A group of teenage vandals hit Seattle's most iconic park last night, leaving swarms of empty beer cans and graffiti in their wake. An article on Q13Fox.com has some good photos of the destruction and the Seattle Times reports Seattle Parks and Recreation has dropped all other painting projects to clean up the park. There's a certain cruel irony in the fact that, in the rest of the country, Gas Works is best known as the site of a massive paintball fight in the '90s teen flick "10 Things I Hate About You." Still, I'm guessing Parks workers aren't amused. — B.A.
Why can’t Seattle Public Schools keep a superintendent? With the recent departure of Superintendent Jose Banda for a job in Sacramento, a Seattle Times article today suggests the district’s high turnover rate (five superintendents in the last ten years) is due at least in part to a fractious school board engaging in “strident advocacy. “
The Times dug up an email from Banda himself scolding the board for bullying his staff over the selection of a new math textbook for the district. Though board president Sharon Peaslee denied the bullying charge, a range of other board members, lawmakers and other education advocates backed up the Times’ findings and said they go way beyond the math book incident.
So what did Banda have to say about all this? Asked whether the board’s dysfunction played a role in his decision to go, he said, “It does in a way influence that decision. Yeah, I’ll leave it at that.” — B.A.
Paying more for pensions
As state retirees live longer, rising pension costs are pushing the state to seek additional funding options. On Monday, the Pension Funding Council voted to increase the pension contribution requirements from state workers as well from state and local governments, The Olympian reports.
The state will have six years to ramp up its pension investments, even as it struggles to find sufficient funds for schools to adhere to the McCleary court decision. Budget writers will have to carve out $100 million toward increased pension contributions in the 2015-17 biennium, according to House Appropriations Committee chairman Ross Hunter, D-Medina. Starting next July, rates for workers in the Public Employees’ Retirement System 2 will bump up to 6.12 percent from 4.92 percent, and rates for Teachers’ Retirement System will grow from 4.96 percent to 5.95 percent. — M.L.
Ballmer's L.A. Clippers
Sorry, Sonics fans but the big deal is (almost) sealed: A judge appears to have cleared the way for former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to buy the L.A. Clippers for a record-breaking $2 billion. In a tentative oral decision issued Monday, Judge Michael Levanas favored Shelly Sterling, wife of the embattled former team owner Donald Sterling — allowing her to move forward with the sale against her husband’s will, the Wall Street Journal reports. The judge noted in his ruling that "Ballmer paid an amazing price that cannot be explained by the market."
Ballmer was previously part of an investor group seeking to resurrect an NBA presence in Seattle. While Ballmer may have abandoned the Seattle cause, group leader Chris Hansen issued a statement in the spring “assur[ing] Seattle fans that my remaining partners and I remain committed to bringing the NBA back to Seattle.” Would-be owners Peter and Erik Nordstrom, as well as team executive Wally Walker, reiterated their involvement in the investor group, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal. — M.L.
County public health chief resigns
After seven years in office, Dr. David Fleming, the director of Public Health Seattle & King County, is stepping down from his post, saying that his “personal plans and needs” prohibit him from making the “long-term leadership commitment” required for the agency.
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