News That's Even Easier to Ignore Than County Politics
• Remember when backers of Chihuly Garden and Glass at Seattle Center promised to build a million-dollar playground to appease the angry masses who protested placing Chihuly's for-profit vanity project on public land? Now that the glass museum has been open and raking in the dough for eight months, you might be wondering: Where is that playground? Well, it turns out that the intended playground location was instead used to sell commemorative trinkets for the Seattle Center's 50th anniversary celebration (sorry, kids!). Sources in city hall now say there's no location and no hard deadline for building the playground.
• According to sources, in an attempt to undermine the teacher boycott of the controversial Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) exams, administrators at Garfield High School began removing students this week from the classes of teachers who've refused to proctor MAP exams and giving the exams themselves. Acknowledging the actions, superintendent Jose Banda said in a statement that he wants to measure "student progress in a consistent manner across all schools."
• In the wake of polls showing strong public support for tighter gun laws, state house Republicans have introduced the Firearms Freedom Act, a bill that would nullify federal gun laws, make enforcement of said laws by federal agents a felony punishable by up to five years in prison, and establish Washington as a "stand your ground" state. Because house Republicans are fucking nuts.
• No one has filed to run against the Seattle City Council members up for reelection this year: Sally Bagshaw, Richard Conlin, Nick Licata, and Mike O'Brien. Is it unusual to have a slate of four council incumbents and absolutely no challengers? Yes, yes it is, confirms the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission. While the deadline to file for office isn't until May 10, most candidates file in January or early February.
• On February 1, Initiative 522 became certified for the general election. If passed, the measure would require most foods "if produced using genetic engineering as defined, to be labeled as genetically engineered when offered for retail sale," the state explains.
• Who thinks we shouldn't slap on labels identifying food with genetically modified DNA? The food-processing lobby. "This initiative, although well-meaning, hurts the small- and medium-sized food processors in our state," said Northwest Food Processors Association president Dave Zepponi. The food processor lobby insists that if you want non-GMO food, you can avoid it "by buying organic."