Midday Scan: Seattle targets 3 superintendent candidates

Three veterans from the West Coast are in the running. Meanwhile, preparation for the waterfront tunnel is moving forward. A blogger gives a downbeat answer on Seattle's ability to support more sports teams.

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CenturyLink and Safeco Field could be joined by a sports arena.

Three veterans from the West Coast are in the running. Meanwhile, preparation for the waterfront tunnel is moving forward. A blogger gives a downbeat answer on Seattle's ability to support more sports teams.

Seattle, we have three potential superintendents. And they’re all from the West Coast. The finalists are Jose Banda of Anaheim City School District in California, Steven Enoch of San Ramon Valley Unified School District in California, and Sandra Husk of the Salem-Keizer School District in Oregon.

"We have three sitting superintendents who have all shown some success in improving academic outcomes in their district," said the head of the school board, Michael DeBell, in The Seattle Times. "They generally are experienced, ranging from 8 to 15 years of superintendent experience, and I think they fit the criteria that we developed with public input pretty well."

Next week the candidates will be visiting Seattle one by one for interviews. But before anyone gets too excited, there's history to consider: The Times notes that “when Goodloe-Johnson was hired, the only other finalist for the job dropped out after interviewing. During the 2003 search, all four finalists dropped out.”

Say what you will about the tunnel, at least its preparation is punctual. The Seattle Times reports, “below the Alaskan Way Viaduct, workers are preparing to dig a 420-foot-long pit where a giant boring machine will be launched in June 2013.” The preparation involves creating buried 5-by-90-foot steel and cement pillars that will form the walls of the hole after the dirt has been dug out.

With the tunnel set to open in 2016, WSDOT has about four years to determine the magic tolling number high enough to generate the revenue to put a dent in the estimated $1.9 billion tunnel cost and reasonable enough that it doesn’t force frugal commuters onto the streets of downtown. After a Tuesday (April 17) meeting with an advisory committee, WSDOT is considering three scenarios, including variable day rates between $1 and $3, variable day rates between $1 and $2, and rush-hour only rates between $1 and $2.

The SeattlePI.com reminds, “If any of those options make you cringe, consider this: They're still cheaper than the $4 to $5 WSDOT talked about in previous studies. That was back when WSDOT thought it could generate $400 million in toll revenue.” We have the experience with driver resistance to the 520 tolls to thank, in part, for the lowered expectations on Highway 99. According to the P-I, WSDOT will use federal transportation money and aid to cover an expected $200 million drop in overall toll revenues for the tunnel. Whatever the tunnel toll ends up being is is sure to be cheaper than a ride on the 520, where perhaps you’re mostly paying for the view.

After several months of growing frustration with the Office of Minority and Women Business Enterprises (OMWBE), Gov. Chris Gregoire finally issued an ultimatum Wednesday afternoon. “In my estimation … time is up. Change has to be made,” Gregoire told agency director Cathy Canorro, according to a report in The Olympian. The OMWBE, which helps minority and female-owned businesses compete for shares in government contracts, has had reported dysfunction for several months, most recently in February when the agency was accused of giving a no-bid contract to one of Canorro’s friends.

In 2010 Gregoire suggested that the office be combined with other groups that serve racial minorities into a new Office of Civil Rights. “This is not the first warning shot. There’s been several,” said Cory Curtis, spokesman for Gregoire. The governor wants changes within weeks.

When The Seattle Times ran an article on Tuesday about King County Council members asking during a hearing whether Seattle could support two additional professional sports teams, local real estate blogger Tim Ellis took it upon himself to conduct the analysis. His conclusion? “Probably not.” According to the graph and chart posted on his blog, Seattle currently has the eighth lowest ratio of population to the number of teams, and two additional teams would knock us down to second, better only than Denver. Writes Ellis, “Only five other markets currently have six or more professional sports teams” and they are all cities with a population at least 64 percent larger than that of Seattle.

Ellis, whose analysis caught the eye of Times' reporter Bob Young, proves that Seattle seems to have misinterpreted the Field of Dreams mantra “if you build it they will come.” The “it,” in this case, is not a stadium, but a thriving urban metropolis full of flush sports fans. If we really want to make Seattle more like a European city the answer isn’t to be found in better social services or public transit but in good old fashioned football—the foot kind. Can’t we all just get on board with the Sounders?

Lastly, let's take a moment to acknowledge, for all our boomer readers, the passing of Dick Clark, television personality and host of American Bandstand (and yes, I had to ask my mom to explain to me who he was).  “My greatest asset in life,” said Clark, quoted in The New York Times, “was I never lost touch with hot dogs, hamburgers, going to the fair and hanging out at the mall.” 

Links summary

The Seattle Times, "3 finalists coming in latest quest for Seattle school superintendent"

The Seattle Times, "Digging deep to drill Highway 99 tunnel"

SeattlePI.com, "Would you pay $3 to use the SR 99 tunnel?"

TimandJeni.com, "Can Seattle support six major pro sports teams?"

The Olympian, "Shape up now or get broken up, Gregoire tells troubled agency"

The New York Times, "TV Emperor of Rock 'n' Roll and New Year's Eve Dies"


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