Eyman comes up short
Professional initiative promoter Tim Eyman won't have an anti-tax tax measure on November's ballot because he could not collect enough signatures, he announced on today's deadline. "We're just gonna have to work even harder next time," Eyman said in a press release. The proposed initiative would have shrunk the state's sales tax from 6.5 percent to 5.5 percent unless two-thirds of the Senate and House would refer to voters a proposed constitutional amendment to require a two-thirds legislative approval on any bill to raise taxes. Because the constitution can't be amended by an initiative, Eyman was trying to to force the Legislature to put an amendment before voters.
"We want to give the voters the chance to permanently protect themselves from higher taxes with a 2/3-for-taxes constitutional amendment. The polling shows it'll pass overwhelmingly. Five ballot box victories (in past referendums) prove that almost two-thirds of voters support the two-thirds making it tougher to raise taxes. Only the crazies in Seattle want it to be easy for politicians to take more of the people's money," Eyman said. — J.S.
A National Heritage Site around Puget Sound?
Washington state could become the home of the first National Heritage Site on the West Coast outside of Alaska. Congressmen Derek Kilmer and Denny Heck are introducing legislation to declare a National Maritime Heritage Area that would apply to the state's saltwater shorelines in 13 different counties. Gaining the national status could potentially infuse fresh cash into the region: first by enticing tourists to experience maritime history, and second by qualifying local groups for state and federal funding to help with restoration and preservation efforts, according to a 2010 study.
The congressmen joined 50 community members along Tacoma’s Foss Waterway on Monday to celebrate the introduction of the bill, Tacoma Weekly reports. “Historic preservation is not about our past, it’s not about where we are right now, it’s about our future,” said Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland. “Maritime history is something really big we can claim as our own.” — M.L.
AT&T goes all natural
No one particularly wants the glaring eyesore of a cell tower in their backyard, so AT&T has a hack: Make the tower look like a pine tree. The 95-foot fake tree would deliver 4G service to fill a 2.25 mile coverage gap in Tacoma. The News Tribune reports that AT&T applied to the City of Tacoma to build the wireless tower on the site of the Alaska Street Reservoir on South 21st Street. But like all invasive species, the fake tree won’t exactly blend in, since it will stand 30 to 40 feet above the natural tree line. Although it would be the first forestry-inspired cell tower in Tacoma, similar towers have already sprouted up in Denver, South Africa, Portugal and Italy, according to Wired. — M.L.
For-profit: A recipe for education trouble?
According to a Seattle Times higher-education reporter, Corinthian Colleges — an education company that runs six for-profit Everest Colleges in Western Washington — is under investigation by federal and state agencies for its business practices. Across the nation, Corinthian Colleges faces allegations of exploiting low-income students and falsifying job-placement rates. Corinthian denies all the allegations and says its colleges provide measurably effective education.
Bloomberg reporter Karen Weise cites a few reasons why the Department of Education hesitates to shut down Corinthian or other for-profit schools (which account for a disproportionate share of problems among student loan borrowers): In Corinthian’s case, some 84,000 students and employees would be left without courses/jobs. And Corinthian students might receive passes on paying back the the $1.2 billion that the government loaned to them. Under the Obama administration, however, the Department of Education has intensified its oversight of for-profit institutions and “poorly performing” schools in general. — K.H.
Red, white and blue Smith Tower
Smith Tower opened 100 years ago on the holiday, July 4, 1914. To celebrate, tower admissions (normally $7.50) this weekend will be 25 cents, the same price folks paid when the early skyscraper opened. The tower will be lighted up in red, white and blue for the evening of the Fourth. There are some fun historical facts here: Our favorite is that a Bartell's Drug store, built in 1898, was torn down to make way for the tower project. — J.C. (The photo taken during construction in 1913 is from the Seattle Municipal Archives.)
KUOW news: No holiday?!
KUOW's Friday Week in Review will air as usual. Good thing, since there's plenty to talk about, including Jorge Carrasco and City Light, the latest on $15 an hour and the Supreme Court's, umm, wisdom. New host Bill Radke will be joined by Crosscut's Knute Berger, C.R. Douglas and Joni Balter.
The Troll admires their journalistic diligence, and almost volunteered to come into work to write his column on Friday. But then he realized that all those people will want to visit him under the bridge and on the way to get a good spot for watching the Lake Union fireworks. So, he will instead pick up, diligently, again Monday. — J.C.
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