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Landmark hearing scheduled for Ballard diner

Here's an update on the old Ballard Denny's, the historic Googie-style diner that is threatened by the wrecking ball and slated to be replaced by a large condo project. Earlier this fall, the Denny's closed. The building is boarded and vacant, awaiting its fate. That could be determined in a matter of weeks.


The state defends a decision not to investigate the Times

Newly public e-mails show that the attorney general's office chose not to investigate the paper's management of a joint operating agreement with the Seattle P-I, despite knowing about a sworn allegation that the Times had secretly tried to shortchange the P-I. Former state Supreme Court Justice Phil Talmadge thinks that decision casts doubt on the integrity of AG Rob McKenna.


More S.L.U.T.-y thoughts (then we'll stop)

Yesterday, I blogged about my friend and accountant who gave us a quick-shot, not-so-hot reaction to riding the streetcar for the first time. There, I called it a streetcar. I want to take it seriously, because I am their customer: the line connects near enough to my home and work to be an option and I intend to take it once the silly stuff dies down. (see silly stuff, below).


Selling the Northwest's global genericism

One of the virtues of travel is that it gives you a chance to see how your part of the country is selling itself to the outside world. After flipping though a copy of Alaska Airlines magazine on a recent flight to San Francisco, I have to say that if Horace Greeley were shilling for regional real estate developers, he'd be saying "Go West in style, yuppie scum!" He'd take out a full-page, four-color ad to do it, too. Current real estate pitches emphasize wealth, urban amenities, and a let-them-eat cake luxury lifestyle that is the antithesis of anything remotely regional or rooted. Local color? No. Rain? What's that? Moss, mountains, a frontier spirit? Hmmm, call the valet to take out the trash.


The insurance commissioner will make his case

Quick update about something we're keeping an eye on. Using the state's premier trauma center as his stage, Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler on Wednesday, Dec. 12, will unveil a new report detailing costs taxpayers absorb to care for the uninsured and underinsured. With officials from Harborview Medical Center by his side, the commish will lay out a county-by-county breakdown showing a growing economic burden. The new report will add momentum, he hopes, to a universal health-care proposal Kreidler is drafting for the upcoming legislative session. Earlier this fall, Crosscut outlined the framework his plan to take care of more than 600,000 people who are without health insurance.


A tree falls in Oregon

They might be dwarfed by architecture, but nothing we've built has transcended time the way big trees have. The "Klootchy Creek Giant" lived long and large. It took a record-setting windstorm to bring it down.


West Coast growth industry: pushing initiatives

Is Washington state going to be rid of the spate of initiatives anytime soon? Not likely, for the simple reason that it's become a steady and lucrative business for initiative-pushers like Tim Eyman. On the other hand, few succeed in making much long-term change. California is the mother lode of the business. A fascinating run-down of the business in The New Republic reports that the initiative campaign business now runs about $300 million per election cycle. There are five signature-gathering companies, as well as an army of lawyers, fund-raisers, pollsters, media consultants specializing in the growth industry. It makes one grateful there is only one Tim Eyman Inc. in the state, so far.


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