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Wednesday 19 Nov, 2014

The Zoo going elephant-free. 11 firms perfect on LGBT rankings. Buying police service.

No more elephants for Seattle

at 4:25pm by Cambria Roth

Seattle kids and adults will miss out on an elephant exhibit in 2015. After a long elephant tenure — filled in recent years with criticisms, bad reviews and elephant deaths — the Woodland Park Zoo announced today that it is eliminating its elephant program.The zoo will send its two female Asian elephants—47-year-old Bamboo and 35-year-old Chai— elsewhere, seattlepi.com notes. The zoo went under fire a year ago when a zoo task force told the zoo it needed to make improvements to the way it cared for its then-three elephants. They suggested enlarging the facility, reducing choke points in the barn and expanding the enrichment program."After several months of working to implement the recommendations of the elephant task force, we have found that adding to the herd of our two aging elephants is not realistic in the foreseeable future. It is in the best interest of Bamboo and Chai to live in a social, multi-animal herd in a healthy environment," Woodland Park Zoo's President and CEO Deborah Jensen said in a statement. "We will ensure Bamboo and Chai will be relocated together to an Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) facility that shares our commitment to animal health and welfare and conservation through education, and provides viewing access to the animals.”The zoo was left with only two elephants when Watoto, a fixture at the zoo for 43 years, was euthanized recently. (An in-depth report Crosscut's Eric Scigliano wrote at the time is here. His article on the Zoo's announcement today is here.) — C.R.

11 companies in Washington are LGBT-friendly

at 4:25pm by David Kroman

Washington State had 11 companies score a perfect 100 in the 2015 Corporate Equality Index, an annual report assessing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) inclusion. There were 781 companies ranked nationally in the report and 365 of those companies earned a perfect 100.The Puget Sound Business Journal reports the Washington State companies earning 100 scores include: Alaska Air Group Inc; Davis Wright Tremaine LLP; Group Health Cooperative; Microsoft Corp.; Nordstrom Inc.; Perkins Coie LLP; Razorfish; REI; Slalom Consulting; Starbucks Corp.; and T-Mobile USA Inc. Scoring a 90 were Amazon.com Inc., Costco Wholesale Corp., Expedia Inc. and Outerwall Inc. The lowest scoring of Washington companies was Corbis Corp., with a score of 50. Here is a link to the report.—C.R.

A Tale of 2 Cities

at 4:25pm by Cambria Roth

“A tale of 2 cities” was the appropriate headline of Danny Westneat’s latest Seattle Times column. Westneat outlined a new approach by wealthy Seattle neighborhoods who hire their own cops. It all began with the Laurelhurst neighborhood. Now, many more neighborhood groups are meeting this week to figure out how to combat Washington’s soaring property-crime rate. For $200 per family per year, Laurelhurst residents pay off-duty cops to patrol the neighborhood six nights/days a week for five hours each shift. They are in uniform, carry police radios as well as their police firearms and drive unmarked personal vehicles. They monitor incoming 911 calls and respond to any Laurelhurst calls.Westneat pointed out the divide between poor and rich neighborhoods in Seattle: “The public-transit system may stink, but Microsoft and Amazon have their own private shuttle services. The school district may be dysfunctional, pulling teachers from classrooms midyear, but some parents can hire their own at 90 grand apiece. In the Amazon jungle, the transportation system may be jammed, but privately paid, off-duty police flaggers are there to stop traffic on public streets so the tech overlords can get out of their parking garages.” Does it have to be this way? — C.R

Gates Foundation pledges money to fight Ebola

at 4:25pm by David Kroman

In the U.S., Ebola is seen in two lights: as the invasion of a vicious disease with a high mortality rate or as overblown and difficult to catch. The media has swung back and forth between stoking and calming fears, many arguing that the hysteria surrounding the disease is more dangerous than the virus itself.While it may indeed be overblown here, the consequences of the virus in West Africa are grave — despite reports of progress in fighting the epidemic. A new Gates Foundation pledge of $5.7 million is a sign there’s still much to be done. The Puget Sound Business Journal reports The foundation pledged the money "to scale up the production and evaluation of convalescent plasma and other convalescent blood products as potential therapies for people infected with the Ebola virus." This is the latest in a string of pledges from high profile donors like Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Ballmer, and the Gates Foundation's announcement points to a long list of partners in the plasma effort. — D.K.

Report: Washington state not the best at everything

at 4:25pm by David Kroman

Washington state is number one (at least in the hearts of Washingtonians) in so many things: marijuana, wine, apples, seafood, tech, aviation. Seattle has the highest rate of adults with a college degree. Sea-Tac set the bar with a $15 minimum wage. And Washington has more glaciers than all other contiguous states combined. It’s safe to say we like being number one.With that in mind, Washington received a huge blow to its winning reputation today — our beloved state ranked as the 12th most miserable place to have Thanksgiving. That’s right: According to the Estately blog, there are 38 states that are better for Thanksgiving. The ranking was based on:1. Likelihood of food poisoning (5th)2. Likelihood of relatives binge drinking (20th)3. Likelihood of political arguments at dinner (23rd)4. Dietary restrictions impacting meal quality (30th)5. Likelihood of favorite NFL team losing on Thanksgiving (3rd)6. Likelihood of guests/cooks abandoning meal for Black Friday sale (46th)Actually when you look at, we’re pretty average in most categories. And we can be proud of our Black Friday ranking — no stampeding for this state. But we are exceedingly more likely to have the day ruined if the Seahawks lose (which seems unfair because 44 states have 0 football teams even playing on Thanksgiving). And apparently we all need to make sure that our raw turkey is far from our spinach salad. Use a separate cutting board please!—- D.K.

Tuesday 18 Nov, 2014

The Murray needs a new press person. A tunnel through Edmonds? A bit of help for downtown homeless.

Help wanted: Communications director

at 2:22pm by Joe Copeland

Mayor Ed Murray will be looking for a new top staffer: Publicola reports that his communications director, Jeff Reading, resigned this morning, less than a year into the job. Writer Josh Feit notes that Reading was a longtime Murray associate, working with him in the state Senate before joining the new administration this year. Reading will go to a politically well-connected consulting firm, Strategies 360, where he will be vice president of communications. In an internal email, Reading continued to talk up the mayor, ticking off a list of "big wins" for the mayor over the past year, including the $15 an hour minimum wage, winning money for added bus service, and hiring "a great chief of police." — J.C.

Edmonds: A trench runs through it?

at 2:22pm by Joe Copeland

Edmonds city officials want the state Legislature to fund a $1.25 million study of a possible possible below-grade trench through the city, where the train tracks run right between the south Snohomish County city's beautiful waterfront and its reasonably dense downtown. The city had put $10.000 into a preliminary report, which estimates a trench might cost $250 million, according to The Herald. That sounds pricey for protecting a relatively small city (population 40,400) but consider: The waterfront has a vital state transportation connections (a big ferry landing, the BNSF tracks also used by Sound Transit's Sounder service and Amtrak, and a couple of state highway routes). And the two major cities to the north and south — Everett and Seattle — both have tunnels for the mainline tracks that run through Edmonds. — J.C.

Urban Rest Stop: Help on way

at 2:22pm by Cambria Roth

Urban Rest Stop (URS) is an all-in-one hygiene center providing bathroom amenities and laundry facilities to Seattle’s homeless population. They have two locations, one in the U-District and one on Ninth Avenue in downtown Seattle. The Ninth Avenue space was in danger of losing 30 percent of its funding until last Friday when the city council specifically channeled $200,000 of next year's budget into the Ninth Avenue Urban Rest Stop.The measure passed with a 9-0 vote, but Councilmember Sally Bagshaw said it wasn’t an easy feat because council members needed to know why the space was so important. Earlier this fall, she made a trip to URS to evaluate the resource herself. “If you look around you, people are doing laundry and getting their hair cut,” she said. "This is a restful place if you’re on the street and you have small children.” According to Bagshaw, Urban Rest Stop is vital for displaced people and families because it gives them a place to go to get showered before work, get their children ready for school and get their laundry done. It is the largest hygiene facility in Seattle and it is the only one open before 7 a.m. and after 7 p.m. Monday through Fridays (5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. weekdays) and on the weekends. It’s also the only facility that is open to men, women and children alike. It serves about 300 people daily, but has to turn away four to six times as many. Urban Rest Stop is working to open a third location in Ballard. — T.W.

Uber vs. journalism?

at 2:22pm by Berit Anderson

Yesterday, on my bus ride home, I tweeted BuzzFeed's now-viral article about Uber senior VP Emil Michael. Michael, who apparently didn't realize he was on the record, told an influential audience of dinner attendees Friday in NYC that Uber should consider hiring a team of opposition researchers to discredit journalists (specifically PandoDaily's Sarah Lacy, who has written critically about the company). Perhaps not surprisingly, journalists generally did not take kindly to this idea. Flash forward to this morning, when I found myself late for a meeting with a friend. Needing to get downtown faster than my typical bus route, I called an Uber. The first driver accepted the ride and then, moments later, dropped it. Then another driver accepted the ride. Moments later it was dropped again. This had never happened to me before. The next accepted ride, third time's the charm, finally stuck. Surely, it was just a busy morning. — B.A.

NY Times thinks we eat this for T-Day

at 2:22pm by Joe Copeland

The New York Times today unveiled a neat project that it calls "The United States of Thanksgiving": It's a different recipe for Thanksgiving recipes that "evoke" each of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Some of them make immediate sense: cranberry sauce with Pinot Noir, lefse from North Dakota (more Scandinavians than in Ballard) and Russian salmon pie from Alaska. For Washington, it's … glazed shiitake mushrooms with bok choy. The Times' explanation (which concedes the recipe "may not immediately conjure images of Thanksgiving") and recipe are here. — J.C.

Disclosure: City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw is married to Bradley Bagshaw, who is chair of the Crosscut Public Media Board of Directors.

Monday 17 Nov, 2014

The WiFi with your sleeping bag. Your musical choice as you ride Uber. Pain-ful day for Seahawks.

Sawant calls for free WiFi for homeless

at 3:04pm by Cambria Roth

What’s next on the list for Seattle’s homeless population? Free Internet service. Councilmember Kshama Sawant wants a portion of the potential $100,000 set aside in the city’s proposed budget for Seattle’s homeless encampments to give tent cities access to the Internet. The former software engineer argued that the homeless need free WiFi to find jobs and look for shelters and basic services.“Just imagine that day you didn’t have Internet access at all,” Sawant told KIRO Radio’s Jason Rantz. “You wouldn’t be able to communicate with a lot of people and you wouldn’t be able to know what’s going on.”The measure passed City Council for the proposed budget and must pass one more vote on Nov. 24 for the plan to be seen through. This first vote, though, means the idea could become reality. — C.R.

Uber and Spotify partner

at 3:04pm by Joe Copeland

Uber and Spotify announced a partnership today. Those with Spotify Premium will be able to connect their accounts to the Uber app and play their tunes if they are matched with a music-enabled Uber ride. Those Uber drivers who don’t have an AUX or Bluetooth-enabled vehicle are already voicing concerns about potential bad ratings from riders. This partnership is notable for Spotify as it competes with Pandora, Apple and Amazon in the streaming music space. It also comes as Spotify deals with Taylor Swift, who recently removed her music from the streaming service because, unlike a number of services, it doesn't require payments for hearing artists' works by all listeners. — C.R.

The Seahawks' no good very bad day

at 3:04pm by David Kroman

The Seahawks did not have a very good day yesterday. They lost 20-24 to Kansas City Chiefs, only to be immediately raided by federal drug enforcement agents, KING 5 reports. Talk about adding insult to injury.The Seahawks were not specifically the target of the raid, but rather the NFL in general. In one more knock on the League’s embattled reputation, the raid was a response to former players’ claims that teams mishandled prescription drugs. Some of the issues were as follows: trainers and physicians acting without regard to player health, loose distribution of painkillers, withholding information about player injuries, improper acquisition and transportation of drugs and unlicensed trainers distributing the drugs.The Seahawks were one of three randomly selected visiting teams. The other two were the San Francisco 49ers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. So far, no arrests or irregularities have been reported. — D.K.

State plans to untangle braiding issue

at 3:04pm by Joe Copeland

Update 4:07 p.m. A Kent woman who practices the art of African hair braiding is optimistic that the state will come up with a regulation exempting her and fellow braiders from needing to get a cosmetology license. With the help of the libertarian-leaning Institute for Justice, Salamata Sylla had sued after the Department of Licensing ordered her to get the costmetology license – which requires significant time and money for training. The Institute has argued there is no problem with regulation if it’s appropriate to the actual work done, but it said the 1,600 hours program for a cosmetology license doesn’t include any work on hair braiding. Institute attorney Wesley Hottot praised the Department of Licensing for recognizing the problem (it’s also apologized to Sylla), but said that if the planned rule-making fails, Sylla could renew her suit.  — J.C.

Friday 14 Nov, 2014

The Student records go astray. What's an isotope or two among friends? Public defense worries.

Student records misdirected

at 2:49pm by Cambria Roth

Seattle Public Schools has a security breach mess of its own: Thousands of private, personal student records were accidentally sent to an individual. Interim Superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland sent out a letter to parents on Thursday informing them of the security breach, which involves at least 8,000 special education students. The records included information like names, addresses, student identification numbers, test scores and disabilities.Seattle Public Schools confirmed to KING 5 News that it was a PTSA member to whom the records were released, and he notified the district that he had been given the documents. School board member Harium Martin-Morris said there is no excuse for allowing such a security breach to happen, and said it’s something the district takes very seriously. The district says it has cut all ties with the law firm that allegedly made the mistake. — C.R.

Fukushima isotopes in West Coast waters

at 2:49pm by David Kroman

Disasters can produce strange silver linings, no matter how minute they may be. For the Pacific Northwest, Fukushima’s melt down in Japan meant an increase in demand for seafood from Washington, Oregon and British Columbia. The Japanese and much of East Asia became fearful of radiation in their fish and shellfish, so began to look elsewhere. Take Baywater Shellfish on the Hood Canal. They’ve been experimenting with selling oysters in Hong Kong. While an oyster may sell at Elliot’s for $2 to $3, restaurants in Hong Kong are selling Pacific Northwest bivalves for $8 an oyster.But now, seattlepi.com is reporting that water samples off the West Coast are showing signs of an isotope that can only be a result of Fukushima. Is this, from a rational standpoint, something to be worried about? Probably not. Says Mike Priddy of the state Department of Health's Environmental Sciences Section, “We’re not seeing anything that requires anyone to be afraid.” When he and his lab tested shellfish, they found nothing. Of course, when it comes to radiation talk, is the science going to matter against the potential for fear? — D.K.

Proposed budget deals blow to Public defense department

at 2:49pm by Cambria Roth

Public defense in King County could be in trouble with the release of the proposed budget. It calls for the elimination of 40 Department of Public Defense employees, including 20 attorneys, come Jan. 1. Matthew Pang, president of King County Public Defender SEIU Local 925 chapter, told The Slog that losing 20 attorneys would be a travesty. A study conducted a couple years ago found the average public defender in King County was working 50 hours per week. Last year the office helped 16,400 low-income defendants in 19,000 cases. King County, on the other hand, is telling us to calm down because they say they have a system in place for private attorneys to handle some of the cases — the “conflict panel.” But Bob Boruchowitz, a professor at Seattle University School of Law and the director of the Defender Initiative, is skeptical.  “You’re starting from a situation where the defenders were not overstaffed; they’re staffed where they should be,” said Boruchowitz. “To cut more than 10 percent of the staff without cutting the work threatens the ability to do the work that needs to be done.” The county’s proposed budget also doesn’t appear to allocate extra funds for the conflict panels. — C.R

Is Seattle perfectly gay-friendly? 

at 2:49pm by David Kroman

There are a few news updates in the LGBT world today. Let's start with the light and happy: Seattle and Olympia were given perfect 100s in the national index of gay-friendly cities, according to seattlepi.com. Who knew there was such an index? But now that we do, it’s no surprise Seattle got 100: Seattle’s mayor, Ed Murray, is gay; Washington state allows gay marriages; and one of Seattle’s most visible journalists, Dan Savage, has become a national voice for gay rights. It seems a bit odd, however, to give a city a 100 — surely there’s some room for improvement (say, in the reduction of random assaults directed at people based on gender identity). Unless the 100 is meant as inspiration to cities like Laramie, Wyoming, which scored a 20.Under longstanding blood-donation rules, any man who has ever had sexual contact with another man is barred from donating blood…for life. Straight men, however, who have had sex with a prostitute or IV drug user must only wait a year. That policy could change soon, reports Slate. Under a proposal that's been approved a federal advisory committee, gay men could donate blood so long as they do not have sex with another man for a year. What this means is that, despite exceedingly advanced HIV tests, a Washington state-recognized, married gay couple must not touch one another for a year in order to give blood. OK. The existing policy costs the medical world a potential 615,300 pints of blood a year. — D.K.

Thursday 13 Nov, 2014

The Amazon, book publisher work it out. Muckleshoot Tribe buys track. Long wait on the ferry Tacoma.

Amazon, Hachette reach a deal

at 3:32pm by Taylor Winkel

Amazon and the Hachette Book Group have finally reached an agreement for print and e-book sales in the United States, reports GeekWire. This comes after an often high-profile, six-month standoff, which started when the publishing company denied Amazon the right to pricing control over their book titles. Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch said the new deal is great news for its authors and it will benefit them for “years to come.” So far, specifics have not been released.

Muckleshoot Tribe buys Emerald Downs

at 3:32pm by Taylor Winkel

The Muckleshoot Indian Tribe announced today it will be buying the Auburn horse racing track Emerald Downs from the Northwest Racing Associates. The Seattle Times said the price of the track was not disclosed. Since 2002 the tribe has owned the land under the arena and has also invested more than $11 million in enhancements. Ron Crockett, the president of Northwest Racing Associates, will remain on as a consultant to help the Muckleshoots' transition. For now, the current management team is set to remain in place.

Ferry repairs on the slow boat 

at 3:32pm by Taylor Winkel

It’s been a year of bad news for the Washington State Ferries. Now the ferry Tacoma, which serves Bainbridge Island, is going to be out of service until summer. According to The Kitsap Sun, $1.8 million in repairs will be needed because of damage from a power surge that blew out the electrical board on the boat in July. Some parts will have to be custom-made in Europe.Just last month, Lynn Griffith started as the new director of the ferries, after months of turmoil that included reopening the search for a director to replace former David Moseley, who resigned early in the year. Although the Washington ferry system is the nation’s largest, it’s had to reduce its costs by more than $40 million per a year since 1999, when an initiative vote prompted legislators to cut the state’s motor-vehicle excise tax.

Paseo files bankruptcy papers

at 3:32pm by Taylor Winkel

Cuban sandwich-maker Paseo filed for Chapter 7 voluntary bankruptcy, although there is still no explanation why the popular Fremont and Ballard shops closed abruptly, the Puget Sound Business Journal reports. In the filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Washington, Paseo listed assets of more than $80,000 and liabilities of more than $30,000. But there are also unspecified amounts of money owed to the Internal Revenue Service, the state Department of Labor and Industries and employees who are owed wages. On Tuesday, Seattleites were shocked with the popular sandwich shop unexpectedly closed both of its locations for reasons ungiven. Four Paseo employees fired in March filed a lawsuit against the business and Paseo’s president, Lorenzo Lorenzo, in September. 

Wednesday 12 Nov, 2014

The No Cy Young for Felix. Mayor Murray finds 55 police ideas to like. Developer selected for Magnuson Park housing.

Cy Young flies away to Cleveland

at 2:05pm by Bill Lucia

Update 3:56 p.m. Mariners’ radio announcer Rick Rizzs ended last season by saying, “Felix is going to win the Cy Young.” And in many years, he would have, but not this one. Instead it was Cleveland Indians pitcher Corey Kluber.Felix Hernandez has been the backbone of the Seattle Mariners through losing season after losing season. And despite the frustrating lack of offense, which robbed him of countless wins, he re-signed with the team, constantly reiterating his love for the Mariners and Seattle.Last season was particularly spectacular for Hernandez — he had the lowest earned run average for an American League pitcher since Pedro Martinez in 2000. Opponents batted a league low .200 against him. He set a record for 16 straight “ultra-quality” starts, meaning he pitched 7 or more innings and allowed 2 or fewer runs. He led the league with a 0.915 WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched). It just wasn’t spectacular enough.The Mariners were painfully close to the playoffs in 2014, missing them by a single game. In that final, deciding game, Felix walked off the field to an extended ovation. When the Mariners do finally make the playoffs, it will be implicitly dedicated to the King. – D.K.

Murray makes a move on police accountability

at 2:05pm by Bill Lucia

Mayor Ed Murray is holding a press conference this afternoon where he's expected to endorse changes to the Seattle Police Department's accountability system. According to people familiar with the announcement, the mayor plans to bless a set of 55 recommendations that the city's Community Police Commission made earlier this year.The recommendations, designed to improve the department's accountability practices and policies, are sweeping in scope. One urges the department to show a hiring preference for recruits who are multi-lingual, or those who have experience working in diverse communities. Other recommendations propose changes to the process used to handle misconduct complaints against police officers. That process came under fire earlier this year, when former interim chief of police, Harry C. Bailey, reversed disciplinary findings in seven misconduct cases.Although the Commission presented the recommendations in April, the city has not yet begun to aggressively carry them out. Doing so could involve substantial effort: Some of the recommendations would require legislative action or changes to the city's police union contract.The 15-member Community Police Commission provides civilian input on Seattle's ongoing police reform process. The group began its work in March of 2013. Mayor Murray is also expected to announce that the Commission will remain in place permanently, even after the reform process is complete. — B.L.

Affordable housing developer selected for Building 9 project

at 2:05pm by Bill Lucia

The Washington State Department of Commerce on Tuesday announced that it had selected Mercy Housing Northwest to redevelop a historic building in Magnuson Park. The plan is to transform the dilapidated former Navy barracks, known as Building 9, into 128 affordable housing units by 2018. Department of Commerce awarded Mercy Housing $9.7 million in state funding to help pay for the project, which is expected to cost about $60 million. The apartments would be priced for renters who earn up to 60 percent of the Seattle area's median income — $52,920 in 2014 for a family of four. In addition to the apartment units, Sea Mar Community Health Clinic, will run a full-service health clinic in the building. The nearly 90-year-old structure presents challenges; it was neglected for decades and is contaminated with asbestos. Crosscut ran a story about the project last month. — B.L.

'The only Washington that really matters is Washington State'

at 2:05pm by Cambria Roth

It was a ringing theme in every speech at the I-594 victory party on election night: Washington is leading the way. “Washington State will show the country that responsible gun laws make sense,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said.“We have proved that when our elected officials won’t lead, we people will,” said I-594 campaign manager, Zach Silk.Now, The National Journal has echoed those sentiments, arguing that GOP-induced gridlock in Washington, D.C. isn’t hindering liberal activists — though it is shifting their focus. Liberals are going local, making headway at the state and city level by pouring money and time into these smaller-scale fights. With national gun laws unlikely, gun control groups are taking a state-by-state approach. That is exactly what the advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety did for Washington State, spending $4 million to help the I-594 initiative pass. “The only Washington that really matters is Washington State," John Feinblatt, the president of Everytown, told National Journal. "It is the only up-or-down vote in the country. The NRA can bully politicians, but they cannot bully the American people.”— C.R.

Will Inslee be helped by U.S., China climate deal?

at 2:05pm by David Kroman

Search Jay Inslee and Google will add “climate change.” It was what he became known for as a congressman, a reputation that likely got him elected as Washington’s governor. But, as this pre-November election article on Crosscut showed, his efforts have been slow to get off the ground, thanks mostly to the Republican-controlled senate.Inslee’s plight is the microcosm of President Obama’s own issues with a Republican Congress. Fossil fuel and carbon emission reduction has been largely blocked by Republicans, who argued the effort is useless without China. Said John Boehner, “If we got…China and other industrialized nations not working with us, all we’re going to do is ship millions of American jobs overseas.”Well, last night, the U.S. and China announced an agreement to limit greenhouse gases. Obama extended his plan to cut carbon emissions beyond the 17 percent by 2020, now pledging a 26-28 percent reduction by 2025. China agreed to cap their emissions and increase renewable energy by 20 percent by 2030. Some critics argue the plan is merely symbolic and will accomplish little. Indeed, China’s pledges would take an extreme effort on their part. But perhaps the real meat of this agreement has less to do with what’s specifically outlined and more to do with what it represents: a cooperation between the world’s major polluters, thereby deflating the argument that climate deals are useless without China.

Will Obama’s deal trickle down to Gov. Inslee? Hard to know, but it ought to open up a new dialogue … or at least new reasons to do nothing. — D.K.

Mars Hill wrap-up

at 2:05pm by Cambria Roth

And the Mars Hill church saga continues. Mars Hill Church in Everett has declared it will operate as a independent, self-governed church with a new name — Foundation Church. And Warren Throckmorton of the Patheos blog reported that a former Mars Hill elder suggested the church is preparing to declare bankruptcy. Mars Hill church spokesman Justin Dean said, “We have not and are not planning to file for bankruptcy protection.”

The Puget Sound Business Journal says all of the properties that Mars Hill has listed for sale are worth more than $25 million. The church headquarters, which include two warehouses and office space, is on the market for $7.7 million. The University District church has also been listed for sale at $4 million. The church's most valuable piece of property is the massive church in Sammamish, listed at $8.75 million. Another property that was never used as a church, but leased by Mars Hill in Bellevue, is now available for lease. The three other locations that will remain newly independent have yet to release new names and plans for their churches. — C.R.

Gigabits are here

at 2:05pm by David Kroman

The gigabit (not to be confused with the gigabyte) is coming town. The Seattle Times reports that Seattle’s Eastlake neighborhood has the option of purchasing 1 gigabit per second internet. And the company providing it is local: Kirkland based, Wave Broadband. Higher profile companies like Google and CenturyLink have been expanding their gigabit network, but it’s a slow, competitive and, at $150 a month, expensive process. Wave on the other hand has been able to provide the service for $80/month. Still expensive, but when you consider that it’s almost 1,000 times faster than CenturyLink’s $30, 1.5 mbps plan, it’s actually quite modest. The gigabit installation is slow because it’s fiber optic based, meaning the service needs specific cables installed. For many companies, this means burying the cables and installing cabinet-like receivers in homes. Wave, on the other hand, is using existing telephone polls. In the next few years, gigabit service could cover the whole city. – D.K.

Monday 10 Nov, 2014

The Biotech firm files for bankruptcy. I-1351 backers say they've won. Highway 101: Now, with more lanes.

Dendreon files bankruptcy

at 3:30pm by David Kroman

Dendreon filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today. This is the latest in a tough saga for the Seattle-based biotech company developing treatments for prostate cancer. The company looked very promising, but couldn’t gain sales traction for Provenge, its ground-breaking drug for treating prostate cancer, or win over Wall Street.Geekwire reported that Dendreon does not anticipate having to raise more cash through reorganization, and that it will continue to operate in ordinary fashion. It has been a difficult few years for Dendreon, which last year laid off 150 employees to become a “leaner” and more “nimble” biotech company. In 2012 company officials closed a manufacturing facility in New Jersey that cost about 600 workers their jobs. Despite a small rise in revenue from $68 million to $73 million during the third quarter and a shrinking net loss, the company has never been able to post a profit. They racked up $208 million in losses for the first nine months of this year. The New York Times reports Provenge sales have been hampered by its high costs, competition from other new drugs and challenges fashioning individualized treatments for patients. — C.R.

I-1351 declares victory

at 3:30pm by David Kroman

The supporters of the class-size reduction initiative, I-1351, are declaring victory. As Crosscut’s John Stang reported, the gains from King County vote counts put the measure ahead over the weekend. As of early this afternoon, the Yes vote lead was over 18,000 votes.Nothing has been officially declared, but in a statement on their website, the campaign says, “By passing I-1351, the Washington voters are sending a strong message to the Legislature about investing in our kids and making public education a priority.” However, those opposed seem to disagree. A leader of the League of Education Voters said in a statement that the narrow margins “aren’t indicative of the kind of voter mandate that is going to shake things up heading in the 2015 Legislative session.”  — D.K.

Highway 101 expands by two lanes

at 3:30pm by David Kroman

Did you know that 18,000 cars drive between Port Angeles and Sequim? It turns out, the area many of us see as the gateway to relaxing in Olympic National Park is, in fact, home to a commute congested enough at time to rival Seattle’s. The area will feel relief, however, as the two-lane road is now a four-lane road. The project began in 2013 with a price tag of $60.5 million. Access to the Dungeness Spit, Hurricane Ridge, Lake Crescent and Twilight tours in Forks should now be a cinch — hopefully. — D.K. 

UW wants $100 million computer science building

at 3:30pm by Cambria Roth

The University of Washington wants a new computer science building, and it's willing to spend $100 million. The process will take two years to design and another two years to build. The Seattle Times reports that the school would raise $60 million privately and seek another $40 million from the state Legislature. The 11-year-old Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering is reportedly at maximum capacity. UW said it could double the number of computer science degrees it awards annually from from 300 to 600. — C.R.

Could the waterfront be more dramatic than Coldplay?

at 3:30pm by David Kroman

Nobody thought waterfront redevelopment would be easy. But, to quote Coldplay, no one ever said it would be this hard (OK, there were actually a lot of people who said that). And just like Coldplay’s music, the melodrama continues. Seattle waterfront businesses and homeowners, who have already been greatly affected by the waterfront project, have filed a petition to stop the construction of a ramp that would connect Alaskan Way and Elliot via Pine. According to The Seattle Times, the group argues that the permit for the ramp was a violation, because the city hasn’t done an environmental impact statement. The petition says that the ramp could block views and congest the area. Business owners are particularly worried about the ramp’s effect on parking.The city took issue with the contention that its review had been inadequate, but an official said the city will go along with having a state Shorelines Hearing Board review. — D.K.

No Troll Tuesday

at 3:30pm by David Kroman

The Daily Troll will take off Tuesday in honor of Veterans Day. We will return Wednesday.

Friday 7 Nov, 2014

The 1A supporters say they've lost. Biggest shopping day: next week. Shippers appeal for federal attention.

UW-Bothell's Warren Buck honored

at 12:31pm by Cambria Roth

Update 2:06 p.m. Warren Buck, the University of Washington's first chancellor and a physics faculty member there, describes himself as just the “skinny kid” who grew up in Washington D.C. Now, that “skinny kid” has part of his history housed in the Library of Congress in his hometown. Buck has been chosen as a History Maker—a select group of African Americans who have made substantive contributions in their fields. His oral life story will be permanently housed in D.C. with movie stars, athletes, and other scientists.“The sciences provide another perspective that helps us gain more knowledge of where we live in this universe. When we learn about the science truths, it brightens our beings and encourages us to learn ever more,” Buck said. — C.R. 

Alison Holcomb goes national with fight against incarceration

at 12:31pm by David Kroman

For a while, it looked as though socialist City Councilmember Kshama Sawant was going to face a formidable opponent in the 2015 city council elections: Alison Holcomb. Formidable because, as the architect of legal weed and the criminal justice director of ACLU Washington, Holcomb is seen as an accomplished and hard-working progressive —a reputation which could easily steal votes from Sawant. But fear not, Kshama fans, The Stranger reports that Alison Holcomb has been promoted and will not run for city council. The job? She will be the national director of the ACLU Campaign to End Mass Incarceration. And thanks to The Open Society Foundations, she’ll have $50 million to work with. So while seattlepi.com may be disappointed (“Sawant is an orator and non-stop preacher to the radical choir,” writes Joel Connelly) Holcomb’s work ethic will be put to use elsewhere. — D.K.

Prop. 1A concedes, grudgingly

at 12:31pm by David Kroman

When the initial results of Seattle’s pre-k measures were published at 8:15 last Tuesday night, proposition 1B had a commanding 30-point lead over 1A. For the 1B camp (whose measure included funding for expanded services), that was enough: Within the hour, Mayor Ed Murray, City Councilmember Tim Burgess and Estela Ortega, executive director of El Centro de la Raza, had declared victory.The crew of 1A (no new funds, but additional training for workers) did not concede right away. Their statement — they did not host an event or take calls from reporters — said that “the only thing we know for sure is that two good ideas to improve early education for young children, Propositions 1A and 1B, cannot both pass.” Today, their spokeswoman, SEIU 925 President Karen Hart issued a concession.“The good news,” she says, “is a majority of Seattle voters support taking action to promote high quality early education.” But that’s apparently where the good news ends, with the most of the statement consisting of rather scathing language directed at city leaders.“City Hall’s strategy — to exclude Seattle’s early learning teachers from their approach, to force voters to choose between the two proposals, and to exaggerate the cost of taking steps other cities have taken toward lowering the cost of childcare — undermines our collective progress towards ensuring our fast-growing city remains livable for families of all income levels.” Judging from Ms. Hart’s statement, the rift between the child-care workers' unions and the city (and perhaps with other unions, who supported 1B) has a lot of mending to do. — D.K.

Ports appeal to feds

at 12:31pm by David Kroman

In 2002, West Coast ports shut down due to lockout for 10 days. The U.S. economy lost $1 billion a day, and the ports didn’t recover from the backlog for six months. Perhaps it's the memory of that event that spurred more than 100 organizations to write a letter to President Barack Obama and Congress asking them to help settle labor disputes between the shipping and terminal operators' Pacific Maritime Association and its employee union, International Longshore and Warehouse Union. The Puget Sound Business Journal reported the negotiations between the PMA and ILWU have been underway since May, and, while parties involved promised that operations would continue through the negotiations, recent backups have caused concern. The PMA accused union workers of intentional slowdowns, an accusation denied by the labor union. An estimate by the National Association of Manufacturers suggests the consequences of another lockout would prove even more consequential. Federal action would most likely involve convening mediation sessions. — D.K.

Blue Nile jewelers go to China

at 12:31pm by David Kroman

It’s safe to predict that before we’ve even moved to our second helping of Thanksgiving fare, hundreds of thousands of Americans will already be out the door to get a jump on Christmas shopping. The insanity of Black Friday has earned it the reputation as the biggest shopping frenzy in the world.But it turns out, Black Friday is well short of this honor. The Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba – which recently leased space in South Lake Union – puts on a 24 hours online sale on 11.11. It’s called Shopping Festival (a tradition that, according to a Wall Street Journal report last year, dates all the way back to … 2009). According to Alizila – Alibaba’s news provider – sales last year totaled $5.8 billion: more than $2 billion more than all sales from Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.Never heard of Shopping Festival? You might soon enough. It’s already on the radar of Seattle jewelry company Blue Nile. They will participate in this year’s 11.11 Shopping Festival for the first time. Says Jon Sainsbury, president of Blue Nile, “Anybody is going to look at that get pretty excited about getting their brand in front of a large customer base and exposure to a lot of new customers.” According to Alizala, Alibaba is trying to make the Festival more of a global affair. If they already do $5.8 billion in sales without much of a global market, the potential is infinite. And all that without any worries of being trampled. — D.K.

Thursday 6 Nov, 2014

The Ed Murray does MSNBC. Kathleen O'Toole does Civic Cocktail. Turnover at Tim Burgess's office.

Ed Murray does MSNBC

at 1:51pm by Cambria Roth

After a majority of voters (60-70 percent) in South Dakota, Alaska, Nebraska and Arkansas (historically bright red states) passed minimum wage increases Tuesday night, our own Mayor Ed Murray was invited to appear on MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell. Joining him was Democratic political economist Robert Reich. Murray explained that Seattle can’t afford not to increase its minimum wage because the city is fast becoming unaffordable to the average worker. “If we don’t pay people a decent wage, we will not be able to stimulate the economy and continue to grow the way we need to grow,” said the mayor. “If you pay people a decent wage, they’re actually going to go out and buy things.”  T.W.

Staff changes at Tim Burgess's office">

Staff changes at Tim Burgess's office

at 1:51pm by Bill Lucia

Alex Pedersen, a legislative aide in Councilmember Tim Burgess's office since 2012, will be leaving his job on Thursday. In an email to his colleagues on Tuesday, Pedersen said he was going to work for an affordable housing organization. But Seattle's political class has been chattering about the possibility that Pedersen might run for a Council seat next year under the new district election system. He lives in Council District 4, which includes neighborhoods such as the University District, Ravenna, View Ridge and Sand Point. Councilmember Jean Godden lives in District 4 too, and she has already filed paperwork to campaign there next year. Earlier this week, Pedersen said he hadn't decided whether to run. "Neighbors have encouraged me to consider," he said. "But that's a big decision, and something I'd need to work out with the entire Pedersen family."Burgess said in an email to the legislative department on Tuesday that he was bringing two new staffers onboard: Debi Lundberg, currently an executive assistant to the President and CEO of the Downtown Seattle Association, and Seferiana Day, who worked most recently as a manager for Pramila Jayapal's successful state Senate campaign in the 37th District. Beginning the week of Nov. 17, they'll both be working for Burgess. — B.L.

Kathleen O'Toole shines at Civic Cocktail

at 1:51pm by Taylor Winkel

She’s been the Seattle Police Department Chief for six months now and last night Kathleen O’Toole headlined our November Civic Cocktail event. She was articulate, personable and seemed to be on top of just about everything. She emphasized her commitment to customer service and her plans to use data from each Seattle neighborhood to customize policing strategies instead of using a one-size-fits-all approach. She wants to increase the police presence on the street, especially in the downtown core. If that means hiring more cops, O’Toole said she'll be looking for candidates who are customer-service focused. Her main message to the SPD officers, who have been through a lot these last few years: Ignore all the background noise and “let's get back to police work.” — T.W.

Traffic signal debate

at 1:51pm by Bill Lucia

Councilmember Nick Licata on Thursday questioned $1 million in spending for advanced traffic signal equipment, which four of his colleagues have recommended adding to the 2015-2016 City Budget. The so-called “adaptive signal control" technology would time stoplights at 31 intersections on and around Mercer Street between Interstate 5 and Third Avenue West. The goal is to reduce congestion in the frequently jammed corridor. Councilmembers Sally Bagshaw, Tim Burgess, Mike O'Brien and Tom Rasmussen proposed allocating $200,000 for the signal project in 2015 and $800,000 in 2016. But at a Budget Committee meeting on Thursday, Licata wanted to know why, if the signal project was so important, the Seattle Department of Transportation didn't push to include it in the Mayor's proposed budget. "They didn't recommend it," he said. "Maybe it's not the right time to make this investment."The $1 million item is a piece of the $10.5 million the city plans to spend on adaptive signal technology around South Lake Union and Seattle Center in the coming years. Licata also wanted to know if it made sense to invest in such a small portion of the project when the city wasn't ready to move forward with the rest of it. "Are we spending a million on an element that may not really contribute much?" he asked. Some sensors for the signal system are already in place. The proposed budget addition would pay for items like servers, data collection, and system programming. If the budget item is approved, the portion of the system it would pay for is scheduled to be up and running by 2016. "If you talk to people who use the Mercer Corridor they're desperate for improvements and they want the corridor to work as best as it can," said Tom Rasmussen. "This is part of making it function."

4chan killer nabbed near Portland

at 1:51pm by Taylor Winkel

A Kitsap County man was arrested in Oregon last night after killing his girlfriend and posting pictures of her corpse on the popular website 4chan.com, according to NBC. David Kalac, 33, uploaded photos of 30-year-old Amber Coplin's dead body, along with a disturbing anecdote. When one commenter wondered if it was a hoax, Kalac replied: "Check the news for Port Orchard, Washington, in a few hours. Her son will be home from school soon. He'll find her, then call the cops." Which is, tragically, exactly what happened. Kalac has been charged with second degree murder and domestic violence. — T.W.

Wednesday 5 Nov, 2014

The How states lead (and follow WA voters). Amanda Knox writes again. Tech center? Seattle.

Election round-up

at 5:03pm by Cambria Roth

For all the talk of a conservative trend nationally, Washington state was hardly alone in casting votes that may pave the way for new legislation. First and foremost, there was a lot of legalization of marijuana. Voters in Oregon (no surprise), Alaska and even Washington D.C. chose to follow in the footsteps of Washington and Colorado. CNN reported that states like California, Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada and Arizona will likely have marijuana ballot initiatives in 2016.Mayor Ed Murray said in a speech last night at the I-594 gun control celebration, “Washington State is in the habit of making history in common sense laws. Tonight, people in Washington will show the country the way again by voting to stop background check loopholes.” Could Washington pave the path for gun control in the United States? Time will tell.One other idea that might have some legs comes from farther down the coast: More than three-quarters of Berkeley, Calif. voters approved a law taxing sugary drinks including sodas. The measure will place a 1-cent-an-ounce tax on soft drinks and proponents say it will curb consumption of sugary drinks that are contributing to the nation’s obesity epidemic.West Virginia elected the country’s youngest lawmaker, 18-year-old Saira Blair, to the West Virginia House of Delegates. The West Virginia University freshman didn’t just beat her 44-year-old Democratic opponent, she won in a landslide. The Wall Street Journal reported that there are more than 7,300 state legislators in the U.S., and fewer than 5 percent are under the age of 30.Alas, further south in Georgia, voters elected what Slate is calling “America’s worst new congressman.” Jody Hice, from Georgia’s 10th District, wrote in his book that legal abortion is “worse than Hitler’s six million Jews or Mussolini’s three hundred thousand.” He also told the Athens Banner-Herald that he doesn’t see a problem with women running for office “if the woman’s within the authority of her husband.” — C.R.

Amanda Knox: reporter

at 5:03pm by Cambria Roth

The Daily Beast broke the news that Amanda Knox is freelancing for neighborhood weekly, West Seattle Herald. So far she’s written mostly human-interest pieces — a high school play preview and one story about a mom’s effort to start a line of cashew milk.Knox has written a book ("Waiting to Be Heard") about her experiences as a study-abroad student in Italy when she was arrested for murdering her British roommate. Knox and her then-boyfriend were convicted of murder in 2009 and it was overturned in 2011. Knox came back to Seattle, but the acquittal was overturned in January 2014 and her murder conviction was reinstated. She is now living in Seattle while Italy’s highest court reviews her final appeal.The West Seattle Herald editor said it’s not a publicity stunt. Instead, he just felt like giving “a young, talented writer an opportunity at a normal life.”  — C.R.

Seattle's tech imports

at 5:03pm by David Kroman

Seattle has a reputation for tech. Microsoft, Amazon, T-Mobile and more have grown into what they are on the shores of Lake Union, Lake Washington and the Puget Sound. Yet, as Silicon Valley and the Bay Area have grown, it has been tempting to see Seattle as being outgunned by our neighbors to the south. As shown in a GeekWire article, Seattle is clearly still respected by the tech world at large. There has been a huge influx of companies from outside Seattle setting up offices in our city: Twitter, Google, Apple, E-bay, Alibaba and many more. It was most recently announced that Belkin is setting up an R&D lab in downtown Seattle. So while we may still have a rivalry with the Bay, both in football and tech, the tech world has no city allegiance, only loyalty to positive places for the industry. — D.K.

Pioneering women at Seattle City Light sue

at 5:03pm by David Kroman

Once seen as pioneers in Seattle City Light, that a group of women are suing the utilities provider for discrimination against their age and gender, seattlepi.com reports. With 86 combined years of experience, the four women feel they were pressured to resign, citing a “longstanding history of discrimination” within the business. The women have specifically laid the blame on CEO Jorge Carrasco, who has not been without controversy in recent years. According to the women’s attorneys Carrasco “had been regularly and seasonally informed of all the discriminatory and retaliatory actions taken by City Light and has failed to take remedial action. Instead, he has routinely ratified all the discriminatory and retaliatory action that has been brought to his attention.” In a statement, City Light attorney Katrina Kelly called the accusations “unfounded," promising a vigorous defense of the company. The women seek compensation for lost income, emotional damages and attorney fees. — D.K.

The Word of the Day

at 5:03pm by Joe Copeland

As everyone waited for election results, Crosscut's Knute Berger posted an item on our Live Blog about worst case scenarios for House Speaker Frank Chopp. What you wouldn't know from reading it is that we actually edited the piece ever so slightly, prompting an email from Berger to Crosscut editors: "My only complaint about last night is that my phrase 'tervigersation-prone' was edited out of one of my blog entries!"So, with our deepest apologies to Berger and the readers who would have immediately understood the phrase, we would like to note that "tervigersation" is, in fact, an actual English word, which means, in the sense Mossback wanted to use it, desertion of a party or cause. Picture a quick meeting of contrite editors gathered to listen to an online recording of the proper pronunciation of the word. — J.C. 

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