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The Daily Troll: Obama spends time with Oso families. City sick leave law working well. Clock ticking on Metro vote.

President Obama meets directly with first responders and families of the mudslide victims.

Obama visits Oso families

Update 5:45 p.m. President Barack Obama told a gathering at the Oso fire station that the entire nation shared its pain. He said that "the country is thinking about all of you and have been throughout this tragedy. We're not going anywhere."

At the Oso Community Chapel earlier, Obama visited for about an hour and 15 minutes with families who lost loved ones in the Oso mudslide. A packed crowd waited for the president in the nearby Oso fire station, where he arrived about 3:30 p.m. 

The president landed at Paine Field in Everett at 12:48 p.m. and then boarded a helicopter to take him to visit recovery workers and families affected by the Oso mudslide catastrophe. A pool reporter traveling with the president said the chopper touched down at the site of slide just after 1:30 p.m. as bright yellow excavating machines continued their work. After a stop, the president headed toward the Oso fire station.

On the helicopter, Obama was accompanied by Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, Rep. Suzan DelBene and Gov. Jay Inslee, according to Crosscut's John Stang. Aboard Air Force One, White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters that  president is coming "to view first-hand the aftermath of the terrible tragedy” and “meet directly with those who have lost loved ones.” After spending the afternoon there, Obama will take off from Paine Field around 5:30 p.m. for a flight to Tokyo, the first of four stops visiting with Asian leaders. 

Oso Fire District 25 Chief Willie Harper called the timing of the president's visit "absolutely perfect," telling Northwest Cable News that it won't create problems for the recovery effort now but would have been a huge disruption earlier. 

At Paine Field, President Obama talks with, left to right, U.S. Reps. Rick Larsen, Suzan DelBene, Sen. Maria Cantwell and Snohomish County Executive John Lovick. On the right are Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson and Gov. Jay Inslee. Photo by John Stang

President Obama prepares to board a helicopter at Paine Field. John Stang

Who is the greenest of them all?

3:02 p.m. For today's Earth Day celebration, Bullitt Center officials put out word that their building's solar panels are generating considerably more electricity than its tenants are using. As the Puget Sound Business Journal notes, the center on East Madison Street was honored as the greenest commercial building of 2013. The electrical figures suggest that the Center will overperform on its goal of being a "living building" — one that generates as much energy as it uses. Now, if only all buildings certified as green actually performed half as impressively. 

Sick leave: Pretty healthy results

1:25 p.m. A report done for the Seattle City Auditor's Office finds that businesses' costs of implementing a local law on paid sick leave have been considerably less than expected. A team of University of Washington researchers also found "no evidence" that the new law forced any firms out of business or caused any of them to leave the city. Some 70 percent of employers support the ordinance.  "These business owners, managers, and human resources professionals view paid leave as a valuable and important benefit for their workers," the researchers wrote. Since some businesses had issued dark predictions about the effects of the measure, expect this report (which we first noticed on Publicola) to be spun during the debate about whether companies are crying wolf about impacts from a $15 minimum wage proposal. Almost all of the businesses surveyed for the research knew about the law and are complying fully or partially. 

Election: Vote now

1:05 p.m. If you haven't voted on King County's Proposition 1 for Metro Transit, roads and bridges, time is running out. Ballots must be dropped off by 8 p.m. at election dropboxes or van pickup locations or accessible voting locations. And they can be mailed as long as the postmark is for Tuesday. The first results will be released around 8:15 p.m. but, as recent elections have shown, knowing the outcome could take days. Or weeks.


Joe Copeland is political editor for Crosscut. You can reach him at Joe.Copeland@crosscut.com.

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