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    The Daily Troll: Metro Transit rescue try. Warning shot on coal. Bill Gates, get back to Redmond.

    Dueling gun initiatives: the petition edition.
    King County Executive Dow Constantine

    King County Executive Dow Constantine King County

    County plans for local Metro rescue

    King County Executive Dow Constantine unveiled a bold Plan B to save Metro Transit services. The plan mixes local taxation with a tentative deal that would freeze wages for bus drivers next year. In case the state fails to act on a new transportation plan, Constantine and the King County Council will develop a local funding plan to present to voters early next year. Constantine said the county still prefers a permanent plan for local taxing authority from the state Legislature, to replace an expiring temporary authorization from the state. The expiration threatens to set transit back to the last century — literally. Planned bus cuts would leave local riders with 1997 levels of service. One interesting sidelight of the local option: It takes away a bargaining chip used by the roads, roads, roads wing of the Republican Party in the state Senate. — J.C. 

    Coal suit looming

    The state Department of Ecology is going beyond its legal authority by pursuing a broad-based environmental review of the Longview and Cherry Point coal terminals. At least, that's what officials from Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota say in letters they've submitted on the Longview review, according to Washington State Wire. Former gubernatorial candidate and Washington state attorney general Rob McKenna — now in private practice — put together the legal arguments put forth by Montana and North Dakota. 

    The Constitution delegates power over interstate commerce to the U.S. Congress, and the coal states claim that Ecology is entering into that territory. Translation: We are ready to sue. We just wonder how Montana and North Dakota managed to get together to agree on hiring McKenna: Did the Montanans promise a statewide moratorium on North Dakota jokes? The threat adds to the challenges facing Gov. Jay Inslee's climate change agenda. — A.S. 

    Charles Schwab has advice for Bill Gates 

    Investing guru Charles Schwab says Bill Gates should return as Microsoft's next CEO. As GeekWire's Todd Bishop notes, Schwab is the voice of experience: He left the Charles Schwab Co. but then came back for four years to get the corporate culture back on track. It's free advice, and will probably get treated that way. Gates just put out his holiday wish list and it's all about where his heart is these days: making the world a better place with cheap, convenient technology to battle disease and improve crops. And how do you go back to being the hard-charging MSFT CEO when you've been mocking Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg over half the globe for thinking that e-connectivity is the world's greatest modern challenge? — J.C. (Disclosure: Crosscut gets some of its funding from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.)

    Dueling gun initiatives: Petition edition

    Gun rights groups have turned in some 340,000 petition signatures on an initiative (I-591) to keep the state from enacting any background checks that are more stringent than current federal requirements. The Herald reports that the number of signatures exceeds the state-suggested limit (of at least 320,000) necessary to ensure that the measure is forwarded to the 2014 Legislature (and, then, likely to voters next November). A competing measure, I-594, would expand the background check requirements; last month, its supporters turned in 250,000 signatures but they intend to come back with more. If the two measures wind up with enough signatures, they both would go to the Legislature. It's almost certain the Legislature will fail to act, meaning that voters will get to decide on both. Which could get really confusing. But voters are probably better equipped to sort out the confusion than the Olympia crowd. — J.C.

    Medford bombing charge 

    Authorities have arrested a 46-year-old man for bombing the prosecutor's office in Medford, Ore. Alan Leroy McVay, jailed on $1 million bail, was scheduled to make a Thursday afternoon court appearance. A brother tells an Oregonian reporter that McVay has been out of touch for four years, has had some drug problems and is "an incredible mechanic." Authorities have said that the explosive device might have leveled the building but for the fact that a 7-gallon propane tank only partially detonated. Call that incredible good fortune. — J.C. 

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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 Thu, Nov 21, 8:14 p.m. Inappropriate

    "Planned bus cuts would leave local riders with 1997 levels of service."


    "Between 2010 and 2012, Community Transit cut 37 percent of its bus service as it saw sales tax revenues plummet from the recession. Still, average weekday ridership dropped only 6 percent after the cuts.

    "Community Transit maintained most of its ridership by strategically cutting unproductive service – early and late-night buses, mid-day trips and low-ridership routes. As a result, productivity on the service that remains has skyrocketed.

    • Local bus service within Snohomish County has seen a 31 percent increase in boardings per hour.
    •Swiftbus rapid transit service along Highway 99 between Everett and Shoreline has seen a 59 percent increase in boardings per hour.
    • Commuter service to Seattle and UW has seen a 70 percent increase in boardings per hour.

    "Following its recent service cuts, Community Transit is operating the same number of service hours as it did in the year 2000 when ridership was 7.2 million boardings. In 2012, the agency provided 9.1 million rides, meaning that last year Community Transit carried 26 percent more riders than it did in 2000 with the same level of service."

    Metro is threatening only 17% cut in service hours -- less than half the cuts that CT made. CT's 37% cut in service hours resulted in only a 6% reduction in weekday ridership. A 17% cut by Metro should result in a trivial reduction in weekday ridership, and virtually zero cut in peak hour service and ridership.


    Posted Thu, Nov 28, 12:23 a.m. Inappropriate

    I'll vote against a bus bailout. Sorry guys, but we've spent the money on light rail.


    Posted Thu, Nov 21, 10:22 p.m. Inappropriate

    You missed one item regarding Community Transit. They eliminated all Sunday service. There is nothing. Everett Transit has Sunday service still but their system is limited to it's city limits.

    Posted Fri, Nov 22, 4:15 p.m. Inappropriate

    CT cut service by 37%. Metro is threatening at most cuts of 17%, or half of what CT did. And the latest news is that, because of recently-increasing sales tax revenues, Metro may be "forced" into cutting only 11% of service hours. That is less than 1/3 of the percent of service cuts that CT did without causing any catastrophe.


    Posted Fri, Nov 22, 6:23 a.m. Inappropriate

    What I don't understand is if all the statements politicians make about how people love transit and use transit, and we're putting obscene amounts of money into trolleys, streetcars, and trains, why is it that they don't have enough money to run all these things? They say they've raised fares...Guess they haven't raised them enough.

    I think it's time to rethink this whole transit issue. We're paying and paying and paying, and yet time and again the politicians come out with their whining extortion attempts. Maybe we should just take them up on it and let them make their "terrible" "devastating" cuts, and see if the sky still remains up there. I'm sick of hearing it.


    Posted Fri, Nov 22, 9:01 a.m. Inappropriate

    Now, that is a brilliant idea. And from a blonde, yet. If she gets it, why don't the pols?

    Geezer has spaketh


    Posted Fri, Nov 22, 9:18 a.m. Inappropriate

    And with the threatened (bus) transit cuts Seattle wants to go on a spending spree for even more street car lines - the most expensive but inefficient kind of transit imaginable with per rider costs of about $23 per trip (on the S.L.U.T.). Where is the outrage? Where is the criticsm from Dow Constantine and his compadres at Metro?


    Posted Sun, Nov 24, 5:46 p.m. Inappropriate

    At this point in time, it seems like the last thing Microsoft needs is the return of Bill Gates. He started the company and grew it into the monopoly that it was. But he headed Microsoft in the days when it was the only game in town and Microsoft owned the desktop. He was a monopolist and Microsoft profited handsomely from their monopoly position.

    But things have changed and making fun of the competition like Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon doesn't do anything.

    Thomas Edison was brilliant in his creation of the first commercial electric generating station in New York City in 1882. But he was focused on DC power generation, which was later abandoned in favor of the far superior Alternating Current.

    Today, it appears that Microsoft, with it's once monopoly control of the desktop with Windows and Office, is looking more like the DC power of the computing industry. The market is quickly moving toward the far more efficient and convenient model of mobile computing and cloud servers based in data centers.

    Google is perfectly poised to take over control of the "desktop", now a portable screen in most cases with its Chromebook computers that are merely browsers with no hard drive. As the browser becomes the new 'client-server', the need for Windows goes away completely if Microsoft isn't careful. If it keeps behaving as a monopoly company, it will most likely go the way of Dell.

    Microsoft's Lost Decade is a great article that is a MUST READ for anyone trying to understand Microsoft's past.. and future.

    Posted Thu, Nov 28, 12:22 a.m. Inappropriate

    Excellent article. As for Gates returning to the company, he never really left. He's still chairman of the board.


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