Tuesday 29 Oct, 2013 Ballots coming in, slowly. Flooding worries for winter. Remembering Tom Foley. King County balloting: a tad slow at 4:14pm by Joe Copeland The King County elections office says about 12 percent of general election ballots have been returned, a slightly lower rate than usual. “There's a lot on the ballot," said Barbara Ramey, of the elections office, by way of explanation. "It has two sides. And a lot of people wait. We'll have a better sense by next week.” The county is expecting 55 percent of voters to cast their ballots by the deadline on Tuesday. The county's advice: Don't wait until the last minute. Early returns ensure there will be time to deal with any balolt problems, like missing signatures. You wouldn't want your vote not to count, right? (Details on returning ballots are here.) — E.M. Pacific worried about flooding again at 4:14pm by Joe Copeland King County is taking a series of emergency steps to protect the city of Pacific after learning that the risk of winter flooding there is higher than expected. Pacific (pop. 6,800) straddles the King-Pierce county line. King county flood control district is installing a series of barriers along three stretches of the White River, which flows through the town. King County Council member Pete von Reichbauer called the barriers "an important first step." The White River has a reputation for building up sediment quickly, which raises the flood threat, but officials say a series of new observations showed much more sediment than expected. The last big flood in Pacific was just four years ago. — J.C. Remembering Tom Foley at 4:14pm by Joe Copeland President Barack Obama ordered flags to fly at half-mast today in honor of the late Speaker of the House Tom Foley and spoke at the D,C. memorial service for the Spokane native. The memorial focused on Foley's "warmth, wit, collegiality and class" — the opposite, Joel Connelly of seattlepi.com writes, of today's Congress. Heather Foley said her husband “believed there was honor in compromise.” Even as the memorial went on, several Tweets from House Speaker John Boehner went out denouncing Obamacare. — J.C. Back to contentiousness at 4:14pm by Joe Copeland Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott supports Obamacare — naturally — and he’s plenty annoyed about Republican outrage over the rocky start of the national health exchange. During a House hearing on the troubled start up, he compared the Affordable Care Act’s magnitude to Medicare Part D’s implementation and other historic health steps. “Medicare wasn’t built in a day," says McDermott. "Part D didn’t roll out without snags along the way.” He noted that the House waited six months before holding oversight hearings on Part D. “This hearing," said McDermott, "four weeks from the start of open enrollment on the ACA, is premature.” OK: Both parties like to joust over health care. But the good doctor – and, yes, McDermott is an M.D. — may have a bit more standing when it comes to talking about health care than your average Tea Party backbencher. — A.S. New waterfront needs art at 4:14pm by Joe Copeland The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture wants to give away $1 million or, more precisely, award contracts for that amount to commission art for the central waterfront. In an announcement, the arts office notes that, as part of the plan for the future waterfront, 26 acres of new public space, buildings and streets will be available for art works. It's a sign that, while the tunnel boring is out of sight, Seattle's waterfront really is about to be transformed. Oh, if you have what it takes to make art for the new waterfront, you can apply here. — J.C.