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MISCmedia MAIL for 6/30/16: HOUSE MUSIC
Jun 29th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

Local media ran a bunch of stuff Wednesday about homelessness, and potential answers to it. We round up some of the best of these pieces. Also: Eyman scolded again; an eco-research boat called “SoundGuardian;” safety/seals.

MISCmedia MAIL for 6/2/16
Jun 1st, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

The Sounders finally win on the road (then promptly go on a midseason break); new developments in the Seattle U sit-in; Little Saigon to get upscaled (to death?); waterfront streetcars go buh-bye; a crusade to prosecute police “unjustified deadly force.” All this and more in your Thursday e-note.

MISCmedia MAIL for 5/25/16
May 25th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

Our midweek missive contains a man charged with stealing from the sick to help the religious; a Seattle Times pundit being totally wrong about something (again); U of Oregon students behaving badly; the state of ethnic artists in a white arts scene; and the latest thing in earbuds.

MISCmedia MAIL for 5/23/16
May 22nd, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

Another week begins, and we observe a suburban college-teachers’ strike; a gruesome crime against a high-school teacher; whether Tukwila’s really as dangerous as some national survey suggests; the Storm’s inauspicious home opener; and towers getting too close together.

MISCmedia MAIL for 4/3/16: SUDDEN DEATH; OVERTIME?
May 2nd, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

Now that would-be arena builder Chris Hansen can’t buy two blocks of a little-used city street, he says his plan will go forward, but how? Also for your Tuesday perusal: The Lusty Lady space won’t host the Punk Rock Flea Market after all; the big housing levy’s going to the ballot; a little music/art space closes; an old-school local rock promoter dies;  and more May Day anarchist aftermath.

MISCmedia MAIL for 5/2/16: WAITING FOR THE END OF THE WORLD
May 1st, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

lineup at abercrombie copyMay Day Anarchy 2016 would seem like a farcical exercise, except that people got really hurt. We also explore the looming final (sorta) step in the Sonics Arena saga; the climate-change kids’  court victory; more backlash against the Nooksacks’ “disenrollments;” and a tech-connected print-book publisher folding.

MISCmedia MAIL for 4/21/16
Apr 21st, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

Cooler skies continue to develop, and we develop a continuing interest in the slowly approaching Sonics Arena decision; questions of racism in the Bellevue High School probe; questionable reasoning behind the SHARE shelters’ funding crisis; women playing full-on tackle football; and a request to touch a nude-dude statue.

MISCmedia MAIL for 4/13/16
Apr 12th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

Your midweek missive includes Cliff Mass really disliking KUOW’s latest move; Trident Seafoods moving some fish-processing work to Germany; Amazon getting into subscription podcasts; an eco-group giving the Duwamish river system a dubious “honor”; and someone wondering when non-corporate, non-white women can even ask for “equal pay.”

MISCmedia MAIL for 4/11/16
Apr 10th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

The Comic Con costume brigades are gone, but we’re still here to mention a new look for the main ferry terminal; racial “microaggressions” on campuses; baseball’s least-loyal fans; the spread of “retail theater” concepts; and the latest big food spill from a semi.

 

MISCmedia MAIL for 4/5/16
Apr 4th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

Don’t write off the Mariners after one game. Wait at least a week. And while you’re waiting, read up on Alaska Airlines’ big purchase; Metro’s route changes changing again?; Burien’s crusade against “junk cars”; beautifying Greenwood’s boarded-up storefronts; and a rising singing star’s food concession at the new KEXP space.

MISCmedia MAIL for 3/2/16
Mar 1st, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

Sooper Toosday settled nothing, and neither did the City Council committee vote on saving bike sharing. But we do know that Boeing’s planning a 100th birthday bash; a heroin treatment center’s re-opening; squatters are speaking out in favor of squatting; and one of the guys who “plundered” the Sonics is in big trouble (can you feel the schadenfreude rising?).

MISCmedia MAIL for 2/18/16
Feb 17th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

Today we mention more anti-Trans sleaze; a not-really answer to school funding; a proposal to “scatter” homeless camps around town; and a just-slightly-smaller tall tower scheme.

MISCmedia MAIL for 2/9/16
Feb 8th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

When you’re the only supermarket operator in a lot of area towns, what famous board game do you use for a seasonal promotion? Also in the news: Seattle’s denser than ever (and some consider that a good thing); the big Costco/American Express divorce; Marshawn Lynch farewells; local Mardi Gras-esque activities.

MISCmedia MAIL for 9/10/15
Sep 10th, 2015 by Clark Humphrey

We’ve got some handy activity hints for school-struck kids in our Thursday newsletter. Also: China’s upcoming Seattle tech confab; a long-life drug for dogs; and “beeronomics.”

SAVING METRO (PARTLY)
May 21st, 2014 by Clark Humphrey

seattletransitblog.com

Public transportation is more popular here than ever, with continued ridership growth on King County Metro buses.

These same buses are currently threatened with service cuts of 15 percent or more.

Two different schemes to prevent these cuts have failed. Seattleites are about to face two or three proposals, all of which would restore only some of the threatened cuts.

How did we get to this predicament?

First, the Washington State Legislature failed to act.

Back when sales tax revenues first started to go “pfft,” the state passed a law allowing King County to temporarily add a $20 surcharge to the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax (MVET), to make up the difference and help keep transit systems running.

But that temporary authority runs out this year, and the Legislature failed to renew it.

That particular inaction goes back to Rodney Tom’s party switch that gave Republicans control of the state Senate. That body has resolutely refused to pass any transportation package that included any money for Metro Transit, no matter how desperately the rest of Washington needed road improvements (remember the Mount Vernon I-5 bridge collapse?).

Without the state approving the renewal of car tabs for transit, and with sales tax revenue still down sharply since 2008, the county scheduled a special election referendum in April.

It would have combined $60 car tabs and a one-tenth-of-a-percent sales tax increase, to fund both preserved Metro service and road projects in the county.

The referendum was poorly timed and poorly campaigned for, particularly in the suburbs.

(There was also almost no organized opposition, except from the Seattle Times editorial board and one small campaign group led by Eastside conservatives.)

The city approved the proposal, in some districts by huge amounts; but the ‘burbs voted no, defeating the whole thing.

It undoubtedly didn’t help that the ‘burbs have always gotten relatively less Metro service than Seattle, by population and tax revenue.

That’s been the case ever since 1973, when the Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle (a taxing district formed more than a decade before to clean up Lake Washington) took over the city-owned Seattle Transit System and the private Metropolitan Transit Company. Metro has spent four decades trying to beef up suburban service (especially in recent years), even while in-city and commuter usage has grown.

After the special election’s failure, Metro officials announced a preliminary list of cuts to be made, perhaps as early as September. 550,000 hours of service per year (down from an initial estimate of 600,000) would go away. These would include 69 total routes, and reduced or restructured service on some 80 other routes.

The cuts would be phased in over a one-year period, with “lower hanging fruit” (lower-ridership runs) dying first. Those would include the “Night Owl” runs after 1 a.m.

By the final phase-in of cuts, many familiar routes would disappear. They include #26 to Fremont and Green Lake, #66 to Roosevelt and Northgate, #4 to East Queen Anne, #60 to First Hill and Broadway, and #99 along the waterfront (the bus that replaced the still-mourned Waterfront Streetcar).

But wait! To the rescue, but only of in-city routes, came “Plan C.”

It was an initiative filed by a group called Keep Seattle Moving.

It would raise property taxes within the Seattle city limits (by 22 cents per $1,000 of assessed value), to fund bus service, but only along routes whose service hours are 80 percent within the city limits.

If the initiative made the ballot, and if it then passed, it would have raised $30 million per year for six years. In-town riders would have their service preserved, or in some cases restored. That’s because it wouldn’t have taken effect until after the first round of cuts.

The initiative sponsors officially suspended signature-gathering efforts after Mayor Ed Murray announced “Plan D.”

It’s another city-only plan. It would combine a vehicle license fee and an o.1 percent sales-tax hike. It would preserve some, but not all (and not the first scheduled batch of) bus-service cuts in town. It would have to pass both the City Council and city voters.

But wait! Here come City Councilmembers Nick Licata and Kshama Sawant with “Plan E.”

It would increase taxes on employers and commercial parking operations, replacing the sales-tax part of Murray’s proposal. It would only need the City Council’s approval, so it could be passed before Metro starts cutting routes in town. (Though the first round of cuts would still go through, at least temporarily.)

For the rest of the county: tough darts. More long car commutes, more traffic messes, more impossible-to-get-to jobs in remote office parks, more pollution.

And more people stuck in cars, as potential captive audiences for conservative talk radio, where they can be preached to about Seattle’s evil big-spending ways on such silly luxuries as public transit.

(Updated from a post originally cross-posted with City Living Seattle.)

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