The Marijuana Policy Review Panel--created as part of pro-pot Initiative 75--was supposed to spend its inaugural February 25 meeting coming up with guidelines for reporting drug busts. So committee member and I-75 leader Dominic Holden was surprised to learn last week that the Seattle Police Department and the Seattle City Attorney's Office planned to show up at the meeting already armed with reporting requirements. "They're doing things the panel members should be doing," Holden says. The requirements are significant: They'll help track whether I-75 does what supporters want--making pot possession Seattle's lowest law-enforcement priority. ERICA C. BARNETT
Developers in Pioneer Square are discussing opening Occidental Park to cars for the first time since the early '70s. Two of the four blocks on Occidental Avenue are closed--forming a quiet, brick-paved pedestrian mall between South Washington and South Jackson Streets.
The idea is being floated by developer Greg Smith; he's partners with Diamond Parking, which owns a lot adjacent to the park. Smith wants "European"-style brick lanes, one going in each direction, to boost traffic circulation and clean up Pioneer Square's unruly street life.
"Greg, DON'T GO THERE!!!" an e-mail to Smith from architect Art Skolnik blared. "You must look beyond your interest in the Diamond property." Skolnik helped create the park in the early '70s, making it the first pedestrian mall in Seattle's history. BRIAN WALTON
Spy vs. Spy
Seattle Weekly publisher Terry Coe isn't much for subtlety. Last month, Coe, who one recent ex-employee says was brought on as an "ax" by the Weekly's corporate owner, decided to advertise for a new circulation manager in his paper's classifieds. Whoops: The current circulation manager, Dick Rogers, hadn't left yet. Coe, who hadn't bothered to tell Rogers about his pending unemployment, slyly attempted to run the ad anonymously. It didn't take Weekly sales staff long to unearth the source of the ad, which was reportedly listed in the Weekly's classified database.
Ex-staffers say Coe performed a furious e-mail search to see who had outed him--only to be "deflated" when he found his own name attached to a reply from the ad's anonymous e-mail address.
E-mail surveillance at the Weekly is nothing new. Current and former staffers say their communications are monitored. According to the former Weekly sales staffer, morale there is at "an all-time low." Coe did not return our call. NANCY DREW
On February 13, the Washington State Senate passed legislation that would wash away a Seattle tenants'-rights ordinance. The bill, supported by landlords' groups and Seattle Democrat Margarita Prentice (D-West Seattle, International District), weakens protections against the private water billing companies that landlords use. Tenants' groups say the billing formulas--which charge tenants a portion of a building's total water usage and often result in monthly water bills of $50 or more--are arbitrary and unfair.
Seattle's endangered law requires companies to provide a copy of a building's water bill on request and restricts the amount companies can charge in late and "administrative" fees. ERICA C. BARNETT