In Other News
In what is perhaps becoming a pattern, a second Seattle student has been arrested after playfully tormenting sidewalk canvassers for Lyndon LaRouche. Last weekend, a Seattle University student named Brad got fed up with the ubiquitous, aggressive campaigners on Broadway, so he dumped a five-pound bag of flour on their pamphlet-covered table (he's also a baker). He then went home, changed clothes to disguise his identity, and walked past the LaRouche table on his way to Vivace, a coffee shop a few blocks away.
Soon, says Brad the Baker, police arrived at the coffee shop, arrested and handcuffed him, and charged him with destruction of property.
After spending the night in jail, Brad—a self-described antiwar protester type, who complains, "I talked to [the LaRouchies] and I read their material and it's all crap"—is out on his own recognizance, awaiting trial.
Earlier this summer, a UW grad was charged with assault after hurling water balloons at LaRouche campaigners. SARAH MIRK
A Thurston County Superior Court judge sided with the Washington State Democrats (and the Republican attorney general) late last week when he ruled that Mike McGavick's former company, Safeco, had no right to block the release of data compiled by the state Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC).
The OIC data focuses on a controversial practice known as credit scoring—where insurers raise rates and even drop customers based on credit history, rather than looking at more germane things like good driving records.
The Democrats, who filed a public disclosure request for the info, believe it will show that McGavick (now the GOP candidate for U.S. Senate against incumbent Democrat Maria Cantwell) unfairly dropped poor people and minorities from coverage. Indeed, insurance-industry publications have quoted McGavick boasting in conference calls about "stepping up aggressive nonrenewals of low-credit-score" customers—and in 2005, McGavick's Safeco was fined $35,000 for breaking Florida laws against credit scoring.
Safeco's lawyers asked for an emergency seven-day stay of the decision. So, the data is still under lock and key. JOSH FEIT
Seven regional transit agencies are testing a regionwide Smart Card, a credit-card-size pass that will work on every transit system in the Puget Sound area. (Those seven agencies, for the curious, are: Community Transit, Everett Transit, King County Metro, Kitsap Transit, Pierce Transit, Sound Transit, and the Washington State Ferries.)
The card, which is similar to smart cards in dozens of other U.S. cities and abroad (surprise: we're behind the curve), will keep track of the value of all tickets, transfers, and passes and bill riders accordingly at the end of the month. If you're interested in volunteering, a full list of test routes is available at www.orcatest.com. ERICA C. BARNETT