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Archives: Aug. 2010

Aug.
29th

U.S. Amateur attendance tops 33,000, Pierce County says

Lines of spectators snaked across fairways, stood atop dunes and hiked miles around Chambers Bay golf course today for the finale of the U.S. Amateur.

Twenty-one-year-old Peter Uihlein, who lives in Florida and golfs for the Oklahoma State University, bested Stanford University junior David Chung to win the tournament.

The weeklong event was a success, county officials proclaimed in a news release a few minutes ago. Some 33,000 people attended the tournament at the county-owned golf course over the last seven days, the news release said.

Here it is:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Aug. 29, 2010

Some 33,000 attend

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Aug.
27th

Suspicious blaze torches Tacoma city councilman’s condo

Tacoma City Councilman Ryan Mello spent his day last Saturday on a ride-along with Tacoma police, seeing first hand what officers deal with on a routine work shift.

But after an officer dropped Mello off for the night, his experiences with the city’s first-responders were only getting started.

While Mello dozed in his home about eight blocks away, someone was setting fire at an occupied Central area condominium that he owns. Formerly his home, the councilman now rents out the apartment in the 800 block of South Fife Street to a tenant.

“I was dozing off when my renter called about 11:30,” Mello told me yesterday. “I thought it was a little late for a call, so I didn’t answer. When he called again, I picked up and he was saying, `Ryan, the apartment is on fire.’”

Mello raced over to the condo, which, by then, was engulfed in flames.

“The flames were as big as trees in the neighborhood,” Mello said.
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Aug.
26th

Sound Transit reverses bid decision for Tacoma rail project

You wouldn’t know it from the press release, but a move by Sound Transit’s board of directors to formally award a construction contract to a Kirkland-based firm today broke some new ground of its own.

“It’s very unusual,” Bob Marconi, a longtime Seattle attorney who specializes in public works bidding and contract law, told me. He was referring to the agency’s relatively abrupt change of course in awarding a construction contract to his client, MidMountain Contractors, Inc.

(The long-anticipated D to M Street project, as it’s called, will connect the Sounder commuter rail line from D to M Street in Tacoma’s Dome District, effectively extending commuter rail service from Tacoma to Lakewood.)

The regional transit authority ultimately awarded the contract to MidMountain after initially disqualifying the firm’s low-bid. Sound Transit staff instead had planned to recommend that the agency’s directors board award the contract to PCL Construction Services, the second-lowest bidder.

PCL, which submitted a bid $800,000 higher than MidMountain’s, got the nod from transit staff after complaining to them that MidMountain had turned in a supplemental bid form late.

That led MidMountain last month to retain Marconi’s high powered law firm, hire a Seattle PR company, enlist politicians and take its case to the media: Taxpayers were going to take a pasting, they claimed, all because of the transit agency’s wrong-headed approach toward a minor paperwork error.
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Aug.
26th

Tacoma: City settles landfill lawsuit for $225,000

The AP’s got the details:

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — The city of Tacoma has agreed to pay nearly $225,000 and make enviromental improvements at its landfill to settle federal charges that it improperly disposed of chemicals retrieved from appliances.

The settlement was filed Wednesday at U.S. District Court in Tacoma. The U.S. attorney’s office alleged that from 2004 to 2007, technicians at the city’s landfill removed more than 2 tons of refrigerants such as Freon from appliances that were brought there for disposal or recycling.

Prosecutors say the amount processed was vastly more than the landfill was equipped to handle,

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Aug.
26th

Former Justice Talmadge says I-1098 would likely be found unconstitutional

The debate over Initiative 1098, which seeks to create a state income tax on higher income residents, is part political and part legal.

The political question will be decided at the general election. That is, are there enough votes to pass an initiative that seeks to trade some tax cuts for the new income tax.

The legal question will take longer to resolve. Current case law in Washington is that income is a form of property and therefore is covered by two existing provisions in the state constitution. Those are that all property must be taxed uniformly and that regular

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