New interim police chief
Mayor Ed Murray is replacing interim Police Chief Jim Pugel with former assistant chief Harry Bailey, KIRO TV's Essex Porter reports. Bailey will also serve on an interim basis. The formal announcement is expected Wednesday. — J.C.
Dennis Rodman dumps on prisoner
Retired basketball player Dennis Rodman cast his basketball-diplomacy mission to North Korea into even more dubious light with an interview that implied Lynnwood's Kenneth Bae deserves his 15 years of hard labor. As a Los Angeles Times story notes, Rodman never elaborated on what Bae, a tour guide, had in fact done, but the former Chicago Bull did go ballistic when asked to explain. Rodman drew criticisms from U.S. Rep. Rick Larson, whose district includes Lynnwood, and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. The White House renewed calls for Bae's release on humanitarian grounds. Bae is said to suffer from diabetes and other health problems. One point to keep in mind before hating on the eccentric Rodman: He has previously talked about trying to win Bae's release. — J.C.
State senator resigns
Oncoming Alzheimer's disease has forced Sen. Paull Shin to retire from Washington. Shin, 78, had been in the Senate since 1999. “I have loved this place and the work we do here on behalf of the people of Washington," wrote Shin, D-Edmonds, wrote in a letter to Gov. Jay Inslee. "Unfortunately, I have determined with the assistance of my family that recent health problems and a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease make it impossible for me to represent my constituents in the manner they deserve.”
Shin grew up as an orphan in South Korea during the Korean War and was adopted by an American soldier. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Washington and taught for 31 years in Washington’s higher education system, including at Shoreline Community College. “Sen. Shin’s story is truly American," said Senate Minority Leader Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island.
The 21st District Democratic Party precinct officers will pick three candidates to replace him; the Snohomish County Council will make the final decision. The 21st District's current state representatives are Democrats Marko Liias and Mary Helen Roberts, both of Edmonds. — J.S.
Coal port ownership switch
Updated at 5:25 p.m. A subsidiary of the giant investment bank Goldman Sachs is dropping out of plans to build a coal port in Bellingham. Its 49 percent share will be taken over by a Mexican business magnate, Fernando Chico Pardo. Last summer, Goldman Sachs warned investors that coal exports would decline in the future. Crosscut's Floyd McKay reports that the change doesn't appear to signal any backing off of the construction effort but an opponent points to the move as another sign of financial concerns on Wall Street about coal export proposals. — J.C.
New Bellevue mayor
Bellevue has a new mayor, and she's from the more liberal part of the city council. Fellow council members selected Claudia Balducci as mayor (it's a largely ceremonial position held for two-year periods by a member of the council). The tie-breaking vote came from outgoing Mayor Conrad Lee who, according to the Bellevue Reporter, "nearly took back his" paper ballot. An audience member expressed surprise at the choice of a "far-left" mayor. Balducci's Facebook page shows that she's taken stands in favor of light rail, proposed state transportation improvements and health care reform. In Seattle, that kind of talk would get her dissed as a centrist. — J.C.
Patrol car: A mid-century classic
The Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum — yes, there is one — made a fun acquisition: a 1949 Ford sedan that had been a mainstay of the state patrol fleet. According to KCPQ, troopers called the model "the shoebox" for its compact size and profile. The state archives office has dug out historic images to help volunteers refurbish the car properly. After the work is done (in Ellensburg), the patrol car will be shown around at parades, car shows and the like. — J.C.
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