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It's the conversation that seems will never end.
I guess it started in 2001 when the Nisqually earthquake rattled our cage and the Alaskan Way viaduct wheezed and sagged. Perhaps it should have started back in 1989 when 42 people were crushed under the Cypress Viaduct in San Francisco's Loma Prieta quake. But here we are, eight years into this discussion and debate over what to do with the Alaskan Way Viaduct and who should pay for it.
A handful of reporters gathered on the seventh floor of City Hall this morning to hear how Mayor Greg Nickels plans to balance the budget now that forecasters are predicting that the city's revenue will drop another $29 million this year.
But the process this morning was a little backwards. The way it worked was that first Nickels held a press conference, then afterwards, reporters were told what the mayor plans to cut from the budget.
Well the Seattle City Council is back to where they were two months ago regarding the Mercer Corridor project money, well, sort of.
If you remember, in late February the City Council voted to lift the spending restriction, called a proviso, on the Mercer project funding, even though the city didn't have enough cash to complete the South Lake Union transportation, or depending on who you talk to, beautification project.
The purpose of the proviso is to prevent the city from starting a project that it can't complete.
A proposed ballot measure could make running against local politicians, like fundraising-all-star Mayor Greg Nickels, easier.
Seattle City Council members decided to support the re-introduction of publicly-funded elections, after an advisory committee suggested that new donation trends could be giving wealthier donors more influence with local candidates.
Yesterday, the Seattle City Council unanimously approved an additional $150 fee for anyone busted hiring a prostitute. The money will go to pay for a "john school," a program aimed at educating patrons of prostitutes about the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases and other negative consequences of engaging in the sex trade.
City Attorney Tom Carr is credited with recommending the new john school, but Councilmember Nick Licata said that he's been working on setting up a program to counsel offenders in Seattle for years and that Carr opposed the idea in 2005.
After weeks of delays and public testimony, the Seattle City Council voted Monday to approve changes to the city's noise ordinance.
"The whole goal of the legislation is to strengthen enforcement of the ordinance," Councilmember Sally Clark, chair of the Planning, Land Use and Neighborhoods committee, explained as she introduced the council bill.
Last night, City Council members Jean Godden and Nick Licata sponsored a panel-discussion on the future of Seattle newspapers at City Hall. The Bertha Landes room was full of veteran journalists, and at times it was hard to watch so many of them still in denial, still clinging to the hope that some magic money will fall from the sky and save the Seattle P-I and the Seattle Times.
Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen has lots of friends in Seattle. Why wouldn't he, he's a billionaire? Council member Jan Drago has been Allen's point-person in the City Council, and Mayor Greg Nickels his goto-guy in the executive. To see the results, just look at South Lake Union, where Allen's Vulcan Inc is redeveloping 60 acres of commercial and residential real estate.
So what really happened? Did Mayor Greg Nickels and Seattle Councilmember Jan Drago know that the Mercer Project was not on the list to receive federal funding before the City Council voted on Monday to remove the spending restriction, releasing the available funds to get the two year project going? Or were Nickels and Drago as dumbfounded as everyone else when the Mercer Project didn't make the cut?
Tree activists applauded yesterday when the Seattle City Council voted to make it illegal for most homeowners and businesses to cut down a tree - well actually three trees a year - without a permit.
On Monday, the City Council will discuss and possibly vote on modifications to the noise pollution ordinance that if passed will allow large construction projects, such as replacing the Alaska Way Viaduct and the Mercer Mess, to operate outside of the current noise restrictions.
It's a confusing issue. And according to Council President Richard Conlin, it's the oddest thing he's ever seen the council have to deal with.
The City Council voted today to pass a series of bills that will give Seattle water utility customers a refund, a refund that they will then have to give back over the next 21 months.
The Seattle City Council Planning, Land Use and Neighborhoods committee met this morning to discuss creating new regulations regarding the condition of rental housing in Seattle.