Murray can't tweet police problem away
Updated at 5:47 p.m.
Mayor Ed Murray held a press conference Friday afternoon in an attempt to defuse mounting questions about police discipline decisions by his interim police chief, Harry Bailey. Murray said that Bailey had changed one disciplinary decision, substituting additional training for the punishment of a day without pay. Earlier, in response to questions on Twitter, Murray tweeted that Bailey was making an individual decision in the case of the officer who threatened to come to the Stranger's offices to harass news editor Dominic Holden. Responding to a message from Joel Connelly of seattlepi.com, Murray released a letter from Bailey telling top officials that retraining would be "far more productive" than punishment. Mid-afternoon, The Seattle Times' Steve Miletich reported that City Councilmember Tim Burgess has written a pointed note to Bailey. — J.C.
Is Inslee serious about minimum wage for state workers?
Gov. Jay Inslee acknowledged Friday that he might at some point consider raising the minimum wage for workers employed on state contracts. That casual trial balloon was launched in response to a reporter's question at a Friday telephone press conference. Inslee said he might consider that approach, along with other possibilities, months down the road. Right now, a $12-per-hour-minimum wage bill by Rep. Jessyn Farrell, D-Seattle, is still stalled in the state House. Inslee is in Washington, D.C. , meeting with President Barack Obama, the nation's governors and several cabinet secretaries on a variety of subjects. The governor said Obama told him that his own underlying philosophy on minimum wage is that raising it would mean more spending by workers, which would benefit businesses. — J.S.
Ferries steeled for fuel savings
You remember those three 64-car state ferries that tilted slightly to the side in their normal state, which was a bit embarrassing. To straighten two of them up ( the Salish and the Kennewick), the Washington State Ferries poured tons of granular steel shot. Since then, both have worked better. According to reporter Jerry Cornfield of The Herald, the average fuel consumption on both vessels dropped from 83.7 gallons per hour in late 2012 to 71.7 gallons per hour in late 2013. That decline means $233,000 in savings over six months. The Chetzemoka is the next ballast candidate. — J.S.
Oil by rail
Railroads agreed Friday to voluntary measures that would improve the safety of oil train shipments. The measures include reducing speeds, stepping up track inspections and installing advanced braking systems on trains carrying 20 or more cars of crude oil. U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen praised the agreement, but said that more safety improvements are needed. He plans to meet with officials from cities and counties along Washington's rail corridors this week to hear their concerns. Seattle City Council held a hearing on oil train issues Friday afternoon. Here's our earlier story on cities' concerns. — J.C.
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