coordination across departments (cost: about $175,000 in 2014); a $300,000 audit of the police department’s public disclosure process; and two new $125,000 per-year hires in the City Attorney’s office to advise departments about how to handle requests. — B.L.
Lose weight now. Ask your state rep how.
State Rep. Marko Liias of Edmonds, at 32 a rising Democratic star, is on a serious health kick. Liias has dropped at least 146 pounds. The uncertainty, he tells The Herald's political writer Jerry Cornfield, has to do with the fact that he stopped checking his weight when he hit 352 pounds in late 2008. Since then, Liias has had gastric band surgery. But he didn't really start shedding the pounds until he changed his eating and exercise habits, walking, biking and running several times of week. Speaking of running, Liias plans to make a run for state Senate next year. — J.C.
43rd District ambitions
While we're on the legislature, several people in Ed Murray's state Senate district have noticed that a seat will open up if Murray ousts incumbent Mike McGinn in the Seattle mayoral election. Publicola reports that three Democrats are letting it be known that they are interested in representing the 43rd Legislative District, which stretches from E. Madison Street on Capitol Hill all the way across Lake Union to North 85th Street. Wannabees are Alison Holcomb, a key force behind marijuana legalization; the district's Democratic chair, Scott Forbes; and Brady Walkinshaw, a Gates Foundation program officer. — J.C.
Plastic: Ban or unban
Issaquah voters will decide in February whether to overturn the city's ban on plastic shopping bags. Ban opponent Craig Keller recently told Crosscut that he expects Issaquah voters to reject the plastic bag ban by an even greater margin than the 53 percent of voters who overturned a similar ban in Seattle in 2009. Seattle has since enacted a new ban that dropped a city ban-dnforcement fee, which seemed to stoke public anger. Keller says he's heard from many Issaqhau residents who are doing their grocery shopping somewhere else. — J.C.
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