Midday Scan: Mighty McGinn the Snow Fighter; and LA calls us 'wimps'; and Olympia looks at capital gains tax

The McGinn administration gets focused on the snow response. The LA Times thinks it has found the capital of snow wimps. In Olympia, a new proposal would tax capital gains to help with state budget.

Crosscut archive image.

A traffic camera captured a city snow plow on the move. The Seattle Department of Transportation notes that you can check local traffic cameras at http://web5.seattle.gov/travelers

The McGinn administration gets focused on the snow response. The LA Times thinks it has found the capital of snow wimps. In Olympia, a new proposal would tax capital gains to help with state budget.

The Arctic indigenous people, the Sami, have hundreds of words for snow. (In Seattle, those words take the form of obscenities.) At City Hall, snow is code for one thing, "crucible."

"That chill in Mayor Mike McGinn's office this week may have been the somewhat recent memory of his predecessor's famous bungling of a 2008 snowstorm, the Seattle Times' Emily Heffter writes. "But as snow turned to slush Wednesday afternoon with no major problems, McGinn was doing what he does best: chatting it up with a team of staffers."  

The mayor's snow-removal performance and media finesse (!) were outstanding. What's going on here? Heffter writes, "McGinn canceled a planned trip to Washington, D.C., Tuesday afternoon for a Conference of Mayors meeting, opting to stay home and monitor the forecast storm. He personally delivered doughnuts to snowplow drivers at 7 a.m. Wednesday and then spent most of the day at the city's operations center with his iPad and a telephone, doing media interviews, holding Cabinet meetings and listening in on the National Weather Service's forecast." 

Activity in Seattle craters under the snow, the converse of a spring sun break when even Vitamin-D deficient coffeehouse habitues race out to glimpse that mysterious golden orb. We know this. Is there any reason LA needs to hold up a mirror?  "Color Seattle clueless. The city has always marched unarmed into its infrequent battles with snow, and Wednesday's snowstorm was no exception," the Los Angeles Times reports. "It is a city of formidable hills and politically correct small cars, many of which spent the morning sliding ineffectually around places such as Queen Anne Hill and Capitol Hill."

Let's not forget that LA is a city of formidable flatness and politically incorrect gas guzzlers. Granted, that doesn't sound so bad on a snow day.  

California still has the inimitable Jerry Brown, now a bald 70-something trying to breathe life into a once dynamic economy. How exactly? Bullet trains. "Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday threw his unequivocal support behind a $100 billion high-speed rail line that has come under fire here in California and across the country, embracing it in a strikingly optimistic State of the State speech in which he asserted that government should pursue ambitious ventures even during times of economic strife," the New York Times' Adam Nagourney writes.  

Nagourney's article is a delight to read, with wonderful Brown-isms such as, "Every decade since the ’60s, dystopian journalists write stories on the impending decline of our economy, our culture and our politics." Dystopian journalists? Take that, Joan Didion! Ribbing aside, Brown's ambitious vision is a redux of the New Deal strategy of massive public works to goose the economy, and something that will bear watching all the way up the West Coast.

There is political neck-extending going on in Olympia, at least on the tax front. "State Rep. Laurie Jinkins of Tacoma has introduced a capital-gains tax proposal to help fix a state budget problem now measuring about $1.5 billion, the Olympian's Brad Shannon writes. "Jinkins, a Democrat, says a 5 percent tax on realized capital gains could raise anywhere from $215 million to $650 million a year for education, health care and universities. The tax would piggyback on federal returns, and its amount would vary with the economy’s health."

The only way for Jenkins's efforts to gain traction is for Gov. Chris Gregoire to express her support. That seems unlikely, with the governor promoting a temporary sales-tax boost as a revenue stopgap. If only a sales tax wasn't so regressive.  

Finally, hats off to Republican state Rep. Glenn Anderson. The iconoclastic Anderson is bucking his party and endorsing gay marriage. What makes his support statement sui generis, even esoteric is his extensive research and Pat Moynihan-esque historical references. How esoteric? Thiink Code of Hammurabi, Council of Trent, and the Emperor Justinian. The News Tribune's Jordan Schrader has the story.   

Link Summary

Seattle Times, "Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn takes his snow test seriously"

Los Angeles Times, "Snow wimps: Seattle is shut down by first real snow of the season" 

New York Times, "Brown asks California to Cheer Rail Project"

The Olympian, "Capitlal gains tax proposed to help fix bleeding budget"

The News Tribune, "Rep. Glenn Anderson backs same-sex marriage after research into Code of Hammurabi, Council of Trent, Emperor Justinian"


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About the Authors & Contributors

Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson is the former editorial-page editor of the Everett Herald. Follow him on Twitter @phardinjackson