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Archives: April 2013

April
30th

Tacoma: City Council formally chooses downtown-to-Hilltop route for extending Tacoma Link

In the end, Tacoma’s City Council formally selected the same downtown-to-Hilltop route for its preferred choice to extend the city’s Link light rail system that it tentatively picked last week.

But the council’s action Tuesday hardly resembled an exercise in rubber-stamping. 

It came only after heart-felt testimony offered by about 20 Tacoma residents and a failed amendment at compromise floated by East Side Councilman Marty Campbell.

“This is the one resolution that unites us, it doesn’t divide us,” Campbell said in proposing the measure. “It doesn’t pit communities against each other.”

The amendment, which

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April
30th

UPDATED Tacoma Link: As City Council prepares to vote on Link extension route, stakeholders’ group recommends hybrid route; Campbell set to float alternative proposal

UPDATE 7:45 p.m.

The City Council chose a downtown-to-Hilltop route as its preferred choice for extending Tacoma Link.

The council’s choice came after a failed amendment by Councilman Marty Campbell that sought support for a hybrid route that would have included the Hilltop extension plus an additional stub extension along Portland Avenue.

After the amendment failed, 5 to 4,  the council voted 8 to 1 in favor of the so-called E1 route — a 2.3 mile corridor connecting downtown to MLK via Stadium Way.  The council’s recommendation will be sent to the Sound Transit board, which is expected to make

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April
30th

Tacoma: City finance officials “cautiously optimistic” about latest favorable budget figures

Bucking a recent onslaught of grim finance news, Tacoma city officials announced Tuesday its past two-year budget fared $4.5 million better than expected, and its current spending plan so far is $3.7 million ahead of target.

But city finance officials also cautioned it’s too soon to call the positive numbers a trend.

“While favorable variances exist, as the budget officer, cautious optimism is required,” Tad Wille told the City Council Tuesday.

Despite the good news, Wille noted, the city still faces “difficult challenges” ahead – namely, a projected $30 million to $40 million shortfall in its forthcoming 2015-16 General Fund.

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April
30th

Court rules against 24-liter daily limit on bars and restaurants buying liquor from stores

UPDATED 2:30 P.M. WITH DISTRIBUTORS’ COMMENTS

Restaurants say there are two obstacles keeping them from buying liquor at grocery stores. One of them could be removed in a special session of the Legislature that starts May 13. A judge on Monday ordered removal of the other one.

Thurston County Superior Court Judge Erik Price sided with Costco, groceries and restaurants in invalidating the state Liquor Control Board’s rule limiting groceries’ sales of liquor and wine to restaurants and bars to 24 liters a day.

The rule was the liquor board’s interpretation of the 2011 voter-approved liquor-privatization law, which had limited those

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April
29th

Signatures filed with King County for recall election to oust mayor of Pacific

A spokeswoman for King County Elections said a petition was filed with the office this morning for a recall election to oust Pacific Mayor Cy Sun.

The office should finish a preliminary count of the signatures by tomorrow, and has five to 10 days to start verifying them.

That process should take roughly three days, chief communication officer Kim van Ekstrom said.

If they find at least 415 of the signatures to be sufficient, they’ll hold the election within 45 to 60 days of the finding, van Ekstrom said.

The Committee to Recall Cy Sun got the go-ahead from

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April
29th

The other Senate races: Appointees Sharon Brown and John Smith could face challenges

 

The marquee 2013 legislative race is in the district between Bremerton and the Tacoma Narrows, and that’s where the political parties  will spend their energy. But voters are filling at least two other Senate vacancies this fall. Neither is likely to affect the balance in the Senate because both are in conservative Eastern Washington districts that could feature face-offs between fellow Republicans.

Legislators in all three races can start raising money today with the end of the regular legislative session and a two-week hiatus in a fundraising freeze.

Sharon Brown of Kennewick was appointed to the 8th district, Tri-Cities-area Senate seat, beating

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April
29th

Two weeks to raise money for Senate race

Angel
Rep. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard

The fundraising freeze thaws for two weeks starting today. With session over, lawmakers can raise money again, including Sen. Nathan Schlicher and Rep. Jan Angel, who expect to go head to head this November for the seat Schlicher was appointed to in January.

Sen. Nathan Schlicher, D-Gig Harbor
Sen. Nathan Schlicher, D-Gig Harbor

Senate Republicans’ campaign committee planned a fundraiser for this morning. Party committees are not subject to the freeze but any money they raise during it can’t be spent on legislative races. I wrote Sunday about Republicans being far ahead of their rivals after a tumultuous year for Senate Democrats’ campaign operation.

I noted Senate Democrats have hired a new campaign director, but one thing I didn’t have room for in the print story: both Schlicher and Angel have campaign managers. Read more »

April
27th

Rep. Dan Kristiansen is new House GOP leader

UPDATED 3:30 p.m., with statement and more details on Kristiansen.

As expected — if sooner than expected — minority House Republicans made Rep. Dan Kristiansen of Snohomish their leader today.

The vote was unanimous and no rivals stepped forward for the job, Puyallup Rep. Hans Zeiger said today after voting. Once Chehalis Rep. Richard DeBolt stepped down as leader last week, the caucus quickly coalesced around Kristiansen, a 50-year-old member of the Legislature since 2003 who owns a commercial real estate business.

His move up left a vacancy in the position of caucus chairman, and Republicans elected Rep. Judy Warnick, 

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