Modest Sparks for Your Flaming Liberal Agenda
• More than six months after Washington State legislators passed one of the most sweeping underage-sex-trafficking laws in the country—a law that required internet sites operating in the state to prove that their advertised escorts were at least 18 years old—a federal judge has deemed the law "unconstitutionally vague." US District Court judge Ricardo S. Martinez added that the law was both "overbroad and not narrowly tailored to the state's asserted governmental interests," and thus violated both the First and Fourteenth Amendments. "We disagree with Judge Martinez," responded state attorney general Rob McKenna in a statement, while nevertheless agreeing on December 6 to pay $200,000 to Backpage.com—which is owned by Village Voice Media—and pledging to work with the state legislature to repeal the unconstitutional law.
• Sources say that Mayor Mike McGinn will soon commission a study to analyze the economic impacts of coal trains that may start rumbling through Seattle's waterfront on a daily basis on their way to a proposed coal port terminal outside of Bellingham. This continued full-court press against coal trains comes months after a Seattle-commissioned traffic study found that the trains could delay downtown traffic by one to three hours a day.
• During the heated deliberation over whether to approve a new basketball arena in Sodo, the most serious and credible opposition came from the Port of Seattle, where unions, business owners, and other stakeholders expressed fears that game-day traffic and gentrification could pose a threat to cargo operations and the thousands of good blue-collar jobs they support. But that argument was knocked on its knees on December 11, when the port announced that it had reached an agreement with Hanjin Shipping subsidiary Total Terminal Incorporated (TTI) to extend its lease at Terminal 46 through 2025 (with an option to 2035), laying to rest concerns that the port could lose one of its biggest tenants. Terminal 46 accounts for about 20 percent of the port's container capacity, and TTI's existing operations currently generate about 3,200 direct and indirect jobs.
• The demand for King County marriage licenses spiked by more than 1,200 percent on Thursday, December 6—the first day gay marriage became legal in Washington State. "On a normal Thursday in December, the recorder's office issues about 40 licenses," the office explained in a press release. "We issued a record-smashing 489 on Thursday." Congrats again to all the happy couples!